The genesis of Kit Willow's latest collection was a snapshot her mother took, of a palm tree at sunset on St. Kilda beach in Melbourne. As inspirations go, this one had the vast potential to degenerate into cheesiness—especially given that she used the photograph as the basis for her collection's sole print. (Visions of "wish you were here" postcards dance in your head.) But the digital palm-print looks weren't bad—they had an unexpected edginess—and anyway, the real action in this collection was in Willow's experiments with fabrication and draping. If an old snapshot set her down the path of hand-weaving seed beads into mesh, then draping rectangles of the resulting material off sexy little numbers, then all to the good.
Willow's trick here was to take non-challenging silhouettes—a form-fitting dress, for instance—and give them a textural dimension. The seed-beading did that; so did the soigné, handwoven French tweed that she developed based on the seed-beaded material. She also had the very good, very straightforward idea of draping pieces of tulle off the surface of several looks; the technique gave pieces such as a tailored, electric blue dress a sense of movement, without interfering with the underlying silhouette. Why hasn't anyone thought of this before? All in all, this collection was full of playful, good concepts like that, executed with the right, slightly kittenish touch.