Tessa Moncrieff
Eggs or cereal for breakfast: Muesli, fruit and yoghurt Ideal restaurant for a first date: Vietnamese on the beach Favourite Melbourne coffee spot: Chai from Three Bags Full, Abbotsford Item of clothing you can’t live without: At the moment my thermals, six various layers and a Canadian puffer jacket. My studio gets chilly.

All stitched up
From paper dolls to fashion festivals, Plonk is going places. By Mary-Jane Daffy
essa Moncrieff was taken by her mother’s 1950s paper dolls. The thick, coloured cardboard figures came complete with tabbed clothing, perfect for mixing and matching outfits for different occasions. Voluminous skirts pea coats and cinched waists in bold colours and printed fabrics graced the frames of many rosy-cheeked paper dolls throughout Australian households in generations gone by. And it is these designs that have shaped 27-year-old Moncrieff’s fashion label, the name of which was taken from her childhood nickname, Plonk. In her home state, Western Australia, Moncrieff enrolled in an arts degree at Edith Cowan University, majoring in her two creative passions, visual arts and fashion design. Today, her work reflects a seamless union of the two. “I tend not to separate my art from my


fashion,” she says from her Clifton Hill studio. “My drawings, prints and fashion are all one body of work.” Plonk collections exude a fierce sense of nostalgia and romance. Moncrieff draws on her own childhood memories, and those of her parents, as well as their collective current experiences for inspiration. Sweetheart dresses, playsuits and pussy bow shirts are all handmade in her studio and it’s evident the designer checks each bow, hem and stitch detail before it leaves the studio. That attention to detail includes the materials, which she selects with an equally critical eye. “It’s very important for me to work with fabrics I like,” she says. “Goodquality linens, silks and cottons. I’m drawn to fabric that looks vintage; I enjoy rummaging around for odd bits in textiles shops.” While fond of screen printing, Moncrieff

has recently taken to block printing her designs. “They should make for some interesting fabric,” she says. Last year she packed her bags and headed to Asia for five months. It was a working holiday of sorts, sourcing fabrics from India, trekking through Nepal and collaborating with a designer in Vietnam. She returned to Australia armed with enough experience to drive her current collection. Moving to Melbourne last November, Moncrieff teaches art, sewing and creative writing workshops, as well as designing and pushing Plonk into the limelight. Next stop? “I’m hoping to be involved in the 2012 Melbourne Fashion Festival parade,” she says. With designs this sweet and the personality to match, paper dolls are just the beginning for Moncrieff. I


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful