Your label is called Maison Briz Vegas – a French twist on an affectionate nickname for Brisbane. What’s the significance of this?
Our first MBV collections were conceived and created in Paris. The name was designed to be a play on the notion of French luxury and our new world, sub-tropical home city. The word Maison in French is used to symbolise the history and prestige of a company, such as a fashion house. It’s a bit of a joke because we are not “une grande maison”… yet!
Your work takes a different approach to fashion, in that you often remake thrifted items. In this sense, your work straddles the contemporary context of ‘sustainable fashion’ and an interest in the past. How do you select the pieces you remake and what is your interest in their previous lives?
We work largely with secondhand cotton T-shirts and wool sweaters as primary materials to create our garments. There are always plenty to find and they provide a good blank canvas for dyeing, printing, re-cutting, quilting. We don’t work with special vintage items, the garments we upcycle are quite banal and generic, the sorts of textiles that end up in landfill — such as a corporate fundraising T-shirt that was worn once or twice. We’re more interested in their potential for a future life.
Tell us how you came to be interested in fashion…
Carla van Lunn: I was born interested in fashion.
Carla Binotto: I wasn’t born interested in fashion but I always loved creating things and somehow ended up studying fashion.
Where do you look for inspiration on matters of style?
Maison Briz Vegas is very inspired by rubbish and how we can make something beautiful from waste. We are drawn to things that look hand-touched and designs that are both functional and poetic. We also like to bring a bit of humour to our work.
What is your most treasured dress-related object or memory?
CVL: My Schiaparelli lobster print dress by great designer and dear friend, David Szeto.
CB: It was when I was a student, I ended up spending hours in a dark, dingy storeroom sifting through boxes of turn-of-the-century clothes and curiosities donated to QUT Fashion by the National Trust. I remember being amazed and inspired by the things I was discovering.
Give us three words, people or places you associate with Queensland fashion…
CVL: Di Cant, Lorna Jane, Surfers Paradise.
CB: skin, thongs, colour
Is there such a thing as a distinct Queensland style?
Well, there are certain things you only see in Queensland, such as barefoot girls on a Saturday night.
Published in Issue 4, on October 8, 2013.