JUXTAPOSING ELEGANCE AND EDGINESS, LILITH VIPER’S PROVOCATIVE COLLECTIONS EXPLORE THE DUALITY OF DESIGN
BY RHIANNA JONES
They say birds of a feather flock together, but in the case of Melbourne based Lilith Viper, they design together, too. The label was born in 2019 as the brainchild of best friends Lucy Carlson, a fashion student, and tattoo/ illustration artist Abby Dreilsma. Fusing Carlson’s design skills with Dreilsma’s illustration and creative direction, the uniqueness of their combined vision juxtaposes traditionally romantic fashion with the edgy, raw elements of tattoo art, creating dichotomous designs for all types. The inaugural collection, Self Love, presented a new take on the ubiquitous concept. Nipple baring models strutted down a neon lit industrial catwalk in mesh tops, sheer cutout pants, and PVC corsetry. As a racial, gender, and size inclusive collection however, the raw femininity was shared in gender bending styling, dressing guys in “self love” emblazoned bondage, bow trimmed silk pants, and chiffon overalls. The collection’s contrast of light and dark, soft and hard, classic and modern invited the viewers to challenge their beauty norms.
The name Lilith stems from Adam’s mythical first wife who grew wings and flew to her own Eden to evade his subjugation. The notion of female autonomy is stitched into the brand’s DNA, not only in the ethos of the two female designers, but also the unapologetic aesthetic of the brand. Lilith Viper’s second collection, Angels and Snakes, took its inaugural duality even further, creating a saccharine yet sly collection at the crossroads of heaven and hell. It featured a woman in a satin corset tied tightly over a sheer baby doll with a snake crawling up her leg, for example, contrasting a man’s work apron reinvented in chiffon with cream ribbon trim. Pulling the tattoo perspective into the mix, an oversized nude sheer jacket adorned with a typographic V on the back inspired visual intrigue, like wearable inked art.
The latest collection Vanity plays with the duality of beauty and vulgarity, giving classic glamour a gothic edge. Just as the art of tattooing springs from a knowledge and love for classical art with a modernized approach, Vanity references medieval silhouettes with new age appeal. In the regal shades of royal purple and black, a satin mini dress with fluttering chiffon sleeves is redolent of a gothic nymph in an urban Eden, and a cropped armor esque corset and pleated buckle skirt portrays a legion of female warriors. True to its founding message of self love, in its designs, Lilith Viper invites us to embrace the skin we’re in, while encouraging all of our sides and strengths, too.