designer spotlight : Gallery Serpentine

With a few new endeavors on the horizon, the famous fashion design company and Sydney, Australia boutique known for their corsets and alternative couture, Gallery Serpentine, is still going strong after 15 years.

interview by : Vanity Kills & Jennifer Link
photographer : Zelko Nedic
fashion stylist : Gallery Serpentine
makeup artist : Emma Lee Court and Renee De Bono
makeup : Illamasqua
hair stylist : Ambo Ars
models : Miroslav Naskovic, Sophie J. Wilde, Susy Natal, James Heathers, Lauren Kyle, and Jeremy Ansley

It’s safe to say that upon handing yourself over to the whimsical couturiers behind Australia’s celebrated Gallery Serpentine, you’ll soon forget all about the outmoded notion of, “being dressed to the nines”. Instead, you shall be whisked right past 10 and into a world of instantly recognizable style that is off the charts. No surprise there, since this Sydney-based “Home of Australian Corsetry and Alternative Couture” prides itself on being an “Antidote to the Mundane”. After all, nothing lights up a room like a Gallery Serpentine pointed waist cincher fashioned from black aston brocade, a distinguished pinstripe kirtle skirt that drapes just right, or a high-collared undertaker inspired coat. But that’s just one small piece of a greater fantastically fashionable puzzle. If you heart’s desire lies in transforming your entire wedding entourage into a horde of airship pirates, the brand’s alternative bridal salon, can help you satiate your steamiest matrimonial appetites. And if you wish to be plucked from the banality of day-to-day life by the way of sartorially minded old-school carnival magic, where tunes and togs collide: Dark Fashion Theatre beckons with promises of delivering a tantalizing, multi-performer road show unlike that which you’ve ever seen, letting you fulfill those, “I’ve run away with a really well-dressed circus,” fantasies you’ve always harbored. At least for one night.

Writer Vanity Kills and editor Jennifer Link had the pleasure of interviewing Stephanie Calkin of Gallery Serpentine.

Jennifer Link : Gallery Serpentine has had multiple designers and guest designers throughout its 15 years, can you give us a mini history lesson, who were some of the highlights and who is still working with Gallery Serpentine today?
Stephanie Calkin : Annette Magus, my sister, was the sole designer when her first label, Magus, morphed into Gallery Serpentine in the early years after she came back from Camden in London where she had a great following. She developed the corsetry during this period when you couldn’t buy a corset in Australia. She continues to contribute her signature romantic neo-Victorian styles and also what I’d categorize as “practical goth” or “corporate goth” daywear. For me I was making “deadtech” creations utilizing circuitboard screen prints and wiring diagrams with used computer parts and often pictures of Einstein. It was great to have this recognized with a color spread in a local Sydney gay publication and getting the cover of another local paper and having the winner of the Miss Geek competition in the USA wearing one of my deadtech corsets.

Once GS started growing and we were employing some creatives who in the main came out of the theater costume background an acceleration of dramatic designs came through. Basically nearly everyone who has ever worked here has ended up contributing designs whether it is the production team or the retail team. We used to have very intense staff design meetings every few months and design sheets were rampant pieces of paperwork wherever you went upstairs in our old shop in a Victorian terrace.

Shannon Mullane is still with us after about eight years, she originally started as a work experience student and is now Production Manager and has designed some great new styles for us.

Other guest designers are USA steampunk legend, Evelyn Kriete and Sydney’s own Robert from Red Rabbit & Ensign who really helped us kickstart our GS Gentlemen ranges. Our new Dapper Bastard ranges are being spurred along by a Victorian style strong man and scientist, Abbadon/James Heathers.

read the full interview in the December/January 2011/2012 Issue

Auxiliary Magazine
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