Jo and Alex L’Estrange have taken the romance of European summers, bottled it up and created a brand that makes you want to sit in the sunshine with a vermouth on the rocks.
Said brand, Salone, launched edition one last week: a collection of six printed shirts.
These are the type of pieces you expect the wearer to say “oh it’s vintage” when you ask where it's from. And that’s part of the plan. The collections are created with a limited edition mentality. “We want there to be a specialness to the pieces with only a certain amount available. But we’re also making them locally and there’s limitations with that too,” Jo says.
The couple met in Brisbane, spent four years living in London and exploring Europe before moving to Sydney in 2021. At first, a love of vintage clothes mixed with passions for art, music and literature spurred the idea. But it was the magnetism of the harbour city that cemented the brand’s identity in the past year.
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“Salone loosely translates to ‘hotel lobby’, which leans into the idea of European summers and collecting memories,” Alex says. “But it’s really about enjoying life, and that’s something that Sydney’s natural beauty affords so much.”
Cut with a classic spread collar and boxy short-sleeve fit, these shirts can be worn by anyone. The current collection uses linen, cotton and tencel, which is a semi-synthetic fabric that creates a drape similar to silk.
With a background in fashion e-commerce and marketing, Jo originally studied design and brings technical knowledge to the team. “Tencel is nice and breathable. But it's also great for travelling because it doesn’t crease as much,” she says. “But the cotton and linen blend is so classic for summer and wears really well over time.”
Best thought of as a soiree shirt (rather than the less refined party shirt) there’s a playfulness that weaves its way through prints inspired by late 19th century artists like Paul Klee, Auguste Rodin and Van Gogh, as well as technical drawings and ancient objects found in museum archives. The colour palette, while somewhat muted, is still vivacious.
“Jo and I have always loved looking through museums and galleries,” Alex says. “We thought: wouldn’t it be cool to collage all of that stuff together and create shirts that are vibrant and really fun and fill a gap in people’s wardrobes?”