7 posts tagged "Josh Goot"
Style.com’s Katharine K. Zarrella reports from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.
Dion Lee is one of Sydney’s hottest young fashion stars. And the designer, who has shown his mainline collection in New York for the past two seasons, kicked off Day Three of MBFWA with a strong Spring ’14 presentation of his secondary range, aptly named Dion Lee II. Held in a warehouse, the exposed beams of which were draped with an airy white fabric, Lee’s lineup had a thoughtful ease to it. Colors were cool and simple—various hues of blues, whites, and blacks, with splashes of red and electric orange—and silhouettes were relaxed but also technical. Several looks featured deconstructed jackets in denim or leather, which were then attached to skirts, dresses, and trousers and transformed into clever, laid-back bustles. Elsewhere, suit jackets and blouses were slit up the spine to expose models’ bare (and tan) backs, and shirts and blazers offered clever cutouts—usually at the elbow or hip. “There was this concept of twenty-four hours,” explained Lee backstage. “I was inspired by the shift in how people dress today—you mix together all the genres of your wardrobe, from sportswear to eveningwear, tailoring, and even a little bit of loungewear, and I think the blend of all those elements is the defining category of the brand.”
Having opened his first Sydney flagship in December and set to bow another in Melbourne come July, Lee has experienced not only homeland, but international success. But that’s not always the case for Australian talents. Given their country’s distance from, well, everything; the import taxes that implies; the decline of domestic manufacturing; and the fact that Aussie designers are on an opposite seasonal schedule from Paris, London, New York, and Milan, the youngsters Down Under often have a rough go of it. Furthermore, designers have had no support system, like the CFDA in New York or BFC in London, to help them find their way. Through the Australian Fashion Chamber, which was discussed at an open forum during Day Four of MBFWA, Vogue Australia editor in chief Edwina McCann hopes to change that. “I’d love to see an Australian superstar,” McCann told Style.com. “But big-picture-wise, I think we need to redefine success. [Australians] have always looked at success as having a really healthy retail business in Australia, exporting and perhaps even showing on the Paris schedule, but I think nowadays, we need to understand that some of our best graduates would be best to go to bigger houses and work their way up,” she explained, noting that she’s had significant support from the CFDA, Anna Wintour, and Franca Sozzani.
The Chamber is still in its early stages of development and needs to secure further funding (for sponsors and/or the government), as well as tailor its goals to the needs of Australian designers. For instance, one topic brought up by a few designers is the fact that Sydney doesn’t have a low-cost or free platform like New York’s Milk Studios or London’s Topshop show space. Another key concern among designers is how to navigate the opposing seasonal selling schedules of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Josh Goot, who showed me his terribly impressive Fall ’14 collection during a studio visit, thinks the Chamber is a good first step. “It will join a lot of dots, and it’s great to have a not-for-profit organization that’s invested in the future of Australian fashion,” he said, before walking me through his impressive lineup of black-and-white, glitch-inspired wares. Goot, who has twenty stockists in Oz, as well as twenty abroad and Australian flagships, told me the focus for Fall was on “digitally decayed beauty.” This translated into fragmented floral jacquard prints. Elsewhere, he focused on a new, more streamlined look for the label, offering easy but sophisticated silhouettes. Black foam-bonded tops and skirts with silver insets were simultaneously sculptural and easy. Other standouts included layered skirts and T-shirts, a series of smart wool outerwear, and a skirt with a thick black waistband. Goot, who showed the latter with a black turtleneck, mused, “I’d want to know the girl who’s wearing that.” Considering how well he seems to understand his client, I’d imagine he already does.
After my chat with Goot, I walked a few streets over to visit with Lover designers Susien Chong and Nic Briand. This pair has managed to cultivate a healthy international following, which includes celebs like Emma Watson and a handful of Victoria’s Secret Angels. While 50 percent of Lover’s sales are currently exports, the designers assert that for Australian-based brands, their hometown market will always be their most important—a concerning fact, perhaps, considering the rapid pace at which fast-fashion chains are arriving in Oz. “We have 22 million people here. You’re bringing all those stores here. On top of that you’re going to have a new generation that grows up shopping at those stores. It will be very interesting to see how designers sustain their businesses. But at some point,” Briand said, “I think there’s going to be a kickback.”
Nadia Napreychikov and Cami James, the designers behind cult label Di$count—which closed out MBFWA with an off-schedule show on Thursday night—don’t really need to worry about competing with fast-fashion chains. That is, unless Topshop starts producing hand-sequined leggings, coats, and ass-less dresses with text like “Sex” or “You Will Never Own Me” across the front. To the beats of heavy metal, Di$count’s models hopped on a spinning mirrored platform, and showed off coats and frocks embellished with menacing, large-lipped faces; tights beaded with Mickey Mouse heads, smiley faces, and lewd phrases; and a robe garnished with electric pink fur and a giant purple eyeball. These clothes were not for the faint of heart. (In fact, they’re probably geared toward Di$count’s current clients, like Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, and Britney Spears.) However, other pieces, including sparkling, tassel-drawstring basketball shorts and covetable studded leather jackets in a rainbow of hues, have mainstream appeal. As for where they get their techno-club aesthetic, the designers said, “Each piece is its own story. We just like to combine everything we love, and the inspirations come from what we’ve experienced in our lives.” Judging by their psychedelic Spring outing, Napreychikov and James, both in their late 20s, have led a life jam-packed with adventures.
Australia fashion week wrapped in Sydney today, and Style.com’s special projects editor, Maya Singer, has been reporting back on the most exciting shows. To view our complete Australia fashion week coverage, click here.
Fashion week in Sydney concluded this afternoon with a show by Zambesi (left), one of the major brands from New Zealand. Even if you hadn’t known that Zambesi was based in Auckland, the clothes on the runway made it altogether clear that a non-Australian sensibility was at work. To put it plainly, Zambesi designers Elisabeth Findlay and Dayne Johnston have an affection for the eccentric and borderline frumpy that the local Sydney designers do not share at all. The men’s looks, designed by Johnston, were relatively straightforward—vaguely thuggish tailoring, plus the odd flourish like a pair of tailored wool shortalls. The womenswear, from Findlay, had a bit more range, with crispy and rather clinical white looks ebbing into more challenging pieces, such as long narrow dresses covered with fringe tassels. For both sexes, the sharpest looks were the ones in a tartan organza; very on-trend, that.
Zambesi aren’t the only carpetbaggers on the Australian fashion scene. Jewelry designer Estelle Dévé hails from the South of France, originally, but her brand is based in Melbourne, and in the five years since she launched, it has emerged as something of a cult phenomenon. Dévé’s signature pieces are plated rings with a rough-hewn look; this season, she’s elevated her aesthetic quite a bit, drawing on her French heritage for a bit of soigné, and sourcing influence from the surrealists. Standout pieces in the new collection include statement necklaces with egg-shaped crystal pendants half-covered in a dissolving layer of silver.
Dévé adapted several pieces from the new collection for a capsule range of bracelets and necklaces made in collaboration with Camilla and Marc (left). Those pieces were on the Camilla and Marc catwalk at the very start of Australian Fashion Week; so too was the jewelry work of Ryan Storer, whose dangerous-looking ear pieces adorned all the models at the show. Storey’s brand is ultra-new”—his very small debut collection is shipping to stores now, with a selection of the ear pieces due to arrive at Browns in London at any moment.
Fashion’s scope is undeniably global. If you’ve been keeping up with Tommy Ton’s latest street-style dispatches, you already know that right now, the action is in Sydney, where it’s all about showcasing local talent. This season, when Aussie heavyweights Dion Lee and Josh Goot pulled out at the last minute (reportedly to focus on building their respective international presences), it gave up-and-comers a chance to seize the spotlight. The week kicked off with Romance Was Born’s action-packed collection, featuring graphic prints borrowed from Marvel comics. Yes, we’ve already seen cartoon couture stateside from Phillip Lim, but this lineup had plenty of its own ka-pow. Other memorable moments included the directional, draped looks in rich-colored silks from Ellery (pictured) and Jenny Kee’s over-the-top headpieces and one-of-a-kind gowns. Naturally, there was a commercial focus, too. Retailers are sure to scoop up the on-trend denim-on-denim looks seen at Ksubi and Zimmermann’s perfectly pretty, floral frocks. It seems things are looking up down under.
CLICK FOR A SLIDESHOW to check out our Sydney fashion week highlights.
At dusk in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens, huge white cockatoos are still screeching around as the bats begin to stir, and the sky is momentarily filled with two winged species as different as day and night. It’s an amazing sight, perhaps not as charming as the lorikeets, the small parrots that settle to eat out of a visitor’s hand on the terrace of Heidi (Sass & Bide) Middleton’s house in Palm Beach just north of the city, but a reminder nevertheless that nature never stops putting on a show in Sydney. How can fashion compete, especially when it seems to flourish best in urban environments like Milan or Paris, where the spectacle comes courtesy of human beings?
Last week, the Australian fashion industry attempted to mount a persuasive alternative to nature’s charms, but when the most convincing designers seemed to be those who embraced and celebrated their environment, it was clear that you just can’t beat sun, sea, and sand. (All three were in full effect as Australia’s collections for next spring/summer were shown while this spring/summer dragged itself out in extravagant Indian style.) Seventh Wonderland (pictured, above left) and Zimmermann specialize in swimwear and, like designers in similarly blessed Rio, they take the bikini farther than you could imagine. Nicky Zimmermann in particular struck a sophisticated balance between form and function: Her retro references evoked haute Hollywood, but her prints were a contemporary blend of Spirographs and silvery black and white florals (above, right). And the cover-ups that accompanied the swimsuits (i.e., extended the brand) were sleekly glamorous in a way that seemed entirely natural for Sydney flesh honed, toned, and tanned by endless summers.
It’s a body-conscious aesthetic that has been successfully exported by Sass & Bide’s Middleton and Sarah-Jane Clarke, Kit Willow-Podgornik (whose new scuba dress with Lycra ruffles will spring from swimming pool to cocktail party missing nary a beat), and Josh Goot. Such is their international profile that these designers choose to spend their promotional dollars abroad. A shame, because the hometown program could have done with their gloss and focus. Although Goot, coming off his strongest collection yet, did concede, “Instead of trying to capture what’s over there, we should capture what’s over here, because what we have here is unique.”
Granted, the Sydney flora and fauna have a very particular quality, but Australian fashion week proved a point that is anything but unique. The concept of the fashion week has become a prime component in the cultural identity of cities all over the world (not just cities—Transylvania just rolled one out), and they all seem to feature the same cast of characters: the Local Hero, the Showman, the Avant-Gardist, the Next Big Thing, the Arty Duo, the Budding Supermodel, and so on. Sydney’s supe-in-the-making was 19-year-old aboriginal Samantha Harris. Its Showman was Alex Perry (1,000-foot catwalk, dressy glitz, sleb front row). The Avant-Gardist was Ben Pollitt, whose nom de mode is the more appropriately Teutonic Friedrich Gray (though it’s Rick Owens who deserves the royalties). Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales were the Arty Duo, cross-pollinating with Local Hero with their label Romance Was Born (pictured, below left). Hence, a late-night slot (made later by a 90-minute delay), a worshipful audience, and a collection that joyously erred on the side of delirious excess. (Dinosaurs mating with the Medicis under the volcano? The scenario could have been torn from Galliano’s back pages.) Or perhaps the Local Heroes were the Ksubi boys, George Gorrow and Dan Single, whose denim label hit the comeback trail after some business setbacks with a spectacle that was all crowd-pleasing style and precious little substance.
Next Big Thing? Undoubtedly Dion Lee (below right), 24 years old and already showing the kind of promise that slots him in alongside young Turk peers like Marios Schwab and Proenza Schouler. His clothes were precise and polished, his prints were extraordinary (ultraviolet Rorschach blots looking like eerie florals). And Lee’s show was perfectly edited and paced, qualities that were sorely lacking elsewhere in the week. It was also staged in the Sydney Opera House, a building that is still so breathtaking after nearly 40 years that it’s a reminder of what human beings can achieve even when the natural world on their doorstep conspires to distract them at every turn. And there’s surely some inspiration there for young hopefuls like Dion Lee.
Designers produced plenty of surreal fashion for Fall—Dolce & Gabbana’s glove hat, anyone? The most wearable take on the wackiness trend just might be the split-personality dress, seen, for starters, at Aquilano.Rimondi, Josh Goot, and Versace. Depending on your vantage point, the woman in Alexandre Herchcovitch’s little number is dolled up in sequins, or playing it simple in a silk print. And remember last season’s mullet gowns? Moschino Cheap & Chic’s Rosella Jardini has given the concept a new spin with her business-on-one-side, party-on-the-other skirt. Click here for a slideshow, and let us know what you think of the season’s off-kilter look.