"The first time I went to the Rockaways was when I was location scouting for this shoot,” recalled Australian designer Dion Lee. “My friend Anne, who was also our producer, drove around with me looking for a location that combined a manmade, constructed environment with a feeling that we were still within close proximity to water.”
The shoot Lee was referring to was for his Resort 2017 ads (pictured exclusively here)—the first campaign the designer has shot on U.S. soil.
“The idea for the shoot was to combine natural and artificial elements, with colored lighting giving the images a surreal and displaced feeling,” he explained of the photos, which were lensed by Michael Hauptman. “Studio lighting in an outdoor setting.”
For Resort 2017—a deeply architectural collection inspired by glass (yes, glass)—this serene, cold mix of the industrial (see: the tubing) and the natural made sense. The clothes are sculptural and the tones are organic—sands, icy whites, and blacks.
That this was Lee’s first visit to the Rockaways wasn’t surprising. The designer has recently relocated to New York from Sydney, and somehow, while traveling between the two cities and developing ready-to-wear, he is also finding the time to build swim and eyewear.
“It’s something we only do two seasons a year, and one is really small,” Lee said of the swim business. “It’s still just a growing thing for us. But it’s something that makes sense for us with the Australian business. The product is different in Australia—everything is so kind of “feminine” swim, like Zimmermann suits. I’m more athletic.”
He also just finished shooting his next campaign around beaches and skate parks in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was on site as a part of Honolulu Fashion Week where he showed his Spring 2017 collection. “We don’t really advertise, to be honest,” he explained from the pool by The Modern. “We do a little online. It’s just fun.”