What does curating a wardrobe filled with timeless designs, elevated everyday basics and comfortable-yet-chic pieces even look like in 2021? The reality is, the past year has meant a rethinking of how we effortlessly mix the pieces that have us looking both polished and put together, yet feeling at our most comfortable. It’s been made even harder looking back over the past few seasons, where our usual purchases of statement winter coats and office basics has turned to a hoarding of matching sets in a mix-and-match of loungewear and activewear.
But, as Australian designer Grace Warnock knows—just because the way in which we dress has undeniably shifted to feature more cosy alternatives, it doesn’t mean we have to compromise on style. One look at her recently launched womenswear label, RAEF The Label, it’s easy to see why the Melbourne-based brand has received such an overwhelming reception, seeking to make women feel their best, while not settling on style.
She adds, “I believe we look our best when we are comfortable and confident in what we are wearing and the RAEF designs exist to do just that, looking to reinvent classic cuts and silhouettes that stand the test of time.”
The brand, which tasked model Jessica Gomes to helm its first capsule collection, features a mix of luxe active staples, sleek linens (including a lust-worthy pink suit set) and premium knitwear, which notably included the label’s standout Raffi Vest, a design that has seen sellout success.
Basically, Warnock’s mission was to bring together pieces that allow customers to design their own curated, buildable wardrobe, but with quality fabrics that are designed to last, something that was incredibly important after having first-hand experience working in the world of fast-fashion.
“After working in ‘fast fashion’ for years, I would see pieces be purchased, worn once and disposed of almost immediately,” Warnock explains. “When building RAEF, it was really important to me to create pieces that would stand the test of time. The RAEF collections have been designed to ensure you can style each piece differently based on what you are doing and your personal style.”
That ethos transcends into everything Warnock designs, which includes pieces inspired by the colours of Australia’s breathtaking landscapes—think muted pastel pinks, crystal blues and striking whites.
As for how the label holds up when we eventually venture out to a post-lockdown world, Warnock explains it’s about curating a wardrobe that is fit for both with pieces that can be styled up and down for multi-purpose wear. “It’s all about making the most out of the pieces in your wardrobe and being comfortable in what you’re wearing. Functional fashion is what guides the RAEF designs and building the brand during the pandemic has made sure our pieces are all created with comfort and functionality in mind.”
As for an inevitable return to the office? While many of us have been on a constant rotation of matching sweats, realistically for some, the same t-shirt and pants they wore to bed, it’ll be about crafting that ideal mix of statement styles, in relaxed silhouettes and fabrics.
“A classic suit never goes out of style! I feel like in the current climate, everyone needs something bright and fun in their wardrobe, I am obsessed with our Frankie Suit in pink to make a statement; it’s such a great way to add some colour to the office. Any pieces that can be worn in multiple ways will be key. A blazer, a great pair of pants and some staple tees will give you so many options when returning to the office.”