If fashion years count anything like dog years Rosemount Australian Fashion Week, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, is already an old maid. To put it more gracefully: a woman in her best years who put all bubblegum colors and over the top effects aside and presented herself in a modest yet modern way, scarcely seen in previous years.

Held from May 2 through May 7 at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal on the edge of the harbor, more than 85 designers presented their wares for S/S 10-11. Among them were industry stalwarts such as Zimmerman, Zambesi, Kirrily Johnston and Alex Perry, as well as Australia’s current creative frontrunners including Romance Was Born, Therese Rawsthorne, Friedrich Gray, Karla Spetic, Flannel and Dion Lee.

While some visitors and buyers — the number of national and international buyers was up in anticipation of stellar fashion moments for this year’s anniversary — described the week as lacklustre, others hailed the shows for their youthful modernity and effortless sexiness. Few collections showed the bright array of colors seen in previous seasons, as many designers concentrated on muted tones such as black, white, nude and gray and set their focus on subtle details in prints and tailoring. Arnsdorf, in particular, was praised for its results that looked low-key, grown-up and modern all at once.

And while there were several surprises midweek such as the smouldering volcano (dress) on the runway at Romance Was Born or the Avatar-themed kimonos Camilla presented, swimwear collections, an integral part of Aussie summer fashion, from the likes of Anna & Boy, Seventh Wonderland and White Sands also were sophisticated rather than sassy.

In this spirit denim brand, Ksubi, which in its tenth year had to enter voluntary administration in January and was sold to Bleach founder Harry Hodge in February earlier this year, closed the week’s events. Infamous for their presentations with carefully crafted shock effects in previous years, George Gorrow and Dan Single concentrated on androgynous looks with denim in the lightest shades of blue and white, where even the destroyed effects had a humble air to them. It seems not only were the Ksubi boys ready for a fresh start but the whole of Australia’s creative industry too looking for a new direction.