Kym Ellery would love to dress Brigitte Macron, but not Melania Trump

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Perth-born designer Kym Ellery has collaborated for a second time on a collection of namesake glasses for Specsavers, after her first were a sell-out.

She recently sat down with Fairfax Media at her Ellery boutique in Paddington, Sydney, to speak about relocating to Paris, why she would love to dress France’s first lady Brigitte Macron, but not US First Lady Melania Trump, what happens when Beyonce steps out in one of your wares, and plans for the future with her French beau, model and musician, Maxime Sokolinski.


Street style at Fashion Week Sydney

Amy Croffey chats to the most eye-catching fashionistas at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.

She’s also not best-pleased with US President Donald Trump right now: he’s “an absolute f–k-tard”.

Amy Croffey: You’ve been living in Paris the last 18 months, how is everything going for you?

Kym Ellery: Really well. I’m really enjoying Parisian life. I’m starting to improve my French and set up an office there and I’m slowly building my team in France.

It’s a [permanent] move for the time being. I miss Australia a lot sometimes, but I never expect to know what the future holds. 

Why Paris?

Europe is our biggest market with 39 per cent of our sales of Ellery, Australia is the smallest at about 5 per cent, the US is 24 per cent, Asia is 23 per cent, but most of our ready-to-wear garments are still manufactured in Australia and we’d like to continue to support the local industry for as long as we can.

We’ve launched footwear that is made in Italy, leather in France and denim in Turkey, so we are doing some categories in special regions. 

The retail climate is said to be in somewhat of a decline in Australia. Have you felt that effect?

There will always be ebbs and flows economically, but I think as long as you focus on giving people clothes that are high quality, exciting and different, and anything that elicits an emotional reaction, you will always get a positive response. 

Beyonce recently stepped out in Ellery …

She wore our top on the first outing since giving birth to twins and she posted it on Instagram. It’s funny when someone like that wears your clothes and your inbox just gets full of Google alerts. It just goes crazy. 

Certain people sell clothes and Beyonce is one of them.

We worked with [her sister] Solange previously. She wore one of our dresses for her wedding celebration. She’s awesome too.

Do you think Solange mentioned Ellery to Beyonce?

Who knows [laughs]. I’d like to think they discuss fashion. Maybe.

Who would you love to dress?

[French actor] Marion Cotillard … But I believe she is on a Dior exclusive, Oscar winners usually do, so it’s a bit harder to access them.  

Brigitte Macron is great, I think her husband [French President] Emmanuel Macron is amazing, too. They are bringing a new mindset to politics so the general public can start understanding that this left and right idea is quite archaic and that there needs to just be positive decision-making that helps countries advance.

Then on the flipside you have Donald Trump being an absolute f–k-tard. I hate him, it’s so shocking. [His politics are] regressive.

Would you dress Melania Trump?

We would probably say no to her, but you can’t stop people from buying your clothes. 

Any plans for the future, maybe to get hitched to Maxime Sokolinski?

He’s doing really well, but no plans to get married. For now I am happy settling into Paris and mastering the French tongue. My only future plan is to take a nice big holiday to Puglia, Italy, in August, and wearing my new glasses collection on the beach [laughs].

Beyonce wore an Ellery blouse for her first public appearance since giving birth to twins.

Will you get a chance to pop home to Perth and see your family this time?

No, not this trip, but I am very excited to go to Perth at Christmas time. My family come to Paris or I go to Perth. I have been able to see them more regularly in the past few years, which is good. 

[Maxime] loves Perth, he is obsessed with Perth, I had no idea he would love it so much. He kitesurfs, so he thinks it is just the best thing ever. My dad took him because he kitesurfs, too. How random is that? He sails, too, and my Dad loves sailing, so they are quite a good match.

This is your second collection of glasses with Specsavers …

It’s very exciting. The last collection was such a success, I was thrilled to be able to do a second one. 

You’ve got to give the people what they want [laughs].

What was the inspiration behind this collection?

We want to bring a freshness, something new, but also work on some of the concepts that we had in the first collection. I looked to a lot of culturally significant figures for influence, like Peggy Guggenheim [art collector, bohemian and socialite], Jerry Garcia [singer-songwriter and guitarist, formerly of the Grateful Dead], Irish Apfel​ [fashion icon], Carrie Donovan [fashion editor], Truman Capote [writer of Breakfast at Tiffany’s].

Australian model Gemma Ward is the face of the campaign again …

She looks beautiful. We have worked together a few times so she was the obvious choice, being the beautiful, accomplished, fashion icon that she is. Such a unique beauty and a cool girl being from Perth, same as me [laughs].

Some answers shortened for brevity.



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