Kym Ellery: Fashion Designer


From her chic Parisian abode in the trendy neighbourhood of Le Marais, it’s difficult to imagine that fashion designer Kym Ellery grew up amongst the bright red dirt of Karratha, the remote Western Australian town 1500 kilometres north of Perth. Ellery’s childhood was spent exploring her creativity with her artist mother away from the “whirring distractions of TV.” With only blind ambition, a suitcase and a certain je ne sais quoi, she moved to Sydney at age 20, and landed in the fashion department at indie RUSSH Magazine. It was a move that saw her innate love of design flourish and, soon after, her eponymous label born. "RUSSH was a great education on the industry and what other brands were available in the market place,” she says. “I identified a gap in the Australian market for a new designer brand and Ellery was conceived.” It wasn’t long before Ellery’s strong, androgynous silhouettes were garnering international attention, and in 2015, the designer was welcomed onto the official Paris Fashion Week schedule (she was the second Australian—following Collette Dinnigan—to do so.) Following in her label’s footsteps, Ellery moved to the City Of Light, and is now planning to show her first collection at Paris Couture Fashion Week early next year. Between planning her debut couture collection and apéro hour, she invited The MECCA Memo into her apartment to chat style, (extreme) flares and her French-girl inspired beauty routine.

TMM: What inspired you to make the leap from Perth to Sydney and then from fashion magazines to fashion designer?
KE: “From a very young age I knew I wanted to make clothes. I recall one day chatting with my friend Lara on the school bus about our future professional ambitions. I announced that I wanted to be a fashion designer. Lara asked me how I planned on making this happen. I replied, ‘the same way a doctor becomes a doctor’. In hindsight, I guess my innate blind ambition was a necessary quality!”

How did you learn the dos and don’ts of the fashion industry?
“By listening, observing and trying my very best to not make the same mistakes twice.”

Describe your signature style?
“Flares, a tailored man-style jacket or coat, T-shirt and a sensible, yet significant shoe for walking the streets of Paris.”

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You have A-list fans including Rihanna and Emma Watson—how important is the celebrity following?
“It is our goal to empower cerebral women through fashion. We opt for dressing women of substance and are lucky that the celebrity following that we have garnered reflects the brands ethos.”

What inspired you to move to Paris?
“I have always been somewhat of a Francophile at heart and knew the brand’s future was always in Paris. In the end the decision was made in the best interests of Ellery.”

What do you love most about French life?
“Paris is just so aesthetically pleasing to me. I love walking and discovering new things daily. I also love the ritual of apéro; wine and burrata at 7pm, what could be better!"

What does success mean to you?
“Setting your sights high and then working hard to achieve that vision.”

What are your favourite skin-care products?
LA MER The Concentrate, it’s incredibly hydrating and works miracles on my skin. Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil, because it works while I sleep. Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream, really refreshes the eye area particularly after late nights and long-haul flights, and my secret-weapon: the NuFace Trinity Device.

Paris is just so aesthetically pleasing to me. I love walking and discovering new things daily. I also love the ritual of apéro; wine and burrata at 7pm, what could be better!

What’s the biggest beauty mistake you’ve made?
“Not being sun-smart from a young age.”

When it comes to makeup are you a wake-up-and-go girl or do you get glammed up?
“Wake-up and go! I wish I had the time to be glam!”

Style heroine?
“Jane Birkin, Tilda Swinton and Chloe Sevigny, in equal parts. They’re so unique and strong in their personal styles, each embodying intelligence and independence—which resonates with me."

How different is French-girl beauty to Australian beauty?
“French women are very natural when it comes to their approach to beauty. They place huge emphasis on hair and skin care, and are lighter with their makeup application.”

What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
“Being accepted by the Chambre Syndicale to show our collections on the Official Paris Fashion Week calendar in 2014 was a real pinch-yourself moment—it will take something quite major to top this moment for me.”

Would you share with us any exciting projects you are working on?
“So many exciting projects! We are expanding our jewellery offering, we just launched our first logo T-shirt and we’re working on projecting a more sustainable message in the future. Watch this space.”

You can be granted one wish—what would it be?
“Time travel.”

Words by Romy Erdos
Production by Louisa de Kievit
Photos by Sascha Heintze
December 2017


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