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Up Close & Personal with Melbourne Couture Designer – Julie Goodwin.

Melbourne Couture Designer Julie Goodwin is widely recognised as a classic couturier who designs for the female form.

Tucked away quietly in her luxury studio in Melbourne’s Albert Park, Julie goes about what she loves doing most: selecting and working with natural fibres, from silks and laces to cotton and wools, hand-making bespoke clothing of the highest quality that brings out the best in her clients.

Julie says, “Every person is made a pattern from their own individual measurements to make sure the fit is absolutely perfect.”

Julie discovered her passion for creativity at a young age often going out and buying fabric around the age of 13 to make something special for herself. Julie says, “it was a way of saving money and if you had the ability to make it yourself then why not. If I needed a dress for a Saturday night out, I’d make it, and then I began to make for my sisters and my mum, and I just loved what I could create.”

In later life, Julie went on the pursue a career in advertising as well as studying drawing. Julie has always had a creative flair and it was her determination 22 years ago that lead her to follow her passion to become a designer of her own name and open her studio.

Julie says, “One day I decided I hated advertising, you could call it a midlife crisis.”

With a small amount of savings, Julie Goodwin Couture opened – a bespoke female fashion label was created to dress women in a way that uplifts their spirit, embraces individuality, and ensures women are proud of their body shape and size. Goodwin doesn’t believe in ‘regulated’ sizes, making each outfit from scratch, and tailoring around the client’s own unique measurements.

Today, Julie predominantly sources fabrics from overseas using a French company called ‘The Dormy House’ exclusively for tailoring fabrics. Julie says, “It’s hard to find fabric made in Australia, however most of the wool I use is Australian Merino. A lot of what I make I like to call heirloom garments; they are going to cost a lot of money to have made but you’ll be wearing it for twenty years or more.   These fabrics I use stand up to the challenge and that’s why I choose to use them.”

Julie designs to bring her clients confidence and poise, her inspiration comes from well recognised designers Chanel, Dior, Balenciaga, and Madam Grès.

Julie says, my designs are classic, I’m inspired by modern designs as well, but my silhouette is quite traditional. I base my designs in proportion to the woman. If big shoulders are in, it doesn’t necessarily mean they suit everybody. I look at longevity. If you’re spending a lot of money the jacket needs to be wearable for more than six months.

A workaholic with furious attention to detail, Julie embarked on completing her masters in fashion and entrepreneurship including the much talked about topic of sustainability.

Given the current global pandemic situation do you think there will be a post-boom for more sustainable fashion, and will customers shop more consciously?

Julie says. “During studying my fashion masters, we researched people’s purchasing habits on the street and yes, the response was I’ll pay more for Australian Made, and yes I understand people have to be paid fairly, but when it came to people actually making a purchase they don’t. It all comes down to education, just because two T-shirts, for example, look the same and are of the same colour doesn’t mean they have been made with sustainable resources. We must keep shouting it from the rooftops.

Celebrities and Influencers need to get on board. We need to say it’s not ok for influencers to be constantly posting themselves in new outfits every time they go out and instead we should be showing our audience how to re-wear things and why it’s of great importance to the future of fashion.

Julie Goodwin – creates a mini collection of ‘elevated essentials’ during Covid.

With a raft of special occasion dressing and tailored work suits put on hold, Julie retreated to her studio where panic turned to clear thinking:

Julie says, “I responded by getting creative for myself, making clothes I wanted to wear in lockdown – relaxed yet still pulled together, comfortable but with style – I just couldn’t face being in active wear every day.”

A mini collection of ‘elevated essentials’ was born, bringing Julie’s exquisite tailoring to three easy wear, easy-care, everyday pieces. ‘Lucidity’ is a utility pant, blouse and relaxed jacket in fine wool, silk and satin fabrics that takes comfort dressing to a demi-couture level.

Julie wearing her mini capsule collection.

For a couture business that relies on several personal fittings, the traditional made-to-measure approach also needed a twist. The nature of the capsule collection means it can be created with a few measurements taken yourself and emailed with no need for a studio visit. Julie’s even prepared how-to instructional videos and diagrams for taking your own measurements to ensure a semi-tailored fit for her clients.

And while Julie would typically work hand in hand with clients to find the perfect fabric for their couture garments, the Lucidity collection offers three classic colourways of black, taupe and navy with pre-selected fabrics in silk, wool, satin and triacetate satin to keep things uncomplicated. Fabric swatches (along with a tape measure) are popped in the post to assist decision making if needed.

“Working from home, not working, walking to grab a coffee or something effortlessly elegant for travel when we can do that again, this time in lockdown has made me think how good tailoring and beautiful fabrics can be brought to the essentials too.” “What women doesn’t love dressing up, but right now dressing down can look good too – I know I sure can’t face another tracksuit!

Editor in Chief Melinda Sullivan

Images supplied by Julie Goodwin

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