Paul Hunt

Fashion designer Paul Hunt explains his use of the term couture, the process of working with clients to create a custom gown, his love of diverse shopping districts and why we need more of them in Brisbane.

Paul Hunt in his studio, 2012Myles Secomb

Paul Hunt is a Brisbane-based designer known for his attention to detail and glamorous work. Paul recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of his eponymous label, presenting his latest collection as the finale to the 2013 Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival. He is an accomplished designer known for creating custom garments with couture style techniques and finishes. He uses the term ‘couture’ (an official title traditionally bestowed by the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture) as a way to distinguish his work as bespoke, hand-made pieces that reflect the tradition of the couture industry. At the heart of Paul’s business is bridal wear and formal gowns, which he has specialised in since starting out. Since 2008, Paul has also begun designing a range of daywear focussed pieces under the heading of ‘demi-couture.’

In this interview, recorded in Paul’s studio/atelier, he recalls his upbringing, move to Brisbane, and the eventual establishment of his own business. Paul also reflects on the significance of the RAQ Awards (a televised Queensland fashion design festival and competition) in the Queensland fashion scene prior to the introduction of the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival.

Paul grew up in Glen Innes, in rural New South Wales, and credits the close friendship of a local creative family, alongside the support of his own family, with opening his eyes to the possibilities of a design focussed career. After a brief stint of study in Sydney, Paul made the decision to move to Brisbane in the 1990s, where he began working at Gardam’s Fabrics. He quickly worked his way up to specialise in bridal fabrics, before becoming their in-house designer. Eventually Paul set up his own business and opened a store in the then emerging retail district of James Street. He has stayed in the area since, occupying a number of boutique locations.

Paul operates a combined work-space and salon for clients to view garments and have fittings by appointment. This allows him to show clients his working process, and the fact that all of the laborious work is done in-house by himself and his assistant. Pieces are made as one-offs and then fitted to buyers. Alternatively, an entirely new design is created by Paul in consultation with a client’s needs.

Paul is dedicated to the craft of fashion design and works with luxurious fabrics to create classic and timeless styles influenced by his love of historical periods. He has a particular fondness for the 1920s and ’30s, and also draws inspiration from other creative fields such as theatre, opera and film.


Paul Hunt, Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival, 2013
Paul Hunt, Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival, 2013MBFF
Paul Hunt, first 'demi-couture' collection, 2008
Paul Hunt, first 'demi-couture' collection, 2008
Paul Hunt, black and white wedding dress, 2007
Paul Hunt, black and white wedding dress, 2007Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival
Paul Hunt gown at the RAQ Fashion Awards, 1999
Paul Hunt gown at the RAQ Fashion Awards, 1999

Published in , on September 24, 2013.