If you follow fashion, you would know Australia is where it’s really happening now. Australian Fashion Week took place last week (their seasons are inverted to ours and so are their fashion seasons and the presentation of collections) and it has generated buzz once again in Europe and the US.
Australia is setting trends. The simplicity and laidback spirit of those who have grown up by a beach translate well into contemporary design and fashion attitudes. Consider the successful Australian brand Sass and Bide, which for the past 10 years has defined edge and hipness without seeming contrived — a genuinely original style.
“There are many great designers coming from there [Australia] and it’s very much got to do with the lifestyle, the beach and color, freedom and travel,” says designer Jessian Polk, whose brand Oscar the Third debuted last Tuesday in a trunk show at new Zamalek boutique Ghazl Banat.
“Australians travel a lot, and I think that might be the inspiration wherever I go. I do a couple of big trips every year actually. Last year it was Colombia, the States, South Africa, and Italy,” said Polk.
Oscar the Brand reflects the varied points of inspiration gained by being a global traveler. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact points of inspiration in each piece, but it somehow all comes together.
Fashion-conscious women gathered at Ghazl Banat, snapping up kaftans, dresses, long tops and summer dresses. Pieces start at LE 750 and go up to about LE 1,800. A lot of pieces and styles have already sold out at Ghazl Banat.
Based in Indonesia, Polk’s collection is very much designed for someone who likes color and a relaxed attitude in her appearance, yet appreciates clothes that are wholly feminine.
It is in Bali that Polk designs and produces her collection, utilizing fabrics that are found locally. “I never want to go to China and produce en masse, Bali for production is also part of the lifestyle element,” she said.
Between her life in Bali and back home in Sydney, her clothes are made for beach and travel.
“My style is quite relaxed, inspired by my trips, I don’t go too ethnic on one side or too monotone. I make what I like, I don’t necessarily follow all the trends, and you’ll certainly find some of the designers [in Australia copying] what’s on the runways in Europe.
“In winter, we do quite a collection of knitwear as opposed to denim, we’re limited because of the fabric that we can get in Indonesia,” says Polk.
“But as I’m getting older, I’m changing my aesthetics as well, things are getting longer, more black, so it depends. Because my design headquarters are based in Bali, it’s very beachy, colorful, free, and mostly dresses. The dress thing is perfect, after the beach, wear heels with it and go out.”
Polk avoids designing denims and tops, which is refreshing about the brand considering that all brands forcefully set denim trends season after season.
The brand is named after Polk’s father, “I didn’t want a particular frilly girly name, Oscar’s always been in the family,” and in a way, the brand’s femininity is never saccharine sweet.
Oscar the Third has two stores, one in Bali and another in Adelaide. Polk has done collaborations with other designers, called “The Collective.”
“Everyone here in Egypt is into color, which is pretty great, the women here are very stylish and chic, they put things together well. And they all have that beautiful complexion, and so color on them looks fabulous.
“You can never sell citrus colors in London, it’s always black and grey, so it’s nice to have a diversified market.”
Oscar the Third is available at Ghazl Banat Boutique, 14 Montazah St., Zamalek, until Saturday May 29. Open 11 am-9 pm. For more information visit www.oscarthethird.com
Her designs are for people who like color and a relaxed attitude in a wholly feminine appearance.