This season, Sydney-based Ellery
staged its first-ever fashion show outside of Australia. Designer Kym Ellery chose the big stage of Paris for her international debut, and so it was entirely understandable that her new collection emphasized sculptural looks, ones that expressed the effort of their creation. You sensed an attempt to rise to the occasion. The designer should give herself a break. This collection was at its strongest when the clothes conveyed a sense of ease—to wit, in the black midcalf dress with a slit down the neckline and a skirt of fluid pleats. There was also a nice touch in the metallic mesh aprons Ellery used as layering pieces; a simple thing, but it really elevated the designs. The most directional pieces here were the woven bustier tops that the she created out of bricklayers' line and abseiling cord, working with artist Ben Barretto. The garments were great aesthetically speaking, but they were too stiff to have any practical use. It would have been nice had Ellery found a way to translate that idea into textile development, for which she has a knack, and made some really wearable looks. Elsewhere, the focus was on dressy clothes with ballooning volumes, some of them quite beautiful, and new adaptations of signature silhouettes such as the bell-bottom (now with bigger bells!) and short shorts with hanging pockets. It all served as a good introduction to the Ellery aesthetic, for those who hadn't known much about the brand before. Now that the intro has been made, here's hoping that Ellery will let herself, and her clothes, relax a bit.