Kym Ellery’s first Paris show was feminism powered by body-form foil and flares.
This was Kym Ellery’s first show on the Paris schedule. In her specifically created A3 ‘art book’ handed to press, she expressed her gratitude to all of her supporters for their aid on her journey as a designer from Perth to Paris. Amid this text, a line reads, ‘in a time when the many voices of feminism are being heard, our goal remains the same – to create garments for women of intelligence and empower them’. And this is it. In a world, and on a schedule, where so many male designers take the wheel at the industry’s biggest houses it is easily forgotten that no one knows how to design for women better than a woman. Looking to brands such as Celine, Prada, Westwood, Stella – and now Ellery – it is here that female led design creates truly wearable, functional, beautiful – and sexy – pieces. There is a different sort of energy to these clothes – they aren’t unrealistic or pitted only at certain ideals of what women are told to be – they feel diverse, representative, and really wearable.
Up the Volume
Rather than nipping in, accentuation was brought to the body through adding volume. Billowing flare sleeves were taped at the elbow, with the same at the knee. Giant paper-bag waists were exaggerated – still drawing attention to the midriff but now through a cluster of fabric. Dresses were thick strap and cut straight across the chest, before empire-lining out in heavy fabrics to the floor. Creams, blacks and metallics were the focus, while hardware came in the form of oversized circular rivets and chunked-up silver zips. These were placed often at random – this was not about revealing the female body, nor about covering it. This metal work, combined with the non-body-con cuts, worked in tandem to draw attention to the work as a whole, rather than a cleavage, a thigh, or a lower back.
Cascading pleating featured throughout – across the body in diagonals, and drawn tighter or looser by hanging fabric bands. Here is presented an element of choice – looser or tighter – your call. A metallic foil-like fabric was body-form, but not tight; it moved almost separately from the body, seen in three dresses either in gold or black. This was standout in terms of garment; but the real work of art here is the intelligence and care taken with all fabric. Quality could be seen from far away – velvets, silks, cottons and leathers were delicate and graceful yet full of punch and substance. These fashion oxymorons are usually complete garbage, but Kym Ellery intelligently designed a massively forward thinking collection – both luxury and wearable. To next season!
Photographer: Thurstan Redding
Words: Tom Rasmussen