"Relaxed, cool, ageless"; all the words that embody the Ellery woman as spoken by Kym Ellery herself; but not those that would invoke the idea of the corset; her inspiration for her second collection at Paris Fashion Week. I had the pleasure of witnessing the tail end of the production process; backstage amidst the last minute preparation only an hour before the show was to begin. There was an army of MAC makeup artists and hair stylists, hands holding, tightening, slicking back the plaits, a slew of used kohl eyeliners strewn across the tables and a flurry of photographers all desperately trying to get the shot. Kym Ellery is only the third Australian designer to make it to the official Paris Fashion Week schedule; her predecessors designer heavyweights Collete Dinnigan and Martin Grant, yet the art lover has always felt a belonging in Paris. When I chatted to her after the show, Kim to Kym, dressed entirely in black and sporting that effortless tousled Parisian hair, she divulged, "I feel so at home here, not worried, not overwhelmed, everyone here is the best at what they do." It is this same unpretentious coolness that has spilled over into her collections and onto the street style circuits, frequently worn by FROW-ers across the globe.
The strategy behind the collection was formed from "the idea of looking at a piece of clothing from the turn of the 19th century and then making it relevant to today but for a modern woman." The very purpose of the corset was to conform the body - Ellery flipped that idea on its head and focused instead on freeing the body (nope, no Kardashian-endorsed waist trainers here). It was "a collection of looks that were effortless, succinct and embodied the brand's name. We look at a lot of volume - flares are the silhouette that we've become known for so we wanted to evolve the idea and freshen everything up."
It was the corset coming undone; semi-belted lamé blazers and loose ties on coats and silk dresses left to trail behind the wearer - even the braids sported by the models could be likened to untied laces; the hairstyle too left free from the grapple of hairties. This cohesion created an incredibly wearable collection - I anticipate the denim flares and sapphire velvet boots to be a hit come SS17 showtime in September.