From its small-town Byron Bay origins to its evolution into a cult, industry darling, its been a big few years for St. Agni.
Starting out as a footwear designer, St. Agni more recently introduced ready to wear as a brand offering to immense success. It's vision to create refined and functional pieces that transcend seasons is the remedy we needed in a post-COVID world. An elimination of excess and instead an investment in pieces you can wear every week.
Now, the brand is at its next big milestone - its first ever Australian fashion week show. Ahead of the showcase on Friday June 4, we spoke with creative director and co-founder of St. Agni, Lara Fells who shared with us an intimate first look at what to expect. Below, Lara shares what inspired the collection and what we can expect to see next from St. Agni
Tell us about the show. What's it called?
It's called Resort '22. We have been lucky enough to have secured a spot onsite in Gallery II at Carriageworks, the venue is somewhat iconic to Fashion Week and the industrial feel really suits the collection. We jumped at the opportunity to be completely immersed within the Fashion Week experience and being on-site. We have collaborated with a few artists, Lex Williams, and Yasmin Bawa to render and recreate a set similar to that of an art gallery, I think the contemporary and modern landscape of this will work really beautifully with the organic beauty Carriageworks holds.
How does it feel to be showing at fashion week for the first time?
It’s an incredible opportunity - having St. Agni start from such humble beginnings, it was surreal to be invited to participate at Fashion Week. I think after such an unprecedented year, having the opportunity and privilege to be apart of the fashion event within the industry has made myself and the team have an even deeper appreciation for what we do and being recognised within the industry within this caliber is a huge achievement. We are extremely excited to be showcasing this year and have been joined by incredible sponsors, Mac Cosmetics, EdwardsAndCo and Face Halo, that have made the experience so seamless, it’s been exciting to work alongside other Australian Brands in a new setting.
What inspired this particular collection?
During the initial phases of designing Resort ’22 we talked about the concept of redefining what ‘event dressing’ looks like. The collection still echo’s a few signature St. Agni details, our minimalistic approach to design will always be intertwined in the brand DNA, but we have definitely introduced new considerations throughout. We explored the use of statement stripes, leaning on the French Rivera and moved through sartorial tailoring, oversized shirting while juxtaposing the generally masculine style with the intimacy & femininity of silk and delicately draped silhouettes The over arching idea and inspiration behind Resort ’22 was to create pieces that can be worn time and time again, relaxed silhouettes that seamlessly pare back and fit in to the modern wardrobe.
Do you see this as new direction for the brand? Or an extension of what you already do well?
As we move through each new collection, there is always an element of refining the key areas we have already incorporated in to the brand. However, Resort ’22 has introductions that are a new direction for us, the natural evolution of the brand has moved us in to ready to wear from what started out as leather accessories. We continue to narrow down on the kind of fabrications we use to develop the styles and have moved in to an extremely premium space in manufacturing, using sustainably ranked fabrics and developing each in a way that still represents the relaxed and effortlessly cool fashion sense here in Byron. There is a lot of relaxed tailoring, timeless silhouettes and feminine fits that will be a first for the brand. I think the main direction we place a huge importance on is continuing to use natural fibres and creating pieces that hold no expiry date.
It's no secret, St Agni is certainly a fan (and industry) favourite? What do you think viewers will be most excited or surprised to see?
I think it will be an exciting experience to have our community and network in person to view the show. In a heavily digital world it seems so rare, especially now to have the opportunity to experience something like a runway in person. There is an element of it being tangible and St. Agni being able to orchestrate and translate the story of the collection in its entirety. Comparing to our previous launches and event showcases, I think the simple gesture of being in person to experience the show is extremely exciting.
How do you want Resort 22 to make people feel?
Erika & I designed Resort ’22 with the intention to evoke a similar feeling to what one would experience when walking through an art gallery. There are shapes and silhouettes throughout the collection, that when combined with the sculptures in the set, translate the same elegance and decorous we would expect to feel when viewing and moving through an exhibition.
How do you feel about the new direction fashion week has taken in 2021?
The fashion industry is such a unique and incredible world, I think it is extremely exciting that fashion week is now accessible to the consumers that make each of the brands showcasing possible. The changes have been so positive and I think will bring a new and fresh energy to the event, it is so special opening up, what is, such an exclusive event to viewers for the first time.
What's next for St Agni?
At the moment we are working on our Spring Summer 22 collection, we are placing a bigger emphasis on fabrication sourcing with a company goal of having complete traceability. This is the first collection we have had 2 new, extremely talented in house pattern makers as apart of the team, it is incredible having the experience and seeing the improvements across the smallest details. All I can hope for the future is that we continue on the current trajectory of refinement, I couldn’t have anticipated the brand being where we are now over such a small time frame, so I am excited to see where the coming seasons take us.