FASHFEST 2017 Masthead
corrblimey_exhibition

Where is Corr Blimey? Part One

HerCanberra Team

One design label was noticeably absent at FASHFEST.

After presenting wildly popular collections during the first three years of the event, Corr Blimey was not on the catwalk in 2016. So where are Steve Wright and Louisa de Smet and what the heck are they up to?

Well, they’re on sabbatical in Wales, living in Cardiff and teaching fashion at the University of South Wales.

Despite the distance, the couple’s design connection to the capital is as strong as ever. Indeed, Corr Blimey is part of the upcoming Object Therapy exhibition. They’ve transformed a much-loved kimono dressing gown, which holds many memories for its owner, into a cushion cover, but in a very special way.

Steve and Louisa jumped at the chance to be part of Object Therapy. It’s a perfect fit because of their devotion to sustainable practices in design. You see, Object Therapy challenges us to rethink the way we consume. The exhibition features 30 objects that have undergone ‘therapy’ by being creatively repaired by a designer or artist, with each showing that repaired objects are as valuable as new ones.

In Corr Blimey’s case, the challenge was to transform a 100% cotton kimono dressing gown with satin trim, owned by Canberra’s Fiona Glover. The gown was sent all the way to Wales with the challenge to give the kimono, which no longer served its original purpose, a new life.

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The Kimono

The kimono story started when Fiona’s mother bought it new in the 1970s. She wore it in the hospital when Fiona was born and for many years after. “My mum died about 12 years ago but the kimono holds many memories,” says Fiona. “The tag, although faded, says “This garment is made from high-quality fabric and with proper care will last for many years.” I like the idea that it was designed to not be thrown away.”

Fiona wore the gown until she had her first child about eight years ago. “Because it’s getting to be about 40 years old, the fabric is fragile,” she says. “It started to rip when being handled so doesn’t have any use as an item of clothing, but it’s still really special. I’m delighted with the idea of transforming into something else.”

After careful consideration, Corr Blimey transformed the kimono into a cushion cover, within the six-week deadline. They did so without cutting or machine stitching it in any way. All work, including repairs to damaged fabric, was completed by hand. An added special element is that the cushion cover can be returned back into a kimono at any time.

“We were touched by Fiona’s story and treated the kimono sensitively because it represents the love between a mother and a daughter,” says Louisa. “We repaired it in both a visible and invisible way. The repair, now part of the garment’s history, hasn’t taken away from its original value.”

Fiona became quite teary when presented with the cushion cover: “It’s really beautiful, and squishy and soft like my mum. When it sat in my cupboard for years, it started to take on a creased shape but that made me feel sad, like it was forgotten and unloved … but now that it has that crumpled and tactile appearance and feel to it, it gives me a really positive feeling. I want to give it a hug. My kids who never knew their grandmother will love it as well.”

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Louisa and Steve started Corr Blimey label in 2001 while still students at the Canberra Institute of Technology.

Check in with HerCanberra tomorrow for Part Two of the ‘Where is Corr Blimey?’ story, which is about the new experimental capsule fashion collection, ‘Memories of Cloth’.

Object Therapy opens 14 October, 6pm, Hotel Hotel, 25 Edinburgh Avenue. You can see Fiona’s new cushion at the exhibition.

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