Permanent Vacation’s next collection embraces function and progression



STYLING BY Thalea Michos-Vellis


Existing, shifting.

Constantly moving, ever-evolving and always dynamic, Melbourne label Permanent Vacation (PV) is the epitome of fluid fashion. Unrestricted by seasons or trends, Claire Louise Smith’s fashion brand (or ‘ongoing project series’, as she’s aptly named it) has reached its 18th collection.

Ingrained in the wardrobes of the local fashion set, Permanent Vacation is known for refined tailoring, feminine silhouette and its signature seersucker, printed in colours like chocolate brown, lavender and – most recently – a seafoam-tinted teal. At the height of Melbourne’s never-ending lockdown, the brand also suddenly appeared on faces everywhere; its reversible floral masks serving as a colourful respite from a sea of medical-grade blue.

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Good news for mask-wearers everywhere – they’re back, alongside the first half of a new two-part PV collection. Existing, Shifting is Claire’s 18th edition to her ongoing fashion project. The collection features styles synonymous with the brand’s contemporary elegance, like the gathered Metaphor Halterneck, the fluttery Lykke Dress and the Everyday Utility Pants.

Centred around embracing function and progression, Existing, Shifting also debuts new PV silhouettes – a silky slip dress, cropped corduroy vest and boxy merino wool turtleneck. Launched in two parts, the collection’s halves work in harmonious balance, a kind of sartorial yin and yang. Existing is filled with “grounding black and white pieces”, as Claire tells me, “while shifting is interspersed with bright shades of lime greens and teal”.

As the owner of several Permanent Vacation pieces myself, I can attest to their lasting power – both structurally, and through the ebbs and flows of the fashion trend cycles. Operating in ‘projects’ rather than seasons, PV pieces have lasting relevance. Crafted by a team of makers in Melbourne, each piece is created specifically for demand, ensuring as little waste as possible.

When Claire founded the PV brand in 2016, she had a clear brand trajectory – one that has held steady through the last six years. As she told Fashion Journal back in 2019, “My intention is for Permanent Vacation to be an escape from the cyclical: a brand that is beyond time and place, which also informs the name of the label. It’s about having a forward-looking mindset and not following a traditional formula. I’d like PV items to be relevant for years to come, and to be made well enough to last.”

The first instalment of Existing, Shifting (available now) is a reimagining of the brand’s most-requested pieces, while part two will see the collection moving towards a new phase (launching in late May).

Start browsing the first half of the Existing, Shifting project here.

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