Australian fashion, compared to that of Paris, London or Milan, is still pushed out a relatively small, fragile, industry. The recent closure of several keystone brands like Lisa Ho, Marcs, and Willow seems to have made the industry skittish, and risk-adverse, which makes what Aussie designers Maurizio Terzini and Lucy Hinckfuss are doing with their Ten Pieces brand even more interesting.
The proudly Bondi-based brand came to international attention in 2015 when they held a fashion week runway show in the emptied-out iconic Icebergs pool, turning heads with not-only their irreverent show production, but also with their utilitarian, unisex, limited-range fashion. A mix of comfortable, quality fabrics and brave, fashion-forward shapes, people didn’t know how to classify the Ten Pieces aesthetic. Was it high fashion? Street-wear? Fitness Luxe? Terzini, speaking to Rolling Stone in the aftermath of his successful 2017 Fashion Week show, appears to be happy to defy classification, enjoying the role of fashion agitator.
“Nothing was ever planned. It just happened,” says Terzini. “It actually started with a really close friend of mine who ran a really grungey new-punk sort of shop in the Cross called Restricted Premises. We got pretty fucking hammered one night and we came up with these ten pieces and that’s how it started. We only had ten pieces so that’s why we called it Ten Pieces.”
Terzini came to fashion as a well-connected outsider. Before dipping his toes into the fashion shark tank, he was an established hospitality veteran, known for is award winning Icebergs restaurant and various other bars and eateries, as well as for throwing some pretty epic parties. For Terzini, in the designs that he creates with Hinckfuss, a modern mindset is reflected. Like the people of the beach suburb that he associates with, he doesn’t feel like being hemmed-in or being particularly focused on one thing. “It all tells the same story, it’s all about the lifestyle. We love good music, we love good art, we love good fashion. We love throwing fucking great parties and we’re really good at them. It’s all one message.”
Ten Pieces weaves these elements together through their collaborations with artists and other creators. “Just this week we’re doing a collaboration with Derek Henderson, who’s an amazing photographer,” Terzini says. “I’ve worked with him for nearly 20 years now, since I first got him to do something on my first menu at Icebergs and he’s continued to shoot the Bergs and the Bondi Beach horizon ever since. So we’re doing ten fashion pieces and ten photographs representing Bondi Beach from 1999-2017. We’re also speaking to people like Brett Chan, the Bondi skater who shoots short films, I’m very close friends with Anthony Lister we’ve done a lot collaborations for Icebergs and I’d love to do more with him. So Ten Pieces isn’t just going to the principal brand that we show, it’s made up from different aspects, not just fashion. There are a lot of other collaborations that are included in the bigger picture.”
Despite being somewhat of a maverick in the fashion industry, Terzini says he doesn’t feel removed from the industry. “Most of my friends in fashion run their own race. I had a lot of friends in fashion that went broke. Their model was wrong. With Ten Pieces, we just do ten pieces, we don’t necessarily follow Spring/Summer, Autumn/Winter. We just do ten. We don’t have to produce set ranges, so that allows us to be more flexible and to create our own business model rather than having to follow the traditional model.”
When asked whether he feels married to any fashion traditions, he finds it hard to think of any. “We like the idea that our pieces come and they go. We don’t really keep archives. They’re supposed to be all about the moment, the present. The whole philosophy and the mission statement tends to be a work in progress. As we get better at what we do, we adjust where we want to go.”
Terzini, seems to find this restlessness inspiring. “When we did our first show, everyone was asking us all these questions about us and we hadn’t really thought about it. We had to go away think about what we were and what we wanted to achieve.”
Is there anything he wouldn’t consider making for Ten Pieces? Terzini pauses to think, “Not really. We’ve even done suits before. We see our clothes as almost as luxury streetwear. It’s how we want to dress for the future. You don’t need to wear a suit to be luxurious. The old days of having to be in a suit and tie to portray luxury don’t exist anymore in our world. I haven’t worn a suit in 15 years! I’ve found that I can be more elegant and luxurious in a Ten Pieces tracksuit pants and a great pair of sneakers and a great jacket and I’ll be just as luxurious as the guy wearing the Tom Ford dinner suit. In a way that’s part of the statement as well. I quite like that because I feel like I’m much more a part of the modern world.”
The modern world of Ten Pieces isn’t above taking inspiration from the past. Their 2017 collection takes inspiration from the music and fashion of the Sharpie movement. “We’ve always wanted to be very Australian as a brand and we started to look at a lot of the subcultures within Australia and really the only one that was truly an Australian subculture that had no influence from overseas were the fucking Sharpies. I lived a bit of that movement before I went to Italy in the early ‘70s, when I was quiet young, and then coming back to suburban Melbourne, I saw the last remaining moments of the Sharpie movement. So we liked that and we loved the music. I’m a big fan of Lobby Lloyd and the Coloured Balls. Fuck mate, it doesn’t get any better than that! The music became a big influence for us. That became a reference point for Nick (Nicky Nighttime of Van She) when he wrote the track for our 2017 show. We wanted that really rock and roll, punk, surfie vibe, mixed in with a Jesus and Mary Chain, Celibate Rifles vibe. I think that Nick wrote a really good score. I quite like it as a nine-minute song. Nick’s done all our music, and it’s all been original.”
“What we found really inspirational about the Sharpies, was that the boys and girls, they all dressed the same. They all looked the same. That was really inspirational because we’ve always believed that the fine line between women and men is slowly disappearing and there’s a world out there that doesn’t see that line. Lucy wears exactly the same clothes that I wear but she wears them in a different way. That was part of this new collection and it’s very important to us. We never really intended to do a unisex line, it’s just the way it is. It’s all one big world out there, and we want to break through a few of those barriers.”