Dockers fashion secrets spill into CBD
Matthew Pavlich and the Fremantle Dockers are dressed by Daniel Hechter.
That collective sigh emitted when AFL players file into a bar could soon be a thing of the past. Not, of course, from the ladies - the players’ biceps aren’t getting any smaller - but from the men, who know their chances of getting any female attention walked out the same door as the players walked in.
This levelling out of the playing field comes in the form of Daniel Hechter, the French fashion house responsible for dressing the Fremantle Dockers. The brand is opening its first Australian stores, with a site locked away on St George’s Terrace.
At odds with the format other international brands follow - in which stores open first in Sydney and then spread east - Daniel Hechter stores will open simultaneously in Perth and Melbourne and then look to Sydney.
Tanguy Mulliez is the man responsible for spreading the brand around the world and says Perth was first chosen because of a gap in boutique menswear.
Upon his visit to Perth this week, Mr Mulliez was so excited about its prospects that he decided to open the Melbourne store at the same time.
"Perth is an important city and we feel there's room in the market and gap to fill in, in terms of boutique service," he said.
"When we talk about branded casual wear as well as real formalwear, there is a need and there is room in the market."
It's Dockers' policy that Daniel Hechter suits are worn at all functions, but it's even become the personal suit of choice for some players; Aaron Sandilands donned a Daniel Hechter suit for his wedding.
Mr Mulliez says the Australian stores will be more relaxed to fit Australia's sporty lifestyle.
"Every market is different," Mr Mulliez said.
"There is a difference in the weather between every country, between the way some companies have to dress more or less formally.
"Australia is a more sporty country than those in Europe. Australians dress more casually, but it can be luxury casual. Australians may be looking for more technical fabrics in garments because they're going to be more active.
The Brookfield Place site was favoured over other seemingly fitting locations, like King Street, because of its architectural merit. The store will join high-end Australian menswear label M. J. Bale in its new Brookfield home.
"It's a nice location in terms of building and architecture," Mr Mulliez said.
"Mr Hechter has always been a fan of architecture and art. And it’s also a nice environment with the surrounding stores."
And as for his impressions of Australia in general?
"It's an open-minded country and also relaxed. Even through the country is on an island, far from Europe and a lot of countries, Australia seems open to the rest of the world."