You think with a swarm of world class street stylers descended upon Sydney for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia, I would have stepped aside and just let Candice, Tommy, Phil, Nam and Natalie do their sweet sweet snappy thing.  I'll be kicking off coverage with mammoth piccy posts from the shows but first up, something a little on the unexpected side.

I saw Lisa Twomey backstage at the Romance was Born show (more about that later) and then met her later on outside the tents.  Lisa happened to be wearing a splendidly eye-catching coat, one that I initially thought was upcycled by someone else but turned out to be adorned and decorated by herself.  In a few brief words, I got the gist that she was a painter, happened to be interning at Romance was Born and made a lot of clothing herself, using her own collection of antique and vintage bits and pieces.  A further bit of nosy Googling made me hap onto Lisa's blog.  It sound a little bit creepy to say "I discovered Lisa blah blah blah" but I did love the idea of coming to MBFWA and discovering that beyond the catwalks, something quite vibrant, wholly tangible and defiantly untainted was going on in this girl's style and work.  






Hailing from Canberra, Lisa has been painting murals and participating in group exhibitions and makes clothes that are vehicles for her hoarding tendency.  "I really like carrying my favourite things around with me all the time and my bag was too full.  So I would sew trinkets and bits of old beautiful fabric and lace and beading, which my nana gave me onto the clothes, make the pockets big enough for books, sew secrets into the pockets and try and construct the whole thing pretty much out of recycled junk."

For want of a better word, Lisa T's clothes, which are available on a site called Out Clothes, could be classified as upcycling or to be even more gauche, it's upjazzling.  However, when Lisa takes garments and encrusts them until they're heavy with studs, gemstones, beading, lace, old fabric and roughens up the texture with haphazard embroidery and quilting, you can barely recognise the foundation garment on which she began to work on.  It goes without saying that trying to throw about theme-based words like gypsy or folk does her work no justice.  Instead, it's an undefinable mish mash that blends a ton of things together.  When Grimes came on as the soundtrack for the Romance was Born show today, I felt like Clare Boucher's voice could have easily been embedded into Lisa T's clothes. 







HonkyTonks-28 HonkyTonks-29


Delving into this stranger on the street and her work also gave m an excuse to connect her approach with Hiromi Tango's work, which I saw at the wonderful "Contemporary Australia: Women" exhibition at the QAGOMA in Brisbane on Friday.  Tango, a Japanese-born, Brisbane-based artist created two site specific installations, X chromosome and Pistil, for the gallery, showcasing a whole host of "women's work" associated materials and techniques.  Craft paper, wool, flowers, sweet wrappers, soft toys, notes, letters – anything with a perceived "girliness" intertwine with each other to form a DNA double helix shape as well as a long rectangular glass display of much the same but neon-lit with Hotel Hiromi.  Like Tango, Lisa T is probably well on her way towards becoming someone that isn't afraid to embrace the multi-displinary – "I paint, I draw, I make, I do" – and whilst Tango may knowingly be overwhelming viewers with kitsch, just as Lisa T is throwing out perceived "ethnic" vibes out there with her clothes, it's clear both have something a lot more to say than just mere aesthetic prettiness.    








Leave a comment
  1. jean cave

    2012-04-30 at 7:53 PM

    I once made a similar coat to the first one from a sheepskin rug, my bedroom curtain and a of bag leather offcuts from Kingsland Road market. I wore it right through my art student years. Oh! the nostalgia. Delightful.

  2. maya.autumn

    2012-04-30 at 8:03 PM

    this (blummin’ brilliant) post has made my day…it’s so cheerful!!!

  3. Serdane

    2012-04-30 at 8:21 PM

    Brilliant ! So stunning job !

  4. Emmy

    2012-04-30 at 9:31 PM

    Upjazzling…love this term:) And that brilliant coat! She looks so tiny I’m surprised she can walk around with all that weight on her!

  5. Georgie Lowen

    2012-04-30 at 10:58 PM

    I am in love with every image used in this blog post! I love the textiles and the colours. So amazing.

  6. Cristián Pavez Díaz

    2012-05-01 at 1:58 AM

    I loved Lisa T’s work!! Very colorful post.
    Greetings from Santiago, Chile.
    Twitter: @cristianpavezd
    Facebook: http://on.fb.me/uywe6X

  7. Elizabeth Muir

    2012-05-01 at 6:37 AM

    Romance was born is one of my favourite homegrown labels! I have a gorgeous tuxedo jacket of theirs which is my prized wardrobe piece. Looking for to more of your posts from my country. Wish you were coming west!
    Elizabeth Muir.

  8. Constance

    2012-05-01 at 7:10 AM
  9. yaren

    2012-05-01 at 7:40 AM

    hi jean cave!! i’m sure the aesthetic grandeur and quaint intelligence of your ‘art school coat’ isn’t comparable in the slightest to lisa t’s clothes/general artistic production (see http://lisatwomey.blogspot.com.au/). link everyone to your own blog so we can firstly laugh at it, only to further marvel at lisa t’s fledging empire. why don’t you indulge in your selfish nostalgia on your own forum?

  10. Mamma's Vintage Goods

    2012-05-01 at 8:28 AM

    All the clothing pieces are incredible!! I’m wordless right now…

  11. Couture Season

    2012-05-01 at 9:22 AM

    Check out this awesome Fashion related site and share your latest fashion ideas and your love and interest on Fashion and Beauty.
    Couture Season is a fashion social network and community targeting the future of fashion. Please come and check this out the latest fashion at http://www.CoutureSeason.com

  12. susie_bubble

    2012-05-01 at 9:27 AM

    Yaren, Jean Cave was merely adding comment and sharing with us all what Lisa T’s clothing reminded her of. There’s no need to take such a negative approach towards it. Plus, I’m the queen of selfish nostalgia so she is definitely free to indulge away….

  13. Sarah

    2012-05-01 at 11:58 AM

    Hey check out http://www.thescarfboutique.co.uk if you register then you are able to get a massive discount in the prelaunch. You get a special link only available to those registered.
    Also Hermes exhibition on at 6 burlington Gardens London 8th May to 27th May 2012 ADMiSSioN FREE.
    hope this helps x

  14. Malu

    2012-05-01 at 2:08 PM

    Thanks for show us the work of Hiromi Tango!
    I’m a gallerist of Barcelona and I’m thirsty about knowing new artists. I specially adore the ones that do performances, like Tango.
    I look your blog daily. And I’ve never decided, even thought in leave you a comment. Just because if I think that I don’t contribute with my words I prefer to keep quiet xP. But this time I’m writing you because despite I don’t share the same taste about mode with you (a reason for reading you daily) I value your judgment. Above all, in art, because I think we are closer in matter of art.
    Yes, I’m here to ask you something.
    So I dare to ask you for your prefer contemporanian artist, and I’ll be eternally grateful if you would tell me some novice artist that you could discover in your numerous travells. (I leave you my email: maluflauta@gmail.com)
    Thanks for reading pretty, can’t wait for your answer!

  15. childrens jackets

    2012-05-01 at 2:58 PM

    That was so beautiful and very stylistic. It has so much details and shows creative. I love the jacket and its color.

  16. Etrala London

    2012-05-01 at 3:10 PM

    Wow! the coats are amazing! and the have so much work behind them… I know because I¬¥m also fashion designer and I can see a hard work on those clothes!!
    Hope you like my collections aswell, here you can see the fashion show in London that I invited you last week! http://etralalondon.blogspot.co.uk/

  17. lara

    2012-05-01 at 4:31 PM

    those pics look nice real good stuff
    text for free at

  18. francesca

    2012-05-01 at 4:47 PM

    i have to say..this is a really interesting post! I LOVE those coats.. so damn unique! I wish I could have one

  19. Duck

    2012-05-01 at 8:26 PM

    “Upjazzling”? J’ADORE!

  20. Mary Jane K.

    2012-05-01 at 9:43 PM

    Her blue coat is really stunning!

  21. makeup artist training

    2012-05-01 at 10:04 PM

    real a great artist can do his like it.

  22. Lydia

    2012-05-01 at 10:20 PM

    I am crazy in love with every single thing in this post. My mind is exploding.

  23. Lily

    2012-05-01 at 10:56 PM

    This type of clothing makes my heart flutter around in my chest because its just so
    amazing and sweet and its obvious free people is knocking it off too. I also think he is quite the amazing artist! Wow I love this post :)…I have to say I one day must go to Australia just because of the amazing clothing and intriguing culture!

  24. Lisa Price

    2012-05-02 at 2:14 AM

    These jackets are to DIE for. I love the fur incorporation. Xo.

  25. Nursing Shoes

    2012-05-02 at 3:03 AM

    Wow! that is very creative and stylish! Love the variety of colors and patterns, eh. 🙂

  26. Jess

    2012-05-02 at 11:26 AM

    I can only assume you’re trolling (I’d rather assume that than the alternative..) but you’re not doing Lisa any favours with your condescending tone which, incidentally, reeks of someone trying very hard to appear intelligent. Please don’t associate Lisa’s work with your arrogance.
    Pro-tip: the comments section of a blog post is a place where reader reactions are shared, thus a suitable place for so-called ‘selfish nostalgia’.

  27. ktmo

    2012-05-02 at 6:58 PM

    these are amazing. thank you for finding this for me.

  28. veritymackey@gmail.com

    2012-05-03 at 2:23 AM

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!GO GO LISA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. jenny (penniless zen)

    2012-05-04 at 5:06 AM

    cray cray and really cool in a bizarre way… i love pics #6, #11 and #12

  30. Jenny

    2012-10-09 at 6:41 AM

    The closeups remind me of Toy Story 3!

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