Go global with la­bels that take their cul­tural cues from ex­otic desti­na­tions.

VOGUE Australia - - News - By Al­ice Bir­rell and Zara Wong.

Go global with la­bels that take their cul­tural cues from ex­otic desti­na­tions.


“From the mo­ment I first ar­rived in Marfa I knew for me it was a happy place,” says John Pa­trick. The Texan town with a sin­gle traf­fic light is both the un­likely birth­place for a line of hats by the Or­ganic by John Pa­trick de­signer and an art Mecca thanks to the likes of Don­ald Judd, who built the town up as a place to fos­ter col­lab­o­ra­tion and show­case cre­ativ­ity. It’s a com­mu­nal spirit that car­ries into Pa­trick’s project – Communitie, which sees tips of dried palm woven into a sin­gle hat by crafts­men in a six-hour process. Sil­hou­ettes that draw from som­brero and 10-gal­lon styles are all made to en­dure against the harsh sun in the Amer­i­can south-west, a ready match for Aus­tralian heat.


A Colom­bian na­tive would be able to tell you how met­als shine dif­fer­ently where they’re from. “The gold is dif­fer­ent,” says jewellery de­signer Paula Mendoza, “it has more of a red­dish hue.” This warmth and the rich­ness of emer­alds – a nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring Colom­bian stone – pro­vide the gloss to her strik­ing can­tilevered rings and hang­ing ear­rings like so­phis­ti­cated and del­i­cate chil­dren’s mo­biles. The other thing that comes with in­vest­ing in a Men­doza­made piece? A slice of Colom­bian risk-tak­ing. “Colom­bian women will pair two pieces of jewellery that not an­other per­son would,” says the de­signer. “They aren’t afraid to own them­selves when they wear them.”


It was on a trip back to her home coun­try of Venezuela, where she met ar­ti­sans from the Guajira-desert tribes, that sparked Yosuzi Sylvester’s de­ci­sion to study millinery. “The Woma is a tra­di­tional hat worn by the Gua­jiros in Venezuela, but un­ex­posed to the rest of the world,” ex­plained Sylvester. She had un­cov­ered a photo of her grand­mother, who had won Miss Venezuela in the 50s, wear­ing the same Woma hat that would go on to in­spire her line. Af­ter a year of study­ing millinery in her spare time while work­ing in ad­ver­tis­ing, Sylvester re­turned to the desert with her mother to seek out per­mis­sion from tribal el­ders to work with the com­mu­nity’s ar­ti­sans. “My mother still speaks the di­alect and my great-grand­fa­ther, Cacique Ya­jaira, was a well-known chief in the area, which helped bridge con­nec­tions with the tribe,” she re­calls. Com­bined with her ex­pe­ri­ence in the fash­ion in­dus­try and ad­ver­tis­ing, she felt pre­pared to in­tro­duce her an­ces­tral Gua­jiro cul­ture to the world. “And with my train­ing as a milliner, I knew I could im­prove the Woma hat to take it to rus­tic to luxe.” To­day, she has 64 peo­ple work­ing with her, with each woven hat tak­ing over eight hours to make. For this sum­mer she has col­lab­o­rated with Mel­bourne-based ac­ces­sories and jewellery de­signer Lucy Folk on a hat, and will soon be launch­ing hand­bags and other ac­ces­sories.


“I de­cided to start the brand when I re­alised that all pretty shoes were very un­com­fort­able,” says Mari Giudicelli. Words many women can un­der­stand and a sen­ti­ment that spurred Brazil­ian-born Giudicelli to found her self-ti­tled shoe la­bel. Now liv­ing in New York, Giudicelli ad­dressed the needs of women around her. “We are liv­ing in a very im­por­tant mo­ment where fe­male em­pow­er­ment is get­ting stronger,” she says. “I be­lieve be­ing ex­tremely mo­bile and ef­fi­cient is a es­sen­tial part of it.” This trans­lates into low block heels that elim­i­nate the rig­ma­role of nee­dle-thin stilet­tos, with a Brazil­ian in­flu­ence seep­ing in via natural tex­tures and neu­tral colours. Giudicelli says it’s the ar­ti­sanal use of na­ture that she grew up in Brazil, where her shoes are now made, that in­flu­ences her most.


It would be tempt­ing to tether the aes­thetic of an Ibizan-born brand to the wild he­do­nism of the party is­land, but lo­cal la­bel Vali ex­presses a rel­a­tively se­date ver­sion of events on the “white is­land”. Rel­a­tively, be­cause although some pieces in their col­lec­tion of mi­cro­sun­dresses and sheer ruf­fled gowns ooze sul­try Balearic lan­guor, there is a hint of the is­land’s low-key coun­try life. Broderie anglaise de­tails, flares and bursts of ruffles are in line with the coun­try’s “Adlib” style. The vin­tage feel comes from founders Jana Sacha Have­man and Laura Cas­tro’s teen years. “We spent our youth find­ing vin­tage pieces in mar­kets and al­ter­ing them,” they say. “Pure and peace­ful” is how they de­scribe their pieces, which they hope are des­tined for din­ner and danc­ing un­til dawn.


Given the fash­ion world’s en­dur­ing fix­a­tion on dress­ing like a French woman, a line founded by na­tive Jeanne Da­mas goes right to the heart of our ob­ses­sion. Un­der­state­ment and sim­plic­ity are rules that gov­ern both Da­mas’s own style and Parisian women at large. “The idea also came from my re­la­tion­ship with the stylist Nathalie Dumeix, a close friend,” says Da­mas. “We share the same taste and vi­sion of fash­ion.” It is her co­hort’s abil­ity “not to fol­low trends but wear what has fit them for years”, that Da­mas says in­flu­ences her col­lec­tion of Parisian es­sen­tials – mi­nis, T-shirts and cock­tail dresses – ren­dered in vel­vet, satin and crepe.


The dream of a per­pet­ual Mediter­raneanM hol­i­day is a lit­tle bit closer in Gül Hürgel’s clothes of sweet flo­ral em­broi­deries and spring­time pas­tels. “I love my life­style in Tur­key and the Mediter­ranean, so that’s re­flected in my pre­dom­i­nant use of light linen fab­rics in my col­lec­tions,” says Hürgel, whose mid-length skirts and dresses bal­ance out multi-tiered ruffles and off-shoul­der neck­lines.


Eclec­ti­cally chicc straw clutches and hand­bags trimmed with wood carv­ings and em­bel­lish­ment may read as hol­i­day is­land es­sen­tials, but Aranàz’s cre­ative di­rec­tor Amina Aranàz-Alu­nan cred­its liv­ing in bustling Manila with en­sur­ing that her de­signs are urban-ap­pro­pri­ate, too. Grow­ing up with a mother whose com­pany man­u­fac­tured hand­bags for Amer­i­can de­sign­ers, Amina Aranàz and her sis­ter Rosanna were raised in the ac­ces­sories busi­ness, and af­ter study­ing over­seas (Amina stud­ied ac­ces­sories de­sign at Italy’s Isti­tuto Marangoni; Rosanna fash­ion en­trepreneur­ship at the Lon­don Col­lege of Fash­ion) re­turned home to start Aranàz and in­cluded their mother in the busi­ness. The la­bel’s sig­na­ture pieces, like pineap­ple purses and flamingo-em­broi­dered totes, draw upon tra­di­tional Filipino crafts. “We looked at what unique re­sources were avail­able within the Philippines that we could of­fer the global mar­ket,” says Aranàz-Alu­nan.


“Seoul is one of the most dy­namic and fast-chang­ing cities, so it’s open to new tech­nol­ogy and sen­si­tive to trends,” says Goen Jong on how her la­bel is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the city. “I spend time in Seoul find­ing new restaurants and I’m of­ten in­volved in cre­at­ing new menus with my friends who run restaurants, and love watch­ing ex­otic movies from over­seas – it’s so hard to travel far away since I’ve started my own la­bel!” Now stocked in Bar­neys, Net-APorter, Shop­bop and East 43 in Syd­ney, her la­bel also has its own bou­tique in the fash­ion­able Gang­nam dis­trict. Of her de­signs, Jong starts with fab­rics, ex­am­in­ing their weights and movements. “I do lot of re­search on fab­rics be­fore de­sign,” she says of her la­bel’s aes­thetic of sculp­tural ruffles and del­i­cate open-weave lace. “Fab­ric prop­erty also comes in pri­or­ity when cre­at­ing new sil­hou­ettes, cal­cu­lat­ing move­ment and vol­ume in de­tail.”


As ma­jor­ity coastal dwellers, Aus­tralians are lucky to ex­pe­ri­ence the re­ju­ve­nat­ing ef­fects of life skirt­ing the ocean. Trans­lat­ing that feel­ing into cloth­ing is By­ron Bay’s Spell & The Gypsy Col­lec­tive, which im­bues cloth­ing with a mod­ern-day el­e­men­tal magic oc­cu­py­ing the By­ron lo­cale. It’s not mer­cu­rial mys­ti­cism that drives sis­ters Is­abella “Spell” Pen­nefa­ther and Elizabeth Abegg’s la­bel though – the pair has a sound busi­ness model that cy­cles through col­lec­tions with a sea­son-less sen­si­bil­ity. “For ev­ery col­lec­tion it is some­thing else that just cap­tures our imag­i­na­tions,” say the pair of their in­stinct-led process that pro­duces printed prairie dresses, trum­pet-sleeve blouses and, re­cently, swim. Work­ing or­gan­i­cally has at­tracted celebri­ties like Mi­ley Cyrus and Alessan­dra Am­bro­sio, oc­ca­sion­ing sell-out pieces, most re­cently a khaki army jacket. “Mar­got Rob­bie came in yes­ter­day and bought one,” says Abegg. “Now ev­ery sin­gle per­son is email­ing us.”

ROUJE DRESS, $220. VALI JACKET, $450. Rouje founder Jeanne Da­mas. VALI DRESS, $300. GÜL HÜRGEL DRESS, $1,036. Looks from Gül Hürgel spring/ sum­mer ’17.


SPELL & THE GYPSY COL­LEC­TIVE SWIMSUIT, $169. ARANÀZ BAG, $350. Looks from Goen J spring/ sum­mer ’17.

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