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The Designer Interview: Rani Hallums from Layer/d

The Samman Dress featured in Layer/d's Fall '21 campaign
The Samman Dress featured in Layer/d's Fall '21 campaign

Set against the grandiose interiors of a Melbourne home, Australian made, owned, and designed label Layer/d presents its lookbook for Winter 2021. It is a collection conceived by Creative Director Rani Hallums almost entirely during lockdown in the midst of a global pandemic.

Distinguished by its serene rejection of excess, the collection marks a return to the bare-bones minimalism that reflects the core of Layer/d’s design perspective. A testament to Hallums’ keen creative eye, Layer/d’s design signature is adaptable to seasonal trends. Tiered maxi dresses, puffy balloon sleeves and asymmetric hemlines feature throughout the collection–interpretations of key trends of the season in cotton, ponte, and Japanese technical fabrications that allow the styles to feel a unique part of Layer/d’s DNA.

The Blus Dress featured in Layer/d's Fall '21 campaign
The Blus Dress featured in Layer/d's Fall '21 campaign

The collection feels monumental in its minimalist appeal. Flowing dresses with sensuous fluidity lend a feminine edge to contemporary silhouettes, juxtaposed by panelled cotton button-ups; a re-interpretation of menswear-inspired design tropes.

Stand-out pieces include the new ‘Nytta Shirt’ that utilises repurposed fabric from past season collections–a nod to the label’s sophisticated take on sustainability in the modern age. 

In conversation with The Forme, Hallums muses on the Layer/d woman, her thinking during the design process, and where the brand is headed for 2021 and beyond.

Your label is designed and manufactured in Australia. Do you feel living in Australia influences your design perspective?

“Yes absolutely. I think it’s important to take into account that we are very lifestyle focused. We have the luxury of living in a beautiful country and even though we are all busy, very busy in fact, we still hold great importance in getting outdoors and experiencing the world around us. This is extremely important when considering the colours and the versatility of each piece we put into the collections.”

Layer/d has a beautifully minimal aesthetic, have you always been drawn to this style of dressing? 

“Dressing in a minimalist style adds a beautiful level of sophistication to your individual look. Using a palette of neutrals in classic shapes as the core of your wardrobe with highlights of colour, print and detail allow you to always remain timeless in your approach. This is the essence of our brand and it is inspired by the incredible women who wear our product season after season.” 

It feels like Layer/d really understands what women want to wear. Who do you think about when you design your pieces?   

“Our pieces are ultimately determined by our beautiful customers who wear our product. They are who inspires us season after season. The Layer/d woman is always on trend however effortless in her approach to fashion. She is confident and relaxed in her own skin. She desires quality materials alongside good fit and design. And she is a globally conscious, intelligent woman of style.”

Your commitment to low-impact fabrics is just one of the factors that makes Layer/d a label that women can feel good about investing in. How important is selecting fabrication in your design process?  

“It’s becoming more and more important as we move to a more sustainable business. The latest addition to our collection is our certified organic cotton jersey which we have placed into a range of beautiful soft basics. They are easy to fall in love with and have the added benefit of both the fabric being knitted in Australia and the garments being made in Australia.”

Layer/d’s collections often feature seasonal prints that are highlighted against neutral colour palettes. How important is colour to your design process?

“Colour is very important to the Layer/d customer. We always start with a strong palette of neutrals and work in our print for the collection. From there we tie in a selection of fashion and highlight tones that will compliment both our customers wishes and the trends for the season ahead.”

2020 has been very different to how we expected. What has been your biggest learning experience through this year so far?

“2020 offered us a time to reflect on our lifestyles and all that we are grateful for. A coming home, a time of rest, to listen carefully and reconnect. Discarding the superficial and short lived, we dove deeper for our inspiration. We gravitated towards all that holds personal or collective meaning in order to keep our feet firmly rooted in the earth. For 2021 we see a new sisterhood emerge full of strength and compassion. A level of confident femininity, where the sharing of precious wisdom to make for a better future is at the forefront of our minds. We are positive about the year ahead and are looking forward to showcasing it with The Forme over the coming months ahead.”