Sydney’s indie-pop band Client Liaison can add fashion designer to its repertoire thanks to a unisex collection unveiled during MBFWA titled 'Champagne Affection' against the backdrop of the Harbour Bridge.
Musicians Harvey Miller, 33, and Monte Morgan, 29, reference all things Australiana in their first fashion venture. This is where the ‘80s come back screaming for more—think baggy pants and bold contrast prints for a kitsch throwback, high-waisted stone wash denim and striped shirts for a new wave romantic fling.
They also turn to Australia’s greatest fugitive Christopher Skase, his wife Pixie and Australia’s biggest pop star John Farnham for inspiration—the trio spent much of the ‘80s at the Sheraton Mirage, Port Douglas (which Skase built and Farnham played with his band).
Client Liaison reimagine this era through a modern lens—it’s for men who love marina life and ladies who lunch alongside them. It’s the perfect take home souvenir you can actually wear.
Their obsession with the ‘80s and ‘90s riff beyond the music they make. These lads give athleisure wear a run for its money too. This is where parachute overalls with elasticised ankles might save the day and motif emblazoned suits feature Australia’s flora, fauna and every outback animal in between.
“We have always loved fashion and have designed our own stage outfits for years,” says Monte Morgan.
“Over time we’ve amassed a collection of vintage pieces and when we travel to Asia we get everything custom made. It was only a matter of time before we’d develop our own fashion line. We did a capsule with a merchandise band T-shirts a few years ago, but we wanted a whole lot more after that went gangbuster,” he says.
The friends went through photographic archives of the late social photographer of the ‘70s and ‘80s Rennie Ellis for inspiration, and became curious about the seedy underbelly of the rich and famous in this time.
“We really wanted to create a world of escapism with this collection,” says Harvey.
“There’s a country club feel and a real ‘80s party mood from that era of Australia,” he adds.
The duo will sell this collection online at their official site, at various pop-up stores in Sydney and Melbourne, and in August at the Liaison Expo—a multi-media seven-hour concert of music and fashion experiences they have curated for ‘80s lovers.
Not unlike artist Ken Done and designer Jenny Kee before them, Client Liaison want to revive the ‘80s by bringing more than cultural motifs to the fashion plate.
Sure there are frilled lizards, eskies and waratahs in suit prints—designed to capture the heart and drinking soul of Aussie culture. And what would a collection be without a signature pair of budgie smugglers (that’s a tight pair of speedos for the uninitiated) for a true Aussie beach pose.
“We’re all about activity based clothes,” says Morgan.
“Active wear has become a dirty word—this is for the guy who could be playing chess or canoeing. Rather than use hyperactive language that’s in your face like active wear, we’re taking a more considered approach to reclaim the style from Instagram models and mums who jog to show a different side to sportswear.”
Photographs by Lucas Dawson.