Paolo Sebastian is honoured to announce its latest collection, The Wild Swans.

The thirteen-piece collection was unveiled by Creative Director and Designer, Paul Vasileff, during the prestigious Closing Runway of the 2022 Melbourne Fashion Festival, marking the designer’s third partnership with Australia's largest fashion event to showcase his latest endeavour.

Inspired by the Danish fairytale written by Hans Christen Anderson, The Wild Swans collection is an homage to the act of selfless love, the courage of the voiceless and the beauty found within everyday moments.

“This story is full of fascinating elements and intricate imagery, but it is the brave, selfless heroine at its centre that I think truly makes it shine,” says Vasileff.

As the story goes, Princess Elisa sweeps through the moonlit graveyard, searching for the nettle to set her brothers free - eleven princes bound by dark magic into the bodies of white swans and banished by a cruel, wicked Queen. For her beloved brothers, Elisa discovers how to break their curse: weave eleven coats of nettle and take a vow of silence until it is done. From dawn until dusk, Elisa dares not whisper a word as she weaves and weaves and weaves. The nettle stings, burning and blistering her aching hands, but she never stops, even as the Queen conspires against her and she is locked in a cold, dark cell awaiting the final flames of execution. Against all odds, Elisa continues to weave in silent determination for the love of her brothers. Just then, the swift sound of eleven swans soaring toward their sister. Her brothers descend upon her, rescuing Elisa as she casts the finished coats upon them in return. The curse is lifted and they are freed.

“The collection is a depiction of the dualism between dark and light, the powerful and the powerless, and the many facets of these opposing forces that exist within all things. Elisa is an innocent victim, but her quiet strength and fierce determination make her a force to be reckoned with,” explains Vasileff.

Reflecting this delicate balance, an ethereal colour palette of soft whites and evening greens is offset with striking twilight shades of greys and blacks, featuring accents of dawn rose. Lavish ball gown silhouettes and fine corsetry are juxtaposed with slinky woven nettle-style slips, and sunray pleating. Gowns are fashioned of silk mikado, ostrich feather plumes and hand-embroidered tulle with swan-shaped silk organza cutwork.

“Our nettle-inspired dresses immediately stood out when we began creating the collection,” says Vasileff. “The nettles were a painful thing endured by Elisa, but they were also what enabled her to break the curse. We translated this idea into embroidery using rope cord and a beading technique to emulate the feeling of the woven nettles.”

Standout pieces of the The Wild Swans include the feather covered Opera coat, inspired by Elisa’s unyielding courage and sacrifice, and a statement feathered ball gown with hand-dyed ostrich feather plumes that cascades to the floor, evoking the Princess’s purity, as well as the power of true sacrifice and great transformation.

“It’s always an incredible experience working with MFF and a privilege to utilise this platform to showcase our next collection.”

An exquisite merging of fairytale, fashion, and female empowerment, The Wild Swans is a powerful reminder of the brand’s ability to infuse each collection with artisanal excellence and sophisticated, relevant storytelling.

“Elisa is the type of heroine we can all look up to,” says Vasileff. “She is someone who can inspire us to be better, and consider the needs of others ahead of our own. There is never not a good time to be grounded in this truth.”