Label To Love | Let Dress Up Transport You To The Euro Summer You Wish You Had

By Sammy Preston
6th Sep 2018

Melbourne label Dress Up filled a sartorial shaped hole in our hearts a few years ago.

Created by Stephanie Downey in her bedroom back in 2006, Dress Up offers a little European sophistication to help us stand out in the crowd—and her newest summer collection will take you from a sunny café in Berlin to canal-side in Amsterdam (and even a bowl of pasta by the sea in Sicily).

We caught up with Steph at her studio in Collingwood to talk low maintenance vibes, movies and getting it right and wrong when it comes to dressing up.

Parisian guys and gals might be eons more stylish than us, sure. But we have Dress Up. 

Dress Up seems like the perfect moniker for your label. Where does the name come from?

I was originally going to have the label as my name—but called my very first collection 'Dress Up' and I love the idea of what it meant, so it just kind of stuck. 

For me, dressing is sort of an emotional process and a window into who a person is, the idea of expressing yourself through what you wear. When we ‘dress up’, countless images that we've learned or copied are compiled to create something personal and unique. I love the idea of getting it right and getting it wrong, the different memories you have of clothing, and how a person’s style becomes an almost sentimental thing, and how that might change over the years.

Who is the Dress Up girl? Do you work with a muse in mind?

I’m reluctant to name any one thing or person. I’m inspired by my friends, memories, people I get to know and see regularly. Or if you go on holiday and you’ve really got your eyes open and you see people wearing different types of clothing.


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How would you describe your own style?

Very low maintenance, and easy to wear separates.

I know film is a big inspiration for Dress Up collections—which are your favourites?

I love so many films, but some that spring to mind as past and future design references would be The Shining, Suspiria, Stealing Beauty, Videodrome, 3 Women, Red Desert, Interiors, My Own Private Idaho, Paris Texas

What are you listening to right now?

I feel a bit out of the loop with music but a friend Laila Sakini made us a beautiful playlist for our popup store this year, and I still can’t stop listening to it.


Who are you following?

I love artist Ana Kras’ style and eye, artist Lexie Smith for her wit, and for her jewellery designs, Sophie Buhai (I really, really love her jewellery).

OK, so what can we expect from your latest summer collection?

The idea of the collection is like a European summer holiday. It’s playful. there are some large checks in bottle green, royal blue and black tartan, geometric shapes, square cutouts, cream denim, some lemon yellows, and paisley. You'll see classic boat pants and in heavy cotton, and just some simple, easy to wear tops. 

Sounds dreamy. Your top three spots in Melbourne?

Shopping at No Order Market, walking in Fitzroy Gardens, drinks at Longplay

Image credit: Griffin Simm

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