Char­ac­ter build­ing

Fashion en­tre­pre­neur ILANA MOSES sees beauty in the cut­ting edge and the clas­sic. Her Mod­ernist Mel­bourne em­braces both.

VOGUE Living Australia - - VLIFE - By An­nemarie Kiely Pho­tographed by Sharyn Cairns Styled by Emily Ward

Ilana Moses, co­founder of Mel­bourne fashion mecca Grace, is no stranger to the de­taildriven world of ar­chi­tec­ture and in­te­rior de­sign. As those who fol­low her In­sta­gram feed will know, for every pho­to­graphic grab of a fab­u­lous gar­ment found dur­ing Paris Fashion Week, there is a foren­sic cap­ture of an in­laid floor or a cus­tomised fix­ture. Typ­i­cally it’s a ‘#look­down’ com­par­ing the drama of her dress to the de­tail of a bou­tique or back-street pas­sage, as il­lus­trated in a ‘#fri­dayfinds’ of Paris’s Ga­lerie Vivi­enne — the muted, mosaic-tiled floor of which turns up the vol­ume on the sat­u­rated Si­cil­ian flo­rals en­cir­cling her Dolce & Gab­bana skirt. This play of old patina and new pat­tern speaks of the re­tailer’s vis­ual smarts; an all-quo­tients in­tel­li­gence that to­day tells in her blues-fest of MSGM pleats, gold Gucci mules and good con­ver­sa­tion. Mel­bourne-born Moses came to fashion from the le­gal left of field while work­ing as an in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty at­tor­ney for US me­dia em­pire Vi­a­com in New York. This three­day-a-week com­mit­ment left time to in­dulge her cre­ativ­ity, which man­i­fested in cus­tom T-shirts that caught the eye of a fashion buyer. “It’s a very New York story,” says Moses. She soon found her­self in Lucky mag­a­zine and was then jet­ti­soned into full-time fashion pro­duc­tion — and back-ped­alling when her hus­band Lenny got the busi­ness call back to Mel­bourne. “We’d had a good three-year stint in New York and were ready to re­turn home, but it’s hard to run a New York busi­ness from a base in Aus­tralia.”

The key to stay­ing in fashion with­out the over-stretch of steer­ing a for­eign com­pany was to es­tab­lish a re­tail ven­ture in Mel­bourne; one that Moses co-founded and crafted into Grace, the bou­tique that bro­kered a new world for cult in­ter­na­tional brands with­out the bad­ger­ing sell. Of the decade-plus-old des­ti­na­tion store, she says, “We en­vis­aged an un­pre­ten­tious, wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment that ranged in price points but al­ways promised some­thing spe­cial, even if it was just a tube of Ital­ian Marvis tooth­paste for small change.” ››

‹‹ Drilling down to the aes­thet­ics of now and what she no­tices on her in­ter­na­tional buy­ing trips, Moses di­vides the cy­cles of de­sign. There are those of pul­sat­ing new­ness — “ev­ery­where, cut­ting-edge and alive” — and those of un­der-the-sur­face dis­cre­tion — “de­sign go­ing deeper than shal­low sur­face into soul­ful patina. “This house is a re­flec­tion of the lat­ter,” she says of the Mod­ernist mas­ter­piece in Mel­bourne’s North Caulfield de­signed by Aus­trian émi­gré ar­chi­tect Dr Ernest Fooks, into which she and her fam­ily, in­clud­ing twins Lexi and Wil­liam, have moved af­ter two years of al­ter­ations and ad­di­tions by Inarc Ar­chi­tects. “Things that are old have an in­her­ent beauty. That’s where my at­ten­tion is at the mo­ment.”

Tabling a 1969 is­sue of Aus­tralian House & Gar­den mag­a­zine found by Lenny on eBay, Moses shows the house in mint con­di­tion, as cap­tured by cel­e­brated ex­pat Ger­man pho­tog­ra­pher Wolf­gang Siev­ers. The text ac­com­pa­ny­ing its vis­ual ev­i­dence of the “ar­chi­tect’s in­flu­ence ob­vi­ous in every room” ex­pands on the de­sign holism of Fooks in a split-level, flat-roof house com­mis­sioned by the ar­chi­tect’s pre­ferred builder, Mr Leopold Ge­treu. It ap­pears lit­tle re­moved from to­day’s ac­tu­al­ity, save for

“Just be­cause I work in fashion, it doesn’t mean that I am blink­ered to other streams of de­sign” ILANA MOSES

the new rear wing and a man­ner­ist turn in ma­te­ri­als and vin­tage props (many pur­chased by Moses from the Paul Bert Ser­pette mar­kets in Paris). Cir­cling back to her In­sta­gram’s aes­theti­cism, Moses says, “Just be­cause I work in fashion, it doesn’t mean that I am blink­ered to other streams of de­sign. I wanted to in­te­grate some of the in­te­rior idio­syn­crasy that I see in my trav­els into this de­sign.” The fire­place sur­round, a curved-cor­ner con­struct that glows with the viri­des­cence of mala­chite, makes her point about an apoc­a­lyp­tic zeit­geist that cur­rently mod­els form and fashion with a max­i­mal­ist mind­set. “We did in­herit an ar­chi­tec­tural gem and re­mained true to its spirit while mak­ing it right for our fam­ily now,” she says, re­mind­ing that fashion for­ever re­fits the clas­sics. “With­out mem­ory there is no culture.”

In the din­ing room, Jens Ri­som din­ingta­ble; Fritz Hansen Series 7 din­ing chairs from Cult; cus­tom cabi­net made by Jakob Ru­dowski; An­gelo Lelli ceil­ing light from 1st Dibs; Arte He­liodor Cube wall­pa­per.

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