Michelle Jank’s Spring 2009 Collection, titled “Suspending Belief” closed out day one at Rosemount Australia Fashion Week. More than a runway collection, the designer collaborated with Askill Projects to create a multimedia production with a synchronized, syncopated, sartorial SHOW! Although, the aviarian-themed presentation got off to a late start, it was more than worth the wait, as the models sauntered out onto an elevated lacquered runway in 22 traffic-stopping looks against the backdrop of a suspended motion video!
According to her biography, a passion for fashion has been Michelle Jank’s ultimate driving force. For the past ten years, she has forged a reputation as a true stylistic Renaissance woman. Refusing to limit her vision, she has boldly immersed herself in styling, consulting, and design. In turn, these faceted experiences have seeped their way into her various fashion-related projects, imbuing them all with a distinctive edge. It is no wonder her strong artistic aesthetic continues to push industry boundaries and while some designers pursue the instant spotlight; Ms. Jank has approached her craft with an artisan’s patience. She seeks opportunities that allow her to explore unchartered territories.
The designer, who completed her final year of fashion design at the Sydney Institute of Technology in 1999, has presented several solo shows at Australian Fashion Week; New York Fashion Week, styled fashion shoots for Vogue Australia, and collaborated with cutting-edge designers Ksubi and Alex Perry. Her designs have been given the moniker Pandora’s Box due to their mysterious appeal and hidden secrets. In 2006, Ms. Jank relocated to Paris in search of more visual mystery, inspirations, and experiences. She was booked almost immediately, assisting premier stylists such as Lucinda Chambers for British Vogue and Patti Wilson for Italian Vogue and ID Magazine. Additionally, the young designer launched her own range of jewelry.
I had an opportunity to catch up with the designer back stage who expounded on being inspired by the Hitchcockian theme and the influence living in Paris has had on her creative direction. No matter what the medium, ultimately Ms. Jank offers a rare interpretation of fashion—one that celebrates the individual’s spirit above all else. The decidedly neutral palette of black, white, and grey allowed this designer’s details to “take flight.” Slicked back chignons and glitter brows heightened the presentation’s dramatic cache. Highlights from one of my favorite collections during RAFW included: a white goddess asymmetrical dress with bird silhouette along the collar bone; a white flowing gown with bib statement neckpiece; a black draped dress with open sides and back revealing bird tattoos; a platinum grey draped short sleeve dress with a dramatic oversized neckpiece; a black jumpsuit with framed sculpted straps and flowing overlay panel; the stunning black cutaway jersey dress with crisscross straps and racer back; a white strapless paneled gown with black bird appliqués; and the dramatic piece de resistance, a platinum single strap gown with a flock of black bird appliqués.
Throughout 2008 and 2009, Michelle Jank promises that her artisan empire will continue to grow as she relaunches her clothing line. The designer was proud to be returning from her European success to Rosemount Australian Fashion Week. The collection was supported by investment bank Deutsche Bank. The range is sold exclusively at Colette Paris, Comme des Garcons/ Dover St Markets (London) and Undercover (Japan). Main line hand-crafted pieces are also stocked in Liberty and Harrods (London), Kirna Zabete (New York), On Peddler (Beijing, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong), Side by Side and HP France (Tokyo), Al Oustura (Dubai), Freeshop (Athens), Twins (Russia), Trieze (Brussels).