About The Collection
Just off the shoulder of north-east Australia, before the deep expanse of the Pacific Ocean takes hold, is a winding chain of tropical islands, coral reefs and hidden secrets. It is the richest, most complex and beautiful place on earth, home to over a million species and a magnetic force at the heart of every Australian.
‘Local’ is new edition of prints from Variety Hour, building on the Tourist collection by exploring my home in North Queensland and one of its most iconic assets, The Great Barrier Reef. Five new Variety Hour prints have been created, with a heavy twang of tropical North Queensland island vibes and a nod to the mid-90s Hamilton Island souvenir shop.
Designing The Collection
Australian artist Ken Done has been painting the reef for decades, and while I was designing ‘Local' he told me that when trying to paint the reef - there is no amount of reference images, photography or inspiration that will ever be as beautiful as the real thing. So, I put the books and reference material away, and challenged myself to begin designing from memory. I remembered snorkelling at the reef every winter, the endless coral landscapes in every colour and shape imaginable, growing in every direction at the same time, but always reaching up towards the sun.
Looking back at those memories, I would never have thought that one day this natural treasure might one day not be with us. In the time I’ve been on this earth, almost half of that coral has disappeared. I have seen the health of the reef decline, and have witnessed the effects of the 2016 mass bleaching first hand.
After that experience, I hadn’t visited again, and like many of us I felt a real sense of sadness when I thought about the reef. But, as I started on ‘Local’ I realised that this collection was a way for me to research and understand what was happening and reintroduce myself. I wanted to bring back that feeling I once had of having dropped right into an alien landscape, full of mystery, teeming with strange lifeforms. I knew then I didn’t just want to bring a stereotypical coral print into the world - this collection had to tell a different story.
'Local' introduces new styles such as the Mirte Dress, Gia Wrap and Poet Blouse, ready to wear looks, also inspired in part by my transition into motherhood and the birth of my first daughter Charlotte. Together, this collection makes up my dream new-mum wardrobe - bright, colourful, bold and confident, kind of like my mum’s style when she became a new mum to me in the 1980s. Perhaps one day Charlotte will look back at our awkward family photos and see these prints in the same way.
I hope this collection provokes that same sense of intrigue to explore the reef for yourself.