Australian designer Alex Perry talks about his fashion career and his marriage

I met my wife, Mary, at a wedding. All the women present could have been extras in a Madonna music video: tousled hair, lace mittens, tulle skirts and lots of makeup. Mary was living in Greece at the time and had returned to Australia for her brother’s wedding. She worked for a fashion designer in Athens and wore a silver gray strapless evening dress and silver shoes, and had a blow-dried shoulder bob. I was hypnotized by her.

I picked up the courage to ask him out. I never thought she would say yes, but she agreed. She returned to Greece, but came back to Sydney and we started dating soon after.

I was 24 years old when I got married. Mary and I don’t have kids, but at the time we weren’t in a financial position to go that route. We also didn’t follow any preconceived rules or guidelines about what happens after your wedding. If we needed to do it, we would have done it, but we didn’t.

The differences between Mary and me are what make our relationship work. She is methodical and likes to plan, I make decisions in an instant and follow my instincts. I can’t throw things at him. I did when I left Chadwick’s as a model agent, signed a store lease, and made other decisions without cross-checking with her. Looking back, I don’t know how she didn’t fire me.

During the first 10 years from my fashion brand, Mary worked as a medical receptionist to support me financially. If it wasn’t rock, my business wouldn’t have taken off.

I met Elle Macpherson when I made her a dress for a vogue australia shoot. She came to my shop in Double Bay and I was like a mute seven-year-old. I don’t know if she knew how nervous I was.

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Alex Perry celebrates 10 years as a Specsavers Designer.

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