Saturday, February 8, 2014

Emma Mulholland Spring 12/13

Arguably the collection that launched the profile of Australian designer Emma Mulholland, 'As Bad As I Guana Be' is the modern reincarnation of surfer shop designs. As you could probably guess the mascot of the collection is the iguana which is immortalized in lycra as well as scaly reptile skirts created by a sea of sequins. Other reoccurring themes were carried by silken bomber jackets emblazoned with basketballs and cactus, abstract printed denim jeans with matching snapbacks and paneled skirts. I was smitten with the starry eyed stare of the models, as well as the use of props in an otherwise sterile studio space. The brand has also been popular with the cyber-inspired Seapunk movement, with an array of bright colours acting as the background to downright strange motifs. But I am a patron of strange designs and patterns and consider it important to discuss the rising star of Emma Mulholland, an eccentric within her own right with impeccable taste.

The dresses are refreshingly wild, suitable for even the trashiest of 1980s inspired music video homages to Madonna, combining mosaic-like pictures of reptile scales. I know that sounded narky, but really I applaud anyone with the courage to dress the way they want to, anyone who tries for more than ten minutes in the morning and designers gutsy enough to create an idea so unique it becomes irreplaceable. With enough practice and determination any skill can be honed, and while many people, mostly men, would not consider getting dressed in the morning a skill, I will gladly smother them with my pieces from my wardrobe which I cherish. And sometimes we like buying spangly party dresses, or a limited edition shade of blush because it makes US happy and is not an intended move to make your dick hard, dudebro.

Although printed jeans are no longer a rarity, I still think it's difficult to see the trend done right thanks to mass factory peddling mega marts like Big W and K-Mart churning out jeans. You may be familiar with their bright colour and 'fun' patterns used to mask a shoddy product not made to last and pumped full of synthetic fibers or cotton. Or maybe I just feel generally uncomfortable that a great idea that was once rare and found in only the most exotic of charity shops has been buried by big business. Thankfully Emma Mulholland breathes new life into a trend that met a sticky end far too soon and I'm particularly taken with the orange bubbles of the Gila jeans. But try as hard as I might I can't find them on eBay in my size, which is to be expected when your a size 12 but I'm still a little grumpy about it. You can probably guess I refuse to pay top dollar for last season's designs and would rather hold out for an online bargain anyway.

Lately everyone has been obsessing over overalls- I myself wanted to buy a pair from Etsy decorated with tiny little spiders but someone else snapped them up. If various shades of denim ranging from indigo blue to bleached don't tickle your fancy you could always customize your own pair with cute patches or for the really adventurous you could paint a wicked design. You can buy special fabric paints from any good craft store and create something totally outrageous and your own matching cap. If I was studying textiles or fashion design I would be all over that idea and integrate it as part of my coursework but as you can probably guess I am too lazy. It's way easier to be an Etsy insomniac and scroll pages and pages of vintage clothing searching for the perfect bargain and trying to ignore how late it is and how much sleep I'm not getting.

The final motif from the collection are cactus and what looks like very skinny cow skulls. These were of course eluded to from the beginning with realistic props and a mountain of sand. If I had gone to a school without a uniform I would aim to wear a jumper like this for school photos with some 1980s glasses and possibly a scrunchie. Tragically, I did not need braces as a child and could not have monopolized on the idea of an ugly duckling pre-teen but you know where I'm going with this. What better way to rebel against the school establishment then to make a mockery of the school year book. But I never did this because really I didn't have enough friends in high school and was generally victimized for having the audacity to breathe in the same room as the popular kids. But I would have looked totally cute and socially awkward in that jumper.

I am probably being unrealistic here but I would love to see custom footwear made to match the collection, although their choice of leather sandals and Nike sneakers was on point. I hunger for head to toe matching patterns to live out my dreams of being some strange but stylish chameleon. And if you like me are intrigued connoisseur of sporty style I highly recommend the video Emma Mulholland released to coincide with this collection. It's a fanciful narrative in which two babes face each other in a head to head competition set in a basketball stadium after dark starring the silky bomber jackets. I'm wondering whether I should try and get my hands on one of these jackets because usually I wear sweaters to university and avoid fancier things but it couldn't hurt to try. Change won't kill you, change kills boredom.

The Cold Blooded Chiller hand embroidered shirts are the pieces most similar to what can be found in surf shops. And even though the pieces were made only like ten or twenty years ago it's hard to find some nice 'vintage' pieces in good condition. They were made back in the days when they were more concerned with creating slogan t-shirts and self promotion rather than riding on the waves of current fashion trends. There's no denying it, the good old days are gone but I think many people are happier with surf brands making popular cloths rather than creating a free advertising space for themselves.  I think the tribute is nice, or at the very least anyone who can embroider with shadowing behind the letters and an iguana wearing sunglasses is OK in my books. It's a shame the motif is on the back of the shirt though- I say this as someone who has very, very long hair which is almost to her belly button. Again.

The collection also branched into menswear, although the pieces were not designed specifically with men in mind borrowing all motifs from the more diverse women's range. All the usual suspects are there, including iguana spangled jeans, sporty net shirts and abstract prints in orange. It's similar to when a mother dresses her twins in sickeningly cute identical outfits, rather than treating each as a separate entity. It's an interesting idea, albeit a little gimmicky which will probably develop in future collections with more discussion concentrated on delivering designs to both genders, since the brand undoubtedly has the attention of men and women alike. Again, this has a lot to do with connections to the Seapunk movement and those lovers of neoprene backpacks, buffalo sneakers, Scary Spice and netted tops.


  1. These clothes are all perfect, thank you so much for telling me about them x

  2. I love the mixed patterns