The brand peony was born out of a lifelong love affair with the ocean and celebrates swimwear made for chasing the sun.
Effortless feminine styles form the brand, which is inspired by summer's humble delights - diving into the ocean, the smell of coconut oil, the feeling of sand between your toes and the first bloom of peony flowers, which signal the beginning of summer.
We caught up with Sophie Thomas, who is a designer at peony to get an insight behind “Narrative”, which is the latest collection from peony.
Can you tell us who you are and your position at peony?
My name is Sophie Thomas, I’m a designer at peony.
Let’s dive straight in and talk about “Narrative” the latest collection to land on SurfStitch. Give us a run down!
Narrative is our most exciting collection to date because this season we take our first step on our journey towards sustainability.
This conscious shift has stemmed from our genuine love for the environment and is a natural progression for our independent boutique Australian brand.
What inspired the designs, cuts and styles?
Spring '18 became about telling a story, with fairy tales and a sense of whimsy in mind - the pieces have a very nostalgic feel.
Narrative features smocking, scallop detailing, ruched carriageways, panelling, ruffles and contrast stitching. The centre of the collection is the Whimsy print, a peony office favourite for its perfect charcoal hue and our eternal love of ditsy florals.
Explain the design process from first putting pen to paper to eventually wearing the final products.
Starting a new collection is the calm before the storm. The months ahead are filled with sketching, toiling and fitting. I work my way through vintage stores; inspiration comes in the form of forgotten beach towels, swimsuits of yesteryear and embroidered anythings.
The team is forever collecting fabric swatches, trims and print references to add to our mood board, this helps to visualise all ideas in one place. Through this process, a colour palette is revealed, and concepts are refined.
With months of designing, sourcing, altering and workshopping, campaign day arrives. Seeing the designs in motion and brought to life on a shoot day is a truly amazing feeling.
How is it different from what else is in the market and/or from other collections peony has dropped in the past?
We are so proud to be an independent boutique Australia brand that is committed to sustainability – this conscious shift has received such an incredible response.
As always pieces are designed to mix and match. I love this philosophy that peony is built on and I believe it is important the range talks back to the previous range, so we can encourage our girl to update last season’s go-to treasures with new season updates – this nod to slow fashion is important to us.
Each piece is designed with the peony girl in mind – we know her so well; her destination bucket list, her favourite go-to swimwear shapes and her love of the ocean. We also know our girl is caring, conscious and has a deep love for the environment - we know this because we listen to her and we feel the same way.
Your campaign imagery to support this latest drop is (as always) incredible! Where was it all shot?
Our Narrative campaign was shot at The Lake House at Coaster’s Retreat, just a short ten-minute boat ride from The Boathouse in Palm Beach, Sydney.
The rugged bays around Coaster’s Retreat are truly incredible.
The inspiration for our Narrative collection stemmed from personal memories of whimsical and ethereal childhood storybooks. Everyone has their favourite and we love this sense of nostalgia. The Lake House was the perfect location to bring our Narrative collection to life.
Who were the talent and how do you feel they portrayed what you were after?
Our team was made up of photographer Tess Leopold, videographer Lincoln Caplice, Model Neve Fogg from CHIC, H&M artist Beck Carrol, skipper Matt and the peony team.
In the lead up to campaign day, our team does a lot of preparation including mood boarding, timelining and reference gathering. We are always organised, and the day normally runs like clockwork - all involved know exactly what their role is and how it will fit into the big picture story.
We have worked with a lot of the team before, so we felt confident in their abilities to pull together our vision and they absolutely did.
If there is one message people should take away from this collection, what would it be?
This spring, we are taking a big step on our journey towards sustainability.
This conscious shift stemmed from our genuine love for the environment and is a natural progression for our independent boutique Australian brand.
We know you're going to love our new sustainable swimwear, and the warm feeling that comes with it, just as much as we do.
Shop the latest range from peony [HERE].