Outfit, womens, bikini top, shorts and mini dress, 'Sista Sunset', polyester / cotton / lycra / plastic, designed by Sara Thorn for Stussy Sista, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1996
Sara Thorn (b1961) is an artist and designer and one of Australia's most innovative and successful textile and clothing designers. She has enjoyed a varied career as a lecturer, fashion and textile designer and curator. Outside her own labels Sara has worked as a designer for Sista Stussy and major international fashion designers including Christian Lacroix, Bella Freud and Michiko Koshino.
Sara trained at the Sydney College of Arts (now University of Technology Sydney) and East Sydney Technical College. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, she established with Bruce Slorach, the independent and experimental fashion labels, Funkessentials, Galaxy and Abyss Studio in Melbourne. Their collections focused on the Australian youth market with designs that played with traditional textile designs and imagery, in a contemporary context, creating unusual and sometimes provocative juxtapositions.
In 1996 Thorn took a more commercial position, working for streetwear label Stussy Sista as head designer. Thorn created the 'Mondo Poodle' and 'Sista Sunset' textile designs while working for Sista Stussy. Evident in these outfits are ideas that were first developed while Thorn was co-designing with Bruce Slorach.The use of woven jacquard prints designed by Thorn and Slorach became a trademark feature of the Funkessentials collections in 1995. The idea for three and four colour all-over prints, intricate jacquard knitted textiles and cast buttons originated after a trip to Japan, Europe and the United States in 1985. These design features were incorporated into Thorn's designs for the Stussy Sista label. Thorn's designs from this period are also characterised by a strong use of colour and visual extravagance in the cartoon-like graphics.
While these items reflect her creative independence Thorn felt there were limited opportunities available to her in the Australian fashion industry at the time. With her own work distinguished by a fusion of textile tradition and contemporary culture she felt the need to increase her knowledge of textiles by embarking on several overseas trips researching and acquiring skills in various textile traditions and techniques, including hand weaving and embroidery in Vietnam and India, tweeds and tartans in Scotland, silk Jacquard weaving in France, lace making in Spain and ikat weaving in Borneo.
"I see design as a language which speaks of a time, its priorities, its relationship to its world and a manifestation of our part in the greater patterns of life..." Sara Thorn
Born in Melbourne in 1961, Sara Thorn studied Fashion and Textiles at Sydney College of the Arts (now University of Technology Sydney) and furthered her studies and research in 2004 through an Asia Link residency in Borneo, researching ikat weaving. In 2001 she was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to study silk jacquard weaving at the Lisio Foundation in Florence, Italy. Thorn has worked as a lecturer and teacher in Australia and internationally lecturing on aspects of fashion, textile design and textile histories. She was for a time Curator of Design at Melbourne Museum.
Sara has been in numerous group exhibitions including: 'Australia the Contemporary Art of Dress' at the Powerhouse and Victoria & Albert Museum in 1985; 'On the Cross' at the Linden Gallery in Melbourne in 2001. Her first major solo show at Craft Victoria, 'Dreams of a Golden Thread' was held during the 2003 Melbourne Fashion Festival and toured throughout regional Victoria during 2004.
Sara's work is represented in public collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, the National Gallery of Australia and the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.
The outfit in this collection was selected by Sara Thorn as the one of the pieces she feels exemplifies her best work while designing for Stussy Sista. This outfit is from the Stussy Sista summer 1996 season.