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Into the Future, With Pleasure: Gary Bigeni

Gary Bigeni is one of the first designers people point to when they’re asked to list Australia’s most defining fashion players. His collections inject a potion of innovation into classic sculptural pieces, and allow women to mesh class with style in truly perfect form – one that appears to be miles ahead of the static cardigans and maxi-dresses lying in their long-forgotten wardrobes of yesterday. If this is the future, then Gary Bigeni has presented futuristic fashion at its finest; collections that would have made the style set far and wide fast track the clock if they could have predicted them. There is an element of surprise in nearly every piece of his range, one that draws in the eye and makes it never want to leave… and forever begs the question of why it wasn’t thought of before. Such sentiment is proof that Gary Bigeni is a designer who can truly be called an artist.

If you look closely enough, you can see the influence of Helmut Lang and Rick Owens within the label, designers Gary often looked to when he was growing up. Knowing he wanted to pursue fashion at four years old, he was well into his career path at a time most people cannot even remember. But Gary says his passion was more about creating than designing fashion, which he started by making pieces of clothing for his toys. Toys became people and so goes the story of his life, one that reached a turning point upon his graduation from East Sydney in 2003.

“I was selected to do the student show at fashion week, and after that I had interest from buyers,” he says.
“I guess it was a lot of practice, learning and developing that got my foot in the door – discovering who I was as a designer and what my customer wanted.”

Gary Bigeni (the label) has been around since 2002, and has fast gained recognition from the Australian fashion industry’s most powerful influences – including Belinda Seper. Exuding a personal style which is entirely different from the clothes he delivers, Gary designs to the leading lady of his imagination.

“I have always had this image in my head of how my muse dresses; clean with a twisted element that makes her different,” he says.
“My ideas are not about trends, they are about creating an element that my customer can relate to. They can tell a story in many different ways.”

His latest collection, There Is A Pain, is a sombre nod to a lecturer who changed Gary’s life. Simon Zakka was one of Gary’s mentors for the three years he was at East Sydney and recently lost his battle with cancer. Referencing the veil with which Simon sheltered his pain and the constant optimism he radiated through it, the collection incorporates layers and panels which drape over one another and twist together on a colour panel of blues, greys, pink and black.

“[Simon] was amazing; he had the biggest smile and after I finished school we remained in close contact with each other,” reflects Gary.
“I will always feel love for him – he was a massive influence on my career and life. He taught me to never be anyone but myself.”

Great advice given that Gary is, himself, an exceptional designer. Maintaining the truth of his vision is exactly what he says will take the label into the future and guarantee its organic evolution for many future collections to come.

words: Seema Duggal


December 17, 2009 at 1:00 PM ...kate said...

i require that black dress

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