Tucked away above Bourke Street is Kara Baker’s home and studio, a space scattered with a collection of art that appropriately complemented her collection on display. Couturing found their way through a set of doors and a flight of stairs to the very welcoming Kara Baker, and her lovely little cat.
Awaiting our arrival was a rack of the most beautiful 60’s and 70’s inspired attire. Summer tops with one-of-a-kind vintage hemming and collar details and simple structured dresses and skirts of “lady” length. Kara designs pieces of elegance and sophistication, which she says has all but disappeared through the abundance of Australian fashion. Most of the items are made-to-measure and most of the fabric she uses is vintage, often sourcing only enough for one piece. It “builds relationships and a lot of customers have since become close friends,” she tells us, noting that she immediately recognizes what pieces customers or friends would be interested in once they are made.
In the words of Kara, the collection is “print mad, usually I’m quite subdued.” We asked what the inspiration behind the collection was to which she replied, “I watched a number of 60’s and 70’s Italian and French Films, women dressed much more discreetly and elegantly but still sexy. I’m trying to create a new way of being elegant.” She was right on cue with the collection boasting over the top pieces like a canary yellow and white polka dot skirt and top ensemble, to the more understated navy blue “lady” dress.
As an avid art and trinket collector, Kara has amassed quite a vintage fabric collection and chose to include a number of these into the details on pieces for the collection, giving them a very retro-chic look. Think clashed patterns and textures on elegant dresses or crop tops with modest length skirts and flare pants. Kara highlighted her signature rolled neckline, a sort of boat-neck meets turtle-neck look.
As an alternative to the “print mad” motif, Kara enthused her personal style of simple and understated clothes accessorized with lots of big and loud jewellery, paired with bright stilettos. Practicing what she preaches, Kara donned an over-sized rolled neck top with slim black slacks from her collection and adorned a charm-necklace with intricacies that looked like they had been collected from all over. Of course, she finished the look off with a pair or neon orange heels.
What was so inviting about the whole experience – noting it felt more an experience rather than an event – was that Kara Baker offered an open door to her home and studio space to show off the collection. The space is one with obvious charm and very inviting; it probably helped that her cat slinked around in the background as everyone talked and tried on the clothes. Not to mention, the keen interest the cat took in the champagne and the flowers.
All in all, Kara Baker’s warm welcoming into her humble abode allowed us to take a peek at a wonderful and all encompassing collection. The setting allowed us to get to know the lady behind the designs and even get a glimpse into the life of a designer and her relationships with clothes and friends. For more of the collection and contact details, visit her website at Kara Baker.com