Dion Lee’s uncanny ability to fuse the wearable with the sexy has, on numerous occasions, been put down to his Australian roots. His skill, however, reaches deeper than this. A natural understanding of the female form is complimented by Lee’s fascination with technique, experimenting with fabrics and applications that continue to build his label a dedicated following.
I don’t think a collection is ever really successful unless it is relevant to somebody. There is nothing more depressing than labouring over a piece, only for it to be never be reproduced again and forgotten
Controversially, Lee chose not to show at Australian Fashion Week this year, instead focusing his efforts on international showings. Though his name is not brand new outside Australia, Lee humbly described his London A/W12 showing earlier this year as “an introduction”, impressing his audience with a solidly composed collection. Building on this success is Lunar Tides Resort 2013, met with an explosive response in New York. Neoprene, gill-like laser cutting and slashed hems channel Lee’s signature sporty aesthetic in an exploration of the relationship between the tides and the moon. Lee took time out to chat to Dazed Digital about the collection and how it feels to be embraced on a global scale.
Dazed Digital: You showed in London for the first time earlier this year. What has your international experience been like so far?
Dion Lee: It has been great to hear a positive response to the collection. I think it was nice starting to show internationally on a fairly small scale. I makes me comfortable building on last season and making the focus the clothes instead of the show. I am planning to show at London Fashion Week again in September, so am starting to work on that collection and hopefully the show.
DD: How do you achieve and maintain such a wearable yet strongly sexy aesthetic in your designs?
Dion Lee: I don’t think a collection is ever really successful unless it is relevant to somebody. There is nothing more depressing than labouring over a piece, only for it to be never be reproduced again and forgotten. I am really attracted to developing new techniques and applying them to clothes that are able to exist in real life. I think clothes are most sexy when they look comfortable, so I always try and keep a relaxed formality running through the collections.
DD: What inspired you about the relationship between the moon and the tides?
Dion Lee: I think sometimes I forget that we live on a giant piece of revolving rock, floating in the middle of space. I kind of puts things into perspective. I also really loved Melancholia. I liked how it made you conscious of how whether we like it or not, we are being controlled by nature.
DD: What led you to focus on neoprene?
Dion Lee: My last collection was really focused on fringing, which I had never really worked with before. It kind of evolved into this collection, as I was looking for fabrics that could be slashed open with a raw edge. I also really wanted the screen prints to become three dimensional, as they slashed and fringed open, planning on the optical lines of the graphics. I was also attracted to the idea of mixing eveningwear fabrications with swimwear. We combined superfine neoprene with sheer georgettes, bonded with seamless construction.
DD: How did you get the spirographic effect?
Dion Lee: I collaborated with artist Kate Banazi, whose large-scale screen prints were an inspiration for the graphics in the collection. I liked that there was an abstract topographic element to them. Together we worked with the shape of the patterns to develop custom graphics for each piece. We also worked on double sided large-scale screen prints. The linear graphic was also embossed into neoprene panels. It gives a subtly braille like feel the surface of the garments. It is an amphibian texture.
Photography Liam McKessar