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Beyond the Bale : June August 2009
June – August 2009 Beyond the Bale AustrAliAn fAshion week 21 Gary Bigeni shapes wool into his future As one Sydney designer takes on the global fashion market, he is showing that Merino wool can be worn in all seasons A selection of gary bigeni’s designs from his spring/summer 2009-10 collection. gary bigeni By Rowena Robertson which to create his unique designs. As a result of being a finalist in this F year’s l’oréal Melbourne fashion festival (lMff) Designer Award, presented by woolmark and supported by Vogue, Gary has been working with Awi and Adelaidebased wool-sourcing company Michell 1870 (a division of Michell Pty ltd) to develop new handles and colours for Merino wool which can be incorporated into his designs. “i look at Merino wool as a timeless fabric. i think it’s a really beautiful natural fibre,” Gary says. “it’s the kind of fabric you can use in any season – winter or summer, now, tomorrow or five or 10 years from now. that’s what i see as the beauty of the fabric – longevity in terms of the quality. And, as time goes on, there will be even more weights available that are suitable for both our climate and international climates.” indeed the fact that Merino wool comes in different weights and can be worn in all seasons, not just winter, is a message Gary is trying to get out to fashion buyers and their customers. And he seems to be getting through – the new weights, as well as the new tones, proved a hit when Gary was making his or sydney fashion designer Gary Bigeni, wool is the ideal fabric with appointment rounds this season. And with the increasing availability of Merino, he can only see expansion and progress. “the fact that it’s an Australian-made product is also really important to me,” he says. A 2002 graduate of east sydney technical College, Gary has now been “doing his own thing” for five years – basically a one-man show employing no other staff. Gary’s designs are characterised by innovative shapes and silhouettes. his spring/summer 2009-10 collection, showcased at rosemount Australian fashion week in April, shows off the versatility of Merino wool and his ability to use it imaginatively. Gary used ‘sabine’, a lightweight 150gm, 100 per cent wool jersey from Michell 1870 for the collection, which features tops that can be worn several ways, high-waisted wide-legged pants, and singlet dresses and jackets, in classic black and specially dyed dusty grey and lilac. Gary finds Merino wool easy to work with – “it drapes beautifully and it’s got good give” – and his sense of wool’s timelessness and versatility is reflected in his customer demographic … in that there is no specific demographic. “i know that people expect you to have an age bracket (for customers) but i find key poIntS l Gary is working with AWI and Michell 1870 to develop new textures and colours for Merino wool l Gary used a lightweight 150gm 100 per cent wool jersey for his spring/ summer 2009-10 collection l His designs are stocked in boutiques around Australia and overseas “ I look At MerIno Wool AS A tIMeleSS FAbrIC. I thInk It’S A reAlly beAutIFul nAturAl FIbre.” – gAry bIgenI it hard,” he says. “i just like to appeal to a lot of different women. A lot of my pieces are off-the-body, but also allow you to belt them in and want a bit more of a waistline. so different pieces apply to different women and different shapes.” Gary Bigeni’s designs are stocked in boutiques in most Australian capitals and in some regional areas, as well as in new Zealand. he is also sold in Ck tang in singapore, American rag in los Angeles and harvey nichols in hong kong. More information: www.garybigeni.com
April May 2009
September November 2009