Designer to know: Ellery

Prepare to hear this name, a lot

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From Perth to Paris, meet the Australian designer turning trends into investment pieces...

Extravagant fluted trousers and swooshing bell sleeves gained impressive street-style mileage during the SS16 show season: There was Veronika Heilbrunner, the much photographed face of Mytheresa.com, tottering along the cobblestoned streets of London's Soho in flamboyant flares; creative consultant and blogger favourite Kate Foley sashaying up the stairway to Paris' Grand Palais in a bouncy bell-sleeved blouse. Scroll through images of these women online and you'd be forgiven for thinking they were wearing Céline. But in fact, the designer behind these head-turning looks was a relatively unknown designer who would be showing her collection for the very first time in Paris: Kym Ellery.     

Eleanor Pendleton, wearing Ellery

'I want my designs to feel like a coat of armour for the modern woman,' explains the Australian former fashion editor from her Sydney atelier. 'Their boldness gives an air of confidence to the woman who wears them.' Who wouldn't feel fierce rocking one of Ellery's silk off-the-shoulder tops, complete with cascading ruffle sleeves, or the tailored yet sinuous flares? It is a huge testament to any rookie fashion label when most of the front row are already wearing it. 'Ellery is able to spot a trend and exaggerate it perfectly so that it becomes a fashion statement, yet is still within a clean and understated aesthetic,' says Sarah Rutson, who as Vice President of Global Buying at Net-A-Porter is probably best known for her own street style celebrity. 'The twists on tailoring, amplified proportions and architectural lines will fit into any woman's wardrobe, and are why it's become such a street-style hit.'

Photo: Jason Lloyd Evans

Ellery's debut collection – full of crinkly metallic dresses, silk jackets with detachable sleeves and circular rivets, and floaty dresses with abstract polka dots and chunked-up silver zips – could easily be the backbone of one kickass, luxe wardrobe. Fastidious about fabrics, Ellery worked with mills in Switzerland and Italy to develop innovative new textures; the incredible sheen on the silvery dress was achieved using real metal.

But there's an underlying softness too. As we chat about her coastline-inspired collection, Ellery, 31, remembers the emotional moment that started it all: 'My mum was an amazing seamstress and I would beg her to teach me to sew and pattern design, but she wanted me to wait until I was older. One day, we went swimming on a nearby beach and a volatile riptide dragged us out to sea. My mum managed to save us both from drowning and after that she said, "Right, you only live once, I'll teach you everything." From that moment on I made clothes for myself and all my friends.'

Ellery formalised her training with a certificate of fashion design in her home city of Perth, then spent a summer studying fashion illustration at Central Saint Martins. After graduating, she worked at Aussie fashion magazine Russh for four years before becoming a freelance stylist, while developing and finessing her namesake label, launching it in 2007. With fine jewellery and a handbag range in the pipeline, Ellery is soaring from under-the-radar gem to global go-to.And Kym is taking it all in her stride: 'To energise myself, I do boxing classes. My clothes feel like the sartorial equivalent of an air punch – wearing them makes me feel strong, happy and ready to take on the day.'

Available from Net-a-Porter, Matches.com, Browns and Dover Street Market.

Street Style Images courtesy of Getty