There are some dresses which evoke playfulness and fun and this Aje number is definitely one of them. The bubblegum pink shade makes a bold statement, while maintaining a carefree youthfulness. The silhouette of the dress with its subtle cut-out and the balloon sleeves help give it a pretty, feminine feel. But my favourite feature would have to be the oversized stitching detail. It really helps to add another dimension to the dress and gives it a unique point of difference.
Given the look and feel of the dress, with its softer details and shape, I wanted to incorporate some stronger accessories into the mix. I opted for a structured Bottega Veneta clutch in a great metallic pink shade. While I couldn’t resist pairing the dress with my mesh heels, also by Bottega Veneta. They’re a modern style, and adds an on trend element to my ensemble.
An Aussie brand that’s firmly made it onto my must-have, go-to, list is Aje. There’s just something about the way that they play with interesting silhouettes and sublime finishing details that make their pieces so fresh and modern. I’ve worn the brand several times and just when I think I’ve found a fave I end up falling in love with something else as each new collection drops.
At the moment I’m really loving their take on statement sleeves, with many of their pieces from dresses to shirts featuring a blouson sleeve that adds a beautiful feminine touch. While their current suiting options features some great contemporary details such as an open back and a relaxed, roomier silhouette.
I wore this look on a shoot at the beautiful Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley and fell in loved with its modern take on Victorian style. The Aje blouse (one of my fave Aussie brands right now) has a classic feel to it but with the blouson sleeves, the silhouette feels modern. Also crisp white shirts are a staple in my wardrobe so I love how this shirt taps into that versatility but still manages to give a fresh take on it.
I’m always a fan of a monochrome colour palette as it’s always guaranteed to be a chic combination so I opted to pair the shirt with white leather pants. Leather leggings also have great contemporary feel and work beautifully with everything from a white button down or a t-shirt or sweater. In keeping with the rustic feel of my surroundings, I worked a pair of riding boots into my look which provides a great contrast to the more dressy feel of my outfit.
Photography by Sophia Athas, Hatrik
Shop the Look:
Credits: Top, Aje; Pants (similar), Camilla and Marc
Printed dresses are a wardrobe staple of mine as they’re so wearable and a simple outfit that I can easily throw on without having to fuss around too much—perfect for a busy mum. Aje have been doing some really beautiful pieces of late, and this dress is no exception. I love the interesting greyscale check print which is bold and modern and something that allows the dress to stand out. Also a midi length is always flattering and something that I can wear both for off duty wear, in the office or to an event. One way I love to change up my fave dresses is by adding a belt. I popped a black Gucci statement belt over this dress to cinch in the waist and give it a little more structure, but as the style is so versatile, it’s definitely still great without it.
I decided on accessories that worked with the graphic feel of the dress. My Chanel cap toe flats in contrasting shades worked well against the grey and is just the thing to maintain a polished vibe but are shoes that I can also wear all day. I’ve also found that this dress can work back with so many different bag styles. Below I’ve paired it with a black Dior chain strap bag and also a roomy tote—I can change it up depending on what my day holds.
During a recent photoshoot at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley the picturesque setting was the perfect time to showcase some of my favourite spring looks. Enter this gorgeous Aje dress. There’s nothing I love more than a crisp white look which has a relaxed yet polished vibe that’s perfect for this time of year. The beautiful wattle pattern on this dress adds a slightly rustic feel, which is perfectly offset by the modern cut-outs on the dress. I’m all about a statement sleeve these days and these blouson sleeves add a soft, feminine touch to my overall look.
Whenever I’m wearing something that’s quite pretty in its silhouette, I like to add accessories with a little more grit. Which is why I opted for these Louis Vuitton ankle boots. They help ground the look and cut through the softer elements of the dress. To let the frock take centre stage I decided on simple jewellery, adding a Dior necklace as my final finishing touch.
The first show of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia is always exciting as there’s a huge buzz on the day as it officially kicks off proceedings. I’m a huge fan of Aje so attending their show today was exciting as I was looking forward to seeing their new collection and what pieces I’ll inevitably fall in love with!
It’s always good to support the designer whose show you are attending with your outfit so I opted for a beautiful pink and black Aje dress. The gorgeous print is a little moody in its vibe but the pops of pink perk it up and add a feminine touch.
I wanted to keep the rest of my accessories quite pared back so my black Bulgari bag and simple Isabel Marant ankle boots were the ideal complementary pieces. I found they didn’t detract from the overall feel of the dress. Having shorter hair has made me want to incorporate a few more statement earrings into my look and this pair by Reliquie helped to lift my outfit without detracting from the rest of my look.
If today was anything to go by, I can’t wait to see what else this week has in store. Stay tuned for more Fashion Week Australia coverage this week as I take you through the next few days, one outfit post at a time.
Opening Fashion Week is a big honour for any brand and this year, Edwina Forest and Adrian Norris saw their label Aje kick off the big event that is Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. Ahead of their show I caught up with the Edwina and Adrian to talk about their latest collection, how asking for directions led to the start of their brand and why they ultimately just want to make women feel great in their clothes.
Thanks guys for joining me today. So exciting! Congratulations on opening Fashion Week.
Edwina: Thank you.
It’s a truly an exciting thing. How does it feel to open?
Edwina: It feels very exciting, but definitely a bit of pressure comes with that.
Adrian: Yes, I think at the moment, we’re just a bit tired. I’m kind of dead … but no, it’s a huge honour, it’s exciting.
Why is it so important, why is it such an accomplishment to open Fashion Week?
Edwina: I think obviously to be synonymous with a brand like Mercedes Benz, which is so globally respected and held in such high prestige is obviously one element, for our brands to sit beside each other, is wonderful. But obviously Fashion Week Australia in terms of Australian fashion it’s where all eyes are on Australia, so it’s hugely important.
Yes, but to open it is even more exciting?
Adrian: Definitely, I think in the past we’ve always sort of, “Oh, no, I’ve never really considered opening.” So, it’s definitely a huge honour.
Why didn’t you consider it?
Adrian: I don’t know, I think when you’re work is in Europe, you think it’s something that’s going to happen one day, but it is, it’s crazy. To think we’re the one that does all of it and yeah, it’s a bit stressful.
And there is a lot of hype around the first show as well.
Adrian: Definitely more than every other one. Almost with the pressures being internalised, the other… within the business and we’re sort of being aware of Fashion Week, but this year it seems like everyone is paying more attention.
Can you tell me a little bit about the inspiration behind the collection and what can we expect to see?
Edwina: I think for us, we feel really proud to be Australian designers and to be an Australian brand. I think some brands kind of shy away from the Australian heritage. We’re fiercely proud of it. So, we felt it was the perfect moment this year to celebrate Australia and the beautiful landscape in which we live and all the inspiration it’s given us. So, we really have taken a lot of inspiration from the iconic emblems of Australia and all the diversity of the natural landscape, and also the diversity of all the cultures we have within the land.
How were you inspired by this collection?
Adrian: I think that we’re always looking toward nature and art as our two main references and I think this year, we just specifically focused on the natural forms and a lot of the natural flora. It’s definitely an ode to Australia… in a non-kitsch, weird way.
Do you have a favourite piece that I should be looking out for on the runway?
Adrian: It sounds strange, but we were really inspired by the shape of gumnuts. I know it sounds really weird and kitsch, but there’s a few dresses that are really beautiful.
Do you guys always agree on everything? How does the whole relationship work…
Adrian: I would say they’re two different forms of agreement. I think we’re always wanting to get to the same end point, but we have really different ways of getting there.
Edwina: People laugh a lot about that internally. We say the same thing, but in totally different ways-
Adrian: Totally different ways.
Edwina: We think we’re arguing but actually…
Adrian: They said that, “Do you know that both of you are saying the same thing?”
Who wins in a fight?
Do you have quite separate style aesthetics or would you say that you’re quite like minded?
Edwina: I think it’s always been the differences that made the magic within the brand. And as the brand has evolved, its become something we really believe in, there’s this concept of duality. Because there’s duality inside in all of us. You know, like one day you can kind of feel strong, but at the same time you want to be gentle, and you’re kind of a bit wild, but at the same time you need to be a bit tame and I think it’s that kind of play on duality that’s always worked between us as humans.
Adrian: Yeah. There’s always differences. But I think our difference, we know what we want to look like. It’s probably more in the details and it’s not about someone disagreeing with someone, it’s about having two sets of eyes on something and knowing that somebody else’s point of view always has merit and you can see it that way. So, you do see things differently from another person’s perspective.
Could you describe each other’s style aesthetic?
Adrian: Edwina’s got the best style in the world, I think.
Edwina: That’s not true, but thank you.
Adrian: But no, I think we’ve actually got very similar aesthetics. We love all the natural fabrics, we love the same colours.
Edwina: We love the same techniques.
Adrian: Yes, it always comes out … it’s just having two different sets of perspective coming and that kind of forms … I don’t think we’d be able to create what we create singularly.
How did you first meet?
Edwina: So, I was about to move to Sydney to work at Russh Magazine. I was working in a high-end boutique in Brisbane. This poor, lost Norwegian tourist walked in, aka Adrian and asked for directions. And I just remember his style, because it was very different to Brisbane.
Adrian: I was a lot more out there then.
Edwina: Had this long blonde mop of hair, you know, this undone white shirt, really skinny jeans, this big Dolce & Gabanna belt and I just thought, “Oh my, this guy is just not from here.” And it was just funny, because the directions he got given were so bad and-
Edwina: And then it was just a serendipitous moment, that evening we ended up being at the same party together and there was the Norwegian tourist who was Adrian and yeah, we kind of became best friends.
How did you start the brand?
Adrian: So, we started it in Noosa and so I opened a store. Edi and I started working in the store together and Edi actually came down to work for Russh and we sort of had this idea of creating a line for the store. So, I went and created a collection. I came back and it was shocking…. and I was like “Edi, you’ve got to help me style this collection,” and she came back. She said, “I can’t style that.”
Edwina: I wanted to add things and then I said, “These are things I want to add.” So, Adrian quickly, we drew them.
Adrian: We remade it and we came back and so it was more of … that was really where the fusion happened and so we came and we kind of really brought them together and then the first collection, it was amazing, it was so beautiful.
Did you know instantly then that you needed to start the label together?
Adrian: I was magical. It was really beautiful. And we were so young and so inexperienced.
Edwina: So naïve.
Adrian: And we’ve never made clothes before. So, I mean, it’s been an amazing journey to go on. Yeah.
What have been some of the biggest challenges throughout your career as designers?
Edwina: Business, right?
Adrian: Yeah, I think the balance between business and creative is always, it’s a really difficult, and then you start out being … we obviously had the business from the start. So, we had the first store and we had that balance between, I’d say… you’re young and you don’t have any stress on you and then it goes through that period of, “Oh, God, I’ve got [to] actually pay people and I’ve got to actually feed myself.” And then you get staff and you’ve got to think of them. So, you just kind of lose some of the creativity, but then it’s really beautiful I think, in our case, the creativity, it’s waves and I think that now, where we’re sitting, we’ve just opened our 17th store yesterday.
Adrian: Thank you. So, it’s kind of at the stage now, where our business is in such a strong position that it’s allowing us to be completely creative again.
What would you say has been your biggest pinch -me moment within your career?
Edwina: This is about to be one [opening Fashion Week], I think.
Adrian: Oh, yeah, definitely. This is a big one.
You’ve dressed some pretty amazing people. What is the one that stands out in your mind?
Adrian: I think it’s great when people wear your clothes, but I also think it’s just as great like when somebody comes into one of your stores and feels like a million dollars and walks out. When people, like some of the messages you get, they’re pretty amazing. Just as amazing as when a big celebrity wears them.
Adrian: Someone? Oh, we got Kate Moss did.
Edwina: Oh, yeah Kate Moss. Just recently Katy Perry has been big. Linda Toll, I love her.
Is there someone, alive or dead that you wish that you could dress one day?
Adrian: Everyone. Everyone should be wearing Aje once in their life.
Edwina: Everyone. The whole world.
What’s the plan after Fashion Week?
Adrian: There’s a little break. We’ve got a few more stores that we’re rolling out by the end of the year.
Oh, exciting. Where about?
Adrian: Oh, gosh, we’ve got New Zealand opening, that’s our first international store. We kind of feel like it’s one of our states, but it’s definitely international…. So, that will be kind of the first in the international expansion.
Will you expand further internationally?
Adrian: Yeah, definitely. We’re looking into it, we’re just going to do it carefully. You just have to make sure that all your ducks are in a row when you do it.
When you’re not working, you guys hang out together as well?
Adrian: Yeah, we still see each other so much.
Edwina: But we’ve become more anti-social.
Adrian: It takes a lot to get us out these days, but luckily we still all hang out together.
Whenever I attend a fashion show I always like to show support for the brand by wearing one of their pieces. I was lucky enough to be able to wear the below Aje dress before it has dropped in stores and it was the perfect vibe for their show which took place in Sydney’s Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden.
The gorgeous colour perfectly complemented the lush surrounds but I was all about the beautiful silhouette of the dress. The exaggerated flounces on the skirt and sleeve had great movement and it was just one of those pieces that’s just fun to walk in! The tie front added a sweet and feminine touch. I can see this working for everything from a work event to a wedding so it ticks the versatile box for me.
As the dress is already so striking I wanted to take it up a notch even more and opted to pair it with my Marco de Vincenzo heels. The braided style and the raspberry colour provided the ideal contrast piece whilst being strong enough to make their own statement.
Credits: Dress, Aje (Los Luna Dress not in store yet); Shoes, Marco de Vincenzo