Robyn Healy September 20 2016

The life of contemporary women is complex, multifaceted, sometimes challenging, sometimes overwhelming yet also brimming with opportunity. We ask some of our most treasured Chorus clients to share insights into how they juggle professional, personal and sartorial life.

This month we feature Professor Robyn Healy, fashion curator and Head of the School of Fashion and Textiles at RMIT University. We met Robyn in the inspiring studios of the Bachelor of Fashion Design (Honours) as she tried on our September Edition and shared with us her thoughts on dress and dressing. 

What inspires the way you dress each morning?
How I feel – I choose clothes that inspire joy, for others and for myself. I like the idea of creating a visual landscape through dress, and how clothes become part of a shared environment­ – this influences how others experience my clothes and me within them.

When do you find you are most productive? 
I find early morning and very late at night are times of productivity. I like silence, and when everyone is asleep in my house. This is a time when in another part of the world, everyone is waking up.  

How have you collected and curated the garments in your wardrobe?
My clothes come from everywhere: relatives, friends, second-hand stores, strangers, auction houses and designer boutiques, and often directly from the designer. I have an eclectic collection from various designers and eras; some I wear and others I own simply to look at and play with. Some favourite pieces include: my mother’s 1950’s olive green suede driving coat, a nineteenth-century Charles Worth couture gown (purchased at Sotheby’s New York), the remnants of a Parisian 1920’s beaded flapper dress, a Jun Takahashi Undercover ‘earring’ purse, my PAM navy blue quilted jacket and skirt, a Dolci & Kabana numbered edition T-shirt, my infamous silver Acne ‘emoji’ shoes and of course, my CHORUS pieces – six items and counting. I also collect the swing tags, original packaging and ephemera for all my clothes; I am fascinated by this kind of minutiae of fashion, like wrapping ribbons, tissue paper, and so forth.

Are there style archetypes that you admire?
I like to play the role of the ‘jester’ in my dress, I sometimes imagine myself as a professional joker at a medieval court. I’m attracted to the sense of performance in dressing – the dynamic between appearance and actions. A jester’s clothing was loose-fitting and sporty, to enable them to move and leap easily, but also highly performative. I take a motley approach in curating my outfits, I like this idea of the jester’s clothing partitioned or patched into vibrant colours and patterns, trimmed with bells – music to announce their arrival.

Can you observe changes in the way you dress over the course of your career?
No, unfortunately I dress the same as when I did in my twenties! My dressing style has barely matured; I am still drawn to pattern, beautiful colours, exaggerated silhouettes, fabrics that glisten or feel wonderful, T-shirts that are loud, and shoes, particularly sneakers, that I can run in.

You have been a long time supporter of Chorus (thank you) what is your most worn piece and why?
I wear the red ‘customer coat’ all the time. It has an empowering effect, it wraps me up and cocoons my body and soul. I don’t have many red items in my wardrobe so it is always an EVENT for me when I wear this.

What insights would you share with other women?
It is about time we took over the world!