Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Modern Classics

I've been in Melbourne for the past 2 weeks. When you live in the country sometimes you just have to get out and see people you don't know and stuff you can buy. (Although my little country town has changed a lot since I grew up here and now it is a very civilized blend of bookshops, cafes and galleries.)

Gertrude St, Fitzroy is one of the most exciting streets in Melbourne for me. After a hot chocolate at Bridget Hafner's Enoteca I stumbled across Vixen Australia.

Vixen is an opulent brand of fashion, textiles and homewares created by Georgia Chapman. The shop is a textural wonderland ranging from the rich red wool of a rug created through a collaboration with Designer Rugs through to whispery, soft silk dresses and skirts.

Vixen Australia's clothes reference the past. This seasons range "Metro Oriental" puts me in mind of tea dances in 1930's Shanghai. The fabrics are beautifully designed with layers of subtle colour and amazing patterns with influences ranging from Hokusai prints through to paisley and tattoos.

Taking fashion out of the immediate trends and into the realm of the collectable is a wonderful goal and I think all craftspeople should be inspired by Chapman's uncompromising attitude to this aspect of a fickle industry. I also love how she balances retail design with artistic projects. This is a tightrope that all practitioners walk as they try to create sustainable businesses within an artistic practice.

Georgia Chapman makes all her fabrics and clothes in Australia and it takes 12-14 craftspeople to create each piece. The clothes are handmade, exquisite. Chapman says
"We want to create a collection that is a
considered response to a particular time and
place, with investment pieces that do not date.
Our concern is for craftsmanship - handmade,
timeless simplicity that is beautiful, to keep

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