Susan Dimasi and Chantal McDonald launched Melbourne’s MATERIAL BYPRODUCT in 2002, taking the label international in 2003. In the space of the last seven years, the label has garnered considerable attention, and currently trades out of Paris, producing two Pret-a-Porter collections per year.

MATERIAL BYPRODUCT positions itself as a design studio that invents fashion in the true spirit of the avant-garde, by exploring conventions and taking design beyond simple modification through innovating the design process itself; designing new ways for cutting, joining, marking, draping and tailoring cloth results in a signature style that is distinctive to the studio. The designers see themselves as designers of systems rather than garments, and the materialised clothing is the ‘by-product’ of these systems, hence the studio’s name.

It’s not many designers who are asked to design for a specific person, and a persona so specific as Bjork’s, but that was the challenge put to MATERIALBYPRODUCT in one of their most accomplished moments. And as avante-garde designers cutting the cloth for one of the world’s more avante-garde pop stars, MATERIALBYPRODUCT got creative:

Designers Marjan Pejoski & Sasko Besovki for Kokon to Zai saw MATERIAL BYPRODUCT’s Soft Hard Harder Autumn/Winter 07/08 at Rendez-Vous Femme, Paris March 2007. They commissioned a beaded dress for the international musician/songwriter/kookster Bjork and a window installation for their Kokon Tu Zai boutiques in London and Paris. The first of a series of curtain gowns was designed for this window installation.

Chantal talks about the experience:

“We met Marjan Pejowski at a Rendez-Vous a few seasons back which lead us to dressing Bjork. It was a simple black dress that we beaded with a crazy array of hyper color plastic beads that we sent across with a pair of our tattooed kangaroo leather shoes.

And when Bjork played as part of the Opera House in 2007, she requested the designers for a personal fitting of a more epic skirt:

“Our little studio flew up for the gig with a much bigger, four meter long and thirty thousand beads later dress for Bjork to try on and possibly wear during the gig; understandably she declined, the chances of falling over in it during a performance being pretty likely, but she did say it was one of the most beautiful dresses she had ever worn.”

You can check out some of the fan response to the dress over at Bjorkish.

You can check out MATERIAL BYPRODUCT’s Autumn/Winter 09/10 Collection at their official website.

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