And, action: News of the closure of Victoria’s last remaining pleating house prompted designer Kara Baker to start a campaign to save it. Baker joined forces with fellow independent Melbourne designers Alice Edgeley and Nevada Duffy to present a runway show entirely devoted to the pleat. We caught up with them for a Pre show-5.
‘The idea for the show was mine. I was keen to support Specialty Pleaters because the business was in danger of closing.’
1/ What was the lead time for your runway show this Friday with Alice Edgeley and Nevada Duffy? Six months from conception, five months from VAMFF acceptance, and two months designing and making.
2/ The show promises to push pleating into new dimensions. Can you give any insight into how? We visited Simon at Specialty Pleaters and had a look at his archive of pleating moulds going back to the 1930’s. That became our inspiration. The results will be revealed on the runway.
3/ What sort of brief did you give, if any? The idea for the show was mine. I was keen to support Specialty Pleaters because the business was in danger of closing. The goal was to raise awareness about this artisan business – it’s the last pleater left in Victoria. I suggested to Nevada and Alice that we do a group show, and VAMFF loved the idea. The director of Alcaston Gallery had suggested the space for a runway show earlier in the year and it all fell into place. We decided to create five looks each, with each outfit featuring pleating.
4/ How long does it take you to produce a collection for a runway show? That depends on the number of garments. We decided to create capsule collections of five looks each plus accessories, all using pleating. I was juggling designing runway garments with working on summer orders for clients. I started looking at fabrics last year and I’ve been working on the garments for the show since mid – January.
5/ What can we expect to see from you on Friday night?
‘My capsule collection has turned out to be much prettier than originally planned…[it] encompasses romantic deluxe, boho glamour with a touch of rock chick.’
My capsule collection has turned out to be much prettier than originally planned. I wanted to do a draped Grecian style mini dress in a jersey that looked like molten silver, but the pleating process turned the fabric in to a dirty aluminium colour, so that was the end of that! I went in a different direction then, substituting that idea with an outfit in vintage lace and floral chiffon in lilacs and olive greens with a shot of chartreuse, adding to the romantic and feminine mood. I have used metallic fabrics in brocade, damask and chiffon, silk/lurex georgette, vintage lace and I have upcycled a 1930s sequinned vintage gown, sewing hundreds of sequins onto a dinner plate size flower. Alice has christened it ‘the poppy’. The collection encompasses romantic deluxe boho glamour with a touch of rock chick. It is sophisticated evening wear.
Alice Edgeley | Edgeley
‘I think having three very different designers presenting their creations on models of all shapes and ages gives the show it’s distinction. ‘
‘I love the way pleats move, so I tried to make the most of that aspect in a couple of the designs.’
3. Our brief was three designers each presenting five looks on five models, a capsule collection of their Autumn/Winter 2017 designs, to showcase the craft of handmade pleating and collectively create enough publicity to ensure the survival of this specialist trade. The three designers will look to the Specialty Pleaters archives for vintage pleating moulds to inspire their respective capsule collections.
‘Having never really used pleated fabric in my work before, draping on my mannequin was the starting point for me.’
1. It’s been about 5 months since we had the idea for the show, beginning with research and design ideas, I then started to get my fabric pleated from Specialty Pleaters in December.
Alcaston Gallery Presents Pleats x 3 takes place at 6.30pm on Friday at Alcaston Gallery in Fitzroy. Buy tickets here.
- Instagram @karabakercouture @ms_edgeley @nevada.duffy
- Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival
- #PleatsX3 #VAMFF