‘Elegant’ outcome for fashion collaboration

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Designer Erin Spain (wearing Ziyah shorts from her graduating collection) and photographer Robert Coppa... “Erin’s swimwear is glamorous and figure-hugging, but it defines a very different shape,” says Robert. Photo by Andrew Finch
Designer Erin Spain (wearing Ziyah shorts from her graduating collection) and photographer Robert Coppa… “Erin’s swimwear is glamorous and figure-hugging, but it defines a very different shape,” says Robert. Photo by Andrew Finch
PROVING that Canberra can pull off resort-style glamour, a fashion and photography collaboration between locals has graced the cover of California-based “Elegant” magazine’s March edition.

The shoot, featuring swimwear by CIT fashion graduate Erin Spain and photos by Canberra-based international photographer Robert Coppa, also used local models Ilana Davies from HAUS Models and Emily Dibden from Victoria’s Models.

Photography: Robert Coppa; model: Ilana Davies, HAUS Models; make-up: Jolina O'Hair; designer: Erin Spain, Ziyah and assist: Jessica, HAUS Models.
Photography: Robert Coppa; model: Ilana Davies, HAUS Models; make-up: Jolina O’Hair; designer: Erin Spain, Ziyah and assist: Jessica, HAUS Models.
Fashion, beauty and conceptual art magazine “Elegant” professes to provide a gateway for artists, whether amateur, professional or anywhere in between, if their work “deserves recognition”, and Robert says this wholly local collaboration is a real coup for Canberra.

Italian-born Robert says he was drawn to Erin’s bold designs because they were innovative and unique.

“I wanted to do a pool shoot and I had access to a beautiful pool at a neighbour’s house, so I put out a call for bikini designers,” he says.

“A mutual contact suggested Erin apply to me and I was immediately struck by her designs.

“Erin’s swimwear is glamorous and figure-hugging, but it defines a very different shape.

“I hadn’t seen anything like it before and I was really attracted to that.”

Erin says she knew of Robert’s extensive work before the collaboration and was thrilled to be able to work together.

“He has an extremely exciting aesthetic and created a stylised look for the shoot,” she says.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to do anything like this before, so it was a real highlight for me.”

Erin graduated in Fashion Design from CIT at the end of 2014, and says her swimwear label Ziyah blurs the lines between generic swimwear and something with a bit more of a “bang”.

“The style and aesthetic of Ziyah is inspired by a fusion of sport, high fashion and resort wear. Making what I like to call beach couture chic,” she says.

“This collection uses a predominantly monochrome palette with pops of colour, using a combination of traditional and non-traditional materials and ideas.”

Many of the Ziyah items are made from neoprene, a fabric that Erin says she loves for its structure and thickness.

“I like working with neoprene, the neat, clean edges, sleek finish and a nice form and hold,” she says.

“I think most things are better in neoprene!”

Erin will be debuting her range at the third annual Fashfest next month, where she will show 14 models, including Ilana from the “Elegant” shoot.

“I’m the first designer up on the Wednesday, I’m excited, nervous!” she says. “Last year I was part of the CIT group show, but this is totally different.

“With 14 models you can do so much, create variations on each design.

“And this year Fashfest is at the National Convention Centre, so it will be heated, which is good news for the models!

“It’s my dream to be standing in a circle with all the models wearing my label and looking identical – it sounds like a small thing, but I saw designers surrounded by their models last year, and thought, I want that to be me. This time round, it will be.”

Fashfest, National Convention Centre, May 13-16, more at  fashfest.com.au

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Kathryn Vukovljak
Kathryn Vukovljak is a "CityNews" journalist with a particular interest in homes and gardens.

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