Mikaela Aitken, MONOCLE

SYDNEY: Watches, boots, shoes, sunglasses, shorts and belts – not to mention a boutique shop in former church.

Cultiver, Sydney

Modelled on the French word for “cultivate”, this Sydney-based brand was founded by Nicolle Sullivan in 2012. Originally a luxury bed-linen company, Sullivan expanded into sleepwear in 2015. This Inez pyjama set comes in a range of colours and is made from high-quality soft jersey; both the cuffed, elasticised trousers and the long-sleeved top are laced with a white piping trim.

Parlour X, Sydney

When the time came for Eva Galambos to upsize her renowned Sydney boutique Parlour X, she opted for an unlikely new home: a 170-year-former church in Paddington. “The raw beauty and history of St John’s epitomises the early Australian architecture of the area,” says Galambos, adding that the building is filled with a “sense of nostalgia”.

The space, which opened its doors in August 2015, uses the restored original sandstone walls and stained-glass windows as a backdrop to slick Iguzzini light-fittings and a selection of women’s garments from designers such as Kym Ellery and Céline.

Q&A – Kym Ellery, Sydney

Sydney-based designer Kym Ellery made waves last October when she became just the third Australian to show on Paris Fashion Week’s official schedule. The watershed moment came eight years after she founded her womenswear label while working at a magazine.

What are you working on at the moment?
We have started to expand into leather goods, shoes and accessories; we will launch the shoes in Paris in March as part of our autumn collection. We are also working on a luxury Japanese denim project.

What are the major challenges that are currently facing Australian designers?
The biggest challenge is the difference in time zone and seasonality. We chose to ignore the Australian seasons in order to better capture the global market and that was an important part of why we’ve grown so successfully in the northern hemisphere. Buyers would say, “Oh, you’re Australian – is this collection summer when everyone else is showing winter?”

Last year you became only the third Australian to show at Paris Fashion Week; what was that like? It was really exciting. We had shown on the off-schedule twice before so it felt like we’d had practice, which meant it wasn’t so intimidating for me on a personal level. I feel like we did a nice job: I wanted to keep it simple and elegant.

Pacifico Optical, Sydney

School friends Nick Guzowski and Alain Guglielmino founded this sunglasses label in 2015. The frames are sculpted from Italian Mazzuchelli acetate and use German Zeiss lenses, yet retain a distinctly Australian feel. Designed in Bondi Beach, each pair is a love letter to the area: the Buckler model (right), for instance, is named after a famous headland; others are inspired by local characters.

Venroy, Sydney

The recipe for men’s swimwear brand Venroy’s success remains unchanged: a sharp above-the-knee cut, a resilient weave for the highest cliff dive and a breadth of colourful designs. It’s no surprise the brand has expanded into shirts and trousers and has a presence everywhere from Tokyo to Las Vegas. Founders Theo Smallbone and Sean Venturi established their first flagship in Bondi Beach last October.


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