Textiles, Innovation & 33 POETS
When he visited Perth some years back to attend the Perth Fashion Festival, international fashion illustrator, Vogue contributor and visiting Professor at the London College of Fashion, David Downton said how taken he was with the originality and design talent of local label 33 POETS. Its designer, Rebecca Paterson had just wowed the crowd at the Perth Fashion Festival with her gothic street wear collection paraded to a deconstructed cover of Nirvana’s Smells like Teen Spirit.
Born a rebel, Rebecca Paterson has cemented her reputation for unique, innovative and experimental design work as one of Australia’s leading counter-culture fashion practitioners. Her designs have been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the National Gallery of Victoria and Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.
Respected for her knowledge of and willingness to experiment with textiles, Paterson led the way when she was one of the first to incorporate text into her designs more than two decades ago. An artist who moved into the world of fashion design, Paterson is considered an expert in Shibori, the Japanese method of manual fabric dyeing. Having learnt the technique, Paterson then worked with the renowned Japanese textile engineer, Junichi Arai, who worked with Issey Miyake. She was instrumental in having Shibori introduced into the fashion curriculum at Edith Cowan University. Conversant also with Bandhani, an ancient dyeing techinque that involves plucking the fabric with fingernails, Paterson also works with the Rabari tribe of north west India, who manually embroider her garments.
A slow fashion advocate, Paterson’s work is as far from the “cookie cutter” cliches of fashion as you can get. Her designs have always been unique, innovative and carefully crafted. The late Bonnie English, the famed authority on Australian fashion, had much to say about Paterson. While this original and rare creative has received plaudits from The Australian fashion industry and beyond, it seems Western Australia might not have been paying sufficient attention to the rare gem shining in their own backyard.
Her Delphic Oracle collection was a highlight when it was shown at the Perth Fashion Festival. It was showcased to the sounds of Nirvana, along with 2 Cellos version of AC/DC hit Thunderstruck. Paterson’s remarkable runway was taken to Beijing where she received a standing ovation. From backstage to runway, here’s a snapshot of 33 POETS’ very original grunge couture collection, Delphic Oracle.
Behind the Scenes Photography: Dimitra Koriozos
Runway Photography: Stefan Gosatti