KACEY ON POINT The 2017 VAMFF Na­tional De­signer Award win­ner.

VAMFF Na­tional De­signer Award win­ner KACEY/DEVLIN is the local la­bel to watch this year. Here, its de­signer talks fem­i­nin­ity, for­go­ing a run­way show and her ob­ses­sion with kilts. By GRACE O’NEILL

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents -

“Each sea­son we look at defin­ing the fe­male body in a way that ex­poses a new part that is as sen­sual as it is strong.”

KACEY DEVLIN talks like a true cre­ative. By which I mean she speaks in images and feel­ings in­stead of facts and fig­ures, and a ques­tion rarely has a sim­ple an­swer. For ex­am­ple, when I ask the de­signer what in­spired her to start her la­bel, Kacey/devlin, three years ago, she speaks for five min­utes about em­pow­er­ing mod­ern women and “re­defin­ing the fe­male form” through clothes. It all starts to border on the philo­soph­i­cal, but then she catches you off-guard with some real talk about the brand’s five-year plan or the im­por­tance of a con­sumer-fac­ing busi­ness model.

That mix is what caught the eye of the judg­ing panel at this year’svamff Na­tional De­signer Award (NDA), pre­sented by David Jones, in which Devlin took out the cov­eted top prize.among her prize pool was $15,000 cash, look­book styling by BAZAAR and a run­way show atvir­gin Aus­tralia Mel­bourne Fash­ion Fes­ti­val.twenty-eight-year-old Devlin joins the ranks of the NDA’S im­pres­sive alumni,in­clud­ing Dion Lee,ro­mance­was Born and Toni Mat­icevski.“i was com­pletely over­whelmed,” she ad­mits.

It was ac­tu­ally the se­cond time Devlin ap­plied for the award, hav­ing lost out to Sydney la­bel mac­graw in 2016. Devlin says, “We had a lot to prove in terms of what we had done in the last 12 months. It took time to re­ally so­lid­ify that re­la­tion­ship be­tween the cre­ative and the busi­ness, and this year was the time for the judges to see we had worked to re­solve the two.”

In terms of aes­thet­ics, Devlin’s line couldn’t be fur­ther from her NDA pre­de­ces­sors. Where mac­graw tends to­wards lace, bright colour and pat­tern, Kacey/devlin is a les­son in de­con­structed min­i­mal­ism.the palette is mostly navys, blacks, whites and greys, and the draped de­signs lean on un­ex­pected cut-outs. Wear­a­bil­ity is the fo­cus, with Devlin us­ing lo­cally sourced fi­bres, lux­ury silk and wool blends, textured knits and leather. It’s un­der­stated, but there’s some­thing very fem­i­nine about it.“we’re try­ing to de­velop a con­tem­po­rary uni­form for the mod­ern-day wo­man who wants to feel con­fi­dent and se­cure but also have that el­e­ment of re­de­fined sex­u­al­ity,” Devlin says. “Each sea­son we look at defin­ing the fe­male body in a way that ex­poses a new part that is as sen­sual as it is strong. Since we started it’s been a fo­cus on the back and the shoul­der blades, but now we’re mov­ing on and look­ing at what that next [body] part might be.”

Devlin made the un­ex­pected de­ci­sion to forgo a run­way show at Mercedes­benz Fash­ion Week Aus­tralia this month. “It’s pri­mar­ily a brand strat­egy de­ci­sion,” she ex­plains. “While we’re still grow­ing, it’s about build­ing re­la­tion­ships with buy­ers and ac­ti­vat­ing as a brand that is con­sumer-fo­cused.” In­stead, she’ll show re­sort 2018 show­room-style at Coma Gallery in Sydney’s Rush­cut­ters Bay.

As for a sneak peek?“kilts! I be­came ob­sessed with them while I was de­sign­ing,” she says. Her mod­ern take trans­lates to skirts with de­con­structed pleat­ing and pieces that drape across the body us­ing tra­di­tional wrap­ping and ty­ing meth­ods. Un­likely? Sure. But if any­one’s up to the task of mak­ing kilts cool in 2017, it’s her.

Kacey/devlin S/S 2017 (and be­low right). Right: the de­signer.

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