The best things come in pairs as Kym Ellery sent out couples for her show accompanied by performance poetry during Sydney's RAFW
The latest collection attempted to grow the Ellery girl up from that unbridled sexiness. It was based on David Hockney’s 1963 painting The Second Marriage, where the idea of coupling was lifted from and transferred to the models which came out in deliberately matching pairs, accompanied by Perth-based poet Scott-Patrick Mitchell who performed an apt piece based on the Greek myth of Castor and Pollux. The collection first centred around a peach-hued lace-print, used on wide-legged trousers, an oversized masculine coats and a long corseted dress.
This then moved into short and sharp ensembles of gold lurex, whimsical baby pink peaked-shoulder satin capes and corseted peplum dresses. Muted silvery-white oversized biker jackets provided a more casual offering before traversing into a full-on assault of diamante encrusted jackets and frou frou chiffon skirts. Any hint of masculinity in Ellery’s idea of ‘coupling’ could be seen in the two unisex looks that introduced fine mesh knitwear and white shirting. The final line-up revealed how the couples related to each other in surprising cohesion and made for a more elegant vision of Ellery than her fans will be used to.
Dazed Digital: How did the ‘coupling’ idea for the collection come about?
Kym Ellery: My initial idea was to create special garments that you’d want to wear when you want to look your best, on occasions that you’d wand to remember. Then I came across this painting by David Hockney with this couple sitting on this three-sided couch. I loved all the colours and the textures and the concept of coupling and pairing, things happening in twos. I wanted to have a colour palette and print that reflected the painting and I wanted to create this print that was old and new so I used this digital print of lace.
DD: Were the models supposed to represent masculine and feminine couplings?
Kym Ellery: Some of them more so than others. There was some androgynous dressing where boys dressed as girls and girls dressed at boys. I started creating some unisex pieces last year and with the support of Woolmark, we created these knitwear garments that were unisex. It would be great to look into bulking out the collection with more menswear.
DD: What gave you the idea to create such an ambitious magazine in the Ellery Gazette?
Kym Ellery: It was fun doing it. We won a TCS grant from the government to implement all this great technology such this server and a production system at the office to produce the garments, giving me more time to design and create. It felt natural for me with my magazine background to do lay-outs and map images. I decided it would be fun to do a newspaper, which is what it started out as and it kind of grew!
DD: It feels like you’re evolved that raw sexiness into something more elegant - was that a conscious thing?
Kym Ellery: I’ve always wanted to kill the sexy connotations that came with my brand. When I started four years ago, I was younger and the look was quite short, sexy and “party”. Now I want to create something that an older woman can wear and that’s definitely on the back of my mind. It was so funny when I briefed my photographer friends for the Ellery Gazette project, and they all came back with a lot of tits and arse in the photographs. It was like “Thanks guys!”
Photography by Mike Cooper