Che Eyewear are lucky to count amongst our clients individuals with talents in all arenas of life, from nurses to Olympic swimmers, spiritualists to gallerists.
In today’s 20/20 blog, Che Eyewear sat down with iconic Melbourne fashion designer and illustrator, Estelle Michaelides of The Bespoke Illustrator. Loved by the fashion crowd for her unique Micky In The Van independent label, Estelle’s inimitable style pairs dramatic volume with sharp tailoring – an explosion of color and character made into a garment. Estelle is also a discerning collector of Che Eyewear glasses, and a Melbourne creator who embraces the energy of Fitzroy.
Estelle, what do you do and how did you end up doing it?
Estelle: Ooh, many things. I consider myself a creative. I know I don’t like to put labels what I do. I explore different avenues of being a creative whether that be in fashion or the arts. I just keep my eyes open and whenever I get that little tingle – that sense that I want to explore and discover, I’ll go there.
When you were a little person, what did you imagine that you would be or do?
Estelle: I guess I was influenced by my family, because I was raised in the fashion industry. I vividly recall being six or seven and someone asking me “What do you want to be when you grow up”? And I remember saying quite sternly: “I’m going to a famous fashion designer.” Mum tells me that I was sewing clothes for my Barbies on her industrial sewing machine at age four – so fashion design was always innate to me.
Do you think it’s unusual for there to be such a connection between the little you and the big you?
Estelle: I think because I’ve always been surrounded by creatives, it’s not that unusual for me. It’s not even just my immediate family who are in fashion – it’s my extended family too. We’re all in fashion industry. Pursuing a creative career is certainly a choice but when it’s in front of you for your entire existence, it will linger and stay with you.
Do you remember your first pair of glasses? What did they look like and how did wearing glasses make you feel?
Estelle: Oh my goodness me. They were reading glasses. It was a very long time ago. I needed reading glasses from about 15. I’m short-sighted. I think it was a novelty more than anything else but I don’t remember what they looked like.
They weren’t fashion?
Estelle: I’m sure they were. It’s not even a question! I think they made me feel studious.
And the glasses you’re wearing today?
Estelle: These are my reading glasses.
Why did you choose these frames? What rings true to you about these glasses?
Estelle: I think I’m really embracing the fact that I need to wear glasses regularly, so I’m keeping it quite simple and understated. I thought I’d go for something really bold and it’s like, well, you know what, I have to wear reading glasses so let’s just make it a statement piece.
Do you wear glasses like accessories, choosing different styles based on your overall look?
Estelle: Yes, I do. I have different styles. I’ve not considered glasses as a fashion accessory, but when I’m going to an event where I do need to wear reading glasses I will consider which ones match the occasion.
Have you ever bought a pair of really silly, eccentric glasses?
Estelle: A pair? Let’s say there’s been quite a few! I have a love for sunglasses. Just like any other accessory, particularly head-wear or jewellery, glasses can really change the look of an entire outfit. They can give you a different air as well.
The craziest pair of glasses I own would have to be a pair of House of Harlow 1960 that are pink and round – they actually have writing around the rim. Karen Walker makes some quirky pairs – I’ve purchased a few pieces from her limited edition collection at Che Eyewear. They’re gold all over – the lens and the frame – and they’re gorgeous!
Could you share two creative inspirations who have struck a chord with you, influencing and deepening your own practice?
Estelle: On a personal level, I really believe that my creativity comes from a special, unique part of my soul. Quite often when I am designing or painting, I allow my designs to speak to me. It’s a real beautiful, spiritual moment informed by my love of craft, design and history. On a design level, I’ve been influenced by all the great designers, the legends – particularly Christian Lacroix. He uses so much colour and pattern that his designs become wearable art. They come to life and they speak. It makes my heart sing.
Is Lacroix your favourite designer?
Estelle: Absolutely. And Stella Jean who’s more recent. But of the fashion gods, I love Christian Lacroix.
Estelle, your boutique retail business was once located on Smith Street. What do you love most about Fitzroy?
Estelle: It’s one of the very few suburbs in Melbourne that hasn’t been affected by gentrification. It’s still raw and pure. Of course, change is slowing coming to Fitzroy, but it remains authentic in spirit. When I had The Estelle Store here, there wasn’t a day that went by when I didn’t see a beautiful character walking past the shop, a person true to themselves, wearing exactly what they wanted to wear, totally unaffected.
Who is someone you associate with glasses and style?
Estelle: My Mum. She rocks glasses. She’s just not herself without her glasses – and she looks quite peculiar without them.
Do you want to see some glasses?