Quirky and Kooky Womenswear
View recent Alannah Hill Clothing collections on Australian Fashion Review Blog
Introduction to the Alannah Hill Fashion Label
Alannah Hill was born in Tasmania in 1963 to Catholic parents in the small coastal town of Penguin. Her parents owned an old fashioned milk bar, where they sold petrol, Four and Twenty pies and cream buns – as Alannah says there were lots of mixed lollies, but not a sequin in sight. At the age of 16 Alannah announced to her parents that she was moving to Melbourne and left her sleepy town with six suitcases full of costumes, $30 and her mother’s wedding ring.
Wearing her costumes, such as the policewoman and the sailor girl, each day she was soon noticed in a café, tricking them into thinking she could run something – she was promoted to Head Waitress, even though she had never waitressed before. Alannah soon impressed the owners of a fashion boutique across the road from the café on Melbourne’s Chapel Street.
Alannah was hired by Indigo clothing store, where she worked for 15 years. During her employment she would take designs to the owners of the things that she herself would like to wear, such as aprons, quirky frocks and little Ra Ra dresses. The owners of Indigo loved all her post-punk looks and soon she was creating a capsule collection for the boutique.
In 1996, Alannah decided the timing was right to go it alone and founded her namesake womenswear fashion label, Alannah Hill, in Melbourne. The following year, she opened her first standalone boutique, and the rest, as they say, is history.
As of 2011 the Alannah Hill collections were available through 13 standalone boutiques, through 13 David Jones concessions, as well as through the Alannah Hill online boutique, which went global in July, 2011. Additionally, the Alannah Hill label is available through some of the wold’s finest boutiques including, most proudly for Alannah, Henri Bendel on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Today, Alannah Hill has established herself as one of the most popular female fashion labels in Australia. Her label is true testament to natural talent combined with following a dream.
In October 2012, the Alannah Hill brand announced that it was to expand its product offering into eyewear via manufacturer Bluroptix (known for producing eyewear for the likes of Cutler & Gross, Sass & Bide and Akira).
Inspiration and Aesthetic of the Alannah Hill Fashion Label
”I love girls … I find them so powerful, sexy and, at the same time, vulnerable and paradoxical. I have true happiness when I see a girl dress up.” – Alannah Hill.
Alannah draws from a long list of inspirations when creating her seasonal collections. Influences include romance, love, sex, girls crying, travel, extravagant hotel rooms, flower shops, Tokyo, chocolates, fear, loneliness, music and marvellousness. The Alannah Hill designs ooze femininity, with their floral and girly prints and combined with luxurious fabrics, velvet, and lashings of lace and crochet detailing. Her line of accessories include flirty creations of quirky hair pieces, vintage styled bracelets, girly brooches and kitsch handbags.
Alannah Hill and the David Jones Scandal
In 2010, retail giant David Jones, which stocks Alannah Hill collections in their department stores, found themselves in the centre of a sexual harassment scandal. A former publicist for the company accused David Jones Chief Executive, Mark McInnes of sexual harassment, including making unwelcome comments of a sexual nature and unwelcome sexual advances on several occasions. The allegations forced the resignation of McInnes and saw the woman in question receiving a substantial settlement.
Alannah Hill found herself caught up in the scandal, when attempting to publicly stick up for the department store, which stocks her designer collections. She told reporters that she has a crush on McInnes and that she had thrown herself at him. She said “I wish he’d have touched me up. I threw myself at him…He told me he didn’t want to mix business with pleasure…He could have bedded me but her chose the other one…I would have gone back to that Bondi flat in a heartbeat.”
Her comments, obviously made in jest and probably taken out of context, sparked quite a reaction, so Alannah promptly went onto breakfast radio to apologise for her remarks. “I’m so gutted…I feel like such an idiot…I feel terrible for that girl and I feel stupid for myself and I really, really humbly apologise.” To further cement her heartfelt apology, Alannah held a ‘Sorry Sale’ in which, 100% of the profits of all national sales over the course of a day to the White Ribbon Foundation, which works to prevent violence against women. Alannah added that some of the profits made at her own stores will go to a specific program to raise awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Here at Australian Fashion Review Blog we admire how Alannah dealt with the situation – admitting fault and then making sure that something good was to come from it, raising over $200,000 for the White Ribbon Foundation. Well done Alannah!
Future of the Alannah Hill Fashion Label
If the dignified way Alannah Hill dealt with her dalliance with controversy is anything to go by, then the future of the label is assuredly positive. Expect to see quirky, kitsch and girly collections from the unique Australian designer for many seasons to come. Additionally, keep an eye out for the recently released, Alannah Hill swimwear collection hitting stores near you.
Visit the official Alannah Hill website, here.