One of Australia’s most innovative fashion exports with her line full of voluminous silhouettes, powerful and often modest, contemporary cuts, Perth-born designer Kym Ellery has settled in Paris and is turning the archetypal fashion show format on its head. The MOD meets her at home to discuss the future of fashion, female empowerment and what modesty means to her.
A far cry from a rural childhood in her native Western Australia, 34-year-old Kym Ellery has made the move from Perth to Paris via Sydney – where the bulk of her business is still based – and been happily nesting in the city of lights for just under two years. “Yes, you could say I’m very comfortable here now,” she laughs as The MOD arrives at the door of her airy third-floor apartment in Le Marais, gesturing us in wearing a black silk robe with fluffy white feather cuffs, floor-to-ceiling linen curtains billowing behind her at sunny French windows. It’s as Parisian as it sounds, yet instantly full of informal charm while Kym takes coffee requests, serving each member of the team like a personal guest, and croissants are swapped for an order of Acai bowls (you can take the girl out of Australia). Her playlist gets turned up – an eclectic shuffle of vintage Patsy Cline to Nino Ferrer and a little old school RnB.
It’s fashion week, where Ellery is now a regular fixture on the PFW schedule, and last night she held an intimate dinner at home for friends, a close-knit group of names-to-know including Vogue Australia fashion director Christine Centenera and influencer Veronika Heilbrunner. As Kym sits down for hair and make-up next to stacks of fashion history books, biographies (Lee Radziwill takes pride of place) and guitars (possibly belonging to her French model/musician boyfriend Maxime Sokolinski), she is chatty and upbeat, glued to her phone speaking both French and English. She is disarmingly down-to-earth, describing the manic, nerve-filled pre-show day as “always the night you just don’t sleep.” Although you get the sense that she runs at this level of pace regularly, on little downtime – her tenacious, determined work ethic is well documented.