The simple sarong is a wonderful thing. Women of any shape or size can wear it, and as a blank canvas, it can take on any print or artwork.
Textile designer Lauren Elise Cassar comes from a background designing with Melbourne label Kuwaii, and has cultivated a cult following from her works at L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival. To make a more personal contribution to Australian fashion, she has established Mirador, a new textile house in Austinmer, NSW. Now she is presenting her first collection, called An Inkling. It’s a series of eight cotton sarongs that look like wearable works of art.
“Sarongs have been on my mind ever since I started visiting Austinmer, where I now live,” says Cassar. “[Sarongs] haven’t moved from traditional aesthetics in the Western world since they were introduced in the 1940s – this frustrated me, because swimwear is refined year after year.”
The idea for Mirador came to Cassar as she hiked last year in the Spanish Pyrenees. The word means viewpoint in Spanish. “I wanted each artwork to emulate the feeling of looking out onto a view, with large, obvious shapes, like a mountain, but with tiny details that make that all add up to that final, breathtaking view,” she says. “I am absolutely influenced by the subtle femininity within nature – the shapes formed by a landscape, the ocean. I think all women are so powerful, precious and the definition of beauty.”
Each sarong is made and designed in Australia and is digitally printed on 100 per cent cotton, which softens with wear. They can be worn day or night, dressed up or down. “They are so extremely versatile,” says Cassar, “and the sarong is so welcoming, from cuddling newborn babies worn as a swaddle, to my nan wearing them as a scarf, it is pretty special.”