EVA’S TIPS FOR BUDDING DESIGNERS
Parlour X’s burgeoning e-commerce arm, and this, alongside Eva’s strategic alignments with larger luxury groups, has catapulted the profile of Parlour X internationally.
“I had the head of global fashion of [luxury conglomerate] LVMH come over and do a presentation of all their collections,” says Eva. “They’ve approached me to do some really amazing collaborations which will roll out over the next years. They are the sort of collaborations that they invite the ‘Colettes’ and the ‘Dover Street Markets’ to do, and have never been done in Australia before… putting Australia even further on that map in terms of being a destination to watch from a fashion perspective.”
Australian designers too are finding their global standing, with Eva noting that the current batch presenting in Paris are “better than they’ve ever been before,” and the far-flung success of local exports Ellery, Maticevski, Romance was Born and Christopher Esber (who all seasonally create exclusive capsule collections for Parlour X) attesting her praise. The challenge now, as far as Eva’s concerned, is recognising talent on home soil.
“We’ve got all these incredible people back home that are so phenomenally successful, but because they are in Australia – [and] everyone has so overglorified the idea that if it’s happening overseas, it must be better – then they get forgotten. It’s just bizarre,” she says.
“So that’s something that I think needs to change, because we need to be celebrated from within, be proud of what we’ve got and recognise that what we’ve got is very good. [Our industry needs] to stop looking overseas all the time and thinking that it’s better, because everyone overseas is looking to us.” But she has to be real. Do you know how often I say to designers, “Who is your muse?” And straightaway they say, “Oh, she is someone who is 30 and she dresses really well. Maybe she is a professional…” No! You’re talking about some abstract person you created. Who is the actual person who is going to be wearing your clothes? Give me a fashion identity. Give me a celebrity. Give me an artist. Give me somebody you know. Give me a relative. She has to be real. She can’t be abstract. Because if she is abstract, then your client is abstract too. Which means she doesn’t exist.
2) HAVE A DEFINED SIGNATURE STYLE
Your muse will also help you maintain a signature style… The important thing is that somebody will walk down the street and go, “That’s Ellery! That’s Maticevski! That’s Saint Laurent or that’s Isabel Marant!’” Cementing who your muse is will help you cement that. She will also define the demographic and your appeal and you’ll get to know her better so you will design for her better, and you can have lots of muses, it doesn’t have to be just one.
3) DON’T USE THE TERM ‘LUXURY’ LOOSELY
You need to be realistic about where you’re positioning yourself in the market. Don’t use ‘luxury’ loosely. If you’re not Valentino, do not use the word luxury, okay?… If you think you’re luxury when you are not, you will never be taken seriously by the buyer. Know your market, know who you’re appealing to. It doesn’t mean that can’t change down the track, but in the moment of time when you’re presenting that collection, know who it is you’re sitting next to.
Everyone has so OVER-GLORIFIED the IDEA that if it’s happening overseas, it must be better – then they get forgotten. It’s just BIZARRE.