THE GAIL SORRONDA SHOW AT MERCEDES BENZ AUSTRALIAN FASHION WEEK I N SYDNEY THIS YEAR WAS ONE OF THE MOST HIGHLY ANTICIPATED OF THE WEEK, DUE NOT ONLY TO DESIGNER GAIL REID'S REPUTATION AS ONE OF THE MOST I NTRIGUING AND ACCOMPLISHED YOUNG AUSTRALIAN DESIGN TALENTS OF THE LAST DECADE, BUT ALSO THE FACT THAT THE BRAND HAD TAKEN A YEAR OFF FROM SHOWING THE YEAR PRIOR. STORY: SARAH M BIRCHLEY AND PHOTO: THOM KERR
Gail Sorronda has grown from an interesting little Queensland-based label that was kick started by winning the Mercedes Benz StartUp Awards with Gail’s graduate collection, into a fully-fledged, internationally-acclaimed brand. Stints living in both London and Paris contributed to the logistics of the business and also helped to build recognition for the brand on a more widespread scale. The opportunity to stock her label in the Dolce & Gabbana store in Via Della Spiga was an amazing privilege, and something that Gail cites as one of the highlights of her career thus far, alongside ‘ showing in front of the Gothic lit Piazza Duomo in Italy for Vogue Italia Who’s On Next’. Now nine years since its inception, and the brand has a successful flagship boutique and cult-like following. Black Magazine caught up with Gail Reid following her Fashion Week show to discuss her new collection, ‘ Mermaids Exist: As Above/so Below’.
Your show this year at MBFWA was one of the talking points of the week and an absolutely spectacular experience. Could you talk us through the process of collaboration with both Disney and the Queensland Ballet, in the lead up to the show? I wanted to create a window of immersive experience. A sea of luminous dreams, inhabited by mermaids and ruled by supernatural events. Approaching QLD ballet as a medium was about opening the scope of the senses, feelings and experiences; introducing the viewer to a magical experience. MERMAIDS really do EXIST in this space and time. Disney are known for their power of story-telling. Some are obvious, some are hidden, but still they are there. It is one huge narrative, and like all narratives, it contains lessons, examples, reminders and warnings. Disney historically has the ability to transport you somewhere else and ‘suspend disbelief’. I took an essence of the mermaid experience, not a literal representation, and expressed Ariel’s journey through the characters she met and through the movement of dance with the QLD Ballet. What are some of the key features (design techniques, textiles etc) of the collection? There are a few that I love, the viscose netting that looks like a fishermen’s net; a mermaid caught in his net. The fish scale mermaid sequin skirt and upside down embroidered Octopus are also a feature. The carefree Ariel prints and Sebastian ‘Freaking out’ are symbolic features. The Radiolarian illustrations gave shape to life. I’ve always admired the spirit of community which Gail Sorronda is so actively a part of within the fashion design realms of Australia and beyond. Can you tell us about the brands that contributed the accessories and shoes for your show? How did you become connected with them? I met Sydney based Lyn & Tony a few years ago when we were in the same press agency and I noticed their accessories. We have remained friends and collaborators since. They had previously worked on our ‘Stem the Flow’ Collection and we are also stockists of their label in our store. Brisbane based Christina Waterson is an Artist/designer that I first personally met in our store as a customer. She gave me 5 ‘Tracelets’ of a series of 777 to ever be made which can only be given personally by her and not bought. There are people all around the world with them that she traces. I love what she has developed from her art practice. It’s genuine, disciplined and poetic. Montreal based Ariel De Pinto is a designer who I met in Berlin and again in Paris. She is known for her delicate woven chain jewellery which is stocked in my favourite stores Dover St Market and Opening Ceremony. We too have started selling her accessories but particularly her shoes. The uppers are beautifully handmade onto a super comfy orthopaedic sole. It was only fitting that Ariel from the Little Mermaid would be wearing Ariel De Pinto shoes to protect her new found feet! Who are the top four artists/designers/brands/personalities that would be your dream collaborations? Philip Glass, Carine Roitfeld, Tim Burton and Luigi Seraphini. What comes next for Gail Sorronda? More travel, more experience and I have a couple of projects coming up with Disney which is exciting! www.gailsorronda.com.au
Beauty: Becca Gilmartin Hair: Iggy using Kevin. Murphy. Gail wears: Gail Sorronda Sea Witch jacket and Mermaid Scales skirt from Mermaids Exist SS 14/15 collection