Thurley Fashion Label

An Australian designer clothing label for women by Helen Connor

View recent Thurley Collections on Australian Fashion Review Blog
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Introduction to the Thurley Fashion Label

Australian-designer Helen O’Connor studied Advertising, before completing a diploma in Fashion Design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, during which, she was selected to take part in Scanlan & Theodore’s first apprenticeship program. Upon graduating, Helen was awarded a scholarship at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. A trip to Paris followed, where she had the opportunity to experiment with centuries-old techniques in craftsmanship.

Helen returned to Australian shores in 2005, and the following year she launched her womenswear fashion label ‘Thurley’, named after her mother, with a critically acclaimed showing at L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Week. Just two years later, in 2008, Thurley stamped its mark firmly on the Australian and international fashion scene, by being just the third Australian fashion label to be stocked on high-end e-boutique, net-a-porter.

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Despite a high-profile copycat controversy with Collette Dinnigan in 2009, the Thurley brand has continued to go from strength the strength, with the first stand-alone store opening in Melbourne is 2010, coinciding with the launch of a new e-commerce site. The expansion of the Thurley fashion label continued in 2011 with the launch of new David Jones concessions and new accessory and footwear lines being added to the product range.

Since its inception in early 2006 Thurley has been gaining a strong customer following in Australia, the US, and throughout the United Kingdom. As of early 2012, the label is represented both nationally and internationally in over 80 of the world’s finest boutiques, including London’s Harvey Nichols, New York’s Elizabeth Charles, Singapore’s CK Tank and Jakarta’s Lucy’s House.

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Thurley Fashion Label: Key Dates

  • 2006: The ‘Thurley’ fashion label is founded by designer Helen O’Connor and launches its debut collection at L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Week to critical acclaim
  • 2008: Thurley is short-listed for the prestigious LMFF Designer Award by Woolmark. Also this year, the brand becomes the third Australian label the be stocked on the high-end etail site net-a-porter, alongside Sass and Bide an 18th Amendment.
  • 2009: The label found itself at the centre of a copycat controversy, when established Australian designer Collette Dinnigan accused Thurley of copying her designs. The dispute arose after the Thurley show at the David Jones Spring/Summer fashion launch, of which, Dinnigan observed from the front row. Helen O’Connor said of the incident that although she is inspired by Dinnigan she had “absolutely not” copied her.
  • 2010: In September, the Thurley fashion label launches its retail roll out in Australia, which currently stands at six stand-alone boutiques, including three in Melbourne and one in Sydney. Also this year the brand launches a new website, with a complete user experience, including an e-commerce store, behind-the-scenes footage and insights into Helen O’Connor’s inspirations.
  • 2011: Thurley opens new concession stores in David Jones department stores throughout Australia. This year sees the continued expansion of Thurley as a label, with the addition of accessory and footwear lines the the product range.

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The Thurley Brand Aesthetic

Helen draws on her experiences travelling the world, utilizing the classic techniques she has learned and luxury materials to create her delicate and ornate womenswear collections. The luxurious Thurley collections eschews current trends and are instead composed of timeless trans-seasonal pieces that are both classic and contemporary. Strong tailoring is juxtaposed with fluid drapery, and taken to a new level with unusual fabrications, creating a easily recognisable aesthetic that has garnered the brand a loyal international following.

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Visit the official Thurley website, here.

If you like the look of Thurley, why not check out fellow Australian womenswear labels Ellery, State of Georgia and Willow.

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