Could the Macgraw sisters have stumbled on an untapped consumer segment, a burgeoning demographic currently cornered by the makers of dowdy blazers and sensible slacks?
With every third or fourth look that emerged from the shadowy innards of Swifts – one of the city’s grandest Gothic Revivalist mansions hidden in deepest, darkest Darling Point – I couldn’t help but think they’d found a bright new niche as the clothiers of newly-ordained, chic-as-sin millennial wedding celebrants. After all, who wouldn’t want to be married by one of Macgraw’s girls? Perhaps in a monastic maxi of hand-embroidered semi-sheer gold jacquard worn over a scarlet two piece, a sea foam green opera coat or tiered chiffon tea dress, or (better still) a regal pale pink slip worn under a floor-grazing robe gilded with flowers? I do. The latter struck me as the ultimate garb for someone with enough fashion savvy and business nous to target the matrimonial boom we’re primed for now that, you know, we’re all more or less afforded the same fundamental rights.
Romance is certainly comfortable territory for designers Beth and Tessa Macgraw. Their exuberance cut through the grandiosity of the setting from which they took their cues for their Resort 2019 collection, also named Swifts. It was apparently in the austere drawing rooms and grand ballroom of the house that the designers stumbled upon the next evolutionary step for their girl, who, though she’d never let a smile slip from her lips, always retains an air of surprising and subversive punk.
You can always turn to Macgraw’s soundtrack for clues in favour of the sisters’ quiet rebellious streak. They were there when Stevie Nicks took us back to the Edge of Seventeen, and when The Zombies declared that it was “the time of the season when love runs high”. There they were again when, over an ebullient finale walk, the post-punk new wave singer Lene Lovich chimed that she was “having so much fun.” It’s impossible not to think that the Macgraw sisters are too.
Tile and cover image: Mark Nolan/Getty Images