There’s something gleaming in the back corner of Kacey Devlin’s Sydney studio – tear your eyes away from the racks of new season clothes, paper patterns and the designer’s incredibly chic moodboard and you’ll find the real gem: a twinkling dress crafted from what looks like meticulously woven chainmail, spun from pure gold.
“For the last couple of seasons we’ve been working with a really unusual hi-tech metallic, knitted metal lurex,” Devlin says. “It has this chain-mail aesthetic which has the connotations of bravery and confidence that I want the Kacey Devlin woman to embody. It’s luxurious and sexy and fluid, but that chainmail quality also makes it strong.”
A finalist for the coveted Prix de marie claire Next Gen award, sponsored by Lexus, Devlin immediately attracted the judges with her imaginative, innovative approach to design. Most of her garments are made without traditional fastenings, forcing her to look for novel ways to drape the fabric around the body, and allowing for her design signature: a dramatic collapsed back.
It’s a style that suits this glimmering fabric to a tee, resulting in a dress that demands attention yet isn’t remotely showy. “The fabric is milled in Italy and we’re introducing new colours – we’ve generally worked with it in silver and gold but for Resort we’re introducing a bronze and a black,” Devlin reveals. “The bronze is so special; I didn’t even want to give the samples to Fashion Week. I wanted to keep them for myself!”
Unsurprisingly, the making of such a piece is a delicate process. “As soon as you cut it, it kind of falls apart, the knitted shards just fall across the table,” Devlin explains. “When you first look at it, it seems quite coarse, but when you actually start to build a relationship with the sense of touch it’s actually quite luxurious and slinky.”
Under Devlin’s deft hand, the precious metals glide across the body, molten yet strong. A gold-standard party dress if ever we saw one.
Lexus is proud to support Prix de marie claire, and the Next Gen Award, which recognises and supports emerging fashion talent.