Australian designer Dion Lee digs to his cultural roots to create his collection for the International Woolmark Prize Australia in 2013. The prize requires all designers to create their collections completely out of Merino wool. Lee conquered the prize outline using the combination of personal culture, Australian history and raw beautiful material, giving Lee the edge to produce an extravagant and impressive collection of clothing.
Lee’s inspiration for this collection reflects both Australian culture and history. The streamline design that encompasses the curves and silhouettes of the wearer reflects on the design of the Sydney Opera house, originally designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon. This is a highly recognised symbol of Australia, alongside the Akubra hat worn by Australian stockman which is also featured and altered.
The colour choices are reflective on the pieces and how they intertwine together. The neutral colour pallet and the high use of shades are placed in the corners and the depth of the garments creating further accentuation of the highlighted curves and movements of the pieces. Through the simple, yet effective combinations of the colours and shaping of the garments, the pieces come to life in a contemporary streamlined sculptural sense. Even though this new outer shell has been created within the garment, it is not overpowering or overwhelming to the figure, making the line an easily consumable product.
Despite the component of architecture constructing and becoming the garments, the collection is quite simplified and possibly wearable in higher end fashion scenes. Also the material is not unusual to wear; in fact Merino wool is quite a luxurious material to be worn. It’s also reflective of Australian culture and manufacturing history, making Lee’s collection a complete structure of Australian style. The contrast of the soft pure material and the bold streamed figuration of the clothing are both strong and effective in the overall aesthetic of the collection.
The Woolmark Company, 2014, “International Woolmark Prize”, http://www.woolmarkprize.com/
Vogue Australia, February 2013, “Dion Lee’s architectural designs for Woolmark”, http://www.vogue.com.au/fashion/news/dion+lees+architectural+designs+for+woolmark,22228