“I think it all starts with design. Whether it be a well-cut pant or an Italian restaurant with the paper tablebloths, clips and candles, it’s all birthed from that same space. People like to look at nice things and I think it’s becoming more and more instilled in us to respond to thoughtfully designed objects and spaces.” - Roy Christou
Anyone who was around to experience the Roy label denim frenzy of the Noughties will understand there is no over statement in holding up designer Roy Christou as one of the messiah’s of Melbourne men’s fashion. The Anglo-Greek who emigrated from England – and was influenced by his intrinsically stylish European parents in how to dress – has been an integral player in the fashion scene since his 1987 launch in to the design sphere.
Talking from his new store in Chapel Street for his current label, Honor Among Thieves, Roy is a natural born storyteller. He recalls it all. From the sharpie look of the ‘70s to the surf look of the ‘80s. He says while men’s fashion once stuttered to a standstill it has experienced a resurgence in the past 15 years – and the men of Melbourne are at the forefront.
Roy: “Men have become more outward in the way they peacock themselves. I saw one yesterday with this little Andy cap and tight shirt with braces holding up slim, really tight pants and a little bit of hipster growth on his face. Particularly in Melbourne, more people are making more of an event of getting dressed. It was like in the ‘70s, gangs made an effort. The sharpies with their sharpie cardigans, then you had the surf culture – both were spending money on their looks to look a particular way. Then it kind of all petered off and just seems to have come back in the past 15 years. There are still uniforms going on – the whole hipster thing is a tribe, as long as they have enough triangles on their t-shirts and rolls in the pant legs”
He puts much of this awareness of style tribes down to the launch of the Melbourne Fashion Festival. Its development, he says, brought fashion out of the rarefied stratosphere of haute design and translated it for the masses.
Roy: “(Before fashion week) a lot of people just went with what they were told, but this way they could see what was happening, that there was a story behind the clothes as far as the label was concerned. People became fans of label, and fans of fashion and design.”
As for the question of whether it’s the city that makes the fashion, or the fashion that makes the city, Roy is adamant that it all comes down to design. “Certain things happen in Melbourne. Style is part of our everyday. Where it used to be elite, it’s now gone mainstream but in the best possible way.”
Honor Among Thieves
20 Russell Place, Melbourne 3000
Ph: 03 9650 7349
CHAPEL STREET STORE
587 Chapel St, South Yarra, Vic 3141