Sydneysiders will be loathe to admit it, and others have said it many times before, but the way Melbournians dress is a style emulated world over. Actress Pia Miller, who has just been announced as ambassador of Melbourne Fashion Week knows this and says her style – jeans, easy t-shirts, boots with more than a lean helping of black – has been informed by the city’s singular outlook.
“I am definitely your typical Melbourne, wears-a-lot-of-black, kind of person,” she tells Vogue over the phone. Aside from the base notes, to coax a little more Melbourne into your wardrobe she suggests layers. “You know a t-shirt with a woolly jumper and then an overcoat over the shoulders just in case.” Having moved from her birthplace of Chile at age four with her mother, brother and sisters to Melbourne she’s a practiced hand at the city’s signature style nous.
Her mother, a fashion designer in Chile, made an early impression on Miller and predicated her love of the ease and restraint in Melbourne design. “She always had a really cool style; really simple and chic. Long lines, lots of monochrome,” Miller says of watching her mother put together outfits in her childhood. Her go-tos now are Melbourne labels Scanlan Theodore, Viktoria and Woods and she looks to Christopher Esber for dressier occasions. The other Melbourne element she adds to every outfit? It’s all in the boots. “Comfortable shoes. You walk around a lot there through the city so I think Melbourne has guided the way I dress a lot,” she says saying RM Williams are staples.
Attending Vogue American Express Fashion’s Night Out in Melbourne, the August 31 event that will lead a full schedule for Melbourne Fashion Week 2018 as the special guest of Vogue Australia editor-in-chief Edwina McCann, Miller says she’ll be sticking to lessons learned in the city she grew up in. “The key with Melbourne is layers; the more layers you have the better equipped you are to face whatever happens; as we know it’s hot one second, it’s freezing the next, it’s rain, hail.”
On being nominated by the City of Melbourne to represent Melbourne fashion in this role, Miller, now living in Sydney, is pleased to return to where much of her family is still based to attend runway shows and events. “It’s so exciting for me and it’s such a nice fit; the fact that I do get to go home and be in that space and get to see Melbourne absolutely shine,” she says. “There’ll be underground shows, there’ll be shows in places where people least expect it. It’s just really cool to see the city on show like. I think there will be really great production values for a lot of the shows and I think that will be a nice surprise for people.”