sustainable, fashion , ilio nema, bondi beach

sustainable fashion ilio nema

Some people come into our lives like magic. This was certainly the case with my friend Ariane Leondaridis. Tapped on the shoulder at a busy Bondi bar, I turned to see a gorgeous, tall, elfin woman with a huge smile saying hi - we got chatting and I suppose, never stopped. She’d just moved to Bronte’s sun kissed sands from New York with her family, leaving her post as Ulla Johnson’s head designer for a dream of providing her children a laid back Aussie childhood.

Coming from a Greek and French background , she has that infectious energy and loudness of Hellenic people coupled with Parisian refinement and a keen interest in culture. With a common passion for the arts and sustainability I spent many a night talking to Ariane about different mediums of artistic expression and ethical production. She is, I must add, annoyingly modest about her talents – I asked to see her live drawing class sketches once and she refused saying that they just weren’t very good yet . After much begging , she was made to relent and dear reader, the sketches were so brilliant , I asked to put one on my wall. When she said she wanted to get into making ceramics and sculptures, I got excited because I really need some for my house and I love her aesthetic. No matter how many mediums she dipped into and experimented with,  fashion wouldn't stop niggling in the back of her mind.

Fast forward nearly 3 years and Ariane is starting her own ethical, artesian label Ilio Nema with her old coworker from Ulla, Katia Kelso. The label’s name derives from the word Ilio, meaning Sun, or mythical sun god Helio riding across the sky in his chariot and Nema:  meaning thread under Athena’s weaving wisdom or a special tool central to Theseus’ safe return from the centre of the labyrinth.

Effortlessly bohemian with a tomboy edge, handcrafted, seasonless and authentically sustainable, the brand exudes principles of quality over quantity and understated luxury coupled with intricate details. It’s the sort of clothes one looks after for a lifetime then passes on–  as far away from fast fashion as possible. One garment sometimes takes days to make by hand by Moroccan weavers - a far cry from the churning machine of mass production.  In this world of rampant consumerism and mindless pollution , Ilio Nema stands with few other peers. Making a label sustainable is one thing, making it interesting and original is another.  
But, I'm not a model! - Ariane exclaimed when I demanded to shoot her in her own clothes. I think these photos prove, it's just another thing she is modest about.

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This month I had a chance to travel to Andalusia, the southern part of Spain where citrus trees line city streets and parks, Muslim and Christian heritage coexist in the most marvelous ways, tapas is the name of the game and flamenco passion ignites long Mediterranean nights. With a few days spare before my work obligations, I landed with no idea what to expect.  I thought I’d see one or two places, shoot an autumn trends story, then laze by the pool and read some books but an upgrade to a sports car at the airport changed all that. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with wanderlust and ended up changing towns like knickers instead. Olé!

Florals in winter are all the rage. Don’t forget your headband, hair clip or scrunchie (Rebecca Valance dress, Giuseppe Zanotti sandals, Avenue the label hairclip and scrunchie, Karen Walker earrings)

This autumn , beige it out. Any shade of neutral is a go and head to toe looks get bonus points. Layering is a huge trend, so get creative.( Max Mara overcoat, Nique coat, Rama Voyage shirt, Hansen and Gretel pants,Gucci bag, Jennifer Chamandi shoes from Net-a-Porter)

MALAGA: Land here and wonder where all the fancy shops and restaurants are – they’re half an hour’s drive down in Marbella, the beach resort playground. Still give Malaga a chance for the night and hit the Picasso museum (he was born there) then see the palatial fortification of Alcazaba for sunset- the beautiful gardens are something else.

I’m a big believer in leopard print being a neutral necessity and I’m glad designers agree. All animal print is good this season, especially zebra. Layer for impact, it’s never enough (Carla Zampatti coat, Rebecca Valance dress, Maria Farro sandals)

NERJA: Even out of season this bustling beachside town is all tiny old streets,incredible sunrises and sunsets, cute beaches, fresh seafood and clean surf. Rent an apartment to live like a local and check out Maro’s beach and the next two coves around it for the most beautiful swims – the trek by organic farms is worth it

Who says white is only for summer? Parisian designers just showed a plethora of winter whites for autumn 2020 ( Zimmermann dress, Sir The Label pants, Gianvitto Rossi Shoes )

GRANADA: Stay at the old glory of Hotel Alhambra Palace for the best views of the town and the short walk to the UNESCO listed Alhambra palace and fortress. It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever been to. Follow it up with a tajine at one of the many Moroccan restaurants

One shouldered tops and dresses are back, so are lace inserts, pants under dresses, checks, plaid and tartan (Max Mara coat, Christopher Esber dress, Ginger and Smart pants,Antonio Parriego boots)

CORDOBA: Possibly my favourite place of all with it’s gorgeous town, walled mosque with a Christian cathedral inside, the biggest old hammam in Europe, a stunning palace and medina. Check out the flamenco at Arte y Sabores for an unforgettable experience.

It’s all about print- psychadelic,tie dye,floral or all at once? Take your pick. Oversize shoulders are a must and you’re not dressed without a hat (Romance was Born dress, Christian Louboutin boots, vintage hat)

SEVILLE: Oh how I loved this place. Stay at the grand old hotel Alfonzo XII and the majestic Alcazar palace and gardens are just two blocks away. The city hums with it’s own beat and horse drawn carriages lining the streets add a romantic feel

Self shot using a Nikon camera
This story appeared on Vogue.com.au here!
 


Did you know that the Great Barrier Reef is the largest living thing on Earth? Visible from space, it is home to over 600 types of soft and hard coral. Facts like these drive home the incredible value of the landmark and the blessing we have lying on our front porch, yet for me, the reef seemed like an abstract idea until I flew over to Heron Island to experience it for myself.

Home to countless nesting wild birds and two types of turtles, this coral cay has had a chequered past. Thankfully, the island has now been transformed into an eco-resort with a reef research facility and a thriving population of wildlife—when I say thriving, picture diving into the water straight from the shore and getting lost among many types of reef sharks, sting rays, fish and colourful coral.

My 11-year old-daughter tagged along for the ride and she quickly disappeared into the ocean, not returning until she was hungry. The incredible variety and richness of life on and around this island was spectacular, yet the news that north of here up to two thirds of the reef had gone through a massive bleaching event was dishearteningly sombre.

Global warming may be just a concept to many, but it is a growing reality for the reef whose sensitivity to temperature changes makes it an easy victim. The threat became painful as I imagined Heron Island barren of all the beauty that makes it so special, so I wanted to create a story that celebrates sustainable labels leading the way for a new paradigm in the way we approach the business of fashion.

Silver waves

Exclusive to Australia, this Tiffany & Co wave necklace is part of a limited edition collection that uses 100 per cent of profits to support the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef. A Grecian inspired Jacinta James dress and Maria Farro sandals complete this timeless holiday outfit.

 

 

 

It was all yellow

Vibrant and comfortable, this Nagnata look utilises upcycled and sustainable fabrics and would look equally good in the gym paired with fair-trade French label Veja’s sneakers, or dressed up with heels. My KitX bag was created with organic cotton and natural dyes for longevity and practicality–I use it religiously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jumping in

 

Traditionally, swimwear was one of the worst offenders in fashion as its use of plastic and oil throughout the course of production made for a damaging business model—but times are changing. Labels are attempting to recycle materials or use recycled plastics instead, and this Tigerlily swimsuit is a part of said change. Tigerlily is on its way to making its brand 100 per cent sustainable and is taking great strides in not just transparency and ethical sourcing, but reducing toxic chemicals used in their production.

Cool it

While Kit X’s organic linen keeps your body cool, the brand's environmental policies will keep your heart warm with the glow of one of the most stringent policies around renewable fabrics, eco-production and transparency. The company’s designer Kit Willow is an inspiration who doesn’t compromise on design, quality or eco-credentials.

 

 

 

 

 

Easy does it

 

Relaxing by the beach has never felt better than in Kow Tow’s range of timeless, sustainable basics and swimwear. Pair with an Avenue the Label vegan leather, 100 per cent recyclable scrunchie.

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I am obsessed with Maggie Marylin tailoring and the label’s clean yet detailed lines. Nomadic State of Mind have been making their rope sandals from upcycled sail cloth and hemp, and Avenue the Label’s silk scrunchie is just as eco as it is fancy.

Assisted by: Coco Pavlovic

With thanks to Heron Island resort and the Gladstone tourism board


Yeah, I'm a terrible blogger guys, I geddit. Whereas a normal blogger will do at least a self respecting one post a week, I pretty much go awol for weeks. Needing sensible clothes that you can wear to work everyday, preferably black? I can't help you, I haven't done an office job in my life. The only time I truly looked perfectly proper was for select funerals and my Australian citizenship certificate ceremony (cause you don't wanna tell a country they about to let a loonie in right? 🙂 Yes, maybe you won't read this blog every day or even every week but when it's finally up, I try to deliver some insensibly impractical ,yet amazing clothes.

 

Wearing Zimmermann, vintage escada earring next to Tanya Linney artwork and some of my personal crystal collection

Sometimes , I meet a cutie patootie photographer like Jordann Wood who came to my house and shot this story in one Ovo Sound Radio episode blaring from the speakers. My new place is the weirdest space ever, a 1920s Art Deco place with original ornamental high ceilings, no straight walls, a sloping living room and 3 inbuilts that consist of a large display cabinet, a smaller display cabinet and an actual pull out bar. After having really modern, minimalist apartments in the past, I wasn't sure this was my vibes. My daughter Coco tried to sell it to me by enticing me with ample storage for all my shoes, the separate living and dining, the terrace and garden but the over eager glint in her eye gave away the fact she was desperate for me to take it for the damn pool. Still, I can't deny the fact that all the weird old stuff that I obsessively collected over the years found it's own niche in this place.

In the last 4 months in no particular order a plethora of things happened; a break up with my boyfriend, my cat Tiger getting attacked by massive dogs , a 6 week trip to the homeland of Croatia and Italy for my bestie's wedding, and now, a move to a new apartment.  I wish I was one of those people that use their pain and overexertion as a springboard, but honestly, all I wanted to do in my spare time was wallow in self pity, eat my weight in pasta and make friends with all the red wine. Stay tuned for the nuggets of wisdom I procured during this time spent in a dark vortex.

Wearing Double Rainbuu tracksuit, Matin top, Beghum Khan earrings, Giuseppe Zanotti pumps, Amethyst and Citrine ring. vintage marble table, Eames chairs, Australian Wattle

Wearing Rebecca Valance dress Bulgari bag,earrings, necklace custom rug B&B italia couch

The first thing about being single again that immediately became a positive is that now I could get all my clothes and shoes out of storage and fit them in all the cupboards around the house. I may be single, but with my wasted retirement money spread safely around me at least I am not anxious. In my eager redecorating , I even bought new pieces of furniture like these funky vintage chairs that will make absolutely 0 sense in any other apartment

Michael Lo Sordo suit,Zimmermann top,Brie Leon bag,vintage chairs

In parting, a funny story. Behind me in this photo is a picture of me crying on a floor of a hotel room in the south of france 15 years ago with stuff all around me. My ex boyfriend, a photographer who is a good friend now, gave me this photo last year for my birthday. Immediately, I became upset: "But this is a photo of the day we broke up! Why this photo? And on my birthday?" He replied laughing: " Yes, it was sad then, but look at us now. It was just the beginning of something else special !"

Fun ensued when FIB came to my house to raid my closet and talk fashion..Check out the two part interview and witness me ham it up for the cameras and catwalk with my cat ; ). Happy fashion week everyone & thanks to Paul Roberts and the team!
 


Sustainability is a new buzz word in fashion and for good reason – turns out the clothes business is the second biggest polluter in the world, just behind oil. Yep, I winced too but the facts remain- fast fashion is costing the planet. It turns out a humble t-shirt requires 3 years worth of drinking water to produce the cotton needed for it’s production alongside heavy pesticides. Not only does la mode guzzle water, creating environmental disasters where it’s produced but it also pollutes it – it is estimated that 20% of water pollution comes from the treatment and dying of textiles with harsh chemicals.

The carbon footprint isn’t pretty either- 10% of global carbon emissions can be attributed to clothes production’s long supply chains and cheap synthetic fibers emit gasses like N20 which is 300 times more damaging than CO2. An average Australian buys 27kg of new textiles every year and then discards 23kgs into landfills, mostly cheap fabrics made from petroleum that further pollute the environment when incinerated. And if all this makes you feel like you never wish to shop again, here is the silver lining;  brands are hopping aboard the sustainability train at record speeds since 66% of millennials have said that they would pay more for sustainable fashion. And it’s not just staple basic brands such as Everlane or Allbirds that boast eco credentials- sustainability is getting sexy across the board. Prepare to feel optimistic as we look at some designers that exist in this exciting new sphere of fashion with our gorgeous model Rae, herself a marine biologist in training.

(Above)This bustier is made by Wynn Hamlyn who stress local, ethical manufacturing  and utilize a variety of natural fibers. thus minimizing environmental impact. Susan Driver hand makes jewellery in Brisbane using sustainably sourced metals and stones whilst the bumbag is by St Xavier who practice fair trade and invest in underprivileged communities - products are handmade in Northern India generating sustainable income for 500 men and women.

 

KowTow is a NZ label that prides itself on utilizing organic cotton whilst being environmentally conscious and providing certified workers’ rights and safety, not to mention creating cool jumpsuits. Lingerie is by Lonely, another NZ label that has been accredited child labour free whilst protecting the environment with the safe disposal of waste materials and Jewellery is from Tiffany & Co who use sustainably and ethically sourced metals for their pieces.

The Conscious Collection is a label by the giant H&M who created this dress and earrings. They have pledged to use 100% renewable or recycled materials by 2030, are using 59% sustainably sourced cotton now and recycled nearly 18 tonnes of textiles in 2017. The coat is by Arnsdorf who rebooted after 5 years with impeccable eco credentials- the label not only has full transparency on fabric sourcing which includes organic cotton and indigo dyed denim but also on manufacturing costs and wages. The pieces are meant to be timeless- the brand offers in house fittings and lifetime repairs too. The bag is by St Xavier( as mentioned before )

Kit X is a label that has been at the helm of this movement and it’s founder Kit Willow is passionate about ethically sourced materials, developing eco fabrics and fair treatment of workers whilst creating pieces that look amazing like this dress. Temple of The Sun jewellery uses sustainably produced silver and gold plating which has either been recycled or sourced from a certified mine and produced in a boutique, ethical fashion.

Maggie Marilyn creates luxurious, modern and quirky clothes that are sustainably and ethically produced and this gorgeous dress is no exception. Byfar is a Bulgarian shoe label produced in a small Italian family factory that utilizes sustainable dead stock leather rescued from luxury Italian factories

Matches Fashion is jumping on board the sustainability movement by promoting many new designers and this dress by Kalita sees the designers utilizing sustainable materials whilst hand dying fabrics
Fashion practices are shifting but as consumers we are the ultimate creators of change so let’s choose with our wallets by supporting labels leading the way in creating a cleaner future that doesn’t give up on the fashionable factor.

This story appeared on Vogue.com.au here!
Photography: Alice Wesley-Smith
Model: Rae Rodriguez from IMG
H&M: Claire Thomson
Styling & words : Tanja Gacic

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Teatum Jones dress, Sarina Suriano earrings, Nars lipstick in Jungle red

 

Wool is really some sort of a voodoo magical fabric. In contrast to synthetics, Merino wool can absorb moisture, aka sweat, and even the  odours from sweat, which are then released during washing, plus for those of us that are a little clumsy ( ahem, me! ) the fibres have a natural protective outer layer that prevents stains from being absorbed. Recent innovations have even made a lot of woollen garments able to be machine washable and tumble dried, making it more versatile then ever. For greenies like me, it's also important that it is a completely natural, renewable and biodegradable source of fibre that sustains planet Earth. But did you know that this incredible fabric has the ability to regulate body temperature making us cooler in winter and warmer in summer?

 

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Teatum Jones dress, Giuseppe Zanotti heels, Sarina Suriano earrings

 

Each year The Woolmark Company holds a competition encompassing outstanding fashion talent from around the world, awarding the most innovative and modern interpretations of Australian Wool it's International Woolmark Prize. First launched in 1953 by the International Wool Secretariat ( a predecessor of The Woolmark Company ), the prize was famously awarded in 1954 to Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent in Paris. This year, the London-based fashion label Teatum Jones won the 2016 accolade for womenswear at the IWP awards ceremony during New York Fashion Week.

 

 

 

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Teatum Jones knit and skirt, Aquazurra shoes, JY jewels earring

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Teatum Jones pants and knit, Aquazurra shoes, Sarina Suriano necklace

Catherine Teatum studied at Ravensbourne and Jones at Central Saint Martins, before coming together to launch womenswear label Teatum Jones with her business partner Rob Jones. Inspired by anthropological narratives, the design duo fuses innovation with craftsmanship, often being dubbed "textile pioneers", or as International Woolmark Prize judge André Leon Talley says, they created a collection with “hanger appeal”. Textile based, with exquisite fabrics and modern, relevant shapes, this is not a trend based label, but one that includes considered, high tech design throughout pieces such as thin ribbed knits, multicoloured blanket capes and dramatic, geometrically patterned maxi dresses.

 

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Teatum Jones dress, Christian Louboutin boots, Anna Quan x Alighieri jewellery

Teatum Jones collection is available now at selected David Jones stores and online until sold out

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Spring is here and so is one of my ultra rare monochrome posts. Everyone knows I love colour, print and anything remotely over the top , so monochrome is a complete departure for me. I figure, there are so many awesome bloggers in the world that specialise in this tonal spectrum that I want you to experience something different from this blog. Still, secretly, I love monochrome. I also, not so secretly, love flats. For this post, I partnered up with Mimco to bring you how I do Day to Play, i.e. turn monochrome and flats on their head. Case in point ...

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My favourite combination is mixing white with silver tone accessories. Most people discount white for nighttime looks, but in my mind it it looks so much more striking for evening wear. I love the boy/girl look but choosing a mannish silhouette need not mean being less feminine; go for soft, touchable knits and wide legged palazzo pants, then add cool silver toned accessories such as brogues and snake skin textured clutch

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A big styling tip this season? Wear your cuffs over your sleeves (Dion Lee outfit, Mimco accessories)

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Usually black patent leather is reserved for night time, however I find it really lifts an outfit up for daytime. Choose a simple tank and A line skirt in interesting, high tech fabrics then accessorise with fine gold tone jewellery and fun accessories for a 21st century take on a uniform

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These loafers will look amazing with this season's ankle bearing jeans too! ( Calvin Klein outfit, Mimco accessories)

“There is only one success in life - to be able to spend your life in your own way.”

It’s funny; this sentence perfectly encapsulates the fact that our lives are so much a direct part of our creative direction; thoughts, feelings, conditioning, expectations and the search of what we perceive as love, happiness and prosperity. To ask ourselves what we truly want out of our journey requires a readiness to strip all the onion layers and embrace a zen like bird’s eye view over the whole, not just the momentarily needs and wants of today. Sometimes these snippets of clarity come to us easily and effortlessly, at other times, akin to diamonds, they come through crushing pressure and pain that forces us to re-evaluate the motives that drive us.

When I look back on my journey on this Earth, it becomes evident that it has been a steady stream of peaks and valleys that has perpetuated my personal growth. As in most people’s lives, crushing defeat and sadnesses are superimposed with moments of pure joy and hope, both ultimately driving us to question ourselves and the world around us for clues to our personal happiness. It is not only the alchemy and transmutation of negatives or the allowance and acceptance of positives that are each of our most difficult quests but also our willingness to wrangle the reins and establish ourselves as the chosen architects of our reality by becoming aware of our thoughts and actions.

I always feel lucky to meet people who enjoy the same things as I do and have a similar aesthetic ( probably because I love talking to people about all the shades of our shared perceptions ) but I feel extra blessed to know humans with whom I click so much that even spending exorbitant amounts of time together goes by in a hilarious flash. Sometimes , an extra bonus is that these are individuals that I can create with and in doing so, weave a shared vision into the fabric of reality. My best friend, who also happens to be a photographer and videographer ( and serial M.E.L collaborator) Alice Wesley-Smith is one of those people. During fashion shoots at special locations we both felt that pictures can sometimes be too one dimensional, not allowing for the full ambiance of the experience before us and so the idea for this video was born; we wanted to conceive not only how amazing fashion is by showing the swoosh of a beautiful dress but also the magic mood of perfect light falling on us and beauty of nature before us. After all fashion and travel are complimentary bedfellows and producing this idea would selfishly allow us to invest into a shared need to travel and document the things we love.

For our first video, we chose the unforgettable Australiana of the One & Only Wolgan Valley resort; because where else can you feel dwarfed by orange cliffs and fragrant eucalyptus whilst watching kangaroos play fight in pure luxury? This place is one I hold a soft spot for because it feels like a world away from anywhere; the quiet and the simple opulence are incredibly relaxing while the eco credentials are impressive to say the least. This video encapsulates my perfect trip to Wolgan Valley, complete with horse riding, remote picnicking and swimming in the  private villa pool at dusk whilst wearing some gorgeous clothes tailored to all occasions. I hope you enjoy our labour of love! x


In order of appearance:
Picnic: Zimmermann top, Rachel Gilbert skirt, Akubra hat, Tiffany & Co smile necklace
Hotel room: Camilla & Marc leather tights, vintage jacket, Massimo Dutti shirt, Gucci slippers, Cartier Watch, Mania Mania rings
Horse riding : Levis jeans, Gucci belt, Ryder t-shirt, Coach coat, Akubra hat, Cartier watch, RM Williams boots
Sunset : Lover dress, RM Williams x Dion Lee boots, Akubra hat
Pool: Zimmermann full cover swimsuit

The cool breath of blue has been stalking catwalks this season and it comes baring fun names such as blue hydrangea, serenity, limpet shell and snorkel, whilst flirting around on pretty lace, crepe and tech savvy mesh.

Who doesn’t want to be wrapped in periwinkle while they dance away this Indian Summer or light up the night by draping themselves in moonstone blue? Homegrown designers have come up with some gorgeous options for day and night that will have you feeling fresh, crisp and modern in a flash. These babies can go turning my brown eyes blue any day.

Above: Take this gorgeous creation from day to night and it will be equally as happy. (silk top and skirt both by Lover, Coach bag and Christian Louboutin heels)

More pale lilac than blue, this baby just wants to party - and who can blame it? It’s made for the dance floor (Toni Maticevski dress and Stuart Weitzman sandals)

How to feel relaxed and elegant at the same time? Choose serenity now in this beautiful pleated number (Tome dress, Karen Walker clutch and Stuart Weitzman sandals)

Take this baby blue mini and comfortable gladiators out on the weekend and watch them work their magic ( Jet Set Diaries dress and custom made K Jacques sandals)

View the full story and more looks on the vogue.com.au page here!
Photographed by Alice Wesley-Smith

After a month of temperatures in the high 20 Celsius and above, it started feeling like Sydney was stuck in some sort of Ground Hog Day scenario where sunny, perfect days were becoming a hot nuisance instead of a heavenly blessing. A few people remarked how they longed to wear jeans and jackets and one friend exclaimed she was sick of being so tanned. After a while, I couldn't even be bothered to run to the beach after work...after all, there will be another perfect day tomorrow and my couch and closed plantain shutters were so much less stressful than dehydration and crowds. Some claim we live in a world of duality because humanity still has to learn about what it truly likes and wants from experiencing it's absence. Black is too severe, white is too pure; so praise be, what is the exact shade of grey we need for our worlds to feel just perfect?

In my personal world, that nuanced grey , that dream life of perfect temperature, look, taste and feel would probably be one of a mid century heiress living in Palm Springs, blue skies above me, Richard Neutra home behind me, a cold amaretto sour in my hand, feet dangling languidly in a sparkling pool. I would have a walk in wardrobe full of beautiful 50s linens, tweeds, terry toweling and diamonds; all colour co-ordinated by my fateful butler with insane organizational and bartending skills. I would spend half the year doing hands on charity in far away lands such as Zanzibar, Tunisia and Fiji whilst I wrote books on new found botanical species and had exciting, adventurer boyfriends and many brilliant, loving yet self-sufficient children. I think about this picture and it seems complete perfection but then I remember how I would miss hip-hop and the internet and how terribly horrid it would be to live in a world even more racist and misogynist than the one we are still trying to change today ...and a little part of me shudders.

Duality is a bitch but there is a lot to learn from Palm Spring Heiress' fashion. For my newest Thomas Sabo jewellery edit I re-imagined my dream girl as a modern woman with a minimal mid century aesthetic and desert turquoise running through her veins...after all there is something so American Indian ethnic yet completely elegant about this newest collection. This season also introduces Thomas Sabo Love Bridge bracelets, which will become a modern classic and fit in with anything from suits to sportswear. This season, mix silver accents with beige, brown, tan and grey for the ultimate in Palm Springs inspired elegance

As the temperatures cool down consider cacooning yourself in a whole new manner of leisure suits and ensembles - they are all the rage this season. This cashmere combo is elegant and soft at the same time whilst the turquoise dream catcher and feather shaped necklaces mix in a vintage American influence

( Necklaces by Thomas SaboIris and Ink top and skirt from the Outnet, Christian Louboutin pumps)

Stand strong and deliver: offset neutrals with turquoise accents for impact ( Thomas Sabo necklace and bracelets, Asos jumpsuit, Aquazurra sandals )

Silver toned accessories are all the rage this season - mix them with beautiful separates for the ultimate in Palm Springs elegance ( Thomas Sabo Love Bridge bracelets, Zimmermann swimsuit worn as bustier, TY-LR coat dress, Karen Walker skirt )

 

photographed by Alice Wesley-Smith
direction, styling and production by Tanja Gacic

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Christmas time is always such a whirlwind in houses across Australia with present shopping, last minute deadlines, food preparation and school holidays colliding with long ques, traffic jams and sweltering temperatures. I have just moved into a new apartment and all of my worldly sartorial possesions sit in 48 boxes in my new office, completely filling the room. To say that I look at it and feel overwhelmed is an understatement of the century; so after closing the door and hoping it would go away , I have slowly edged back in and started sorting through this cardboard hill, coming swiftly to a realisation that all I needed now is a clowder of cats and then I could be labeled not only a hoarder but a crazy cat lady as well.

Melancholy is my vice and sentimental attachement to clothes as memories my ultimate downfall. Funnily enough, since I was travelling so much over the last 3 months after selling my house, I had no permanent home, and with all my possesions in storage, I made do with one suitcase of essentials. It was an eye opener into how many things I truly need in my life and it inspired me to really, truly cull through my material possesions. I forgot all about my things and felt free and easy with my simple life …until December came. It was then that I realized I needed clothes for all the ocassions that come with the holiday season and less was definitely not more anymore. On my new wishlist? Beautiful dresses and separates, luxe shoes and immaculate jewellery . Maybe Santa wants to trade me in for some mystery boxes?

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White is always in in the summer, but romantic sleeves and cute flippy skirts are on my lust list this year ( Ellery top and skirt ) Above:Metallic mules are the right mix between summer ease and tongue-in-cheek Barbie doll.
(Gucci mules)


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Who could be angry with a Santa that brings forever jewellery? (Tiffany&co bangle and necklace )


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This little black dress in neoprene is my wish list go-to. Not only is it an interesting take on sport luxe but the oversized proportions will be a welcome detail when asking for second helpings.(Balenciaga dress from MyTheresa and Camilla and Marc shoes).

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Who says getting nailed is a bad thing? These gorgeous accessories prove otherwise.
(Cartier bracelets and ring).


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When meeting the in-laws,please observe the less skin is better rule. This nude toned lace dress with its unlined sleeves is the perfect mixture between maintaining chic and staying cool in summer.(Burberry dress and Valentino heels)


See more on vogue.com.au here!

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Proponents of earthing believe that we need to allow our bodies a bare skin connection to planet's magnetic field regularly so we can release stress and electrical charge from our bodies. They say that barefoot walking is a fantastical way to release our energies into Earth leading to greater wellbeing and health.

I'm pretty sure that's true, since I always feel happiest in places I can slip my shoes off and dance barefoot ; sink feet into grass, wriggle toes into sand or sway legs in a refreshing body of water. Summer becomes a time when footwear becomes superfluous and I turn into a shoeless hippy, often a painful exercise like when you realize running across hot asphalt really does burn or when a monster bindi pierces your foot in dry grass. But being barefoot also means being free, yes, even for a girl like me who loves heels and thinks that she could outrun or outdance anyone in a pair of stilettos even if they were Louboutin Pigalle 120s, that sexy pump that makes me feel like a goddess on stilts. Yet who wouldn't rather take them off and salsa onto the beach in wild abandon ?

For one of my last collaborations of the year, I paired with Eastland, the new shopping destination encompassing a state of the art cultural and library facility in the newly redeveloped Town Square. With over 100 retailers such as Mecca Maxima, Mac, Sass & Bide, Scanlan & Theodore, David Jones, Oroton etc, Eastland also unveiled a world-class level of art to Eastern Melbourne, with a series of works from celebrated artists David Bromely and Joost Bakker- David Bromley having revealed his largest mural project to date; a whooping 1,600 metres appearing throughout Eastland. I wonder if this state of the art culture, food and fashion hub allows bare feet, because I have gone and pulled my designer favorite barefoot outfits for this story; ones that shun shoes and relish summer in all it's unstructured chaos. Just add a red nail polish for color pop!

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Why wear a little black dress when a little blue one totally wins summer? Cinch in that waist and show some leg, because this silk baby will stay footloose all night long ( Rodeo Show dress )

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I love a messy linen suit on a woman in the summertime, especially when worn with sandals off. Wear yours with nothing underneath or a little bralette for ultimate androgynous elegance (Skin and Threads pants and jacket )

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With a cinched in waist and long, flowing layers, this Sass & Bide dress will work the breeze to it's advantage

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There is something about a simple linen pinstripe dress that spells relaxed chic ( Veronika Maine dress )

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What would summer be without a good bikini and cover up? I have been loving everything Tigerlilly has been doing lately, including this version of the wrap around dress that doubles as a beautiful robe for the beach

 

Check out more about Eastland here!
photographed by Alice Wesley- Smith

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The decision to say yes to life is essentially taking a huge leap of faith. It screams impracticality in all it's scary and unpredictable glory versus staying in a secure existence full of comforting routine. Saying yes can upset the status quo and immeasurably change our life, yet people take these leaps of faith every day. Whether it’s quitting a job as a lawyer to start a patisserie, baring a bleeding heart to a crush or moving to Timbuktu, the most important decision made is to simply say yes to following our inner compass.

My 2015 New Year’s resolution was to do more things on my Bucket List. Travel is and has always been on the top of that pile, so my girlfriend and I decided to take a Thelma and Louise kinda road trip from Los Angeles to Big Sur, San Francisco,Yosemite, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree and back to L.A. Since this road trip was a shared dream and I was flying to L.A anyway for a Farfetch conference, the puzzle fell into place easily, but then, at the last minute, my friend was hit with pressing circumstances and had to cancel our trip. Now my plans were unhinged. Should I just go back to Sydney and give up my allocated holiday time or shall I drive alone for over a week through America ? Suddently, neither of these options seemed appealing yet I felt like I wanted to give the universe a chance to surprise me by saying yes to experiences, places and feelings that held the infinite potential of giving me a new perspective on the world.

When offered this collaboration with Armani Perfume for their fragrance Si, I looked up the campaign video featuring the gorgeous Kate Blanchet uttering in italian : Si to life, Si to us, Si to sun, Si to lightness, Si to seduction, Si to love, Si to freedom, Si to myself ” and it instantly struck a cord. We as women are full of contrasts; sometimes strong and sometimes sensitive, but also profound and frivolous, in turns passionate and unpredictable we turn on a dime and become soft and understanding. It is exactly this mercurial way women embody extremes that so frightened the patriarchy for thousands of years ; it is exactly this skullduggery that makes women such exciting, impossible creatures to contain in any sort of way.

Learning how to say yes to life is owning our strengths and choices, it means becoming responsible creators of our own destiny no matter where our dreams take us. Women had scarce choices even a few decades ago but we have reached tipping point in which we must say yes to nourishing ourselves so that we can say to yes  to nourishing others and the world.

This elegant perfume with it’s green notes of cassis and pachouli , florals of freesia and may rose and tones of vanilla and wood is the sort of mixture that itself contains contradictions yet they balance and compliment each other just like women's extremes balance each other to create uniqueness and beauty.

PS, as for my trip, I said Si to life and booked a solo trip to Mexica and Cuba. I leave tomorrow!

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A life well lived requires time to absorb everything around us, beneath us and above us ( wearing Armani suit and shoes, )

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The Armani intense bottle is an elegant representation of it's deep and seductive nature.

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Don't be afraid to claim your inner power and be the boss lady of your life ( wearing an Armani top, pants and shoes, Mania Mania bracelet)

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Every sunset is a gift to humanity for we can reflect and be grateful for the colours of the world

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photographed by Alice Wesley- Smith

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Shooting this editorial the other day in the last days of Autumn - sun still warm on the skin, dappled glow on the water, sand under my toes, music drifting from an open window - had me wishing I was somewhere dancing into the sunset. Morocco, Cuba, India, Mexico - anywhere I could feel like Yves'(Saint Laurent's) muse LouLou de la Falaise -bohemian, wild and free. What better way to catch the rhythm than with a swaying long dress, this season's parennial favorite. Some of my favorite dresses this season are long, unhinged, unexpectedly detailed and timelessly beautiful .

On the other side of the proportional spectrum this season sit the mini bags - tiny and cute they are the antidote and the perfect match to their flowing counterparts  - enough for a credit card, phone, keys and a lipstick , they come to free us from the restraints of the world so we can dance long into the night unburdened from the clunkiness of the world. With a long practical strap in an on trend tan shade, this little Dakota bag from Coach has been my favourite over Fashion Week and beyond. Perfectly happy with flares, maxi dresses or tulip skirts , it's an all around overachiever. Just as at home on sunny Ibiza isles come August as it is going to be worn with fluffy jackets and suede trenches over Sydney's winter. Who needs a full sized wallet anyway?

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Accessorize your maxi with some leopard - it is a neutral after all! (Kate Sylvester dress, vintage jacket, Coach bag, Gianvitto Rossi sandals)

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Asymmetric lace and long sunny days 4eva (Zimmermann dress, Coach bag )

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Add a gold toned statement jewellery piece to fast forward your 70s to the present ( Amber Sceats ear cuff )

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One of this season's best trends is a backless dress.. uncovering one of the sexiest parts of a woman's body while demurely covering the front ( Ellery dress, Coach bag )

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And when the rains come, be ready for them with some gumboots masquerading as riding boots ( Givenchy rain boots ) ( Tiffany T bracelet and Cartier Love bracelet worn throughout )

Photographed by Alice Wesley-Smith

Net-A-Porter's head of personal shopping Lupe Puerta covers all the basis of the perfect wardrobe - transeasonal and resort.

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Lupe Puerta joined Net-A-Porter 10 years ago and 3 years ago she became the head of global personal shopping - a position that involves creating a unique, private and bespoke experience for the invitation only customer. Lupe travels the world , hosts events and does one on one wardrobe cleaning with her customers, not to mention provides her luxury clients with tips and tricks on how to create the best functional wardrobe. I met up with Lupe in Hamilton Island and scooped up tips on how we can all get the sort of wardrobe we deserve...

My Empirical Life: Is it fun doing wardrobe cleaning?

Lupe Puerta: It is so much fun! Imagine going to people's wardrobes? I really love it.

M.E.L: What are the 10 things every woman should have in her wardrobe?

LP: For me , a white shirt goes a long way and so does a blazer- those two elements are the key. Your cashmere is important, good denim is also important -so you know the basics are really the key of your wardrobe. Then comes in the evening wear and a lot of jewellery, fun accessories, color! I love color in a wardrobe. If you do not want this so much in your ready to wear, maybe you can add a bright Bottega (Veneta) clutch, a stand out tote, a bright pair of earrings...Once you have that list of basics, you can start updating your wardrobe every season and having fun with all the new runaway pieces that come through.

M.E.L How do the shopping trends differ around the world?

LP: It's interesting because it doesn't matter if you are in London, Dubai, New York or Sydney- a lot of our customers gravitate toward the same pieces, everybody wants the same pieces! It is true however that the weather is the big factor in terms of what our customers buy. In Sydney , for example, different pieces are worn in a completely different, more laid back way than in other places.

M.E.L: Do you believe a woman's wardrobe should change after she hits 30?

LP: I think your needs might change, in terms of of your lifestyle so it's not necessarily about wearing the current season pieces, there are always the things you will love.  It's funny how we have these rules for our wardrobes and everybody thinks the rules might have to change as we get older. My job is to move away customers from these rules. Often, I will do a wardrobe clean with my customers and they will say : "I can never wear these anymore!" and they will categorically believe that. My job is to say; hey, let's see if we can incorporate it in a different way. It's about how to wear it.

M.E.L: Is it important to follow trends or is it more important to have a great transeasonal wardrobe?

LP: Look, we are all influenced by trends, it's what you find in the stores, it's what we have at Net-A-Porter but I think it is more important to have a wardrobe that will take you from season to season and then inject it with seasonal trends. It is also so important to clean your wardrobe and make space for all the pieces. If you haven't looked into your wardrobe for a year, then have a clean out. Ask yourself : how long haven't I worn these for? You must have visibility on what you do have in your wardrobe to make most of it.

M.E.L: So what are your rules on cleaning out your wardrobe?

LP: Insure that you give the pieces you don't want to someone who will love it. Have a look for the gaps in your wardrobe, what you love, what you wear very often, what you are super comfortable in and what you can put in to really add an injection each season. Separates are so important, they add game to your wardrobe as you can incorporate them in very different ways -keeping your wardrobe very fresh all the time.

M.E.L: You are packing for a beach weekend away. What do you pack?

LP: Must-have items:
· Fabulous swimwear – one piece or bikini
· Chic kaftan
· Wide brimmed hat or fedora
· Sunglasses
· Statement jewellery – to take your look from day to night e.g. statement rings, cuffs, necklaces, body jewellery
· A maxi dress or maxi skirt
· A metallic pair of flats and/or statement pair of heels

M.E.L: What are the key 5 go-to rules on how to get the resort / cruise look correct?

LP:

1. Have fun with swimwear – embrace colour and print

2. Invest in an amazing pair of flats – to go from beach to bar opt for an embellished pair, check out Musa for something unique

3. Think of all the elements. Keep makeup natural and use great hair products. I like Original & Mineral Surf Bomb Sea Salt Spray for tousled beach hair and for a slick pony tail I turn to Oribe Crème for Style.

4. Don’t forget about your accessories – they’re the easiest way to update your look and embrace new season trends.

5. Keep it simple through relaxed tailoring, and fluid, floaty fabrics.

M.E.L: What is your ultimate personal advice on what not to wear?

LP: Don’t wear something you don’t feel confident in. Channel your own sense of style – if you prefer pants then opt for a wide leg pair rather than a maxi dress. When clashing prints, pick items that have at least one colour in common – you don’t want your outfit to be too much of a mismatch.

M.E.L: If you were starting your resort wardrobe from scratch, what would you buy?

LP: Buy resort wear staples - a crisp white shirt, denim cut offs, a maxi dress, a chic kaftan, some statement jewellery and don’t forget a great pair of sunglasses.An oversized, lightweight knit for cooler evenings is a must.A one piece or bikini – strapless styles are great for keeping tan lines to a minimum.A sun hat is a must. Love Sensi Studio’s Panama designs and Eugenia Kim for something glam!Invest in a great day bag – an oversized clutch is a great transitional piece that will take you from day to night.Buy a stylish pair of flats. I love Ancient Greek Sandals for their paired-back designs and Manebi espadrilles for fun prints.Heels for evening. Metallic styles from Jimmy Choo are timeless as are Givenchy’s Nadia sandals in neutral.

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