Icy Ling, CEO and Co-Founder of IC & Co

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11 May 2022

“It is natural to use earth as a canvas. I think of earth as a sculpture in space.”  — Lita Albuquerque

SYDNEY, MAY 11th, 8:30am: Created by Co-Founders Adrian Norris and Edwina Forest in 2008, esteemed Australian Fashion House, Aje, proudly presents their Resort 23 collection at The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

In an ode to the eternal dance between human, landscape and art, ‘Sculptura’ encapsulates a place where art, the body and nature entwine. An exploration of the inherent interplay between form and space, the collection is curated through a desire to both co-exist and create with the landscape, and manifests itself in a melange of tonal textures and unexpected shapes that defy traditional forms; underscored by a cacophony of coloured blooms gracing minimal and maximal silhouettes alike.

A deepening of the House’s perennial reverence for nature and art, Creative Directors Edwina Forest and Adrian Norris sought inspiration in the philosophies of emerging sculptors, drawing from their sensorial interpretations of the world around them. Beginning with the bursting hues found in the vast landscape art installations of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the genesis continued with the wave-like fields of Maya Lin, the painterly botanicals of Simone Bodmer-Turner and Emma Kohlmann, and the sinuous stoneware of Malene Knudsen.

This assemblage of influences informed a collection of contrasts which ran across forty looks, showcasing the breadth of Aje’s ready-to-wear, footwear, accessories and jewellery categories. This took form through sculpturesque silhouettes with textural pleating; dramatic draping with unexpected cutouts; sheer overlays bedecked with glass beading, cornelli lace boasting interwoven metalwork: each element working to both reveal and conceal the body. Asymmetrical accents, tubular trims and radical ruffles adorn hemlines, sleeves and bodices to create voluminous shapes that tease the eye. Signature raw edge accents cameo throughout, most notably on hemlines and as latticework embellishing miniskirts for an elegantly undone effect.

“As a fashion house, our inherent desire to create and coexist with nature runs deep into the heart of Aje. For Resort 23, which we titled 'Sculptura', we explore the ways in which sculptors interpret the natural world around them through their creations. I loved the way the earth becomes both the inspiration and subject of their art, inviting the eye to appreciate form and form’s interaction with space. It translated so naturally into the designs, with the body presenting as both canvas and sculpture at once.” — Edwina Forest, Co-Founder and Creative Director

This season’s prints came to life in bold, hand-created florals and broad, freeform brushstrokes, while vibrant fringing on epaulettes, hemlines and denim submerged the body in colour. Accessories exude a similarly heightened aura, with woven clutches and beaded mini bags elevated further through tubular metallic trims and hand-cast chain straps. Pared-back metal necklaces and mobile earrings completed the collection; forming minimalist objets d’art unto themselves.

New season Aje x Local Supply Sunglasses also accessorised select runway looks, with the collaboration’s signature Square silhouettes recreated with encrusted crystals, embellishing frames of ecru and citrus with luminescent lenses for a heightened statement.

Bringing the collection to life, Aje partnered with leading London-based, international creative event agency, Studio Boum, who are celebrated for realising experiences that connect people through contemporary narratives. The design concept saw the landscape brought indoors with design details emanating a grand, singular gesture of tonality and materiality, creating an intimate and soft environment to perfectly hero the Resort 23 collection. The creative evolved this idea into a meandering runway, evoking a serene landscape which guests and collection inhabited throughout the show.

“The last two years have provided us the unique opportunity to expand our growth in Australia to 22 Aje and 9 AJE ATHLETICA boutiques across Australia and New Zealand while servicing 75 countries internationally through wholesale and ecommerce. Our show collaborations with stylist Ashlee Barrett-Bourmier and Studio Boum, alongside music by Dan Lywood, are organic continuations of our focus on global.” — Adrian Norris, Co-Founder and CEO

Aje Friends of the Brand, media and key industry were welcomed into a cocoon-like space where Aje brand collaborator, Yvonne Weldon performed a Welcome To Country. Attendees of note included: The Honourable Julie Bishop, Aje collaborator and Actress Krew Boylan, personalities such as Renee Bargh, Erin Holland, Kate Waterhouse, Rey Vakili, Rozalia Russian, Ksenija Lukich, Jessie Arifien, Malaan Ajang, Jessica Pecararo, Nawal Sari, Izi Simundic, Chantel Monaghan and Camille Olsen-Ormandy, among others.

Defined by a dedication to raw beauty, the hair and beauty look envisioned by Creative Director Edwina Forest in collaboration with Hair Director, John Pulitano, and Beauty Director, Isabella Schimid, was subtly tailored to reflect each model’s natural features; allowing real skin, soft tints of colour and undone textures to take centre stage and complement the vibrancy of the collection.

In a desire to create a sense of structure contrasted with a touch of vulnerability, Aje partnered with sustainable, kind and clean hair care line, O&M, which creates products formulated with native Australian ingredients. Led by Hair Director John Pulitano of Headcase Hair and finessed using ghd tools, tresses for Resort 23 were styled to mimic the effect of salt water on the strands, with a sleek, wet look commencing at the crown before descending to slightly drier ends — echoing the aesthetic of having just emerged from the sea.

“Essentially, you're taking the natural texture of the hair and enhancing the strands with a product that gives it a super-sleek yet relaxed finish.” — John Pulitano, Hair Director

Prior to makeup application, the models’ faces were primed using Sunday Riley to create a smooth, luminous canvas for the cosmetics to subtly enhance. A curation of hydrating products were used to prep the skin, including Sunday Riley’s cult-favourite Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment, a pioneering serum which naturally brightens and adds radiance to the complexion for that unmistakable glow.

To create the face of Resort 23, Beauty Director and longtime Aje collaborator Isabella Schimid applied a touch of subtle colour with products by Flavedo and Albedo, an emerging Australian beauty brand dedicated to high performance makeup with plastic-free packaging. Delivering a soft dewiness and wash of colour, the models’ eyes were defined with the brand’s Bright Stripe Eyeliner in Chinotto and Gold, a super-soft wax-based pencil that delivers high-pigment hues in a waterproof gel formula.

Inspired by the tonality and texture of the runway, vegan and cruelty-free nail polish brand Gloss & Co tailored the nails of Aje models in the long-lasting shades of Lullaby and Dreams; both soft sand tones that reflect the earthen colours present in the ‘Sculptura’ collection.

Beyond fresh skin and slick tresses, the look of ‘Sculptura’ was created by partnering with creative collaborators who are equally committed to the same shared values as Aje.

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