Dyspnea: Paralysis

If there was ever a time to dig into your dress up drawer it’s now and Dyspnea is a label that’s bringing back princesses, mermaids and vampires with a crazy twist. Think The Little Mermaid decked out in diamonds, sparkles and fluffy pom poms.

Established in 2012 by Perth designers Jameen Zalfen, Rachel Motteram and Aimee Cherie-Kendall, Dyspnea has gathered a large fan base already, with over 12,000 followers on Instagram. After showcasing their line ‘Reptilia’ at Perth Fashion Festival in 2013, the girls were quick to develop an SS14/15 line for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia this year. Showcasing ‘Paralysis’ in the New Generation show, Dyspnea was a definite crowd pleaser; gaining significant media attention after the week.

I had a chat to Zameen, one half of the newly turned duo about fairies, sparkles and making the world a fluffier place, one crop top at a time.

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Launched in 2012, Dyspnea has already gained an amazing response, what was it like showing at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in April?

It was an adrenaline ride – such an incredible experience. Watching the models out on the runway in our clothes was an out of body experience. We would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

How did the label begin?

We started out making outfits for ourselves to go out in, it then lead to stylists requesting loans and before we knew it we were making a collection for Perth Fashion Festival.

Dyspnea is Greek for ‘shortness of breath’, is that what you were getting at with the name?

We accidentally stumbled across the name and once we discovered the meaning it was just too perfect!

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What inspired your SS14-15 line ‘Paralysis’? 

Rach has these pretty crazy visions, she was telling us pink and red are our staple colours at least a year ago – we also had a pretty mad obsession with fairies, mermaids and vampires. It’s just a big Walt Disney milkshake!

What three words sum up Paralysis? 

Enchanting, psychedelic and coma-inducing.

The flosstart crops have received an overwhelming response, how long does it take to handcraft one of your crops? 

We liked the idea of making a pretty piece of Dyspnea available to all of our customers. There are a few steps involved in completing the crop – we allow 2 days.

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You’re an incredible team; do you have different roles within the production process? 

At the moment we are based in Sydney and Perth. One of us takes care of meetings, emails and our customers in Sydney while our studio is based in Perth where all sampling and pattern making is done. We communicate 24/7 and both have the same brain and thought pattern, which makes it easier but we’re regularly flying back and forth during the design process.

What’s the best part about working in a team? 

We build on each other’s strengths; one of us will have an idea and the other one will just snowball on from that. It’s great working with your best friend. You have tiffs and disagreements but at the end of the day we are all about Dyspnea.

Who’s the Dyspnea girl?

Everyone and anyone, any crazy little weirdo beautiful out there. We love our dyspets.

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Instagram has been integral in the launch of your label, why do you think social media is so important? 

We couldn’t live without it! Instagram has been a platform to expose our label internationally. Social media reaches out to every human on this planet.

Do you have any plans for the next line? 

Bigger and fluffier!

If you could deck any celebrity in Dyspnea who would it be?

We have always had a crush on Rihanna….and seeing Iggy Azalea in our pieces would be unreal!

Where do you see Dyspnea in the next 5 years? 

All over the globe.

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Images shot by Ben Sowry.

Follow Dyspnea on Instagram @dyspnea_ for fluffy inspirations or visit www.dyspnea.com.au for stock enquiries.

 

Ten Highlights of MBFWA: Bianca Spender

You could say the Bianca Spender show was one of the highlights of a fabulous week at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, and can we really be surprised? She is Carla Zampatti’s daughter after all.

In dimmed lighting, models were sent around an enormous, dark warehouse space where in which an old, wind-torn house was centred. Full of theatrics and even better fashion, the show featured a collection full of structured pieces and unanticipated detail.

Midriffs, slight cut outs and thigh slits highlighted the fact that Bianca knows what we want and need in our wardrobes. Unforeseen sexiness was entwined in each piece, with garments clinging perfectly to the body and falling low at the back.

Soft lilac was the key colour, thrown in among a mix of slim-fitting pant suits and a darker palette of sequins.

Images by: Lucas Dawson Photography.

This article was originally published in The Australia Times Fashion Magazine.

Q&A with Kitty Scott

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Picture a day lazing on the banks of Lake Como, Italy. The sun is beating down on your bare legs, you’re surrounded by picturesque mountains and laughing locals. As you cruise down the lake you admire the jaw-dropping natural beauty and old, elegant villas. This is CLEONIE. This is VOLARE.

CLEONIE is the child of creative Kitty Scott, who naturally gravitated toward swimwear designing after years of working for labels such as Zimmerman, We Are Handsome and Seventh Wonderland. Kitty’s Bachelor of Fashion Design she obtained from RMIT paired with her creative flair create the perfect label.

I had a chat to the designer about all things fashion, sunny and VOLARE.

What inspired you to create CLEONIE?

I have always dreamt of a beach life and always loved swimwear, fashion and retro style clothing.  After graduating from RMIT and working for other swimwear labels, there was no other choice than to chase the dream.

Your new collection is called ‘VOLARE’ which is Italian for flight. Why flight?

It’s a one word summary of the collection – really meaning to lose yourself and fly.

Your label has proved to be a great success, gaining significant media attention after it debuted at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia last month. What does a normal day in the office entail?

Every single day is a new chapter with new goals for us at CLEONIE.  You could find me working in the studio, pattern making – cutting and sewing samples, designing pieces for the upcoming collection, in and out of meetings, running to and from our local manufacturers… it’s constantly changing.

Tell us about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. What was running through your mind before and during the Group SWIM show?

I was fairly chilled out, trying to take it all in one breath at a time.  All the work had been done up to that point – it was time to just showcase the collection and sit back and hope it was received well. I had my little sister and best friend backstage with me, as well as the rest of my best friends and family watching from the runway. It made it all the more special to share that time with them.

I understand your recent trip to Italy is what inspired VOLARE, was there a defining moment that inspired you? A person? Print? Sound?

Yes, I was travelling through Italy with one of my best friends – we spent an incredible day at Lake Como and I fell in love with it.  The music, the sounds, the locals, the smiles, the summer heat, the aperitifs, the landscape… I can still close my eyes and picture being there. It was just one of those really special days.

Tell us about your design studio. What’s currently spread across your desk?

The CLEONIE design studio is based in Redfern in Sydney – it’s a grungy little area with lots of new happenings from pocket bars, cafes and retro furniture stores… I love it there! My work space table changes every day. Looking around now though I have new designs, fabrics and testing trims for the new collection scattered across part of it, as well as a large roll of fabric which I will cut this afternoon for the Volare collection to hit stores in August.

What’s on the cards for the next line?

Our new season will be launched around August/September and will be a continuation of the current VOLARE collection.  It will have some new cuts and prints – we want to continue telling the same story for this year.

I love that CLEONIE is 100% Australian. Why do you think it’s important to ensure you keep every aspect of your business Australian made?

Being 100% Australian made was a decision I chose long before launching CLEONIE. I believe we have highly skilled workers right here on our doorstep and they should be utilised before businesses consider moving manufacturing offshore.  I would prefer to spend more money on high quality Australian made garments where the money remains in our nation, over sending it to a foreign country.  Sadly, the industry is dying and soon there will barely be any businesses manufacturing garments here in Australia.

When an inspiration comes to you what do you do?

Depending on where I am or what time of day it is I always try to do a quick sketch, or a description. A lot of the time ideas pop into my head while I am going for a run or just about to fall asleep – if that happens I do the same and get that idea onto paper as soon as I can.

What began you on your journey into swimwear designing?

I love love love the beach and have always dreamed of being a mermaid (laughs). This is my way of being able to create beautiful swimwear pieces and accompany that with the wonderful beach culture our island nation is blessed to have.

Have you always been interested in a career in fashion?

Yes. Every since I was a little girl I loved more than anything to dress up and watch my mother and grandmother sew.  From a young age I was surrounded by beautiful fabrics and the skills of the women in my family – I think venturing down this path was inevitable.

What are you interests outside of the CLEONIE world?

The beach would have to be my paradise, I spend as much time on the sand as I possibly can.  I love to travel – road trips and camping would have to be a specialty.  But there is nothing like getting on a plane and exploring another land for a time either. 

What advice would you give to someone wanting to break into the fashion industry?

Just get involved, whether it be an internship, a short course, a diploma or just going out there to learn how to sew – all of the skills that can be learnt come from the desire to achieve them.

Where do you see yourself and CLEONIE in the next 5 years?

CLEONIE will be more of a household name, it will be worn on beaches throughout the world.  We will have remained Australian made and be known and respected for that decision.

Who’s the ideal CLEONIE girl?

Anyone can be a CLEONIE girl- she is someone who knows how to have fun, is carefree at heart and loves spending time by the waterside with those friends that matter most.

Where can us Melbournians shop your collections?

CLEONIE is available online at www.cleonie.com. Here at CLEONIE we ship nationally and worldwide, meaning we can have any item on your doorstep in Melbourne in just two days.

You can follow CLEONIE on Instagram @cleoniebeachwear.

Images by: Ashley Russell.

Ten Highlights of MBFWA: Michael Lo Sordo

The minute Michael Lo Sordo’s crowd walked into the room for his Spring/Summer 2014-15 show at Carriageworks they knew the showcase would be different.

As models steered around a three-dimensional sculpture on the runway, a burst of white and black pinstripes, pastel shades of yellow and pink and animal inspired textures lit up the room.

Clean lines were featured among graceful gowns and floaty layers were perfect in their styled embodiment. The true magic was the feeling of nonchalance throughout the collection. Dresses fell from models shoulders and layers hung loosely in casual directions.

Although all the tailored goodness of Michael Lo Sordo was present in his new collection, it dove into a softer side, with comfortable silhouettes portraying an ‘I just threw this on’ look.

Images: Lucas Dawson Photography.

This article was originally published in The Australia Times Fashion Magazine.

Ten Highlights of MBFWA: Bec & Bridge

Highlighting the need for a little Bec & Bridge dress in every wardrobe, designer Becky Cooper’s Spring Summer 2014/15 collection entitled ‘Due North’ was all about fun, flirty denim-blues, collaged prints and sneaky skin-bearing lattice.

Inspired by the modern, bohemian nomad who has ‘traversed the globe’ in Becky’s own words, ‘Due North’ encapsulated the theme perfectly, featuring chambray stitched dresses, ripped denim, and raw, shredded finishes on girly garments.

Cropped-white minis and pinstripes thrown in among wide legged pants cinched at the waist and ochre red leather gave the collection its cool girl vibe, while sheer panelling kept the sports luxe vibe Bec & Bridge is known for.

Images by: Lucas Dawson Photography.

This article was originally published in The Australia Times Fashion Magazine.

Ten Highlights of MBFWA: By Johnny

Johnny Schembri is a man who knows how to satisfy a woman’s needs. Showcasing his collection entitled ‘Spectrum’ at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, the colourful crowd saw the designer reshape classic looks for the modern woman.

Featuring body hugging silhouettes, 3D basics and sparkly sequins, Johnny describes his inspiration for the collection as, ‘when you look at the sun for too long and you close your eyes and get all of those funny dots and colours.’

Colour blocking was extreme, graphic prints accentuated sexy cut-out dresses and little skirts, and light pastels were paired with bold colours to create a collection full of strength, class and life.

Images: Lucas Dawson Photography.

This article was originally published in The Australia Times Fashion Magazine.

Ten Highlights of MBFWA: Ellery

To ‘80s synth-punk music, Kym Ellery’s matte skinned models floated angelically down the runway at Bondi’s Icebergs on day one of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.

The evening wear collection entitled Opague, designed for red carpet galas, saw capacious silhouettes that were radiant in their contrasting shades of black and white featured amongst boxy corsets and signature flared sleeves.

Kym’s architectural shapes were vast and flowing, falling to the floor in defiant formation. Cat-eye flicks and nose and ear cuffs broke up girly gowns, and low pony-tails were elegant against boyish-grunge hairpieces.

Images by: Lucas Dawson Photography.

This article was originally published in The Australia Times Fashion Magazine.

Ten Highlights of MBFWA: Strateas.Carlucci

For their Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia debut designers Peter Strateas and Mario Luca Carlucci of Strateas.Carlucci put on a show full of elegant staples and classic aesthetics.

Fresh from winning the Tiffany and Co. National Designer Award at Melbourne Fashion Festival, the pair described their collection entitled Fracture as ‘all about stepped, disjointed forms but still really classic in a really minimal way.’

The collection, more wintery in its design, featured classic tones of grey, black, pale brown and bright white, with chunky knits thrown in among statuesque gowns. Cuts were lean and long and pony tails were high and sleek.

Images by: Lucas Dawson Photography.

This article was originally published in The Australia Times Fashion Magazine.

Ten Highlights of MBFWA: Alex Perry

Alex Perry took to the runway on day one of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia for a tantalising show that was beyond all expectations.

Victoria’s secret model Alessandra Ambrosio made a surprise guest appearance at the show, leading the pack of looks inspired by American college gridiron players and home-coming queens. Perry summed up his new collection as ‘a little bit tough, a little bit younger and a little bit cool’, and that it was.

More youthful in his new direction, the new line was full of flirty frills, mini crop-tops, dazzling little cheerleader dresses and body hugging gowns. Set on a mirrored runway, Perry had the perfect setting and the perfect front row which included: Darren McMullen and girlfriend Crystal Reed, Tash Sefton and Elle Ferguson (They All Hate Us), Sara Donaldson (Harper & Harley),Susanna Lau, Jessica Mauboy, Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Melissa Doyle, Laura Dundovic, Sarah Murdoch and Jesinta Campbell.

Images by: Lucas Dawson Photography.

This article was originally published in The Australia Times Fashion Magazine.

Ten Highlights of MBFWA: Carla Zampatti

Kicking off Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia and celebrating 49 years in the fashion industry was Carla Zampatti with her impressive Spring/Summer 2014-15 collection.

And despite fashion week starting on a rainy note, Carla’s crowd of loyal followers flocked to Carriageworks in the wet to attend the show of a woman whose work is incomparable on the Australian fashion field.

Down the runway came bravely cut textured pieces, flowing silks and steamlined shapes among a fierce colour palette of red, blue and green.

Fur vests and innovative headdresses amid monochrome bodycons and intricate gowns were a daring move for the designer, but the sighs coming from an appreciative audience during the show proved the lady can do no wrong.

The line screamed Carla with a twist, with signature cut pants featuring a new flare.

The highlight of the show was when model Rachel Rutt strutted down the runway in snugly fitting lace pants.

 

Images by: Lucas Dawson Photography.

This article was originally published in The Australia Times Fashion Magazine.