She has a feel for another time and place. She makes beautiful bias-cut slips and has the lightest touch and deepest dreams in her work. By Alison Veness. Styled by Philippa Moroney. Photographed by Hugh Stewart.
Lee Mathews has a feel for another time and place.
The sunlight filters through Lee Mathews’s clothes hung out to dry on the washing line strung across McCarrs Creek. She has always been a resourceful designer, creating a rich patina from the earliest days when her first heavenly store and studio was up on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. For all the delicacy, fragility and sense that these are treasures that will be washed and ironed thousands of times then handed down, there is a strength, too. A comfort. Mathews has the kind of Irish/Australian courage that allows her to tell stories through her work, her sketches – her hand-drawn prints imbue the gossamer silk georgette dresses with whispered meaning, tales, laughter, perhaps a wistfulness. Her designs seem so relevant in a fashion moment charged as it is with change and discovery, and tempered with a sense that there is a slowing down, too, a need for a quietness, a pause, a life well lived and acknowledged. Winddried cotton voile, a shy smile, hands deep in her pockets, sleeves rolled up, still in the natural landscape that is as darkly mysterious as the fast-flowing creek in which she stands. This is now.
Lee Mathews in McCarrs Creek, New South Wales, wears all Lee Mathews.