Profile and main photo by Amie Berry
Name to remember: Alexander Lyon
Studies: Bachelor of Fashion Design, TAFE NSW Ultimo, Class of of 2020
Currently working on: Looks for Australian Fashion Week
After a few years slugging as a farm hand across outback Australia, Alexander Lyon was admitted to the Bachelor of Fashion Design at Ultimo.
Originally hailing from Southport, twenty minutes from Liverpool, England, Lyon grew up in the vibrant arts scene for which the area is renowned. He attributes Liverpool’s cultural richness to the area’s working-class history. “That area’s always just been full of insane talent and I think it’s because there’s a lot of poverty and things like that. I think it just pushes people to really diversify and come up with new things all the time,” Lyon says.
He speaks of his studies as a time of “catharsis” and his graduating collection is infused with narrative from the gifted designer’s lived experience.
Like many great designers, Lyon tries not to look at current trends. This way he avoids unconsciously stealing ideas and his work remains authentic. Instead he reads a lot and combs visual art, architecture and history for inspiration: “I like to look at a lot of sources and then try and leave it for a little bit and let it sink in, so that everything is kind of embedded in there and you can envision it in your own way. ”
The famous post-impressionist, Toulouse-Lautrec, whose art resonates with Lyon, is another big influence. The artist’s life and struggles also speak to him on a personal level: “I just felt like I knew him, even though I’d never met him,” Lyon says.
Sophisticated tailoring is a defining quality of Lyon’s style. A background in graphic design means illustration features heavily too. The multi-talented designer does his own illustrations for screen-printing onto fabrics. Toulouse-Lautrec’s hand vibrates beautifully in the prints of his graduating collection. Motifs of fonts, faces, and alcohol splatters create a surreal moodiness, to balance the expertly structured garments.
Lyon cites avant-garde masters Alexander McQueen and John Galliano as design heroes, but Thierry Mugler, the king of architectural tailoring, has a special place in his heart. “Look I’m getting goosebumps just talking about him!” In a poetic twist of fate, veteran model Ellen Farley, who walked for Mugler in the 1990s, will also walk for Lyon this Australian Fashion Week.
Lyon is philosophical on this point. “I think there’s a way to make everything that’s a disaster look good and I think it also depends on if you’re confident with it. If you wear the worst thing but you’re confident in it, then I think you can sell it,” he says.
We wish Alex all the best for Fashion Week and for his future career. Follow him on Instagram to see more of his collection.