Kate Miller-Heidke’s Eurovision dress hides a very practical secret

When singer Kate Miller-Heidke represents Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest grand final, she will join Serena Williams and Frances McDormand in a very 2019 fashion trend: couture on top and comfort on your feet.

Just as Williams showed at this month's Met Gala, where she wore neon-yellow sneakers with her gown, and after McDormand paired Birkenstocks with her Valentino at the Oscars, Miller-Heidke is teaming her Steven Khalil gown with shoes by orthopaedic label Bared.

Kate Miller-Heidke rehearsing in her Steven Khalil dress for Eurovision 2019. Credit:Andres Putting

As high-low dressing seemingly takes over the world, a new maxim about pairing footwear with an outfit has taken hold. If you're fancy on the top, go casual on the bottom, and vice-versa.

So that means a ball skirt with runners is totally OK (and brilliantly comfortable). In fact, it's encouraged; stilettos just feel too … old-fashioned, too much for the male gaze? Similarly, a spike heel elevates a pair of distressed jeans like nothing else.

One exception at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia last week was at the Alice McCall show, where heels reigned supreme, with the selection of party frocks each more sparkly than the next. But in some good news, the chunky sandal and the Roman sandal are set to continue as strong trends leading into summer 2020.

Khalil, who also made Dami Im's Eurovision dress in 2016, said it was always a treat to step out of his bridal comfort zone.

"Kate and I sat down and she briefed me on the performance," Khalil says. "She wanted something light; I originally designed something dark. That's where we went into layering with the glitter tulle and mesh. The whole feel was ethereal lightness with drama."

Khalil won't be travelling to Israel for the competition, so Miller-Heidke's team has been briefed on how to make any running repairs. But the designer is confident the dress will withstand the rigours of competition.

"We made sure she could lift her arms, dance. Everything was carefully considered. The movement of the gown to cover the pole she's dancing on," he says.

Ah, yes, the pole. Given I am no Eurovision expert, I leant on my colleague, Mary Ward, to explain the theatrics of Eurovision, starting with how Miller-Heidke's look fits into the paradigm.

"I think the look is great. It needs to be big, because the stage is big," Ward says.

Some of the biggest trends inspired by Eurovision, says Ward, include all white, but really, the most memorable moments often come from the on-stage costume changes.

"It's like the Met Gala meets Australian Idol meets the Olympics," she says. "There's a real national pride element there: people are showing off their country, often using local designers."

This year's theme, "dare to dream", also provides plenty of fashion inspiration, such as celestial prints, stars and, for the logo-lover, garments bearing the word "dream".

The 64th annual Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast on SBS.

Get the look

These pieces take their cue from the Eurovision theme "dare to dream".

Mother Denim at Order Of Style, $519

Carla Zampatti, $849

Karen Millen, $295

Feathers, $159

Rosantica at The Outnet, $399


Order of Style: orderofstyle.com

The Outnet: theoutnet.com

Feathers: feathers.com.au

Karen Millen: karenmillen.com

Carla Zampatti: carlazampatti.com.au

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