The formation of Australian fashion label Maroske Peech was never intentional; in fact, creative directors Jordan Conder and Elisa Keeler didn't even know they had established a brand until it was already in their hands.
"When we were in university, we were incredibly collaborative and even after uni, we got a studio together and continued collaborating, which was really wonderful. But we never had any plan to create the brand or anything like that," Keeler tells PAPER. "It was like we were starting to get approached by clients and customers, and we were like, 'Oh my goodness, wait, we have a brand, there's no conversation about it. Let's start it.'"
Conder and Keeler were quick to coin a signature aesthetic in their first year of in-house work for Maroske Peech — appropriately named after both of their mothers' maiden names (much like Proenza Schouler's is). Inspired by their life-long affiliations to ballet and performance, the duo initially focused on weaving strong visual language into each piece, and what emerged was a line of stretch-fabric silhouettes with a deep attraction to the stage.
"Both of us started dancing ballet when we were really young," said Conder. "When we met at university, we just had so many common interests — the stage, costume, and for me, celebrity fashion."
From there, the duo was able to build their brand around a flexible, performance-oriented style, each iteration with its own sense of character. And the label's clientele, which they refer to as "Maroske Peeches," are a very specific breed — one that thrives in the spotlight and shapeshifts through style.
"Maroske Peeches are often angelic creatures," they explain. "They can be identified by a slight tilt of the chin and the complete disregard of a raised brow. One particular character cannot embody the full spectrum of personalities we all have within ourselves. So anyone willing to embody another narrative is welcome!"
The Melbourne-based label has a natural affinity for summer designs, having exclusively released collections for the warmer months over the last three years. But this season, Conder and Keeler have designed a few extra layers for their first-ever Fall collection, titled "Hair O' The Dog That Bit Me."
"We started to think of ways in which we could adapt our clothes for the cooler seasons," they explained. "This seems so serendipitous now as many people won't be able to escape this year's winter bite. Our inspiration was intoxicated memories of warmer weather, sun-kissed skin, and staying out late which has now come crashing to a halt with the start of a new season. The result is a summer hangover and a heavy heart."
The Fall 2020 range is defined by bold textiles and one-of-a-kind fabric pairings. Stretched bodysuits speak to the label's ballet roots, while a long-sleeve patterned top and an oversized sage sweater pleasantly contrast billowing skirts and confidently cut biker shorts. Elsewhere, a lavender, form-flattering dress exudes maximal femininity next to ballet slippers tied to the knee.
Though Maroske Peech is still in its infancy, Conder and Keeler have a clear vision of where they're taking the brand, and they've certainly gained confidence navigating the industry as designers. "We have learned patience, love and to never stop asking questions," they said. "Fashion can feel like that spinning wheel at a casino, and we are taking a chance to see where the ball lands."