“Morph suits” – a kind of body stocking covering everything from your toes to your eyes – aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think wardrobe essentials. But for Melbourne stylist Thalea Michos Vellis, they’re front of mind.
“I think Parisian label [Marine Serre]’s morph suits and her layering are wonderful,” she says. And Michos Vellis would know; she became a stylist at 19. Her first fashion shoot was for Oyster magazine and involved a model she cast from Tumblr and clothing found mostly in op-shops. Michos Vellis has since grown her body of work across streetwear labels, jewellers, fragrance companies and wineries.
Her favourite new fashion label is also a young talent. “[Marine Serre] has worked and interned for Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and Maison Margiela, so she has all the knowledge and skills at hand,” says Michos Vellis.
In fact, Serre won the LVMH prize for Young Designers in 2017 for her blending of sporty futurism and feminine silhouettes. As well as morph suits her work covers outerwear, dresses and shirts – though Serre’s designs are often deconstructed and far from conventional.
In the short time Serre’s work has been available, it’s attracted retailers including London’s Dover Street Market and SSENSE. “She says herself that before 2017 there was barely a brand. The fact the label has grown to where it’s at so quickly is proof that it will only get better in 2019 and beyond.”
Michos Vellis then points to Amelie Pichard, another French designer, as one to watch this year. She works mainly with accessories, designing products that are playful but also Parisian chic. The Bistrot Bag is made from rattan and is designed to be reminiscent of outdoor Parisian cafe chairs. “She produces the most amazing shoes and handbags, as well as imagery and campaigns,” says Michos Vellis. “Her recent campaign, shot by Jean-Daniel Lorieux, was so spectacular and a feast for the eyes. I felt spoilt when I saw it.”
Sydney-based stylist Jana Bartolo, who has helped art-direct for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Sydney Opera House and cosmetics brand Mecca, offers something else. Her eye for up-and-coming designers is different. “I like loose silhouettes and items that I can layer or wear in different ways,” she says.
Perhaps it’s no surprise then that she names Japanese label Sacai as top of her to-watch list. Known for its deconstructed approach and emphasis on tailoring, Sacia delivers modern and often androgynous designs. While it’s hardly new (Sacai was founded in 1999), Bartolo is interested in what it will do in 2019.
“I’ve recently come back from Tokyo and am always in love with what I see from Sacai,” she says. “There’s a clever balance between deconstructed and playful.”
The Glen Check Jacket, like many Sacai pieces, takes elements of different garments (here a denim jacket and checked blazer) and brings them together in a piecemeal yet somehow cohesive way.
Bartolo also mentions Ambush, a jewellery label from Korean-American designer Yoon Ahn that has expanded into sunglasses and apparel. “It’s innovative jewellery that’s not gender specific,” says Bartolo. “She has all the A-grade celebrities sporting her items.”
A glance at the Ambush website reveals recent collaborations with Nike and a stint as jewellery designer for Dior Homme.
Sydney-based Claire Fabb is no longer a stylist per se, but she heads up digital agency Style by Yellow Button. She’s a champion of local talent and accordingly her selects for the coming year are a little closer to home.
“Aneka Manners,” she says without hesitation. “She’s a photographer and artist and you will see her images printed onto sustainable fabrics, which are pure luxe. She’s also a gifted tailor.” Manners’s current work includes silk two-piece suits that drape the body and other flowing silhouettes. Her collections are markedly smaller in size, but the emphasis is on quality over quantity. “She offers bespoke fittings,” says Fabb. “She’s carving out her own niche.”
Fabb also names Perth’s Clover Accessories, a jewellery label specialising in affordable, fun accessories. Founded by Clover Tana, the label has been simmering since 2009 but has recently gained momentum. “Clover has a unique eye,” says Fabb. “She’s bringing the fun back into fashion.”
Tana uses lots of embellishment and colour, and the designer works with a variety of non-traditional materials. The Luna Bag is made from metallic rope yarn and is encased in acrylic perspex. The triangular shape is somewhat nostalgic, similar to the handbag you probably owned as a kid.
Sydney stylist and fashion photographer/videographer Romy Frydman, who has been running online blog Style Me Romy since 2009, will be following Bondi label Sir closely this year. “Their sexy little numbers are perfect for resort-style living and they are the perfect Australian girl’s summer love,” she says.