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Intelligent by design: Why we’re lovestruck by Strateas Carlucci

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Intelligent by design: Why we’re lovestruck by Strateas Carlucci

The perfect extension of Harrolds’ androgynous dressing wardrobe, Strateas Carlucci is a Melbourne-based brand helmed by designers Peter Strateas and Mario-Luca Carlucci. This is fashion in its most wearable-yet-experimental form, created through a localised lens.

Established in 2013, this gallant label is an exercise in deconstruction, subversion and playful outfitting. Strateas Carlucci has embodied a masculine-meets-feminine duality through their collections in the years that have followed, driven “not by gender, but by a concept”. Their muse is the fusion of art and design through unorthodox construction, allowing for new methodologies and modes of creativity to be born and worn. The design duo if fixated by the enmeshed worlds of fashion and storytelling.

The garments are centred around intellectual design and are not driven by trends

Strateas Carlucci is a petition for creative freedom of expression, melding art and clothing, classicism and cutting edge style — a state of flux that represents the future of thoughtful, non-binary fashion.

Today, we allow the Harrolds reader a glimpse into the mind of Mario-Luca Carlucci, one half of the Strateas Carlucci brand. Consider this a vault of hand-crafted luxury staples that complement the modern Melburnian’s mostly-monochromatic repertoire. And they’re all made right here.

How did you meet your co-founder and partner in design, Peter Strateas? And when did you decide to meld your surnames together to form Strateas Carlucci?

Peter and I are actually long-time high school friends and have known each other for many years.

We were drawn to each other by our common interests in art and design. After high school, we went on to study different design disciplines, however, continued to collaborate on a number of projects in art, design and fashion. Eventually, after a number of years of working on other projects, we decided to launch Strateas Carlucci.

Let’s go back in time to 2013, your year of inception. How long had the label been in the works, and how exactly was it born into being?

Strateas Carlucci was born to create modern luxury wardrobe staples in the most responsible and ethical way, at a contemporary price point without compromising on innovation and quality. The goal was to make collections as inclusive as possible to ensure that the brand is not pricing customers out of making a difference when choosing responsible fashion. We were working on the Strateas Carlucci concept for many years before launching the brand to ensure we were able to build a strong foundation of resources, suppliers and distribution.

The garments are centred around intellectual design and are not driven by trends. There are fundamental elements to the necessity of the garments, however, there is also an intensity of beauty and creativity, where each item tell a story. While there is a pragmatic approach to our designs, there is also romance.

The brand fills the space between fashion, art and commerce, and Strateas Carlucci has become the platform in which we are able to continue to work on other projects and collaborate with an eclectic mix of creatives.

We work with local suppliers, artisans and craftsman to create quality garments and compelling collections – 100% of the collections are made in Melbourne, Australia.

What kind of materials and textile techniques are you working with at the moment?

We aim to use eco-friendly fabrics and procedures, minimising waste that is harmful to the environment. Each item is made using fibres and fabrics which are either biodegradable, recycled or produced without the use of dangerous chemicals. We develop our entire collections in our Melbourne studio, drafting, cutting and sewing, to ensure each item is well thought out and expertly cut and made. Through rigorous design and fitting processes, our aim is to make garments that last the test of time. To create wardrobe staples which have a classic sensibility, that can be re-visited and worn time and time again, and can complement the wearer’s wardrobe.

We are currently exploring new knitting techniques and interesting fabric developments which include re-working of dead-stock garments in an almost quilting/applique process. Tailoring is a key component of our brand; therefore, we are continuously pushing the concept of modern-tailoring and how we can use fabric and form to tell new stories.

We’d love to know what an average day at Strateas Carlucci HQ looks for you in 2023, and how you and Peter split your time between work versus play?

We are a fairly small team, so it’s always chaotic and very busy. We are constantly working across various seasons, from initial concept ideation and development, through to production and final collection. Being a small team, we are also responsible for all the day-to-day operations, including press requests and loans, marketing, creative direction for shoots and e-commerce, as well as any other special event or project we may be working on. These days, as we are a little older, there is not much time for ‘play’. We have become a lot more efficient with our time, so we are able to work hard, and then spend time at home with our families and friends.

How exactly do the two of you separate your roles in the business?

Peter and I do everything creative collectively. Whether a new collection development or creative for a photo shoot, we both spend time bouncing ideas off each other to build out concepts. We will then both separate to work through concepts to come back again and finalise — it’s an ongoing collaboration. Although we both have different approaches to design and different tastes, our differences are what makes the collaboration work in that unique way, where they are able to complement and strengthen each other. In terms of the business, as there is so much to do, we have to separate the daily operations to ensure we are able to divide and conquer. Peter works closely on the production side, while I will work closely on the press and sales side. Otherwise, we share a lot of the responsibility.

As a fellow Melbourne-made brand, what does a local partnership with Harrolds mean to you? 

Harrolds is not only a local institution, but also a well-respected and global retail pioneer. To be able to reconnect with Harrolds again feels like a natural partnership. We both share the same values and there are many synergies between both brands. We are thrilled to be working together again with Harrolds and looking forward to building our relationship.

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