When Myer moved its major annual fashion event from Melbourne to Sydney a few years ago, it left the fashion capital feeling a bit left out of the action.
But it seems the department store has had second thoughts and the much-touted Autumn/Winter collection is coming back to the Victorian capital.
This Thursday evening, Myer will convert a heritage listed underground car park at Melbourne University into a black tie dinner for just 120 guests.
Whether you score an invite depends on your position in the fashion world and if you've got celebrity power to woo the decision makers.
Brutal and beautiful
In the past, Myer hyped its AW collections with a traditional runway show, but this year the event flirts with more with curation over fashion saturation.
Designing the food menu for the night is executive chef Ian Curley [of European fame] who was given the brief 'brutal is beautiful'. That of course makes perfect sense given the event location is the pinnacle of Brutalist architecture from the 70s. The carpark is wall-to-wall curved concrete and way ahead of its time; exactly where Myer positions itself – ahead of curve so to speak.
Who made the cut
The night will unveil Myer's key looks in menswear, but instead of showcasing all of its 40-plus brands, has decided on just two: footwear brand Aquila and purveyors of tailoring, M.J. Bale.
According to Myer apparel general manager Karen Brewster it wasn't an easy decision to make.
"It's not that the other brands don't matter, it was more about finding two that told Melbourne's fashion story well," says Brewster who describes the occasion as more art than fashion.
"Aquila is very Melbourne and we love how the brand has evolved from a shoe label to a leader in fashion locally. We also love what M J Bale is doing this winter," says Brewster.
Leaders of the pack
Some of the top blokes in attendance on the night include fashion designers Alex Perry, Adrian Norris of Aje, Johnny Schembri and Toni Maticevski. VAMFF CEO Graeme Lewsey, AFL star Jimmy Bartel and Didier Cohen are also on the dinner list. Joining this star-studded cast are television host Carrie Bickmore, Rebecca Maddern, Andy Lee and Rebecca Harding, former Real Housewife Chyka Keebaugh and Renee Enright.
Only five male models will be involved in Myer's 'fashion moments' on the night including Melbourne's Jake Stent-Powell and Sam Wines, Lin Xie from China, Leonardo Pajonk from Germany and Shayne Tino from Zimbabwe.
Together they will model statement coats [ military toned duffle and pea coats], transeasonal must-haves [think layers and casual yarns] and a monochrome story that shows us black and white stripe tops, cropped drawstring pants and sport luxe looks are back.
Athleisure in the Arctic
"We're also seeing an arctic neutral trend," says Brewster. "This is where all grey, beige and marle are matched and worn in a monochromatic way.
"We saw this on the runways a few years ago and now it has come into the fashion forward space and guys are loving it," she says.
The new customer base
With the closure of Herringbone and Rhodes & Beckett last week, Brewster is mindful of the pressure to showcase brands that customers want.
She says Myer is focusing on the new big spender, the millennial generation shopper.
"There are more millennial shoppers than any other demographic at the moment and we're trying to be current and show younger brands on the catwalk to inspire them to come and shop," says Brewster.
"We also know that guys are mission shoppers, not browsers so we have to be innovative in the way we approach him."
Influencers on hand
Model Sam Wines says he will use his social media to post live streams and images of his outfits from the night to his 70k+ followers
"Guys my generation definitely follow social media," says Sam Wines.
"We all keep up to date with brands via social media accounts and like to see what other guys are wearing and what's new," he says.
"We do a lot of research online before we head into a store."