Australian Couture Label Saint Augustine Academy Announces Surprise Hiatus
Dynamic fashion duos come together splendidly whether as Dolce & Gabbana, Viktor & Rolf, Proenza Schouler or in this very instance— Saint Augustine Academy (SAA) forming a nine years strong, prêt-à-porter label.
Founder and designer, Alvin Manalo and business partner, Adrian Amores are the creative force behind Saint Augustine Academy hailing from Australia with quite a reputation from both the fashion and music worlds respectively. Since first meeting at university in the mid-1990s, the duo realised such synchronicity was inevitable and decided to come together in 2004 as the creative and business duo behind the infamous Australian menswear line which has successfully shown several seasons at Rosemount Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, all the while designing 15 collections and have made their mark in more than 10 countries which is quite impressive considering Manalo did not have formal design education but sheer tenacity and a niche for what he felt men desired in fashion.
The 2011 F/W collection deemed “Les Enfants des Marx et de Coca-Cola” is a homage inspired by the student riots in Paris, 1968. The title is a reference to Jean-Luc Godards’s film “Masculin, Féminin” which captures the duelling influences in the time of intellectualism and left-wing sentiments versus the frivolity of capitalism and pop culture coming from the US. The collection explores the culture that culminated in the revolt; from the Cahiers du Cinéma and the French new wave, the Vietnam war and music from the likes of Serge Gainsbourg, Jacques Dutronc and the Yé-yé girls.
Saint Augustine Academy has dressed a bevy of international and local celebrities such as The Horrors, Wolfmother, Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon), Van She, The Lost Valentinos, The Red Riders, The Scare, Faker, Neal Carlson (Mink), The Hot Lies, Darren McMullen (MTV), Nathan Sapsford (Video Hits), Danny Clayton (Channel V), Nick Cester (Jet) and Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee all in favour of Saint Augustine Academy’s slender cut suits and tuxedo silhouettes, whip-smart trenchcoats and limited edition printed t-shirts.
After this season’s show there is much on the table to discuss for the dynamic duo from next projects, global manufacturers and where the growth of the couture maison will stem from next until then only time can tell.
Visit the Saint Augustine Academy Official Website
**EDITOR’S NOTE: At the time of concluding this article, SAA Founder Alvin Manalo issued the below statement concerning the future of Saint Augustine Academy and the next phase for the label. On behalf of Luxuri8, we send Alvin and Adrian our well-wishings for the upcoming future as we undoubtedly know it will be filled with much success.
It’s been nearly 9 years. 15 collections. 10 countries.
I’ve met and dressed countless of our heroes. The Drums, The Horrors, Interpol, Black Lips and Nick Cave for God’s sake!
What they don’t tell you and what you can’t prepare yourself for is how hard this game really is. When you’re small, independent and don’t have all the resources in the world; it feels like a million full time jobs rolled into one. Production Manager, Fabric and Accessories Sourcer, Store Manager, Merchandise Planner, Store Buyer, Wholesale Account Executive, Graphic Designer, Photo Retoucher, Event Manager, Interior Decorator, Stylist, Shoot Co-ordinator, Dispatcher, and Money Chaser. Designing takes up maybe 10% of what actually happens in the scheme of things.
Burn out was imminent. It’s time to take a break. The lease on our Bourke St store has ended and it’s been hard getting the right space and location right for the next phase of Saint Augustine Academy retail, which of course we bank on for production numbers. We are taking this junction as an opportunity to take a hiatus to re-evaluate our internal organisation and make it more robust and efficient.
In the mean time I am also taking time to take advantage of different creative opportunities and projects that I have not had time for whilst running SAA full time. I am travelling to explore new artisans and manufacturers in the U.S., Peru and Argentina. I am strengthening contacts and networks in New York, London and Stockholm. I am going to life drawing classes. And finally, I am picking up that dusty old guitar.
Thank you immensely for your support all these years, and please know that the next phase of the project is just around the corner.