Style Melbourne

The Advent of Alabakov

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 into December and the countdown is on, not only for Christmas but for the release of Melbourne label, Alabakov’s latest range of clothing. As unique as its name, Alabakov has eschewed fashion’s tradition for bi-annual, seasonal collections, opting instead for a monthly showcase of pieces. With her innovative approach, designer Stephanie Carello ensures that while seasonal trends may stagnate, her brand always has something fresh to offer.

Strong silhouettes were a major feature on international catwalks and Carello’s vision for December encapsulates the shapely trend. Shift dresses dominate, moulded to the body with structured panelling. Powerful shoulders balance curvaceous hips to emphasise slender waists. Contrasting a sharp silhouette of clean lines and strict tailoring with the ultimate symbols of femininity, sleek dresses and hourglasses silhouettes, the look is modern chic.

Print is prominent, and the inspiration for the colour palette. Graphic florals entwine a body, a swirl of black and purple on white, the supporting story picking up navy and cobalt blues.

Seemingly a contradictory note, the drape in one dress bodice is a concession to the structured theme. Playing with her concept, Carello has taken the strong shouldered look and developed it into a cocoon-like dress top which, cut in a softly falling fabric gives an alternative edge to the collection. It is also something of a taster for January’s models, with drape largely determining the forthcoming range of skirts and dresses.

This month-by-month approach has allowed Carello certain creative freedoms. Every collection has a separate inspiration, each offers different colours and fabrications even the styling and photography have a fresh angle. Nevertheless, with the label’s founding philosophy centred round fine workmanship and timeless design, and Carello’s own European attitude to dressing up, a distinctive identity is developing: the Alabakov girl embraces her femininity, she is confident and sassy, and fabulous fashion is her ultimate flirtation.

The label is evolving. Still new, a product of 2009, Alabakov may have started life as an internet brand but already it’s starting to attract stockists. Whilst monthly collections and web sales were vital at the conception, seasonal ranges are necessary for the label’s development. With this in mind, Carello has a target of spring/summer 2010-11 for her first seasonal launch.

Her vision for next spring is the ‘Porcelain Lady’. The inspiration is ‘new’ and ‘natural’, and the look will embrace full skirts and kimono sleeves. Fabrics such as sheer organza are a nod to the nude, see-through trend seen on the summer catwalks.

It is a sizeable target but one that Carello is more than equipped to handle. She may still be young but she has a wealth of experience in all areas of fashion, from retail sales and buying to visual merchandising and product development for some of Australia’s best known brands.

Perhaps more revealing though, she is more or less self taught, attending RMIT just to refine her skills. She has an unrelenting passion for design and her creative energy is overwhelming. Her enthusiasm and motivation are an unstoppable driving force, and will no doubt ensure the label’s longevity. Now’s the time to get ahead of the trend and pick up some Alabakov before it’s unleashed on the mainstream.

Wise words by Gail Appleby
Photography – Elvina-Mae Farkas
Makeup – Shella Ruby
Hair – Ben Martin
Model – Aphrodite Loizou

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