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  • Writer's pictureChanel Belej

The Making of MARTA


Chanel-Angelique Belej chats with fellow fashion enthusiast Sara Marta after her RTW ‘23 debut. Watch out designers, Marta-incoming.



MARTA Ready-to-Wear '23


When I first met Sara in the back-of-house of Zimmermann’s Paddington boutique two years ago, I couldn’t help but gravitate to her calming energy when she descended from the shop floor to fetch a garment for her client. Despite the demanding pace the world of retail is notorious for, her infectious smile would help us forget it all. Typical of me, I started to pose questions in an attempt to learn what led her to Zimmermann. She introduced herself as a fashion designer who goes by the name MARTA and was in her final year at TAFE NSW at the time – therefore very stressed and restless. You wouldn’t know.


Not one to wait for permission, before our first shift together is over, she pulls out her sketches and an exchange of Instagram handles ensues. For someone (me) whose drawing skills never surpassed the level of the preschool stick figure, I was a little taken back. Like wow. She hasn’t even reached her twenties and her very own RTW collection is almost show-ready. That’s impressive, I thought. And I know a thriving artist-in-the-making when I see one.


It was then I realised how we were working for the same designer. Zimmermann, the Australian-born eponymous label crafts designs that are the epitome of beauty. For Sara’s name-sake label MARTA, she champions a like-minded ethos in her work–one that’s an instrument for emotion, inner power, and the divine feminine. Diaphanous silk fabrications work to highlight the female form and create a longing desire that celebrates femininity. 


While each shift gave me more of an insight into what goes on behind the scenes of a dedicated fashion student, I was very excited to be a front-row attendee at the TAFE NSW showcase for Sara’s graduating class, where she presented her first RTW collection, Love Story – a cohesive collection that emerges from a fascination with love and the plethora of emotions that coincide within it. Love is complex in itself, let alone basing an entire collection around it. Needless to say, Sara’s age in no way negates her virtuoso, for Love Story exists to reveal complex emotions through art. 


Core tonal variations of pink and red work to display this build-up of intensity from admiration to adoration. Intimacy is mirrored through swirling and motioning lines that caress the feminine figure and accentuate the divine feminine’s beautiful softness and alluring gentleness.


Love Story ‘23





The Kiss Dress



I recall sitting restlessly, waiting for Sara’s models to strut the catwalk. I guess they save the best to last. After following MARTA’s journey in the preceding months, there was one piece I was dying to see, as was all of her spectators; The Kiss Dress – a depicted image of two people kissing through layered gathered tulle. The result is almost like an optical illusion, with an essence that boasts a second-skin minimalism we’ve come to detect from the Spring/Summer ‘24 Season. Pair it with a red lip and you have the ultimate party dress. Another favourite to admire was a slip dress adorned with a hand-beaded aphrodite print, assembled by just enough silk organza to cover what’s necessary–the rest (diaphanous tulle) works to expose the figure beneath. 



Aphrodite



Unsurprisingly, MARTA was one of the few designers chosen from her cohort to showcase her work at Australian Fashion Week this coming May. As glamorous as it sounds, stringing a collection of garments together a second time around is no easy feat. These days I initiate a girls' catch-up and more often than not, she has to politely decline:


“One of the largest [challenges] I would say so far would be finding a work-life balance and forcing myself to make sacrifices to put my brand and creative output as my number one priority. It can be really difficult saying “no” to social commitments or even just allowing myself time to rest and do nothing, to put my all into my projects.”.


That’s Sara. Always chasing after what she wants and dodging any foreseeable roadblocks. She is impassioned with drive and desire to succeed in her projects–something that can’t be taught in the classroom. For the rest of the year, Sara plans to find inspiration in the every-day, including some travel time she’s planned after her show to reunite with family in Portugal. Creative rest is crucial for a budding artisan–and once she returns–she’s looking at opening up pre-orders on selected pieces, or designing a limited collection at a more accessible price point. 


We’ve come full circle as I recently asked Sara a rather serious question: “What’s the ultimate B-H-A-G?” She tells me, “It would be a dream to be on the London or Milan fashion week schedule or to do a haute couture show in Paris“, to which I respond, “Watch me marvel at it”. 













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