Fashion Label by Kit Willow-Podgornik
View recent Willow Collections on Australian Fashion Review Blog.
Introduction to the Willow Fashion Label
As a young girl, Australian designer Kit Willow-Podgornik was heavily involved with her clothes, using them as a way of expressing herself. Her passion for fashion and clothing was always there, leading to Kit working in fashion boutiques throughout her university education. After graduating from Melbourne’s Monash University with a degree in Commerce, majoring in Marketing and Psychology, Kit began a career in PR working for labels such as Witchery and Georges.
In 2003, Kit launched her namesake fashion label ‘Willow’ at Mercedes-Benz Australian Fashion Week, with a collection of luxury embellished silk underwear. The well received collection immediately received orders from Australian department stores David Jones and Belinda, as well as UK department store Browns. The following year the Willow fashion label showed on the catwalk of London Fashion Week, and since then the brand has continued to be a presence at fashion weeks around the world, including New York and Melbourne.
In 2008, the first Willow flagship store opened in Sydney’s Paddington, followed by two in Melbourne in 2009. The Willow fashion label had firmly secured its place in the Australian fashion industry. In 2011, Kit announced the sale of her label to the Sydney-based Apparel Group, with her remaining on as the Creative Director. Kit said of the deal: “This is still my baby, now my baby is off to school with some amazing teachers.”
As of early 2012, Willow has expanded to become an international fashion force with stockists in every corner of the globe .There are three Willow boutiques in Australia and the label is sold through David Jones and at more than 80 locations internationally, including Harvey Nichols stores worldwide. The brand is also well represented online globally through net-a-porter.com, matchesfashion.com and shopbop.com.
Willow Fashion Label: Key Dates
- 1997: Designer Kit Willow-Podgornik, enters a career in PR after graduating with a degree in Commerce from Melbourne’s Monash University.
- 2003: The Willow fashion label, founded by Kit Willow-Podgornik, debuts at Mercedes-Benz Australian Fashion Week.
- 2004: The label shows for the first time at London Fashion Week to critical acclaim with British Vogue saying: “The collection was both beautiful and varied enough to convince her fans that she is a talent set to last.”
- 2005: Willow was back on the runway once again, this time at New York Fashion Week as one of the lucky 10 selected brands to have a fully sponsored catwalk show.
- 2007: To gain further experience and improve her drapery skills, Kit worked with a master of draping in Paris.
- 2008: The first Willow flagship store opens in a former art gallery in Sydney’s fashion hub. Paddington.
- 2009: Two further Willow standalone boutiques open in Melbourne on Malvern Road and Bourke Street. Each boutique doubles as an art gallery showcasing the work of local artists.
- 2011: The Willow fashion label collaborates with Julia Restoin-Roitfeld former Vogue Paris fashion editor Melanie Huynh on the brand’s Spring/Summer 2012 lookbook. Also this year, Willow was bought by Sydney-based Apparel Group, owner of Saba and Sportscraft, with Kit remaining as the brand’s Creative Director.
Aesthetic of the Willow Fashion Label
“What drives me is making clothes that fit and feel fantastic…it’s not just about making frocks, it’s about what’s happening in the world and what women actually want and need.” – Kit Willow-Podgornik
What started off as a lingerie collection at Mercedes Australian Fashion Week in 2003, Willow has since evolved into a luxurious high-end women’s clothing label featuring lingerie and outerwear, known for its luxe glamour. Willow clothing collections have become known for tying together the use of luxury textiles and fabrics in unique colours, with modern, sophisticated styling to create the perfect balanced mix for a glamorous, yet alluring look. The combination of soft chiffon, pleats, drapery, ruched and jewelled details makes Willow a womenswear label that is at the pinnacle of high fashion. Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz, Miranda Kerr and singer Florence Welch are all regularly photographed in Willow.
Future of the Willow Fashion Label
The partnership with the Apparel Group seems set to enable the Willow fashion label to expand dramatically. Further standalone stores, a collection of bags and shoes and a new clothing line are all in the pipeline, along with the launch of a new e-commerce site, due in February 2012.
Visit the official Willow website, here.