From left to right: Stykermeyer in Pleats Please; Cooper Cooper in Song for the Mute and Issey Miyake; Ash Baroque in Song for the Mute; Reid Gunter in Song for the Mute; Junior Moyo in Christian Wijnants; Opie Robinson in Comme des Garçons and Christian Wijnants.
Make-up maverick. Performance artist. Provocateur-at-large. Phrases that capture glimmers of Ashley Brockman, yet somehow fail to throw light onto every facet of one of Perth’s most brilliant creative gems. For years, Ashley has remained a passionate and charmingly disruptive force in Perth’s underground creative community, quietly creating work imbued with a characteristic aura of beautiful chaos.
In celebration of our dear friend and long-time collaborator, Dilettante hands the creative reins to Ashley, inviting him to create a fashion story all his own. The result: a love story, populated with a hand-picked cast of bright young things from Perth’s vibrant queer community all dressed, of course, to the nines.
Ash sat down with Dilettante’s Nick FitzPatrick to share a little insight into his inner world.
Left: Ash in Song for the Mute's split-sleeve sweater. Right: Opie wears MM6 Maison Margiela's back-to-front denim jacket and matching jeans with a Jean-François Mimilla necklace.
Ash, you’ve been an anarchist in Perth’s fashion scene for some time now. What first attracted you to fashion?
I have always been attracted to how style and character evoke emotion. As a child, I was wearing horse bridles mixed with my mother's wardrobe. Like leather and lace, I was discovering the emotive nature of self expression and a sense of rebellion in disrupting one’s concept of identity. Fashion was far too palatable for a kid who cut their teeth on punk rock in the early 90s. Years later, I discovered British fashion radicals and haute couture which seduced my appetite for high drama.
Left: Reid wears Jaga v-neck dress and Christian Wijnants coated-cotton trenchcoat with an MM6 Maison Margiela belt bag. Junior wears the ruffle-front dress by Christian Wijnants. Right: Cooper wears Rick Owens' honey-toned tie top layered over the Baserange raw silk wrap dress.
Tell us about your vision for this shoot.
It’s a Love Story! The talent were handpicked from within the local LGBTQIA community and are integral part of the vision. I’ve admired each and every one from close or afar, for a plethora of different reasons, but they all have at least a few things in common; character, progressive minds, and they all approach style with a freedom I think we can all learn from.
Above: Ash wears striped pleated top by Pleats Please and polkadot drop-crotch trousers by Comme des Garçons. Shoes Ash's own.
You’ve been so enthusiastic about the love and strength within the queer community while creating this shoot. What has the queer community given you in life? How have you seen the community grow/change?
I'm genuinely excited by queer youth. They are socially, culturally and politically conscious and geared toward rehabilitating our broken system. The passion is inspiring! I'm grateful for the space the queer community has held for me in my own “coming of age story” but my work was rarely understood by my generation. Now we have an open dialogue in the mainstream that discusses oppressive forces upon marginalised communities, and how we can contribute to help make necessary change collectively. It’s called progress - but it's been built on the backs of your elders, so steady on! Haha!
Left: Stryker wears the Rick Owens long-line hooded jacket with Jaga chiffon skirt and Rick Owens platform sandals. Right: Opie wears the black Baserange apron dress in raw silk. Shoes Opie's own.
You’ve created so many beautiful looks for Dilettante over the years. Do you have any favourites?
I most certainly do! A few moons ago, Dilettante presented an exclusive showing of Vivienne Westwood Gold Label at Styleaid. Diana’s gem idea was casting me to close the show in an “homage to Westwood” look. Channeling a caricature of Dame Westwood was right up my alley!
Another great highlight was the Rosa Maria editorial you photographed, Nick, with Tülay Dinçel. I adore the images from that shoot.
Above: Ash channels Dame Vivienne Westwood on the runway for Dilettante's presentation at Styleaid 2011.
You’re gifted with an ability to really transform people with your makeup work. What is it you find so powerful in this process?
Makeup is majick! I once read the origin of the word glamour means “to cast a spell”. Communicating emotion and self-expression through image can be an empowering act and a great responsibility. The most powerful part of the transformation process is the freedom to dream.
The beauty industry is hooked on shame for capital gain. In an age of social media we are taught to compare ourselves which, innately, is a violent act. It’s the responsibility of high fashion to embody individualism, diversity and sustainability so the cookie cutting mainstream doesn’t engulf the world. It’s an expansive and rebellious act to self-love in these troubled times!
Left: Junior wears the Christian Wijnants embellished sleeveless dress. Cooper wears Christian Wijnants plum-toned floral print top. Right: Ash wears pleated dress by Pleats Please with bags by Issey Miyake and MM6 Maison Margiela. Tiny ship (worn as diadem) Ash's own.
You've worn so many hats, so to speak, over your career! Your performance work, your makeup artistry, your work directing - somehow all these roles feed into each other. What common themes do you see throughout your work?
Over time, my work has become more nuanced. I’d say this would be a strong theme throughout my hat-wearing days. The fracture or imperfection has always been important in my process. I fondly remember discovering wabi-sabi for the first time and it has never left my attack. The overarching desire to story tell is the most prominent theme in my work.
Left: Junior wears the embellished Christian Wijnants a-line dress with sneaker boots by Rick Owens. Right: Reid wears Jaga's draped v-neck dress with the Christian Wijnants coated cotton trench coat.
I know you well enough to know that you never sit still. What are you cooking up right now?
I've just launched “The Prize Vulgarian” t-shirt [pictured below] in collaboration with local artist Harry Silby. We recently finalised them in his new screen print studio and we are super excited for this launch. I’m currently working on a solo performance piece of the same title.
Left: Stryker wears graphic pleated dress by Pleats Please. Right: Cooper wears the Ash Baroque x Harry Silby "The Prize Vulgarian" t-shirt. Paired with Comme des Garçons floral brocade trousers and the Christian Wijnants coated cotton trench.
You’ve been a great fashion experimentalist over the years. Share a little of your sartorial wisdom with us.
If you're on the worst dressed list, you're doing something right! Take risks, never follow trend and in the great words of Quentin Crisp: “Fashion is what you adopt when you don’t know who you are.”
Left: Reid wears the Song for the Mute rainbow-weave Goblin jacket with Song for the Mute trousers. Right: Opie wears MM6 Maison Margiela's deconstructed denim jacket and jeans with necklace by Jean-François Mimilla.
What’s got you excited for the future?
For those who are unaware, Voix de la Ville was a performance body produced by me and Strykermeyer. In mid-late 2022, we will be launching a retrospective exhibition that will document a decade of performance collaborations with many artists from different mediums. It’s their time to shine and we are super excited to platform the artists and curate Voix de la Ville’s very last project in the form of an exhibition.
Above: Ash and Stykermeyer for Voix de la Ville, photographed by Liz Looker.
And finally, tell us: who is Ash Baroque?
Left: Ash wears Song for the Mute split-sleeve sweater; Reid wears Song for the Mute woven jacket; Junior wears Christian Wijnants a-line dress; Opie wears Comme des Garçons jacket, Christian Wijnants shirt, MM6 jeans, and Jean-François Mimilla necklace. Right: Stryker wears graphic print pleated dress by Pleats Please. Junior wears Pleats Please pointed top and graphic print trousers by Issey Miyake.
Photography: Tulay Dincel.
Creative Direction: Ashley Brockman.
Hair: Pauline McCabe for Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Makeup: Ashley Brockman and Shana MacKinnon for Artists@Play.
Models: Junior Moyo, Opie Robinson, Reid Gunter, Strykermeyer, Cooper Cooper, and Ash Baroque.
Production assistant: Stuart Williamson.
Hair assistants: Jodie Woodhall, Jasmin Montaut, Elle Rose Corby, Halle Crawford.