Australian label All Is a Gentle Spring has unveiled a new collection
“I was thinking about the garments as if they were already collectable.”
A contrast to the brocade corsetry, jewel-toned satin and puffy taffeta of its recent Afterpay Australian Fashion Week (AAFW) debut, All Is A Gentle Spring’s (aka Gentle Spring) latest capsule, The Essentials, is comprised of pared-back core pieces. “The collection is all about definitive basics done exactly how I’ve wanted to see them: cut to flatter from fabrics that age well,” explains the brand’s founder and designer, Isabelle Hellyer. “Think T-shirts in pure merino wool jersey, headbands in silk and wool, and low-slung trousers in Japanese acetate.”
While The Essentials is a move away from the Victorian-era theatrics of previous collections, it maintains the same muted sensuality; suggestive but never overt. “Even with an everyday piece like The T-Shirt, the sleeve is longer, the waist nips in and the neckline skims wide across the collarbones, more like a Givenchy bateau neck. Those details matter. That’s what takes it all from simple to sexy,” Isabelle tells me.
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Launched in tandem with a revamped website and elegant new logo, The Essentials is one part of a wider three-part capsule series, with The Classics debuting in November. Describing the Gentle Spring designs as Australian-made ‘future heirlooms’, Isabelle imagined these garments “as if they were already collectable”. Using purpose-driven design, the capsule is made up of just four pieces: The T-Shirt (available in long and short sleeves), The Trouser, The Miniskirt and The Headband.
“I wanted to be sure they could stand the test of time. So whenever I could get my hands on antique garments, I’d turn them inside out and look at the care labels to learn the fibre content, check the zippers, buttons, trims and hems. I’d look at museum collections,” Isabelle says of her design process.
These simplistic garments were woven throughout Gentle Spring’s May AAFW show, acting as a thoughtful base layer behind the more extravagant pieces. And as an “uncompromisingly Australian-made label”, The Essentials follows Isabelle’s quality-first design process. “The Essentials collection prioritises natural fibres, because that’s what I saw last so well in museums and private archives. I wanted these garments to look timeless and age gracefully; which means the cuts have to be just right, and the fabrics have to be the highest quality.”
“That comes through even in the simplest pieces, like the miniskirt. It’s cut from Savile Row-quality worsted wool suiting, which we sourced directly from the mill in Yorkshire. The quality of the Yorkshire water is partly why the wool is so soft. Inside, the waist is finished with Grosgrain ribbon, the same technique you’ll find in vintage Chanel couture skirts,” Isabelle says.
“When I saw 200-year-old gowns that still looked impeccable, I’d make a note to myself: What fabric was this made with? Can we use the same in the collection? And conversely, I’d see some garments – say, Charles James’ delicate Chiffon gowns – that had degraded after a few decades. That was food for thought too.”
As for styling, the beauty of The Essentials pieces lies in their ability to perform as both hero garments and versatile basics. As Isabelle says, “These are styles to live in and depend upon”. The collection imagery depicts Sydney-born model Jeet Pavlovic with a face of ’90s-esque makeup – a dark lip, plucked brows and smokey brown eyeshadow. Embodying that ever-present subtle sexiness, the shoot is a reminder of just how exquisite wardrobe essentials can be.
Browse The Essentials collection