Tell us about the new Witchery collection. What are the key pieces? What makes it different to recent collections? This season we see a shift towards vivid colour and feminine silhouettes. Bold prints are always prevalent in our collections and this season we herald beautiful floral prints, as well as sophisticated monochromatic options. Our scallop detail dress in red is an online exclusive and will be a stand out during event season. This collection differs from recent offerings as we have really embraced bold colour, and have heightened the focus on quality fabrications and exclusive prints.
What was your inspiration this season? Based on the importance of print design, this season all things botanical inspired us greatly. From apparel through to accessories, floral motifs are key and a leading design reference. Inspiration was taken from nature, botanical imagery and of course the beautiful print designs we illustrate in house.
What was the process of making this collection? We generally start with colour palettes in advance, building our view of the season. From here we work into inspirational mood boards, key outfit references and into fabrics that will inspire the collection. The design team work collaboratively on building the outfits, taking into consideration our customer, her lifestyle and runway trends we feel will resonate with her. Designs are illustrated, we discuss fabrics, and the cut on the body and start to work with our technicians in bringing it alive.
What are your favourite pieces and why? This season I love a bold and dynamic silhouette. As an example we have an off shoulder dress in September’s collection in luminous yellow – it’s the structure within the fabric that I feel is very progressive and new, this coupled with the bold colour makes it a spring summer must have. Similarly the structure of this has been replicated into a sculptured balloon sleeve blouse that again creates new form on the body – sculptural and very much talking to what the season is about.
Tell us about the history of the Witchery brand? Witchery was founded in South Australia in 1970 by Robert Matthews. The brand was acquired by Peter Lew in 1987, who turned Witchery into the retail destination it is today. We launched concession stores in David Jones in 2004, and in 2011 launched in the South African market. One year later we were acquired by the Country Road Group, and have been part of the CRG family ever since.
Who is the Witchery woman? What does she like to do? What is her style and personality? The Witchery woman is highly fashion conscious; she is a confident, savvy shopper who is often willing to take sartorial risks and try various new styles. Our customer loves to look feminine and gravitates towards prints, patterns and feminine shades. She is sophisticated and loves quality, classic pieces with a fashion-forward twist.
How do you design for the varying Witchery women across your global markets? We monitor and are inspired by international runway trends, and therefore ensure all of our products have a global feel that will appeal to women the world over.
How does Witchery stay ahead in the fast paced, ever changing fashion landscape? We always try to remain reactive to the fast-paced nature of fashion. I think the frequency with which we release our collections helps greatly in that department, as every month there is something new for our customer to shop. We love to provide our customers with new products regularly as we know the Witchery woman is always looking for the latest style. We are also embracing a seasonless approach towards our collections to cater to the buy-now, wear-now expectation of our customers.
What are the big fashion trends you are seeing in Australia? Colour is one of the defining trends for the entire season and it’s this that will resonate with the Witchery customer. Femininity is big and this carries through both apparel and accessories. Within apparel it carries through silhouette and fabric and in accessories through colour and design. Lace and fabrics with a heightened level of interest in texture is another major trend that transcends the season and provides a unique point of view for the brand.
What have been the biggest changes in women’s wear in recent years? I think the move to a truly global market has meant a change in the way we do things. We continue to focus on our core customer, as always, whilst also thinking about a seasonless approach to fashion.
What is on your radar for summer 2017/8? Unique and point of difference products are on my radar. Design is so important today and having a unique position for our customer is key. Working with the design team to bring this to life is the inspiring opportunity I have.
What is one item every woman should have in their wardrobe? A well cut blazer. It’s one of the most important pieces within a wardrobe. It is as easily styled with a cocktail dress (caped over the shoulders), as it is with a pair of jeans and a tee for the weekend. It will be one of the hardest working pieces within your assortment.
How does Witchery’s location influence/inspire the brand’s identity and seasonal designs? We are an Australian brand, and we are very proud of it! I think being an Australian brand, and often having to cater to warmer climates means that we have the flexibility to play with bold colour and interesting prints. Warm weather and bold outfitting practically go hand in hand.
Where do you find creative inspiration? We often look to international runways for new trends and inspirations. Travelling abroad and immersing yourself in the art world are also great ways to find inspiration; it’s fascinating what you can discover.