Five minutes with Helen O'Connor from Thurley

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Written by Daniel P Dykes

Update: you can now find a full gallery of social and runway photos from Thurley's spring 2011 presentation at the bottom of this article.

Like many another label keen to avoid the madness that is any fashion week, Thurley's spring 2011 offering debuted ahead of the official cutting of the 2011 RAFW (Australian fashion week) ribbon. headed along to the label's showing, sitting down with designer Helen O'Connor to explore the differences between Melbourne and Sydney, discuss why Paris is her favourite city, and why the Thurley girl wears sequins to breakfast.

Q. What's the mood of Thurley spring / summer 2011/2012?

A. The collection is titled Hybrid. Where it all came about was when I was travelling for work and I noticed the increasing globalisation. I wanted to capture that essence of 'East meets West' in my garments. The oriental and beautiful luxe gets a western feel from the tailoring. It's a beautiful melt of it all.

While designing a collection, what inspires you the most?

Fabric is really where I start. You'll see it from the complexity in the fabrication I use. But then straight after, cuts and style follow the inspiration ladder. Also, my friends and customers inspire me. I have been hearing that people aren't seeing enough sparkle in their wardrobe, so I gave them that.

thurley spring 2011 presentation

How was preparing for RAFW 2011 different than previous years?

I have started to push myself in terms of cuts, fabric and technique. For me, it's not only the end product that's important, but also the entire process of getting it to that stage. Dressmaking is an art and I've realised that.

What's new in 2011 for Thurley?

Introduction of day wear. It doesn't come naturally to me, but I've got someone to help me with it. I'm creating some daywear pieces that can be mixed up with the evening gowns from my spring/summer collection. It's something different.

Which city inspires you the most?

Paris! That's where I get my fabrics from for each season. European mills really push themselves to come up with these amazing fabrics. European sensibility really inspires me. They put so much thought into everything they do.

thurley spring 2011 presentation

You're originally from Melbourne. How is a Melbourne girl different to a Sydney girl?

A Melbourne girl would be like Cate Blanchett. She's someone who is a little more conservative in her fashion choices. She's all about tailoring and wears much darker hues.

A Sydney girl is like Kylie Minogue who is more courageous in her fashion choices and is willing to embrace trends and colour.

Who is the Thurley girl?

Someone like Anna Dello Russo, she would be my muse. I can just see her wearing some of my favourite pieces from this collection. A Thurley girl is someone who has a character of wearing something different and unique; like sequins to breakfast. Someone who values quality over fast fashion and wants something different that lasts forever. Timeless pieces, really.

thurley spring 2011 presentation

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