Three Creative Melbourne Cool Girls On Self-Expression Through Art And Fashion

Express yourself.

It’s no secret that Melbourne has some of the most creatively cool and best dressed women this earth has to offer — the city’s often cliché (but very real!) unpredictable weather patterns could be responsible for the next level dress codes, but its ability to foster artistic talent remains a bit of a mystery. Maybe it’s all those laneways, cute bars and conceptual coffee shops ;).

Thanks to another very stylish Melbourne resident, Chadstone — The Fashion Capital, and its Spring/Summer 19 campaign ‘The Art of Fashion’, we’ve got good reason to round up some of our favourite Melbourne cool girls and ask them a bit about their work and wardrobes — how (and if) one informs the other; what their creative and material output really says about them; and why fashion and art make such a good couple.

Kiri-Una Brito Meumann

Kiri primarily makes sculptures that often have an interactive component to them. Her ‘Golden Derriere’ is an insta fave, and her client list includes A$AP Rocky. Very cool!

We’re interviewing you because aside from making beautiful things, you also wear beautiful things. Why is fashion important to you — if it is at all?
I love dressing myself, and seeing how clothing can do a lot of the talking. I think whether you participate in fashion or not, you’re choosing to wear something and that already says a lot about you. I like being able to play around with that sometimes and I think that immediate story that clothing can give interests me.

What drives you to make things? 
I think the biggest catalyst for becoming who I am creatively is probably my Dad — growing up around him being creative and working on exciting projects opened my eyes to the possibilities there are of working creatively.

Do you see fashion as a valid form of self-expression? As much as your creative work?
I do of course! For me, personally, I see the way I dress as separate to the work I make. I guess because I’m involved in both fashion and art, they intrinsically become connected even if I don’t want them to.

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Do your clothes let you express ideas that are different from your work? What are they both saying?
Clothes let me express the type of person I want to put out to the world. And my artwork is less self-centered, I’m not thinking about the same things at all when it comes to these two.

Has your work actually changed the way you dress? 
I don’t think so, no, but sometimes I do feel inclined to dress down to seem more “artsy” [laughs].

Which three pieces from Chadstone’s retailers are defining your look this SS19 season?
Something beautifully flowy like this Loewe look. I also want the Bottega Veneta ‘Padded Cassette’ bag, and the Celine ‘Luco’ loafers.

Loewe clothing, shoes and bag all available at Loewe Chadstone
Bottega Veneta bag available at Bottega Veneta Chadstone
Celine shoes available at Celine Chadstone

 

If you could wear any work of art, which would it be? 
Oh that’s a hard question to answer… I think I wouldn’t actually want to wear a work of art. Unless we are talking actual fashion, in which case I also couldn’t pick just one [laughs].

Why do you think artists/creatives are so inherently fashionable?
I think often because there is thought, consideration and aesthetics involved in being creative. Often people can’t help but care about how they dress too.

There’s a return to shopping IRL rather than online — or at least people tend to spend more money at actual stores — as a visual and hands on person, what do you reckon the advantages are to shopping IRL?
Absolutely being able to try things on and seeing how it works on you. There are so many factors that can change an item whether it’s how it looks on your body shape, skin colour, general person. Also the fact that a photo can’t possibly represent everything the item is: the texture, the size in comparison to you, the smell, the colour — you get my point. 

Finally — what are you working on right now? And what are you listening to/reading/watching while you’re doing it?
I’m working on starting a project with my Dad, which I’m really excited about. And, at the moment, I’m just soaking up Paris!

Thalea Michos-Vellis

Thalea is a fashion stylist whose work can be seen via all your fave Melbourne brand’s campaigns, and in the pages of mags — including Oyster, where she had her first break.

We’re interviewing you because aside from making beautiful things, you also wear beautiful things. Why is fashion important to you — if it is at all?
I love to collect and have a huge appreciation for textiles. Collecting has been a big part of my life from a young age — my Mother introduced me to it.

Tell us about your creative work and what drives you…
My first shoot was actually for Oyster Magazine in 2013. A photographer approached me on Tumblr to style, and I used clothing I had sourced in Tokyo and around Melbourne. It was probably the first moment I realised that this was something I could pursue. More recently in 2019 — coincidentally thank you to Oyster Magazine once again — I was able to travel to LA for work. This really made me think on a more international scale.

Do you see fashion as a valid form of self-expression?
Yes! Even though my creative work and fashion go hand in hand, they can be so seperate — especially when working on commercial jobs. I find it important to play with the fun side of fashion as a form of self expression, whether that’s getting dressed in the morning or the way I display certain articles of clothing in my room… I definitely use fashion as a tool to express myself!

Do your clothes let you express ideas that are different to your work?
I think my personal style is an amalgamation of both. I definitely let my personal style bleed into my work.

Has your work actually changed the way you dress?
Working as a stylist has encouraged me to explore different ways of dressing. I’m definitely more outrageous in my personal style in the lead up to a shoot day! That being said, I find myself taking the easy road more and more recently and giving in to jeans and a T-shirt.

Which three pieces from Chadstone’s retailers are defining your look this SS19 season?
Prada ‘Cordonnet’ sweater, Prada poplin shirt, and Loewe Bucket Espiral bag.

Prada jumpers and shirts available at Prada Chadstone
and Loewe bag available at Loewe Chadstone

 

If you could wear any work of art, which would it be?
Duchamp’s toilet as a hat.

Why do you think artists/creatives are so inherently fashionable?
I believe the way artists and creatives approach colour, texture and space, heavily inform the way we dress.

There’s a return to shopping IRL rather than online — or at least people tend to spend more money at actual stores — as a visual and hands on person, what do you reckon the advantages are to shopping IRL?
Honestly, aside from the obvious reasons like how something actually fits and feels, the main benefit to shopping IRL is the architecture. I recently visited a Prada store and was overwhelmed by the space. 

Finally — what are you working on right now? And what are you listening to/reading/watching while you’re doing it?
TBA — watch this space. The rest — reading: Trouble by Lindsey Buckingham; watching: Goodfellas by Martin Scorsese.

Alice Oehr

Alice is an artist and designer who draws in all directions. She makes art for the wall, works on books, campaigns with brands, textile prints and so much more. In her work, pattern is king.

We’re interviewing you because aside from making beautiful things, you also wear beautiful things. Why is fashion important to you — if it is at all?
The way I dress is just another avenue for me to show the colours and patterns I’m interested in at the time. Playing with textures, colours, materials and patterns in a 3D sense, satisfies a need to put colours together and explore combinations. Sometimes I don’t want to look at any more colours or patterns so I will dress quite modestly, and other times I feel like pushing it. Most of the time I want to wear at least one loud thing. The older I get the less I care if I’m wearing something a bit rude, tacky, or shocking. Striking the balance between refined and rude colours or prints is a hobby of mine.

What’s was the biggest catalyst in becoming who you are creatively, why do you continue to do it, and what do you hope to achieve with it?
I love the variety in the work, and I never get tired of putting colours and patterns together, and creating new combinations. I love being able to comment on things that I see and notice in the world around me — stylish people, seasonal fruits, sassy dogs. Drawing from life around me is my way of processing the things I see, and if it weren’t this for me, it would have to be something else to that end. My goal is to get people to pay attention to the simple pleasures in everyday life, and to notice details.

Do you see fashion as a valid form of self-expression? As much as your creative work?
Yes, though I am certainly not as good at fashion as my other creative work. Stick with what you know right?! Fashion is often the only avenue for people to play with colours, patterns, and elements of design — I’m lucky enough to have others in my job — but without a doubt there is a lot of room for creativity there.

Do your clothes let you express ideas that are different to your work? What are they both saying?
Yes. Often my work is loud and I don’t always feel like dressing loud. But it allows me to experiment with things that aren’t possible in the 2D world. And that whole element of texture — like furry things, shiny things, woven things — that is completely absent in illustration.

Has your work actually changed the way you dress?
I tend to use my work more as my primary form of expression and my fashion second these days. Whereas I once had a burning desire to express my current favourite colours and shapes by wearing them, now I can do some of this through art and illustration, and I tend to dress slightly more reserved at times — the work does some more of the talking.

Which three pieces from Chadstone’s retailers are defining your look this SS19 season?
I’m almost always wearing sneakers — the coloured Converse All Stars of my childhood have been a staple. They wear really well too. As I mentioned, I love really loud, semi-rude pieces, Incu has me covered for that with designers like Sandy Liang. Everything furry has really brought me a lot of joy this season. On a day to day basis I love wearing Uniqlo. My general look is usually 50% statement piece, 50% Uniqlo. That’s my happy place.

Sandy Liang clothing available at Incu Chadstone
Converse shoes available at Converse Chadstone

If you could wear any work of art, which would it be?
I feel like pottery would be pretty cool to wear. The Memphis-era graphic shapes and bold primary colours of Peter Shire’s pottery would be outfits I could go for. Otherwise just the Klimt painting ‘portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer’ — wearing all that gold would be incredible.

Why do you think artists/creatives are so inherently fashionable?
I think creative people have a really well trained eye for detail and putting colours together — the amount of hours that goes into getting good at doing that gives them an advantage. Also, sometimes having eschewed a traditional career path and feeling a bit on the margins, creative people might often want to demonstrate their different life choices through their clothing. I know I certainly always did.

There’s a return to shopping IRL rather than online — or at least people tend to spend more money at actual stores — as a visual and hands on person, what do you reckon the advantages are to shopping IRL?
Definitely the tactility of the fabrics, for me. The vibrancy of colours and quality of fabric is something that often does not translate in a photo.

Finally — what are you working on right now? And what are you listening to/reading/watching/wearing while you’re doing it?
I’m loving teaching my still life drawing classes, using iPads. It’s a wacky concept, that people are beginning to embrace. I love going on the journey with them, and I love setting up the still lifes! I keep an eye on local creatives around me for inspiration and people I can team up with on the still life front. In my design work I’m always reading up on vintage design, fashion, cooking. I always try to wear as much local talent as I can — I like designers who I can meet, and they represent the local flavour that we are all feeling down under. To relax, I watch a lot of docos and cooking shows: Vintage Nigella and Jamie that are on SBS and their youthful joy for cooking are such a pleasure to relax to.

Produced by Oyster in partnership with Chadstone – The Fashion Capital

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