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Happy Birthday Lover

The Australian cult label celebrates 10 years with a comeback show at the Sydney Opera House and picks out their favourite archive imagery for Dazed Digital

Putting on a fashion show to make their mark is not the be all and end all for the Australian fashion label Lover.  Since the couple Nic Briand and Susien Chong started Lover ten years ago, selling lace blouses influenced by Picnic on the Hanging Rock, they have built up a consistently feminine yet complex aesthetic, that has lured in a hardcore fanbase all over the world. A Lover girl is for life, not just for one season. To celebrate that ten years though, it made sense to come back to do a killer show at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week on a scale that set an impossible benchmark for other designers to follow, both in terms of ambiance and collection finesse. To a packed Sydney Opera House audience, they honed in on the balance between highly crafted lace (a mainstay of Lover’s clothes over the years) and the sensuality of dramatic dress cuts and sharp tailoring, inspired by the white serpent tale of Chinese mythology. Before the show began, a retrospective of Lover’s evocative lookbook imagery was projected onto a symmetrical cube suspended in the middle of the space and here, Briand and Chong have selected their top ten images for Dazed Digital as well as speaking to us about all things Lover.

Dazed Digital: What did you want to say with the latest collection - do you see it as a turning point in the course of Lover's trajectory?
Nic Briand and Susien Chong: Each part of this collection, from the mood, to the tailoring, to the lace, we have been working on for the last 10 years. It all came together in the perfect culmination. It hit the perfect note. It was a homage to some of our favourite muses, Patti Smith, Annie Hall, Charlotte Rampling, Nico, the list could go on.

DD: Tell us about the images you have chosen from your archives and why they have been instrumental to communicating your work?
Nic Briand and Susien Chong: Each image sends a clear message from the Lover world of what we are about. At the core of each image is our idea of femininity and beauty, mixed in with the theme of lost innocence, a hint at something darker.

DD: Who is the Lover girl?
Nic Briand and Susien Chong: The Lover girl is a state of mind, it’s someone who is intelligent and individual. They believe in femininity and playing with opposites. One thing that we are very proud of is when someone says to us, you should watch this film, or woman, or band it’s very ‘Lover’. It’s become a way of describing something. Hard to put into words, but when you see it, you know it.

DD: Why do you think you have been able to build up such a core following over the years?
Nic Briand and Susien Chong: We have remained consistent in our aestheic and approach, but have stayed relevant, and evolved. Each collection has had something in it that was taking a new direction. We also made sure that we never gave too much away, there is an element of secrecy to Lover. Which has allowed people to discover it for the first time in an intimate way, rather than having it blasted from the rooftop that this is what they should be wearing.

DD: What have you learnt during ten years of being in the business?  Any regrets?
Nic Briand and Susien Chong: To always follow your gut instinct, it has never been wrong. And we regret each time we didnt.

DD: What has been your career high in the ten years of Lover?
Nic Briand and Susien Chong: The most recent show has to be our greatest high so far. It was the perfect way to show the world this is what we are about. From the music to the models, to the clothes, even the way our stage was symmetrical. We are very proud of everyone who worked on that show, they all worked very hard to create a show beamed out from Australia, but could stand on an international stage.

DD: What/who are you loving right now?
Nic Briand and Susien Chong: Right now, we are just enjoying quiet moments at home, simple things that we havent done for the last 3 months, sitting quietly stroking the cat. Walking in the sun and not having to be anywhere. Its nice to be grounded again.