Go global with labels that take their cultural cues from exotic destinations.
Go global with labels that take their cultural cues from exotic destinations.
COMMUNITIE BY JOHN PATRICK – MARFA, TEXAS, USA
“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.
PAULA MENDOZA – BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA
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.”
YOSUZI – GUAJIRA DESERT, VENEZUELA
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.
MARI GIUDICELLI, RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
“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.
VALI – SANTA GERTRUDIS, IBIZA
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.
ROUJE – PARIS, FRANCE
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.
GÜL HÜRGEL – ISTANBUL, TURKEY
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.
ARANÀZ – MANILA, PHILIPPINES
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.
GOEN J – SEOUL, KOREA
“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.”
SPELL & THE GYPSY COLLECTIVE, BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA
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.
COMMUNITIE HAT, $130, FROM MYCHAMELEON. COM. AU LUCY FOLK X YOSUZI HAT, $595.
SPELL & THE GYPSY COLLECTIVE SWIMSUIT, $169. ARANÀZ BAG, $350. Looks from Goen J spring/ summer ’17.