Inside The Mind Of Melanie Vugich**
has had the kind of career most designers dream of – her vibrant prints have graced high-end fashion labels from Blumarine to Etro and the hand-painted jeans she did for Roberto Cavalli started a global trend.
So of course, a collaboration with Stonemen on our upcoming Cactus print in the Flora range seemed like a natural fit.
“What can I say, I really loved your product! You guys are edgy and I know from working with you that quality is paramount – which is hugely important to me,” she says.
Like most art ingenues, Melanie got lost in her craft during a visit to Florence in her early 20s. Naturally, she came for a holiday and lingered for 24 glorious years.
A chance meeting with mentor Susan Nevelson changed her life – the revered artist and fabric designer was Melanie’s introduction to fabric design. Soon Melanie was working with Italian label fashion label Ken Scott and the rest, as they say is history. Influenced by Cavalli designer Victor Bellaish, Melanie life turned to working big Italian fashion houses – designing fabrics and hand-paining on clothing.
“I learned a LOT during that time!” she exclaims.
“I grew up in the outback town of Broken Hill which has since become the “Art capital of Australia”’, she smiles. “My childhood was really wonderful.”
She gets her interesting last name from her Croatian-Irish background and the colours of the outback – big open skies and the semi- desert landscape – undoubtedly shape her big, bright works.
However, with sketching and drawing, her style becomes entirely morphed, playing with light and shade and a different, darker intention all together.
Perhaps it is this fluidity that best sums up the gifts of her creative career.
“I have been able to work as a freelancer most of my working life and with that comes great freedom.”
She concedes it’s not all a bed of roses, with tough times and bouts of self criticism and doubt – but to earn a living from your art, balance work and home life and work around my other commitments… that indeed is an artist’s heaven.
Now nestled back in Sydney, her days begin with a swim in Bronte, all year round. She had great discipline for all her work – commissions and designs. She also teaches painting to children a few afternoons a week and on school holidays.
“I believe everyone can paint and enjoy bringing out the creativity in children and I love the thrill it gives them.”
She is inspired by surroundings, beautiful things, travel – the usual good things in life.
“In our spare time my sister and I have been working on a small hand painted accessories collection under the label Love Is Free and I’m having fun with that at the moment.”
And perhaps a hot new print for stonemen?
*Melanie Vugich’s custom Cactus print for stonemen is dropping in the online store in November.