In converstation with Rozalia Russian & Elliot Garnaut

On day one of Vogue Festival, our Contributing Editor Sharmonie catches up with Australian fashion stylist Elliot Garnaut and social media star Rozalia Russian.

Elliot, Rozalia and Rebecca Harding (wearing Stephanie Chehade) at Vogue Festival

Sharmonie: For me, I loved Issey Miyake’s bounce moments and Dion Lee’s deeper foray into more masculine lingerie. What were your highlights of the Spring Summer 2020 Ready-to-Wear shows?

Elliot: I absolutely loved the Louis Vuitton shows and Virgil for Spring 2020. It was one that really stood out. Obviously exactly what you just said from Dion Lee, we’re seeing so much more of this unisex uniform for both women and men with modern tailoring. The trend has really stood the test of time over the last couple of years, and I really liked how the Louis Vuitton show broke it down into really structured separates. Usually, when you think of tailoring you think of a suit, but they broke it down with and with an array of colours like pastel lavenders and pinks and yellows. Every element of the tailoring sphere was broken down in the show. I think that trend has really catapulted throughout all the collections. We’re seeing utilitarian dressing now. I think that what was once a uniform is now actually extremely fashionable. The irony is not lost on me, because obviously uniforms are to keep people looking the same and in line, and yet they’ve become one of the key trends of the spring/summer season.

Rozalia: I would say my highlight was actually Alexander McQueen. They’re using so much leather, and for me leather is the 90s and is, like you said, at the moment I’m opting for more of a masculine style of dressing.

Elliot: My point proven! (laughs)

Rozalia: McQueen used leather but softened it with lace. It’s just playing around with different fabrics and materials.

Elliot: It is massive at the moment, the real juxtaposition between linens and cottons and laces and layers, and the traditional rules of how one was meant to design a garment in cohesion has kind of become non-existent in a way. I keep saying that SS20 is where the rules went out the window. It was just a free for all, it was kind of like throwing paint at a canvas and seeing what artwork is produced.

Sharmonie: Which new season pieces have you been obsessing over and have been needing to put in your wardrobe?

Elliot: It’s actually what you mentioned before, we’re obsessed with the Dion Lee corsetry. I just made Rozalia buy one actually. We like to support Aussie designers where we can. We’re really lucky to work with them on a loan basis, but Rozalia does like to buy pieces where she can, and they do become collectors items. That Dion white corset really is a timeless piece that you can layer or wear by itself. We’re obsessed with the corsetry, we love it!

Rozalia: I’m actually wearing a Dion Lee piece on the speaking panel we’re doing tomorrow and I’ve paired it back with another amazing Austraian designer, Viktoria & Woods. I’m a huge fan of Viktoria & Woods, I find their clothing so well tailored and timeless, and they’re just pieces that you add to your wardrobe and wear constantly. As Elliot said, we definitely love supporting Australian brands and we’re very lucky to have such amazing talent here. Especially in Adelaide, today at the Vogue lunch I wore these beautiful pants by Stephanie Chehade.

Sharmonie: She’s so great.

Rozalia: I know, the tailoring is unbelievable. We’re so lucky to have so many talented designers here in Australia.

Elliot: Again, back to those key SS20 pieces, it’s an update on what would have been your classic in the past. Everyone has an LBD, everyone has a black blazer, but it’s the contemporary adaptation of those pieces. In SS20, the cargo pant is back with a vengeance, the utilitarian safari jacket is back, though a little less out-of-Africa and a little more out-of the-army. It’s not so whimsical, it’s got guts and gusto.

Rozalia at the Mayfair, Adelaide

Sharmonie: What are your tips for incorporating these new trends and pieces from SS20 into the wardrobe on a smaller budget?

Elliot: You don’t have to go and buy designer clothing new, you could go online and find a re-seller. I always advise people go to High End or look on eBay or go to the Camberwell Markets in Melbourne, though I know we’re in Adelaide, but you can find amazing bargains.

Sharmonie: Actually, people in Adelaide often go on shopping trips to Melbourne.

Elliot: Oh, great! You can find amazing pieces there out the boot of a car, you can find pieces you would never think you’d find in a shopping centre carpark at 6am on a Sunday morning. But also high street brands do take influence from the international brands on the runways – I’m looking at Rozalia right now in a Cotton On singlet top that I told her to buy! (laughs)

Rozalia: I think it’s all about mixing high street and high fashion together. I will wear and amazing pair of Dion Lee pants that I’ve splurged on, yet I’ve just gone to Cotton On and cleared them out of their $10 ribbed singlets.

Elliot: Ribbed tanks are the best thing ever!

Rozalia: I bought them in every single colour. You don’t have to wear designer head-to-toe, and I think when you do mix and match, you actually show your style more. You’ve actually taken the time to think about your outfits rather than go to a store and buy whatever is on the mannequin. Elliot and I always say that there are no rules, just have fun and mix and match.

Elliot at the Mayfair, Adelaide

Sharmonie: Who or what are you most excited to see at Vogue Festival?

Elliot: Funnily enough, it’s already happened – I was most excited about lunch today. Edwina McCann was doing a keynote speech at lunch, and it was just really nice to see how much it meant to a key publication to be here in Adelaide. I think it’s really amazing for the city, and a city that has harboured such incredible design talent, from Paolo Sebastian to Couture+Love+Madness. And, even for me, I’m the fashion ambassador for the Victoria Racing Club, and Sylvy Earl, for me, is arguably one of the best milliners in the country. It was so exciting to see what Edwina had to say at lunch today, and also actually getting to meet some of these designers who I work with all the time.

Sharmonie: That leads onto my next question – have you noticed any designers or Adelaide talent that we should know about?

Elliot: To me, Paolo Sebastian is arguably one of the most incredible couture designers globally. Australia would be such a small market share for him, and I was at Paris Couture Week in July and I went to his presentation – it was breathtaking. It is such an amazing thing for South Australia to have a global design phenomenon still design and manufacture every garment in his atelier in Adelaide. To me, that is just out of this world stuff. I think that he is no longer one to watch, but is actually an industry leader.

Rozalia: And for me, I’ve been a long-time lover of C/MEO Collective, Keepsake, and Acler – they’re such great everyday brands that I have in my wardrobe and wear every day. They’re affordable, and you can always find something, whether it is for a wedding or a garden party or just something just to fill in, like denims or t-shirts.

See Elliot and Rozalia on the Voices of Vogue Festival panel
Friday 18 October, 5pm
Rundle Mall