Gaze into my crystal ball
Published 2010 | By Kellie Pembroke
There are a few tried and tested ways of predicting the future. You could visit a clairvoyant, but they tend to be pretty scary; crystal balls can be enthralling, but ridiculously hard to master; reading tea leaves lead many to think of what happened in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; and vague horoscopes rarely make way for concrete deductions.
Where, oh where, to turn when you want to know what happens next on Brisbane’s style scene without having to consult someone involved with the supernatural?
Frock Paper Scissors spoke to three style gurus in the Brisbane fashion scene. Unassailable up-and-coming designer Taree Birse, Peny Lane co-founder Lauren Burvill, and Jean Brown’s golden-boy buyer Joshua Jones were asked this important question: What will happen next in Brisbane’s fashionable future?
‘Brisbane fashion lies with the people’
A year and a half ago, Taree Birse began to sell her first collection of sophisticated, feminine gowns, famous for their ruffles and sleek layering. Since then, Jupiter, the planet most closely related to success, has orbited into her career zone.
2010 has been more than a stellar year for Birse. She’s received numerous awards, and had her designs featured in this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Design Innovation Group Show in Brisbane.
“The predictor of what will happen next in Brisbane fashion lies with the variety of people and subcultures that live in Brisbane,” said Birse.
While Brisbane’s diverse cultural cross-section makes it hard for Birse to predict what will come next, she guarantees the Brisbane street style, and local creations from herself and fellow up-and-comers are sure to be interesting.
‘Bring on the new guard of local fashion’
Another Brisbanite at the centre of all things fashion and culture is Lauren Burvill, co-founder of website Peny Lane. Burvill has been documenting Brisbane’s evolving style sense via Peny Lane since 2007.
Her tea leaves have spelled something along the lines of “Will be the envy of every independent fashion writer in town”. After a recent relocation to Melbourne, Burvill says she can really see Brisbane’s diverse style emerging.
“A lot of people think that scene kids in Brisbane all dress the same,” said Burvill.
“No, coming here to Melbourne, people in Brisbane are trying their best to be individuals.
“People in Melbourne and Sydney would probably write Brisbane off, but I think they’d be surprised.”
While the like-dressing seems to pervade some of the city’s stylistas, Burvill feels Brisbane has a great sense of diversity.
“It’s really good to see so many different people looking different, and into different things, like hip hop and sneakers, pretty dresses, or preppy stuff.”
Burvill says that Brisbane boasts some exciting young labels, like Gail Sorronda, which push past the “stuffy and boring” old guard of Brisbane designers. But holding them to an international standard is imperative to their lasting success.
“The Brisbane fashion industry needs to start giving credit where credits are due,” said Burvill.
‘Watch this space!’
A Brisbane fashion institution that unquestionably stands on a national level is the lavish Jean Brown boutique. Assistant general manager and buyer Joshua Jones defines the store as “Australia’s leading luxury goods boutique”.
The store’s impeccable reputation for customer service is not unsubstantiated. Jean Brown offers valet parking, and personal and at-home styling.
Jones believes Brisbane’s style is growing in diversity and individualism. Brisbanites’ willingness to experiment and avoid conformity is reflective of international trends, and sets their capital city apart from others.
“Fashion in general is heading towards more individualism, because there aren’t a lot of trends coming through from international design houses, which suits Brisbane perfectly because, being such a diverse state and city, we all lead different lives,” said Jones.
“People are trying different things. It’s a kind of ‘watch this space’ as we grow and evolve, and different areas really start to develop.
“I think that will have a huge impact on what Brisbane becomes.”
Just like the musings of hairless clairvoyants and ambiguous horoscopes, these words of wisdom are ultimately predictions. Brisbanites will just have to patiently wait and see what their city’s fashionable future holds.
Photography by Jenna Holmes
Styling by Bianca Pohlman
Garments by Maya Sundari and Paloma Kennedy-Lopez
Hair and Makeup by Ellen Armstrong
Model: Lutece Gorluck