Known for effortless glamour, tough femininity and elegance, Aje is the newest Australian designer label to join the Myer family and we couldn’t be more excited.
With a unique design signature that is epitomised by luxurious fabrics and embellishment, Edwina Robinson and Adrian Norris have made a habit of creating exquisite pieces that women fall over themselves for. From printed silks to intricately beaded gowns, Aje is all about timeless style and a contrast between the tough and the feminine. We caught up with Edwina to hear more about the Aje story so far…
MYER: Tell us a little about yourselves and how Aje was born?
Edwina Robinson: We founded Aje in 2007 – Adrian and I are lifelong friends and we’ve always shared a similar creative vision. Growing up in the Noosa area and then moving to Sydney, we were both influenced by the rugged coast of Australia mixed with the sophisticated glamour of the city. Adrian spent time in Europe, training at a prestigious Venetian art school and when he returned I had just finished my role as fashion stylist for Russh magazine to concentrate on personal projects. The timing was perfect – we regrouped and Aje was born.
M: You’ve worked with some incredible women for the Aje Report. Who is the Aje girl?
ER: The Aje Report is a creative outlet that we’re incredibly proud of – each month we feature an inspirational Australian female as our cover girl, and curate the latest pieces from our collections in an online magazine format. We also include brand interviews and profiles on fellow creatives, and have been lucky to work with fashionable ladies including Cheyenne Tozzi, Samara Weaving, and of course Jodi Anasta for our latest issue in partnership with Myer.
The Aje girl is an elegant, strong-minded, well-travelled female with a love of fabrication and design – she is more interested in fabric integrity and how a garments looks and feels when worn rather than being trend-obsessed. She travels regularly, appreciates innovative design across all aspects of life, and doesn’t take herself too seriously!
M: Which designers have influenced you both?
ER: I am a huge fan of French culture – even before I met my french fiancé – and the houses of Valentino, Givenchy and Balenciaga have a huge influence on me, not just for their designs but for the overall brand experience. We also adore the Hermès heritage and Ralph Lauren for his luxurious textural simplicity in clothing and homewares. We’re also very influenced by art and composition – Russian painter and art theorist Wassily Kandinsky is one of our favourites along with fellow Australian Brett Whiteley.
M: How and where do you both draw inspiration?
ER: As designers we delve into the exotic and the familiar for our inspiration – from the ocean-lapped shores of Australia to tribal Africa, Ancient Greece and most recently monastic life. Travel and exploration always plays a huge part in our creative process.
M: With less than 4 weeks until Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA), how’s the show prep coming along?
ER: It’s always a crazy time… we spend over six months preparing for our MBFWA showcase, and even in our fourth year we still feel the nerves! Right now we’re working with our creative team on the runway design and show styling and from the beginning of April we’ll be focusing on last minute preparations. Lots of late nights and packed days coming up but we’re feeling excited to be involved in the 20th year of MBFWA, especially as we officially announce our relationship with Myer.
M: How important is the ‘set’ or runway installation when presenting a collection?
ER: It is absolutely integral – the runway backdrop and theme tells the story of the collection to the audience and has to complement the aesthetic of the collection. Adrian and I are detail-driven to almost obsession about our runway installations. We really want to bring people into the Aje world so we spend months planning each tiny element and we’re always very ambitious with what we want to create – previous shows have seen us transform the Paspaley boutique in to an underwater world, and build an African safari installation with sound effects, tribal interiors and stationary models.
M: What can we expect to see in this collection?
ER: Our SS15/16 collection is titled ‘Vihara’ – literally meaning ‘a secluded place in which to walk’. We were inspired by the elegance and pared-back beauty of monastic life. It’s quite a shift from our previous themes – which range from American 1920s explorer Osa Johnson to ancient Greek ceramics – and is all about interpreting the colours, shapes and textures of secular life into modern and beautiful clothing. This is also our first season of Aje swimwear, and as a label with roots close to the ocean we are so excited to finally be bringing swim and resort to our customers.
M: What current trends are you both loving?
ER: As designers, we devote our collection’s aesthetic completely to the theme rather than being influenced by current trends. For this season, we wanted to take a break from the busy, frantic modern world and escape within the monastery walls where life is tranquil and slow-paced. This is echoed in the effortless and ethereal designs in the SS15/16 collection.
M: What is the Aje design signature?
ER: We are completely dedicated to artisan techniques and raw unique materials; hand-loomed and hand-woven fabrications, hand-sequinned embellishments and hand-painted prints. Aje creates pieces which offer accessible luxury and we bridge the gap between effortless Australian style and European elegance.
Aje will be available in Myer Melbourne, Sydney, Chadstone, Bondi, Brisbane, Perth and Indooroopilly stores and online at Myer.com.au from August 2015.
Jodi Wears: LOOK 1: The Desert Diamond Gown | LOOK 2: Desert Diamond Top & Desert Diamond Skirt & Roxette leather jacket