The Westfield Fashion Festival kicked off on Thursday night at Westfield Marion with fashion royalty, Wayne Cooper, making a special guest appearance and showcasing his current collection, exclusively for Myer.
Glam Adelaide sat down with Cooper to chat about his collection and the upcoming trends for Spring/Summer.
You get the feeling that Wayne Cooper is someone you don’t ask an opinion of if you don’t want the absolute truth. His ‘no nonsense’ attitude and piercing blue eyes could be quite intimidating if you didn’t get the feeling that he’s not really taking it all too seriously.
Cooper was born in London and headed over to Australia in 1986 and has never looked back. Leaving a job as a lwayer behind he embarked on a career as a fashion designer, launching the label WAYNE COOPER in 1996.
The more ‘youthful sexy’ label, Wayne Cooper, is now stocked in Myer stores nationally.
His current collection embraces colour and prints while still sticking to staple wardrobe items like the little black dress.
“I’ve found colour has become more and more and more and more important,” says Cooper.
“Five, 10 years ago you go to Melbourne and everyone is wearing black and you can’t really sell [women] a black dress anymore.”
Cooper’s collection is one of those rare lines that you can see yourself or your mother or your sister wearing. He says that you now have to cater for a range of women in a collection.
“[The woman I design for] used to be in her twenties when I was in my twenties and it was all my friends. The clothes were what we would wear clubbing. Sexier and younger. Now those girls are in their 30s and 40s, so the age has broadened.”
Cooper says that, “fashion isn’t age specific”.
“It isn’t ‘this is for a 50 year old, this is for a 20 year old’, it depends how you wear it. The collection can be young and sexy but it can be wearable for someone in their 40s.”
Cooper also offered some insightful and honest advice for women about following trends.
"Wear the dress, don’t let the dress wear you. If you go just with trends sometimes, it can just blow up in your face.”
While he advises women against always following the trends, one look Cooper does like is neon.
“I like the fluros but toned down. Just highlights of things. A beautiful white dress with a slash of orange on it or something like that.”
Cooper is also a big believer in the idea of ‘fast fashion’. Inexpensive items you can wear once or twice, look great in and then throw away.
However he does explain that it’s important to understand the difference between a designer’s main collection and their diffusion line.
“Everyone needs beautiful clothes in their wardrobe, but you don’t need all your clothes beautiful clothes. It’s a mixture. But it’s good that you appreciate beautiful clothes that are expensive and why they are. There’s a place for all fashion.”
It’s no secret that the fashion industry is tough, but it’s clear that Cooper loves the constant challenge of creating outfits that women will love.
“I think fashion is supposed to take you out of your everyday life and make you dream a bit. Otherwise why are we doing it?” he says.
While he’s been in the industry for 25 years, it’s clear that there is still a lot more to see from Wayne Cooper.
“That’s why you keep on going because you think, I never quite got it last time. This next time is going to be my best one ever. It’s a constant challenge.”
Wayne Cooper's Summer collection is stocked in Myer Westfield.
Photos by Steven Jones