A promising young talent, with three critically-acclaimed Australia Fashion Week shows to his name, Dion Lee is a name to bookmark.
A designer who tackles his craft head-on, Dion has become synonymous with a confident use of tailoring, and a unique ability to give soft silks and tactile wools, a sense of commanding structure and fit. But his assertiveness doesn’t stop with his design handwriting.
Dion caused quite a coup last season by securing the iconic Sydney Opera House as a venue for his catwalk show. Not only did Dion showcase his spring summer 12 line, but by having the pluck to show on such a famous stage, he laid bare his ambition too. “It was a dream to be able to show in the Opera House,” he tells us. “We were the first to use the space for a runway collection. The call time for the show was 5am, and as the sun slowly flooded through the glass, it was a really beautiful experience.”
The Opera House provided an elegant setting for an army of carefully choreographed models who stunned the audience in minimal, mini-dresses layered with cleverly manipulated folds, and origami-esque pleats. “I work three dimensionally and from all angles to create a silhouette,” says the designer. “Garments really change as you see them move and function, and I like the process of engineering clothing for the body.”
The spring summer 12 show was a success and now expectations for his autumn winter 12 LFW debut are high. In other words, the pressure is on.
So as Dion works away in his atelier down under, with the air-con cranked up as the sun beats down on Sydney, how does he take the opposing seasons into account when crafting his pieces? “It is a challenge for designers from the other side of the world,” he admits. “However I don't think it is impossible to find the balance. It really comes down to the tone and ideas in the collection, and that the fabrication is right for each market.”
Luckily we don’t have to travel across time zones and swap hemispheres for the love of fashion, with Dion’s collections already available on Net-a-Porter.com. In fact, Holli Rogers, fashion director, at Net-a-Porter discovered Dion last autumn. "We are always on the lookout for exciting new talent and when we discovered Dion Lee last autumn knew we were onto a winner. We were thrilled to be able to provide an international platform for his beautiful print dresses, contemporary cuts and architectural tailoring."
So, what can we expect when the lights go up at his first London show? “I’m really excited to be presenting at LFW for the first time this February and autumn winter 12 is built around experimentations with proportion and use of light to illuminate the body.”
And then post show he’ll take a break? Not likely. Dion admits it is his ‘mortality’ which drives him. “Life is very short,” he says. “And, there is too much to do.”