Malcolm Enright

Malcolm Enright is an artist, designer, and collector known for his diverse historical interests and influences. Malcolm originally worked in advertising for Myer department stores, later running his own graphic design studio. In more recent years Malcolm has become known as a significant collector, most notably of Australian art, horology, and ephemera. He runs various blogs, including Ephemeral-male, and works from a collaborative studio with his wife, jeweller Barbara Heath.

How does the digital environment assist with historical collections and sharing knowledge?

On-line equates to access = bits. On-shelf requires the user be in a physical zone = atoms.

I was eleven when the penny dropped for me as I made my way to the Brisbane Public Library in William Street, most afternoons to scan shelves, learn the card system and devour design and art history books.

Around nineteen I found Kaida Sari’s International Bookstore in Adelaide Street in the Blocksedge & Ferguson Arcade where I purchased European magazines and design journals like ‘twen magazine’, ‘nova magazine’ and initiated subscriptions to ‘gebrauchagraphic’ and ‘graphis magazine’. From the USA I purchased ‘ramparts’ and ‘surfer’ magazine. The local library never covered those mastheads.

My design resource started to build in a serious way as my own design career went vertical and provided the funds to expand my horizons . . .
Today I find myself with a rack of dual 500 gigabite hard drives with folders of visual resources, work files and all manner of RSS feeds that inform the three blogs I create and manage. As everyone fine-tunes their own understanding of search engine etiquette, the world appears in either .pdf or bitmap form, which is nice.

Australian art has been an enduring passion for you, and many pieces from your significant collections have gone into public institutions. What role do private collectors play in public culture?

Individual institutions run on either maintaining their own collection focus or building on a strategic intent. Collectors who successfully partner with public or private institutions do so from an informed platform, usually from a relationship based on knowledge transfer and kindred support. Almost every collector will reach a point of physical space restriction, exhausting a field of endeavour or a change of interest and or direction. Being immersed in a category is essential to learning and development, where ever the interest lies, the smart corporate managers seek out the movers and shakers and will make sure a partnership exists for mutual prosperity.

What is your relationship to fashion; self-loathing, or self-expression?

Which decade?

From 1 to 10 I was stimulated at home with hand made creative clothing, party dressing up, cubs and scouts and sports uniforms.

10 to 20 was school uniforms and then creative self expression.

20 to 30 saw my own fashion sense expanding as I bought second hand suits, created capes and imported my own bolts of fabric to brief tailors and seamstresses.

30 to 50 saw me venturing down the eastern sea board and overseas for work and pleasure returning with Commes des Garçon, Valentino and Yoji Yamamato plus caps and accessories by Clayton, YSL and Gaultier. Also great local Australian fashion friends like Lyn Hadley, Daniel Lightfoot, Pam and Lydia at EP, Michael Carr, Debbie Fenwick and Debbie Long at 2D, Chris Feld’s Belltower with Maria Cleary in Brisbane. Peter Tully, Johnno Sceats and Jean Pierre Khoury in Sydney. In Melbourne Sara Thorn and Bruce Slorach at Abyss, Christine Dunbar from Georges & David (puss) Aboud, Martin Grant, Scanlan & Theodore and Joe Saba.

50 to 65 I spend less on clothes and more on my horological interests but I remain a staunch shoe fetishist. Country Road, Saba and Paul Smith kept me warm this winter.

Where do you look for inspiration on matters of style?

Blogs, magazines, clothing racks and out and about, wherever + my daughter Lil who is sharp, savvy and very opinionated.

What is your most treasured dress-related object or memory?

My scout jamboree shirt decorated with merit badges, the first Mod boutique in Brisbane called ‘the clothes peg’ in Ann Street and my signature Clayton cap (stolen at a dance gig) that I used for my 1989 corporate graphics (pictured).

Give us three words, people or places you associate with Queensland fashion…

The early local adopters from my time in the 1960′s: Patricia Crowley from Cassells, Paula Stafford and her husband and Ray & Dawn Petersen. Or go back earlier to Ray and Josie Scanlan, Paul Barry of Barry & Roberts, and Mick ‘old man’ Malouf in the 1940′s . . . the three who informed my parent’s taste.

Also: Post ww2 saw Patrick Ogilvie on the scene, they are third generation in Brisbane retailing now . . .

Is there such a thing as a distinct Queensland style?

Less so these days . . . and I think that is a great thing.

Malcolm Enright, aged five and a half, dressed in a leather cowboy outfit handmade by his Mother
Malcolm Enright, aged five and a half, dressed in a leather cowboy outfit handmade by his MotherDulcie Marion Hansen
Malcolm Enright, publicity sheet #3 (showing the Clayton cap mentioned), 1986
Malcolm Enright, publicity sheet #3 (showing the Clayton cap mentioned), 1986
Malcolm Enright, Men in Vogue supplement - 'men in style' Summer 1990
Malcolm Enright, Men in Vogue supplement - 'men in style' Summer 1990
Dawn and Ray Peterson (as the poodle) from an Ekka Parade for Fifi's of Piccadilly Arcade, 1960s
Dawn and Ray Peterson (as the poodle) from an Ekka Parade for Fifi's of Piccadilly Arcade, 1960s
Ray and Dawn Petersen, Brisbane fashion agents, ca. 1960s
Ray and Dawn Petersen, Brisbane fashion agents, ca. 1960sKerkhof's Photography, Surfers Paradise, (Malcolm Enright's collection)

Published in , on October 8, 2013.