Founded by designer Charlotte Hicks, ESSE is a minimalist mecca. Each collection, or ‘edition’, is a capsule wardrobe of beautifully cut, classic pieces that still feel fresh, thanks to their subtle nods to trends. So you’ll find a black maxi dress with a subtle split at the waist, or a chic ivory trench with a tailored vent running vertically down the back, meaning you can easily cinch or expand the silhouette. “These are investment pieces,” says our stylist Lucy Wood, designed to slip elegantly into your closet.
Like ESSE, Beare Park’s pieces are made in Sydney and have a classic, androgynous feel. “They’re elevated, minimal pieces in beautiful fabrications,” says Lucy Wood. The label – founded by Gabriella Perreira and Angela Krantz – launched at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week last June and was an immediate fashion editor favourite. Think relaxed tailoring and oversized shirts with side ties and elongated cuffs. “The fluid silk maxi dresses feel exactly right for our Australian lifestyle,” adds Lucy.
At the absolute opposite end of the style spectrum to ESSE, we have Alémais. This is all-year-round resort dressing for those days when you’re feeling a little bit Mediterranean but haven’t joined everyone else on Instagram in Greece. “You can count on Alémais for playful, summery prints in colours that pop,” says Lucy. “The pieces always have gorgeous detailing, such as bespoke buttons and rope belts, along with fantastic silhouettes.”
Designer Lesleigh Jermanus has a degree in Fine Arts and it shows – she mixes prints beautifully and collaborates with artists and artisans in embroidery and other traditional crafts. “The world does not need another brand,” she told one interviewer. “But I thought if we can do it a little bit better, a little more consciously, if we can look at production and our supply chain and the whole circular system with more thought and consideration, then, then it’s relevant.”
Founder Noura Sakkijha is a third-generation jeweller, but she regards jewellery quite differently. “There was so much I loved about it: from the intricate techniques and precious materials to an appreciation for each piece being as unique as the wearer,” she says. “However, there was one thing I didn’t love: the traditional positioning that fine jewellery should be saved for gifting for an occasion.”
Or, as she writes on her website, this is “fine jewellery for my damn self.”
Mejuri pieces feel like modern heirlooms but at a range of price points: from everyday rings in gold vermeil, for example, to eternity bands in diamond and yellow gold. There are delicate chains, chunky earrings and single studs and rings that glide down ear.
“Once you put on these pieces, you won’t want to take them off,” says Lucy.
Everything about this Melbourne label is thoughtful and considered, reflecting designer Jamie Nelson’s belief in creating luxurious products with low environmental impact. That means using recycled leather and deadstock wherever possible, and keeping supply chains transparent – flat sandals are made in Melbourne while more complex heels are produced in China, in a factory that’s audited twice a year.
“This is a really sustainably-focused label, which doesn’t focus so much on seasonality,” says Lucy. “Instead, Jamie has core products that always have an interesting touch.”
Nelson Made’s strappy sandals and mules are beautifully crafted, says Lucy, and the heels hit that Goldilocks sweet spot of being neither too high nor too low. “There’s a great range of colours at an affordable price for the quality,” she adds.
Main image courtesy of Nelson Made, shot by Tasha Tylee