Verner, brainchild of Ingrid Verner is a very special label indeed. Asking more from clothing than most, Verner builds up narrative through collaboration, shapes and silhouettes. Thinking through notions of fashion, street style and print to create opportunities for expression. This season, working for the second time with artist and curator Lisa Waup, who is a descendant from the Gunditjmara and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as well as having Italian heritage from south east Melbourne; her cultural origins play a key role in her artistic and curatorial practice.
Waup works with fibre, paper, kelp, ceramics, found objects, feathers and also within the medium of print. Through a distinct approach to weaving, layers of history and story are expressed through sophisticated overlapping and intertwining of materials which create distinct compositions. The sophisticated stitch work symbolizing the reattachment of fragments of identity, coming together to present a cohesive visual whole. Notions of family and connection to country are prominent in Lisa’s work, bringing us to the premise of the new collaborative collection ‘Journeys’.
Journeys is predicated on the journeys we all take. Though history, through family and friendships and a connection to country we may or may not have - to the past, present and future – and the connections between us all.
Ingrid says of the collection; “It’s almost too easy to fall for the cheap clichés of Australian identity so I prefer to focus on a more present Australia, one that is not afraid to look inward whilst challenging European or American philosophy on dress. We live in a vast space where anything is possible”
This has always been the mission, to our minds, of Verner. To describe and define new ways of dressing that isn’t located in any specific western tradition – that borrows and re-imagines elements and parts from all over the world, but situates itself entirely within the context of Australia today, and all that we represent. Ingrid Verner has a history of collaboration, most recently with local artist Gian Manik. Each collection gains strength and depth of meaning through these intertwining of practices and approaches to making.
Lisa Waup’s role in the collaborative process included providing 3 distinct works which were then re-imagined into repeat printed patterns. The works used were Continuity, Tracing History and Eyes of Our Ancestors. Continuity consists of a multitude of lines which congregate with edges, pointing to a central square shape – a square has resting points – which can be a place to ponder, and gather strength to reassess the situation and direction you are going and give space and time to address options at hand. Tracing History form is steeped in singular lines crossing in and out of one another – creating square or triangular shapes around - a totem pole - detailing the connections to all that is around the artist – adapting to negative and positive aspects of Waup’s life. The monochromatic drawings becoming stepping stones, researching missing history - while embracing the known and unknown of what is and what will be. Lastly Eyes of Our Ancestors describes a mask like image, a manifestation - detailing the forever presence of Waup’s ancestors, which guide her in times of doubt. They look over here when at times she is lost for direction. The image is a presence of eyes taking care of Waup and her family.
These works draw on a strong tradition and language of symbols. Through creating a series of garments which speak to these both personal and cultural narratives, extending these stories, incorporating them into pieces of clothing which can be adorned and transformed on the body – takes on an additional life. Extending these original stories in a different context, through clothing creates avenues for new narratives, intertwining both these past present and future conceptions is exciting.
Waup used remnants from the manufacture of the clothing to make a series of small artworks, body adornments – seen in the recent runway show and also visible in the look book, available to browse on the Verner website.
We are excited here at Monk House to host a selection of our most coveted pieces from the collection. Including the Track Shorts and Tracing Tee featuring the Tracing History print in a contrasting black, white and red print, also in the same lush print is the Kaftan Tunic, Soft Hat and Circle Bag – summer essentials if you ask us. We are also waiting on a drop containing gems such as The New Frill Dress in a lightweight cotton, some cute bike shorts, and the much loved boiler suit style Overalls – coming in the incredibly powerful Continuity print.
Such exciting times, and indeed such a vast space we live in for experimentation, knowledge production and sharing of stories, lives and alternative forms of communication – whether it be in art making, clothing, music, or dance.
Pieces available in store, and online soon.
Images provided by Verner
Words by Gussie Vinall Richardson