The lead up to a new collection launch is a long and varied journey, with the designs of Robe's third collection - Cocktails at Sunset - first being conceptualised almost a year in advance. With bespoke prints developed in collaboration with Penelope Bell, new silhouettes, and updates on our bestselling designs, Robe continues to evolve as we adapt to the desires of our customers. Here, designer and founder Bec discusses the inspiration for the Cocktails at Sunset collection and what you can expect as we release it over the coming weeks.
Cocktails At Sunset: An Introduction
Cocktails at Sunset came about because I wanted to add some pieces to the Robe range that were more cocktail and less beach. While all of the pieces in this collection are still - trust me - very suited to be worn by the sea, this collection lends itself to a variety of situations with more ready-to-wear elements.
Each collection I release at Robe is specifically designed to complement our other collections, offering fresh styling options and complete outfits. Cocktails at Sunset is still very feminine and revealing in all the right places, but our new silhouettes offer a little bit more coverage - meaning less risk of a Marilyn Monroe moment (not that we mind these!).
We added buttons to the Nikki maxi dress and our new maxi skirt, the Jane, is a beautifully simple circle skirt with an elasticated waist to sustain our ethos that our pieces should be easy to throw on and off. Meanwhile, The Sarah J is a cute and sexy jumpsuit based on our best selling Sarah maxi dress. For this piece, I retained the low back and flow of the original Sarah design but at the same time made it completely different in look and feel. I have to say, this one is probably my favourite (don't tell the others!). I also added a classic cami - The Camille - to our range as it's a basic that every woman wants in their wardrobe. Finally, we updated The Bridget with a new colourway and introduced The Isabelle mini tunic...
It may be a bit weird to say this, but I never have a fully cohesive plan in mind for any one collection. Each collection certainly has a theme - hence its name - but they are ever evolving right up until the moment I hit 'go' on a production line. Cocktails at Sunset is about emerging from a day on the beach, sun-kissed and carefree and throwing on a light and floaty garment that barely touches your skin and flows behind you as you walk. Just at home with heels or flats, each piece in this collection is fun, a bit flirty and can be worn multiple different ways. Through the development phase we make hundreds of subtle changes based on ease of wear, comfort and functionality. The aesthetic is extremely important for us as a brand but so is the way the piece wears. I personally wear each of my designs for a few days in different environments before they go into production.
What Inspired the Collection?
Really this should be 'who'. Like all of our collections, each piece in Cocktails at Sunset is designed for a special woman in my life. This means I am designing for everyday women with busy and full lives, women who are interesting and involved, women who are strong and beautiful. In a way it is about bringing all of the women I love to our Robe community. It also means a diverse and varied range of clothing for different shapes and sizes, inspired by the essence of who that woman is and what she represents. This particular collection was inspired by my cousin Nikki Phillips, my sister Sarah, my sister-in-law Emily (whose middle name is Jane and which she shares with me and my daughter) and a friend's daughter, Camille. The Bridget (you may have read about her in previous blog) is designed for a very close friend of mine.
The Amazing Prints
We developed two new and incredible prints for this collection - English Rose and Japanese Bloom. I worked very closely with Penelope Bell, a beautiful and talented Brisbane artist. Penelope listened to my brief and then created these hand drawn and exquisite prints. The brief was simple (yet seriously hard).
The first was a whimsical and romantic print based on the flower that was central in my wedding bouquet - the David Austin rose. It HAD to be pink as I had an inkling it would be the colour of the season (I love it when I am right). The second was a print inspired by my time spent in Japan - I wanted bamboo and cherry blossom. I wanted something that blended teal with aqua and rust, as I was obsessed at the time with those colours. I wasn't looking at any trends for this print - I just wanted something incredibly beautiful. I think you can agree - we achieved that! And when I say "I"... I really mean Penelope!
Okay - I know... this has been a long time coming! We shot campaign at the end of 2019! But good things are worth the wait. All pieces are being released over the next couple of months so make sure you're signed up to our newsletter for first access, and follow us on socials for incredible imagery shot by our favourite photographer Grace Elizabeth Images.
The Nikki II in Japanese Bloom
First up... the Nikki II in Japanese Bloom. Definitely one of the statement-making pieces from this collection, we're excited to officially be launching this stunning design on Friday 22 February. This maxi dress closed the Resort show at Brisbane Fashion Month in November 2019, and everyone has been buzzing about it ever since. Buy it here with free delivery Australia-wide.