The pretty creations of Mrs Press are a rare species, I guess you could call a...
The pretty creations of Mrs Press are a rare species, I guess you could call them, of visual addictions that vintagely inclined eyes will go a little crazy for, and those otherwise obsessed will find a special place on a padded hanger for designer Clare Press' structured inspirations. As a VOGUE Veteran, we can all rest assured that Clare knows her stuff in the way a dress should fall, the cut, the colour, and the vibe, but I have to say that what started out as a hobby in thrifting has come a lot further than any hobby I've ever seen! I'm loving the soft earthy tones used with harder lines (crushing on that cape in a big way).
And, might I add, I'm quite enjoying the contrast of structured dresses and Miss Zanita's trademark soft light.
Hi Clare! How’s it going?
“Well, we’re crazy busy in the studio trying to finish the new samples for next summer, while finishing the actual collection for winter in time to deliver to our stores. An intense few weeks! There’s always this mad cross over this time of year, and again in August/September. Me so tired…even though I think there’s a bit of me that loves the pressure. That said, there is also a bit of me that thinks, ‘C’mon, it’s still 28 degrees out there. Why do you need your winter coat drop now? Give me a break!’
How did Mrs Press start out?
“I was working at Aus Vogue as an editor and started taking apart and fixing up vintage frocks as a hobby. Then I started designing my own and a new career was born.”
What would you say is the Mrs Press vibe?
“Elegance. I am obsessed with that word. I’m also a fan of grace, chic and charm. These are always my buzzwords. In terms of the collection, it’s not necessarily a vintage silhouette, but there is often that sensibility there. I like the way clothes used to be made and worn before jeans and T-shirts took over.”
I’ve been loving the sophisticated flirtiness in your latest collections – where did your inspiration come from?
“Vintage deliciousness. Anything from a vintage fashion picture to a vintage garment, or a scene in an old movie, or the buttons up the back of a 1930s wedding dress. And yes, sometimes the costumes in Agatha Christie’s Poirot…I think I was born in the wrong era. As for flirty, well that’s one of the joys of beautiful clothes – I love the idea of clothes giving you confidence, of making your feel desirable. I don’t go in for clothes as camouflage or as a way of fitting in. Stand out, I say!”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
“I’d love to see Mrs. Press stocked overseas and to open more boutiques in Australia, perhaps one in Melbourne and one in Brisbane. That’s the dream. And I’d like to have written at least two more books – my first is out through Penguin later this year. I’d also hope that in half a decade we’d have renovated our horrible kitchen but don’t hold your breath…”
6. Which is your all time favourite Mrs Press piece?
“Perhaps the 1950s-style draped bodice ‘Violet’ dress from last summer. I still get goose bumps over this dress.”
Who’s your favourite style icon of the moment?
“Oh, too many. For W’11, I was thinking about 1940s screen sirens: Joan Crawford, Lauren Bacall, Hedy Lamarr, and also socialites from the same era: there is the most incredible photo of Slim Keith from around 1945 in this scarlet tuxedo jacket and man-style pants. It looks like 70s Saint Laurent – she was so ahead of her time. Slim is the inspiration for my Lace Bow Dress this Winter.
For next season, I am channelling Jerry Hall and Marie Helvin in 1970s Norman Parkinson shots for Vogue and Carmen Miranda – have you seen her in the Busby Berkley musical The Gang’s All Here? It’s hysterical. Look it up on Youtube – the dancing with the bananas is genius.”
What are bloggers to you?
“Inspiration, information, I am completely obsessed with blogs. I love Zanita (she took our look book photos this season) and Liberty London Girl and Daydream Lily and This Is Glamorous, and Shine by Three of course! I blog myself and I love discovering new ones. Blogs are the new magazines.”
Our last interviewee, designer Jaye Leigo of Somedays Lovin’, would like to know: What did you wear to your Year 12 Formal?
“I grew up in Yorkshire and the formal thing is different in England, but we did have what was called a Leaving Ball, and it was supposed to be black tie but we were all 17 and this was the 1990s so it was more Madonna meets Paula Abdul. It was basically an excuse to get very drunk at home before we arrived on stolen gin. My mum made me a strapless velvet mini dress with a load of scary burgundy faux taffeta ruffles on the skirt and I teamed it with lots of hair spray and a bad girl snarl.”
And last of all, what’s a random question would you guys like to ask the next interviewee?
“Tell us about your biggest hair mistake.”
Thanks Clare! Be sure to check out more of her work right HERE.
Aside: today was my first day of uni! Amazingly daunting. I'm now so exhausted! It's all a bit foreign to me at the moment - I'm waiting for myself to make 4000 mistakes - so we'll see how it all goes!