It’s official: Country Road now ships internationally. It comes as great news for all those Australian expats living overseas (like myself) who have come to miss the colourful basics and affordable staples that Country Road are famous for back home. It also begs the question: Is Country Road ready to take on the international market it had failed to do so a decade ago? Granted a lot has changed since the early 2000’s and thanks to head designer Sophie Holt, Country Road has evolved into one of the most stylish brands in Australia. Their interpretation of wardrobe classics combined with an Australian sporty contemporariness speaks to the masses and has certainly caught on. They’ve figured out their formula for success and it’s that reinvigorating spirit that extends to their clothes.
Take for instance a block shift dress with tiers of melon, pink and black. It’s a fearless combination that’s repeated within the styling of the collection. Slouchy pants (a Sophie Holt favourite) and sharply tailored waiters’ jackets come in various pastel hues. The confidence extends to prints as well, now more geometric than ever. A canary yellow sleeveless dress with an inverted front pleat is destined to be a summer hit. There’s a fluidity and ease to many of the clothes, striking a fine balance between security and comfort.
The more focused menswear collection still offers those pops of colour, but it’s smartly muted by an overall palette of blue. It certainly makes things easy to digest, if not remarkably boundary-pushing. There’s standard fare with nautical stripes and twill shirts (in seven colours, no less) but a navy cotton linen sports jacket with patch pockets and a pair of pastel green slim chinos show glimpses of newness. Accessories like a cobalt blue canoe pack and black suede bucks with a royal blue sole take cues from current international menswear trends.
There’s plenty here for customers young and old that any idea of a formula quickly dissipates. Team Holt manages to cram a lot into their minimalism and can come up for striking pieces when playing to their strengths. Saturated colours, clean lines and an athletic sensibility, it’s easy to understand why Country Road reigns supreme at home. Again the question stands: will the international customer come around?
Click on the thumbnails to peruse more of the spring / summer 2012 / 2013 collection from Country Road.