Aussie flare: meet Kym Ellery, the Antipodean wunderkind taking on Paris
’I have loved David Bowie for as long as I can remember,’ says Perth-born designer Kym Ellery in reference to the singer that inspired her pre-fall collection. ’His music seems to have always just been there; a soundtrack to my life.’ In fact, Ziggy Stardust inspired the Australian’s first foray into design (when she switched from a successful career as market editor at Australian style magazine RUSSH), and his influence has stuck since her first collection seven years ago. ’His music makes me feel bold and alive,’ she says.
Her pre-fall collection, signaled a new mood for the designer known for her long, lean silhouettes that play with proportion and exaggerated volume. Instead, her look became streamlined, sharpened in focus. ’I think that in your 30’s the tempo changes, and not in a bad way. It feels more exciting to be serious and I love the idea of making serious feel sensual.’ This manifested in fluted sleeve tops that revealed shoulders, strapless bodices in rich golden brocade and rib knit polo necks that cling to the body. In contrast, tailoring introduced rigor that felt like new territory. ’It’s what I want to wear in between seasons,’ says Ellery of the slim cut blazers, and sharp, narrow trousers that were cut in silk twill and angora wool. The monochrome palette was energised with dark gold brocade and shiny silver outerwear. Not that her now signature flares were entirely neglected.
An artful detail brought the strict clothes to life: Ellery’s artist mother, Debra, hand-made the special blue ceramic glazed buttons that adorned jackets and coats. ’My mother taught me so much of what I know creatively and she has devoted so much of her life to enabling other people’s creativity. I love to collaborate with her to encourage her to not forget her own artistic expression. I know her aesthetic well and love to cross-pollinate it with mine to create something new with a fresh perspective.’
Debra similarly left her fingerprints on her daughter’s A/W 2015 collection, also influenced by Austrian painter Egon Schiele. Presented on schedule at Kenzo Takada’s former Paris apartment, Ellery is one of only three Australian designers to be invited by the Chambre Syndical du Pret-a-Porter Couturiers et des Creatures de Modes to show during Paris Fashion Week. ’Paris is the brand’s natural habitat. I take all of my collections to Paris, so I’m there four times a year. It’s where I feel most content as a person. I design with a global vision and the whole world comes to Paris to find fashion. It is an organic relationship between the city and the industry. That in itself is inspiring to me.’