Australian-born Kym Ellery – whose parents are Kiwis – says the Ellery optical eyewear collection has been a long time in the making. “It’s something I’ve often thought about over the years and I’m quite ambitious with wanting to launch new categories all the time.” Quite ambitious might be an understatement: this year alone Ellery and her team made the decision to include denim, footwear and jewellery in her autumn/winter ’16/17 Paris Fashion Week show. “It’s been a big year for us,” exclaims an energised designer.
Given her enthusiasm for expanding her brand and the fact she’s done sunglasses before, it might surprise some fans that she’s waited so long to dabble in the world of optical eyewear. “It’s something I’m glad we didn’t do earlier and that we waited until we found the right partner,” Ellery explains. Collaborating with powerhouse eyewear retailer Specsavers, Ellery has launched a collection of 14 optical glasses and six prescription sunglasses. “They’re such experts with what they do,” the designer says. “It’s been a pleasure to work with the product development team and learn about what makes a good pair of glasses and also create a collection that embodies the Ellery aesthetic.”
While designing comes naturally to the gifted creative, who was only the third Australian to be accepted onto the Paris Fashion Week schedule, she admits the process was very different to creating fashion collections. “It’s a lot more technical; they’re difficult 3D objects to create, everything has to be perfect right down to the tiniest measurements,” Ellery explains.
Ellery, who has been wearing reading glasses since Year 12 at high school, wanted to create a collection of modern classics that would fit a broad variety of face shapes, ages and genders, so to help her do that, she turned to the silver screen for inspiration. “We looked at some iconic cinema personas: Susan Sarandon in Thelma & Louise, Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, and thought about what they might wear.” Much like Ellery womenswear, the end result features a quite neutral colour palette with metal accents.
As for what’s next for Ellery, much of her focus is revolving around the fashion capital of the world, Paris. “It’s awesome, it’s really great. We’ve just moved there; we’re setting up an office to complement our Australian office,” she says. It’s not all work though; Ellery’s currently hunting for a new apartment. “My apartment the moment is in the 2nd [arrondissement], which I love, it’s my favourite area. It’s so central and buzzy. But I want something with lots of light, big windows, high ceilings, a big wardrobe and a spare bedroom for guests. I want somewhere I can call home,” she enthuses.
With so much on her plate, one might assume the designer is ready to put her feet up for a month or so, but instead the designer is gearing up for her upcoming Paris Fashion Week show. When MiNDFOOD Style spoke with her, Ellery was just nine weeks away from its October 4 show (“After Chanel and before Valentino”). “What I can tell you is that I haven’t done it yet, and it’s going to be awesome,” a surprisingly calm Ellery says with a laugh.
But by the sounds of it her spring/summer ’16/17 collection is coming along nicely. “We’re working with Chanel’s factory to make some new jewellery, which is exciting. The footwear is being done at the moment: it’s all tough silhouettes for the runway and some cool open-toe sandal shapes.” As for the main affair, the clothing, Ellery says it’s about half complete. “It’s actually a bit more colourful for us, I’ve used more fabrics,” she reveals. Collection complete or not, Ellery seems ready to take on the world. “It’s our third time on the [Paris] schedule and I’ve got the best team. It’s so exciting to just be like ‘here we are’. I’m pumped, I’m ready.”
The new Ellery eyewear range is exclusive to Specsavers. Find out more here.