by Ranjani Gopalarathinam
In the Australian spirit of travel, Nic Briand and Susien Chong like to explore the cultural landscape for inspiration in their womenswear label, Lover. Though each brings a different design sensibility to their collaboration (Chong in fashion; Briand in branding), they find common ground in creating a restrained, ultra-stylish aesthetic for their label.
Taking cues from the whimsy of British fashion and the folk music revival, their spring collection titled Black Magick imagines a young woman whose idyllic sensibilities are tinged with desire to explore the unknown. "Many of the pieces we create are a play on opposites," the designers say. A simple black piping or high collar mutes the ultra-feminine shape of most dresses, while sleek tailored pants suggest humor with oversized buttons. This play on contrasts carries over in the use of fabrics as well, where lace, silk, and velvet coexist alongside sharp suiting and relaxed denim.
As if on cue, the pair, who both live and work in Sydney, cites post-punk marauders Joy Division as a key influence in this collection. "We wanted to explore the darker side of femininity, the seduction of beauty and how someone can be so compelled by it," Chong explains. The productive tension between the two designers is what spawns such interesting and imaginative pieces. "Think of us as the same album, different songs," they joke.
Lover is available at Elizabeth Charles (639 1/2 Hudson Street, 212-243-3201) and I Heart (262 Mott St, 212-219-9265) in New York as well as at Satine (8117 W 3rd St, 323-655-2142) and American Rag (150 S LA Brea Ave, 323-935-3154) in Los Angeles.
The indie, Aussie-born label Lover takes cues from British fashion and folk music in their new collection of romantic womenswear, Black Magick.