Oroton reveals its first bag of apparel goodies at Fashion Week
She's a model and she's looking good ... clothes from Lisa Ho's collection, inspired by the Ballet Russes, at the Art Gallery of NSW yesterday. Photo: Brendan Esposito
ROSS LANE remembers his grandfather as a typical Australian male.
"Boyd [Lane] … took time for friends, golf, a drink, a real Aussie bloke," he said yesterday.
But unlike most Australian men, Boyd founded what would become the country's best-known handbag company.
Day 3: Australian Fashion Week, 2012
Industry veteran Lisa Ho presents her latest collection at the Art Gallery of NSW Sydney. Photo: brendan esposito
Boyd started Oroton in Sydney in 1938 as a company importing fabrics from Europe that later diversified into leather goods and accessories.
Seventy-four years later, Ross sat with pride in the front row yesterday as Oroton unveiled its first complete clothing collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.
"From the very beginning, Oroton was conceived as a way to bring glamour and sophistication to Australian women coming out of the Great Depression … we were starved of beautiful products at that time," said Mr Lane, the chairman of OrotonGroup.
Different direction ... Oroton launches a new apparel line with fresh colours in preppy cuts. Photo: Getty Images
Preppy pullovers came colour blocked, an ivory trench was cropped at the waist and prim pencil skirts and cosy cable knits provided options for the office and the outdoors.
Classic Oroton Glomesh bags were referenced via Glomesh trim on jackets and shirt collars and a series of sparkly cocktail dresses and miniskirts in gold and silver.
"The apparel has a little bit of mesh and sparkle because everyone has a grandma who had a [mesh] bag and that's what makes people connect with the brand," said Oroton's creative director, Ana Maria Escobar.
Since Ms Escobar was recruited to Oroton in 2008, she has revitalised the once mumsy brand with a more fashionable product mix. Under Ms Escobar's stewardship Oroton has grown to comprise more than 50 stores across Australia and New Zealand and has recently expanded into Asia.
The closest local competitors for Oroton's new apparel range will be brands such as Country Road and Sportscraft, and like those brands it is banking on public fondness for its heritage to get customers opening their wallets.
Also yesterday, Kym Ellery delivered the stand-out show of the week so far with a bravura study in draping and tailoring in a warehouse in Darlinghurst. Ellery's masterful play on volume and form, along with her attention to fabrication and finish, turned a presentation inspired by her childhood teddy bear into a very grown-up outing.
Earlier in the day, Lisa Ho presented prints, short tutu-style dresses with frothy pleated skirts and silk tulle gowns inspired by the Ballet Russes.
"The Ballet Russes really interested me because of their use of print and colour," the designer said yesterday.
Prints yesterday included distorted paisley, folk-influenced geometrics, palm trees and oversized hibiscus flowers.
The veteran designer enjoys strong retail success, reflected by the presence of the chief executive of David Jones , Paul Zahra, in the front row.