Husk's Head Designer Kirrily Johnston On Spring 2021 Collection, Alchemy

We spoke with Husk's Head Designer Kirrily Johnston about the brand’s spring collection, Alchemy, inspired by a desired optimism in the ever-changing times that we are living in. Kirrily also reveals more about her colourful career timeline within fashion and what she's understood about the industry during the current climate.

Husk Spring 2021 Collection, Alchemy
Husk Kali Dress. Image supplied.

When and why did you want to become a designer? And how did Husk come about?

I knew I wanted to be a designer from when I was 14. I was always interested in pop culture and music, and fashion was a part of that.

When I started my own label almost 20 years ago, Husk was one of my first accounts. They approached me to collaborate on capsule collections many years later which were very successful and then eventually offered me the role of Creative Director five years ago.

What is the vision for the brand?

Husk is unique in that it is a true lifestyle destination. We offer our own eponymous label, a curation of international apparel and accessory brands that fit in with our sensibility, homewares and our own sensory line. It is about our clients’ total aesthetic.

Husk's Head Designer, Kirrily Johnston
Husk's Head Designer, Kirrily Johnston. Image supplied.

Who are some notable fans of the brand?

Fans of the brand include Lindy Klim, Rachel Griffiths, Lisa Wilkinson, and Melissa Leong – to name a few. Strong independent women.

What are some of the biggest challenges of being a designer in recent times?

The last two years have presented so many pivot points. The biggest challenges have been needing to push and pull product and create constant new talking points for our clients to keep them engaged when they cannot walk into a physical store. This is beyond an online presence; 360-thinking has never been more important.

What is something you've learned about the fashion and retail industry during Covid19?

That not everyone wants to hang out in sweats! During the peak of our lockdown last year, although we offered sweats, our best selling item was a red voluminous silk twill dress. I think clients still come to a brand for what they do best, no matter the circumstances.

Can you tell us about the spring collection, Alchemy, and the inspiration behind it?

Alchemy is all about our need to shape-shift through these strange times. There is a blend of strength and softness with the collection that embodies our state of mind. The styles focus on quality and a certain timelessness that will not date.

Spring 2021 Collection, Alchemy
Husk Mythic Dress. Image supplied.

What are some of your personal favourite pieces from the collection?

The burnt orange Kali Dress is my favourite style. It is a beautiful silhouette and works well on all complexions and body shapes. The Kali three-piece salt-washed linen suit is also a favourite. Classic yet cool, and a wardrobe staple.

Tell us about SS21.

The new season is really a focus on beautiful pieces that you can feel amazing in but also feel relaxed in. We focus on natural fibres and beautiful craftsmanship. Our accessories and homewares have an artisanal feel to them. We love products with a story and seek out brands that are unique yet also tie in with our own vision. Sustainability commitments are also important for us.

If Husk was a ____ it would be a _____:

A flower: Jasmine – sweet and exotic with Middle Eastern origins.

A TV show: Exotic Destinations 101 on Amazon Prime – our product is a curation of fashion and artisanal curiosities from around the globe.

An iconic woman: Georgia O’keeffe – A combination of art, culture and great style with a strong feminine sensibility.

A colour: Terracotta – it always features in our colour palette in some capacity. Rich, earthy and evocative.

A dessert: Baklava – Husk's origins are inspired by the Middle East and we have served this traditional desert at the cafe in our Toorak store for years.

A song: One song is impossible! A soundtrack would be Cafe Del Mar World Mix.

A cocktail: Rum Chai Tea – earthy with an edge.