— March 8, 2015 —
In the midst of our hectic Paris Fashion Week schedules, we were treated to a beautiful afternoon treat in the form of Ellery's Fall/Winter 2015 presentation at the historic Kenzo House in the city's Bastille district. The collection featured Ellery signatures, such as her beautifully crafted tailoring done, as always, with a modern twist. Kym Ellery worked this season on experimenting with asymmetry, which could be seen in the coats and placements of things such as buttons and seams. The minimalist Japanese-inspired surroundings seemed to have an effect on the Ellery collection; it evoked a sense of strength in calmness and incredible thought behind each every design decision. We also saw a more literal interpretation of the Japanese surroundings in the form of an obi style belts on the backs of jackets. Set against a backdrop of a wall and platform filled with Baby's Breath flowers, the models appeared to be walking calmly, confidently, serenely through a snow storm in Japan. It was a surreal and beautiful moment to witness, and one that Kym Ellery should be proud of. We heard nothing but rave reviews from those who attended, which included some of the most stylish people in the business, including Vogue Australia's Christine Centenera, Lane Crawford's Jackie Au, Shine By Three blogger Margaret Zhang and supermodel Jessica Gomes. We were able to grab Kym herself for a quick interview after the presentation. Read on to find out more about her inspiration and her design process below.
Can you tell me a bit about Kenzo House and why you chose this venue?
I love this space, I think it's so unique and just really transports people outside of the mayhem of Paris Fashion Week. We're around all of this amazing French architecture, but to walk into this space that's so zen and calming, with the water and the garden and the size and the tataki room that the models came out through, and the indoor pool! All of this stuff I just thought was so beautiful and it was a nice interesting different backdrop for the collection. A little modern, I think, as well. We built the floral well out of Baby's Breath to look like snow. That was the feeling we were going for.
What was the inspiration behind the collection?
We looked into the work of Egon Schiele, the artist, and I was admiring his subjects, the nude portraits, and I thought they must be such bold, interesting women to be posing for him, and they're naked. So I thought it would be a good idea to design them a wardrobe; what would they wear? So I took the work and I drew the clothes on his work. I would print out his work and I drew my work onto the images.
What was it about the images that you found appealing?
They're so provocative and I like how everything is a little bit twisted. It was difficult for that time, you can imagine. But, then, maybe they were more progressive than we are today; maybe we're regressed in a way or maybe not, I don't know, but I was thinking about that as a concept, as well.
Tailoring is always such a big part of your collections. Tell us about how you changed and evolved that this season.
Yes, really important. We threw the garments off into very subtle asymmetry. So, the coats have a sweeping collar that come across the body; it's asymmetrical, high on one side and low on the other. That definitely was a new thing for us. With the shirting. We also worked with shapes similar to the Danube shirt from last season and reinterpreted that. There was a lot working with our DNA, things that we've done before and just evolving them a little, but I also wanted to keep it quite classic, or what I perceive as classic.
We like your version of classic, it's a modern classic.
It's a bit kooky; it's a white button or an asymmetrical collar. I just make it very simple, I don't know if that sounds silly, but yeah just keep it really simple.
The fabrics are always a major standout point in your collections, you have such a great eye for that. Do you source your fabrics first or do the sketches come first?
I source fabric first and I design around that. I really enjoy that part of the process. And, of course, I don't really have the luxury of time. It's hard sometimes but I just work instinctually with the fabrics and I think about what I like and fill my board with things that I find incredibly beautiful and that I think work well together and then go from there. We have a lot of fabric from Switzerland this season and I love what they do, I think they are incredible artisans. Italy, France and Korea usually the ones we work with and it's all made in our atelier in Sydney.
And what about the buttons? I know you worked with your mother?
Yeah my mom, Deborah Ellery, she's a textiles major in ceramics, so I grew up around her, doing the most interesting processes with the fabrics and also throwing things on the ceramic wheel and watching her make things. So she handmade all the buttons. We did it in Pre-Fall with her in the turquoise and I wanted to continue that through this season. I just loved it so much, it's like a little bit of soul in every button.
What's next for Ellery?
We'll be doing something exciting for Australian Fashion Week. Then, following that, I'm launching a new aspect to the line, some more casual pieces, so denim and things that we consider classic, but in the true sense. Like, the perfect white shirt and the perfect black mini. Things that I think would be great for a more casual setting. So that's my next project; I hope to launch that with Resort or Spring, we'll see how we go!
Ellery's Kym Ellery, after her Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2015 presentation at Kenzo House.