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Fancee Pants

She's big in Japan.
December 1, 2003, 12:00am

Painting by Bonnie Gillard

Bonnie Gillard will fulfil any request for one of her unique creations, so long as she believes you can handle it. It is as though each of her pieces has been torn from the clutches of an overzealous five year old art student, with monsters for best friends, and then worn for a month straight by someone who truly loves them. She started out painting canvasses and making wacky, disfigured dolls before creating her equally intriguing clothing label Fancee. After finishing art school in Melbourne a few years ago, Bonnie followed her break-dancing boyfriend over to Japan, where her signature ‘kooky monster’ paintings were a total hit. Despite a number of successful solo exhibitions in Tokyo, the yens were tight. So, rather than spend insane amounts on elaborate street wear, she bought plain t-shirts, shirts, hats and shoes and attacked them with her paints, dyes and home made badges. The Japanese kids loved it. “I used to walk around with a bag full of clothes, go out clubbing and sell my stuff at the parties. I became known as the t-shirt giru (t-shirt girl). The young people there are wild. I used to get cash thrown at me at the clubs—over $250 for a t-shirt.” Bonnie overstayed her Japanese visa by a day, got caught, and was kicked out of the country for five years. She is not as happy about this as we are. While pieces from the Fancee range can be found in stores around Melbourne and Sydney, Bonnie’s creations do not sit comfortably within the confines of a regular retail space. You are just as likely to come across her selling clothes from an illegal street stall or out of a bag at your local bar. ”I get so attached to everything I make that I like to meet the people who buy my stuff. But it’s not for everyone. My pieces are powerful and you gotta be strong to rock them well.” VENTTI CHAMPION