The renowned red-lipped fashion designer has announced she has terminated her employment with Factory X, 18 years after the Aussie icon began her label ‘Alannah Hill’.
Factory X Group, the business controlled by David Heeney which also produces brands including Lisa Gorman and Dangerfield, will continue to operate the 42 ‘Alannah Hill’ stores. But according to a statement released this morning, the designer will: “not design for, or have any further input into, the brand that bears her name”.
The much celebrated fashion label, that famously embraces femininity and romance, was launched in 1997 to much fanfare and immediate success. The internationally recognisable brand has been worn by celebrities including Nicole Kidman, Kylie Minogue and Taylor Swift.
But it hasn’t been an easy climb to the top for Hill. One of five children, she reportedly left home and moved to Melbourne when she was 16 and started her fashion career as a sales girl at a Chapel St fashion outlet in 1981, before eventually moving on to design clothes for the store. Sixteen years later she found a business partner and opened her first store on the same iconic Melbourne street.
Hill’s fashion empire has come a long way since then, with 14 stand-alone stores across the country, 22 concession stores in David Jones and more than 350 employees. The mother of one has also found personal bliss, having been rumoured to be engaged to musician Hugo Race of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds fame.
Often seen sporting her signature heavy eye make-up and frilly, girly fashions, Alannah said of her departure: “I am deeply saddened to make this monumental decision. I was completely devoted to my label and all that it represents to girls Australia-wide. My heart, my soul, my every little thing has been poured into creating a brand for girls who love and share my vision of ornamental, sensational and beautiful clothes. I won’t be taking a “wellearned break”, nor will I be going on safari! My dream is to continue to create fashion that radiates joy and the power of transformation, not just in fashion but in life itself. Thank you to all the wonderful people who have supported me along the way. Your dedication and love, quite sincerely, has meant the world to me.”
Rumours in the media have been circling since mid 2011 that Hill and her employers at Factory X were on rocky ground. One columnist wrote that the designer had been ‘banned from her own office’ at the company’s Abbotsford headquarters. Unfortunately Hill is yet another in a long line of Australian designers to have faced tough times in the recent economic climate, with fellow Aussie fashion designers Lisa Ho and Bettina Liano facing similar turmoil in recent months.