Larger text size Very large text size Pip Edwards is wearing black tights covered in red, yellow and nude stripes and a matching black muscle shirt which cuts low into her side, so you get a glimpse of washboard abs and an impressive set of obliques.
There's a certain amount of mystery surrounding the Sydney-based fashion identity: Selling the dream," Pip Edwards says of her activewear label P. Damian Bennett Although today, Edwards, 37, is planning to exercise, hers is an ensemble equally appropriate to working out, eating brunch, visiting the supermarket and doing the school run. After all, activewear is now a near-universal uniform; that's especially true in Bondi, the Sydney beachside neighbourhood in which Edwards lives.
Her exercise-wear collection P. In the s, Diane Von Furstenberg designed flattering jersey wrap dresses suitable for both work and play. Now, Edwards is merging performance and style, for the gym and everything else. In March , P. E Nation's first collection sold out within hours on its website. Within a year, the original team of two grew to Stockists include David Jones, Selfridges in London and online retailers like MyTheresa, a leading luxury website, where it nestles among labels such as Balenciaga and Valentino.
Pip Edwards in new season P. Damian Bennett Advertisement "Bondi is where the heart and soul of the brand comes from," Edwards says. The principality of pretty people appears to be in a perpetual state of training.
Serious joggers outnumber tourists on the picturesque Bondi to Bronte coastal walk. Others can be found planking on the grassy knoll near the Icebergs pool overlooking the world-famous surf, or picking up a "buffin" — a muffin free of gluten, dairy and sugar, and made from organic buckwheat flour — and fresh juice after a heated vinyasa yoga class at one of the many studios now sprinkled along Hall Street.
I'm home by 8pm. But only wine, only vegan wine. Janie Barrett I ask Edwards to show me her Bondi routine, and so on a humid summer morning she takes me to the Cali Press juice bar. She customises it with XCT oil distilled from pure coconut oil and agave made from the blue agave succulent of Mexico.
Everyone seems to know her: E Nation as the new staff uniform. Eschewing neon-hued inspirational slogans and puns, Edwards and her team restrict themselves to a more restrained palette of reds, yellows, blues and black and her initials, P. Whereas other brands carry items of exaggerated underwear - abbreviated tights commonly known as the "booty short" - P.
E instead sells loose-fitting, knee-grazing basketball shorts. Oversized silhouettes and slightly androgynous styles rule. Tight and bright, it seems, is done. Pip Edwards and her son Justice. Ashleigh Bonner Marion Hume, the former Vogue Australia editor, now AFR Magazine's international fashion editor, is one of fashion's most revered, and toughest, critics. An avid swimmer, she thinks Edwards is a "girl to watch" who has entered the game at just the right time, with just the right aesthetic.
In February at Coterie, the exclusive womenswear trade show in New York, Edwards secured stockist deals with some of the world's major retailers for P. E Nation's first collection more than a year before it even officially launched. Pip Edwards poses for Good Weekend. Damian Bennett My fitness used to be dancing in nightclubs. It's ready for a brand that encapsulates that, and which comes out of Sydney.
E Nation also grow into a global brand? The Queen of Bondi. Damian Bennett There's not much time for play in Edwards' life these days.
She trains harder than ever before, using rigorous daily fitness sessions to test her products' comfort and durability. On a stationary bike inside a gym that was, until recently, owned by Russell Crowe in Darlinghurst, Edwards pulls her famous hair into a loose half-up, half-down top knot. It's the kind of look her favourite comedians, the Bondi Hipsters , would mock. She then begins to explain how a spiritual healer, a psychic and a kinesiologist help keep her grounded as her professional star rises.
Between sprints, she recites her kinesiology mantra: I empower my femininity. Edwards herself started to DJ as a side-business with the girlfriends of the other Ksubi designers for "shoe money" but they found themselves booking too many gigs while also trying to maintain careers and families, so gave it up.
My fitness was dancing in nightclubs. I didn't eat from Friday to Monday. I don't even know how I maintained a life. I went hard in both and that was conducive to my partner [Single] and the business I was working in at that time in fashion," she says. Despite no official training as a designer or stylist, and dating back to her days with Single, Edwards has long been the barometer of style in Sydney, oozing confidence, cool, and insouciance.
Like Beckham and Olsen, Edwards has now successfully transitioned from fashionable social fixture to fully-fledged designer. But although she's now one of Australia's leading activewear entrepreneurs, Edwards was unable to play sport at high school.
Across from Edwards at the Darlinghurst gym today is the publicist Roxy Jacenko. Her blonde hair freshly blow-dried, Jacenko lifts dumb-bells and requests the music — Drake's Gyalchester — be turned up. Me and the money are way too attached to go and do that", raps Drake.
As well as Jacenko, there are two other women working out. All are wearing tights by P. E Nation's first birthday. It's safe to say the brand, financially backed by renowned rag traders Wassim and Ziad Gazal, has exceeded her expectations: Edwards is hungry, but hers is not the type of appetite that will be sated by this gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free cake which her trainer promises won't cause "any inflammation to the body".
Jacenko is offered a slice. She declines, intently focused on posting her workout photo for her , Instagram fans. More than will "like" the post. Her monochrome tights, "gifted" to the publicist by Edwards, and featured in the picture, quickly sell out online - exemplifying the digital networks and close personal connections of fashion's tastemakers so crucial to P.
These days, social media support is the equivalent of "closing the deal". E Nation outfits which they buy to their combined million followers on Instagram , the pieces sell out. Edwards herself has more than 97, followers on the photo publishing platform, and her social media profile was crucial in her landing some of P. E Nation's major stockists. Buyers from around the world discovered the brand on the photo-sharing app and placed orders immediately. E on Instagram as it was gathering traction and were attracted to how fresh and visual the brand felt," Selfridges womenswear buying manager Heather Gramston tells me.
In January, a P. E Nation pop-up store was launched inside the famous London department store. MyTheresa has sold P. E Nation for almost three seasons - just over a year - after seeing how much the debut collection was "generating buzz on Instagram", a representative says. If I can help her by wearing the garments, which I love, by all means I'll do it.
Jacenko was 18; Edwards She was one of those girls, when walking into a nightclub, I'd let her go one way and I'd go the other because she was stiff competition.
Even today, carrying a shoulder injury that's giving her "phantom labour pains", she wants to up the weights and add reps. Her relentless drive has defined her since high school, when she was a prefect and music captain at the North Shore's prestigious, and posh, Ravenswood School for Girls.
But fashion was an interesting pivot for the woman headhunted in by PricewaterhouseCoopers after growing up in what she calls "a very corporate household". Her father was a lawyer, and her mother worked in the banking sector. She was plucked from Sydney University before she completed her commerce and law degree.
But, by , Edwards had packed up her desk in the risk-assessment department and, after throwing away her business cards that read "Pip Edwards, Penetration Specialist", moved into PR, then found design and styling.
Fashion was an industry that was more accepting of her "mohawk hair, rat's tail and fluoro orange pant-suits", she says.
She remembers it as a "boys' club" famous for its expensive jeans, wild parties — oh, and a rodent-infested catwalk show. One was killed after a curtain rod fell on it. An internal PR division was established, and Edwards eventually moved into that department after starting out as Single's personal assistant.
He was very popular with the women but we were best friends," she says. She's dressed in a red and white P. E Nation bomber jacket that balloons over a black Ellery floor-skimming skirt.
Edwards laughs, blows the DJ a kiss and starts dancing, alone. She explains the significance of the song by pointing to one of seven tattoos on her body. The cursive phrase underneath her bicep reads: Edwards is now comfortably ensconced in fashion's nook. In the mids, she and Single were regulars at the renowned, now defunct, Oxford Street nightspot Ruby Rabbit, late-night venues around Kings Cross, and out and about in Bondi. In , the couple had a baby: Growing up an only child, Edwards had never held a baby before Justice was born, and after a few months she moved in with her parents for support.
She took two months off work before returning to Ksubi to design womenswear.