Luxury Society presents a round up of Australia luxury brands, including Paspaley pearls, Aesop skincare, Collette Dinnigan women’s wear and Qualia luxury resort.
Australia is perhaps more recognised on the world stage for its unique native wildlife and iconic beaches than it is for the production – or consumption – of luxury goods. The 6th largest country in the world (by area) is home to less than 23 million people, approximately one-third of the population of France alone, with roughly 11 times the space.
From the architecture of the Sydney Opera House and neighbouring Harbour bridge, to the idyllic beaches of Western Australia and Queensland, to the deserts of Central Australia and iconic sandstone rock formation Ularu, the young country has long attracted hoards of International tourists, with particular interest from Japanese and Chinese travellers.
A tourism boom in the 1980s led to the development of iconic luxury resorts in remote locations, the growth of local pearl and opal industries, and many international luxury brands setting-up shop in Sydney and Cairns, to capitalise on the taste for tax-free shopping.
“ Australia’s median wealth per adult is the highest in the world, beating out Japan, Italy, Belgium & Britain ”
An on-going resources boom has resulted in the steady increase of local wealth. In the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2012, Australia’s median wealth per adult was identified as the highest in the world, beating out Japan, Italy, Belgium and Britain. The report also forecast that the number of millionaires will swell to 1.6m over the next five years, a staggering 82% increase.
So its no surprise that international luxury brands are clamouring to establish boutiques down under. Christian Dior opened its first location this week, where CEO Sidney Toledano lauded its potential as a future couture destination.
Louis Vuitton chose Sydney for the launch of its first Australian Maison in 2011, where Oceania CEO Phillip Corne revealed that Australia ranked in Vuitton’s top 10 markets globally.
But Australia is also a producer of luxury goods. Drawing from both its surroundings and natural resources, the nation is home to some of the world’s finest pearl brands, luxury resorts, artisan bottled waters, motor yacht builders, fashion brands and skincare entrepreneurs.
The local fashion scene has also exploded in the past twenty years, as young designers such as Josh Goot, Kit Willow, Yeojin Bae and Toni Matičevski attract the attention of both international buyers and press. Here we provide a selection of key Australian luxury brands, but invite you to explore the Luxury Society directory to discover more.
Dennis Paphitis, established Aesop in Melbourne in 1987 with a quest to create a range of superlative products for the skin, hair and body, focusing on ingredients with the greatest anti-oxidant properties.
The Aesop story has grown to more than fifty signature stores internationally across many major cities, as well as counters in some of the world’s finest department stores. Their retail concepts are perpetually celebrated for their design innovation and creativity.
To quote the brand: “we advocate the use of our products as part of a balanced life that includes a healthy diet, sensible exercise, a moderate intake of red wine, and a regular dose of stimulating literature.”
Rosario Autore founded the Autore Group, one of the largest South Sea pearl companies in the world, in 1991. His dream was to bring together the best Australian South Sea pearl farms and the most exclusive international dealers
A vertically integrated operation, Autore provides quality-assured luxury jewellery and South Sea pearls directly from South Sea pearl producers, two of which it jointly owns.
Situated on some of the world’s most beautiful coastline, the farms dot the crystal-clear waters off the north west coast of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the islands of Indonesia.
Stefano Canturi launched his eponymous jewellery manufacture in 1986, at just twenty years old, after pursuing an opportunity to learn the craft of jewellery creation under an Italian Master.
His Creation Department is in Sydney and much like the original craftspeople of an era past, his works are only available through his four exclusive jewellery salons in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and New York.
The designer continues to be driven by his passion for sculpture, and jewellery’s ability to marry artistic craftsmanship with the conceptual challenges of innovative design.
Though born in South Africa and raised in New Zealand, Collette Dinnigan has somewhat been ‘claimed’ by Australia as a national fashion hero.
In 1990 she launched a dry-clean only lingerie collection, featuring French fabrics, hand embroidered in India by highly skilled craftsmen. Two years later, she opened her first retail store in Paddington, Sydney, adding lingerie style dresses and intricate lace.
In 1995, shortly after opening a Melbourne store, Collette Dinnigan became the first Australian designer to be invited by the Chambre Syndicale du Pret a Porter des Couturiers et des Createurs de Mode to show on the prestigious Paris schedule, and become a member of the Chambre Syndicale.
Collette Dinnigan currently designs 3 main collections per year, alongside 3 contemporary, 2 bridal and 3 lingerie seasonal ranges.
Dion Lee is one of the rising stars of Australian fashion, inspired by the construction of clothing, traditional tailoring techniques are cleverly morphed with experimental treatments.
The L’Oreal Fashion Festival Design Award winner launched his solo collection at 2009’s Australian Fashion Week, going on to show his spring summer collection in the iconic Sydney Opera House in 2011. More recently he has also begun presenting during London Fashion Week.
Net-A-Porter.com, Browns, Matches, SSense and Joyce to name a few now stock Lee’s cutting-edge womenswear. Whilst in July 2012, he was awarded the International Woolmark Prize for the Australian region.
Hayman is a privately owned resort and island, part of the Whitsunday group of Islands off Australia’s northeastern coast, not far from the Great Barrier Reef.
Hotels on the island existed as early as 1947, but it was the 1985, A$300 million transformation that really put the destination on the map. By 1987 Hayman was invited to join The Leading Hotels of the World.
Most recently, Hayman has undertaken a revitalisation of the iconic pool and the creation of luxurious Beach Villas designed by internationally acclaimed architect, Kerry Hill. As well as the development of Hayman Private Residences and a private marina.
Jan Logan discovered her passion for jewellery as a promotions officer for her local Chamber of Commerce, where the president just happened to be the main jeweller in town.
“I started playing with the jewellery and suggesting design ideas, and he ended up offering me a 20% partnership” she explains. She learnt on the job, started organising traveling jewellery shows around the country and eventually launched a Sydney boutique in 1989.
The team of talented master jewellers, setters and polishers are committed to producing jewellery of the highest quality, with a workshop specialising in bespoke designs, handmade items, restoration of jewellery and repairs.
Jurlique was launched in 1985 on a farm in South Australia, by German biochemist Dr Jurgen Klein and his wife Ulrike. Originally created as a niche natural skincare range, it has grown to be Australia’s leading skincare brand.
Jurlique has spent over 25 years unearthing potent organic and biodynamic ingredients and developing its unique Bio-Intrinsic™ process to create the purest, most powerful skin care possible.
Committed to using at least 95% natural ingredients in their products, the Jurlique farm is certified biodynamic and all ingredients are free from synthetic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and insecticides.
Michael Kailis came from a family of fishermen off the coast of Western Australia, going on to develop a successful seafood farming business and eventually building ships.
In 1975 the MG Kailis Group entered the pearling industry through its subsidiary, Broome Pearls Pty Ltd. In little over a decade the company grew to be the world’s second largest producer of cultured Australian South Sea Pearls.
As the pearl farming business prospered the Kailis family again showed their pioneering spirit by opening the first pearl retail store in the heart of Broome, Western Australia.
Between Michael’s knowledge of the water and his wife Patricia’s eye for beauty and quality, the Kailis name has become synonymous with the finest South Sea Pearls.
King Island is one of the islands that make up the state of Tasmania, located in the Roaring Forties of Bass Strait, home to less than 2000 people.
A local schoolteacher established King Island Cloud Juice in 1997, after neighbours kept requesting his tank water because the town water was not terribly pleasant.
“I knew that we had the cleanest air in the world”, he explains. "And I knew that King Island had a superb reputation for fine quality food. I just had to find out if clean air equalled clean water – which of course it did – and then I had to figure our how to catch the water with out affecting the taste.”
Very limited production is bottled by hand, and then hand polished before it is packed for delivery. His water can be found at Claridge’s, Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton properties, and was featured at Ferran Adrià’s famed El Bulli.
Bill Barry-Cotter is one of Australia’s most awarded boat builders, a 40 year old passion that culminated in the launch of Maritimo, a collection of luxury motor yachts.
Inspired by the Australian lifestyle and its beautiful coastlines, the craft are designed and built on the Gold Coast, Queensland, one of Australia’s warmest states.
Each craft is built with all the luxury you would expect, together with unparalleled engineering for long range capabilities and the elements to withstand the roughest seas.
Oceanfast is a world class Australian super yacht builder, offering its customers exciting designs and specialising in manufacturing excellence with personal service.
Owned by Austal Limited – a world leader in the design and manufacture of aluminium vessels – Oceanfast customers benefit from Austal’s worldwide network of customer and product support bases, including offices in Europe, Japan and the USA.
Oceanfast has produced a fleet of the finest, most distinctive and awarded motor yachts in the world.
Perhaps the oldest Australian luxury brand, Paspaley dates back to the 1930’s, where founder Nicholas Paspaley MBE came of age on the graceful old wooden pearling luggers.
After crossing the world’s oceans on a tramp steamer from a tiny island in Greece, Nicholas settled on the remote northern coast of Australia, where rich pearl beds teemed with life and hidden treasures.
Nicholas bought his first lugger at 19, and went on to create the foundations of a company that would revolutionise the pearling industry.
Today the brand has flagship boutiques in Australia, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and continues to dive the Indian Ocean and Arafura Sea for the rare Pinctada maxima oyster, prized for pearls of incomparable size and magnificence.
Qualia luxury resort is situated on the secluded northern-most tip of Hamilton Island, in the Whitsunday Islands, surrounded by all the splendour of the Great Barrier Reef
Island-inspired architectural sculptures in specimen timbers, sandstone and glass, frame the surrounding landscape of Australian Eucalypts and the Coral Sea.
Voted Best Resort in the World, 2012, by Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, Qualia is the vision of Bob Oatley, a winemaker and sailing enthusiast who believes in highlighting his country’s superb natural beauty.
Across 60 villas, elegantly unadorned local timber and stone surrounds expansive sea vistas, landscaped Australian bushland and tropical palms, effortlessly bringing the outside in without disrupting the view.
Founded in 1980, Riviera operates from the largest luxury boat building facility in the Southern Hemisphere, a 14-hectare state-of-the-art waterfront site at Coomera on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
Today, the company builds luxury boats from 36 to 85 feet in length across five lines, exporting approximately half its annual production to a dealer network spanning more than 30 countries and every continent in the world.
Riviera is focused on delivering exciting new models and fresh innovation in terms of the design, performance, interior fitout and quality of its boats.
To achieve this, the company invests millions of dollars each year in technologies, staff skills and production capabilities.
Susie Stenmark’s career began in modelling, followed by everything from television presentation to running a restaurant. Eventually she went on to direct PR and Advertising for the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, followed by tenure as General Manager Communications for Chanel Australia and New Zealand.
Now, as Creative Director of Stenmark, Susie brings all her experience and talent to bear on the world of women and men’s fine jewellery
Her first collection featured carefully-selected diamonds, rubies and sapphires, alongside pearls, turquoise and opal, set in yellow and white gold and luscious enamel.
A self-confessed colour obsessive, she designs for a woman who “adores glamour and who likes to be amused”.
Suzy O’Rourke is a Sydney based Milliner, creating luxurious and unique hats and headpieces, crafted by hand in her studio salon.
Suzy launched her millinery label in 2003 and has since established a diverse and loyal clientele in Australia and around the world.
Many celebrities including Miranda Kerr, Natalie Imbruglia, racing ambassadors such as Megan Gale, Emma Freedman and Kate Waterhouse, have worn her creations.
She has also enjoyed collaborations with Australia’s top fashion designers, stylists and photographers and was invited to exhibit two of her creations as part of the Stephen Jones ‘Anthology of Hats’ exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery.
Tasmanian Rain is premium-bottled rainwater, captured on the pristine island of Tasmania, where the air is scientifically proven to be the purest in the world.
Collected before it reaches the ground – therefore never absorbing impurities – the result is a water ten times more pure than other premium and artisan waters.
Tasmanian Rain is served only in the most prestigious restaurants and hotels around the world, stocked by brands such as Ritz Carlton, Trump International, Four Seasons and Jumeirah Hotel Group.
Though generally unavailable for purchase through retail channels, the brand has partnered with retailers in Russia and the Middle East, to supply cases to discerning customers.
To further investigate the Australian luxury market on Luxury Society, we invite your to explore the related materials as follows: