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Dion Lee Bursts onto the Scene

Dion Lee strikes Australian fashion like a bolt of sartorial lighting- and it may never be the same again…

Disassociated from the relaxed, practical wearability that normally characterises Australian fashion, Dion Lee has burst onto the style scene like a rocket in flight. Completely unique in his vision, Lee combines structured architecturally with something distinctly primal; cutting, pasting, peeling back layers, celebrating form and the female body in a way that Australia has never seen it done before. A mere three seasons in, Lee is the most hyped, hot new talent the antipodean industry has seen in quite some time, and the nation is swelling with pride. Perhaps it is not long then, until Lee sets off to conquer the world, an imminent reign that seems more cemented in fact than the whimsical dreams of those who came before him.

Dazed Digital: You have been somewhat of an over night sensation in Australia. How do you feel about the hype?
Dion Lee: I suppose it doesn't feel like it happened overnight, for me. The collection I showed at Australian Fashion Week in April was my third season. I started my business straight out of college, without alot of experience and it has been a huge learning curve. I am definitely very pleased to that people are responding to the where it's going, however I still feel like I have long way to go before I start patting myself on the back.

DD: What inspired your SS 09/10 collection?
Dion Lee: I was looking at the crushed car sculptures of American artist John Chamberlain. I liked the idea of creating these crushed and twisted forms, in a clean tailored articulation. I also integrated a jewelry element into the pieces, using glass and silver chain as harnesses, that hold parts of the garments together.

DD: Who is the ideal Dion Lee woman?
Dion Lee: I am attracted to women who have their own character, confidence in themselves and know who they are.

DD: How did you create the delicate paneled and cut out sections in your garments?
Dion Lee: With the SS 09/10 collection I was looking at crushing different layers and forms of garments together, which creates negative space or cut outs. It was the idea of having two parts that become linked and locked together, to form one.

DD: Your aesthetic is quite avant garde and directional. How do you stay true to this aesthetic in the Australian industry, where practicality is often paramount?
Dion Lee: I think it's a more challenging to create pieces that work on both levels of design and practicality, especially in Australia. I like the balance of knowing when to stop.

DD: If you weren't a fashion designer, what would you be doing?
Dion Lee: I would love to study psychology. I think the design of the mind and human body is extremely fascinating.

DD: What are your plans and dreams for the future?

Dion Lee: Would love to eventually show in Paris. However, as long as I continue working on projects that challenge me, with people that inspire me, I will be very happy.