Eva Galambos is the founder of Australian luxury fashion boutique Parlour X. She’s also the curator and buyer for her Sydney store, and is scrupulous, to say the least, when snapping up new designers. “For a young up-and-coming, they must have that something special, that something different. They have to have a point of difference. It doesn’t have to be wacky, but it has to have a signature of its own,” Eva says. Here’s her advice for any designer who’s coming up through the ranks.
1. Find a muse
But she has to be real. Do you know how often I say to designers, “Who is your muse?” And straightaway they say, “Oh, she is someone who is 30 and she dresses really well. Maybe she is a professional…” No! You’re talking about some abstract person you created. Who is the actual person who is going to be wearing your clothes? Give me a fashion identity. Give me a celebrity. Give me an artist. Give me somebody you know. Give me a relative. She has to be real. She can’t be abstract. Because if she is abstract, then your client is abstract too. Which means she doesn’t exist.
2. Have a signature style
Your muse will also help you maintain a signature style… The important thing is that somebody will walk down the street and go, “That’s Ellery! That’s Maticevski! That’s Saint Laurent or that’s Isabel Marant!’” Cementing who your muse is will help you cement that. She will also define the demographic and your appeal and you’ll get to know her better so you will design for her better, and you can have lots of muses, it doesn’t have to be just one.
3. Don’t use ‘luxury’ loosely
You need to be realistic about where you’re positioning yourself in the market. Don’t use ‘luxury’ loosely. If you’re not Valentino, do not use the word luxury, okay?… If you think you’re luxury when you are not you will never be taken seriously by the buyer. Know your market, know who you’re appealing to. It doesn’t mean that that can’t change down the track, but in the moment of time when you’re presenting that collection, know who it is you’re sitting next to.