Flamboyant Sydney fashion designer Gary Bigeni has opened a pop-up store in the CBD’s MLC Centre, showcasing Alignment, his latest collection inspired by the work of abstract artist Matthew Johnson.

The collaboration between designer and artist came about after Bigeni visited Johnson’s exhibition at Tim Olsen Gallery last year. “I really love his work and wanted to use his prints for my summer collection,” says Bigeni. “His work to me seems timeless.”

Bigeni, a self-proclaimed “fashion anomaly”, is known for his bold use of colour, a point of continuity with Johnson’s paintings.

“I really relate to shapes, line and colours in art,” says Bigeni, “as, being hearing impaired, my eyes were both my eyes and ears growing up.”

Among the 35 or so pieces that comprise the Alignment collection are beautiful silk shift dresses, tailored tees and asymmetrical skirts. Johnson’s presence is keenly felt, thanks to the collection’s striking digital prints and, of course, the paintings that inspired them.

To coincide with the pop-up, two Style Session evenings are planned for September, where shoppers will have the chance to consult with Bigeni and his stylist Kelvin Harries.

Bigeni graduated from East Sydney Design Tech in 2002, and got his start in the fashion industry when famed retail curator Belinda Seper took his first collection for her boutique The Corner Shop.

Since then, Bigeni has shown his collections at Australian Fashion Week every year since 2008, and in 2010 launched Bigeni Basics, a more accessible diffusion line featuring classic, wearable pieces.

The Gary Bigeni installation is the latest in a series of innovative pop-up stores at the MLC Centre. Last month Bondi knitwear label Banjo & Matilda hosted Sweater Exchange, a charity pop-up initiative for Mission Australia.

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