Tanja Gacic wearing Michael Lo Sordo and YSL at Palazzo Gritti in Venice

I must say I was so excited to shoot this story on my recent European holiday, as Venice has always been one of my favourite places in the world. Apart from gondolas, bridges and canals, this town is also magic for its culture and architecture, the highlight of which I got to experience while shooting at Palazzo Gritti, a beautiful 14th century palace that has been converted into a hotel brimming with luxury and old-school opulence.

Positioned right on the Grand Canal, the location proved the perfect place to shoot this story on the five trends in footwear you need to familiarise yourself with now. For more, scroll on to browse the season's must-have styles.
Tanja Gacic reclining in Michael lo Sordo and YSL at Palazzo Gritti in Venice

Kitten crazy
No need to tottle around on stilts when kitten heels are having a comeback - choose from a variety of options; mules, slingbacks, pumps or even boots.
Above: Tanja wears YSL sandals, Michael Lo Sordo dress.

Tanja Gacic wearing Art of Day and Alice McCall at Palazzo Gritti in Venice

Slip on
Slippers have become a must-have shoe item in any woman’s wardrobe. Not only are they supremely comfortable, they are also versatile – try rocking yours with anything from jeans and pants to maxi dresses and split skirts.
Above: Tanja wears Art Of Day sustainable slippers, Nique pants, Alice McCall top.

Tanja Gacic observing gondolas from the balcony of Palazzo Gritti in Venice

Thongs are making a comeback
Whether it’s highlighted in a flip flop style sandal or ensconced in 70s leather vibes, this season it’s all about the thong. Mules are also having a moment and strappy styles are a always a hit.
Above: Tanja wears Mara and Mine heels, MLM dress, Tiffany & Co smile necklace, Sarah and Sebastian astrological sign necklace, Jordan Askill diamond heart ring, Ole Lyngaard diamond flower ring, Cartier love bracelet worn throughout.

Tanja Gacic wearing sequin at Palazzo Gritti in Venice

The fancy sandal flat
Celine and Prada have been making incarnations of this style for years but this season, it’s become a go-to for whatever occasion or time of the day it may be. Wear it with anything from jeans to skirts and evening dresses – bonus points for patent, boucle, embroidery or rhinestones.
Above: Tanja wears Christopher Kane sandals, Rebecca Valance dress.

Tanja Gacic wearing Rebecca Valance at Palazzo Gritti in Venice

Disco fever
Gold and silver, platforms and wedges – the fun era of shoes has returned. Whether you want to inject metallics for added wow factor to your outfit or pretend you’re a dancing queen at Studio 54, this season it’s time to go all out.
Above: Tanja wears vintage shoes, Rebecca Valance dress.

This story appears on vogue.com.au here! 

Make up is one of those perks us women get in life to experiment and transform ourselves with – I wear lipstick on days I feel tired and lashings of eyeshadow when I go out. Still, I feel like often times I get stuck in a make up rut, repeating the same old looks again and again, not really having the expertise how to do something different. For this story I enlisted make up artist Claire Thomson to teach us how to do her favourite make up trends of the season, step by step.

Dark Smokey Eyes
Choose a thick pencil ( like Nars) then line the entire eye and filled the inner rims. Draw a dramatic top winged eye then use a synthetic brush to smudge it slightly up and out, softening the drama up close, but still creating impact from afar. Set with a similar shadow to your liner but only use the slightest touch mainly in the socketline to reduce creasing. Curl lashes and apply mascara. Shape eyebrows using Kat Von D brow in graphite. Keep the skin slightly dewy to keep the eye feeling modern,mixing the consistency for a sheer coverage. ( try Kevyn Aucoin Skin enhancer no 15C) Lastly, choose your lip depending on the occassion- I used a pink gloss (Fenty gloss bomb in fuzzy.) but you could add a stronger colour for evening drama. ( The Son jacket, Bec & Bridge turtleneck, Jordan Askill jewellery worn throughout )

Modern Red Lip
A classic red lip adds stunning impact but make sure your lips are hydrated and exfoliated before you begin -try rubbing with a warm, wet face flannel and then smothering in balm. Claire applied Tatcha face canvas primer on the skin to even out its texture and prepare for base and then added Giorgio Armani luminous silk foundation for a perfect medium coverage. Conceal any spots or imperfections with Laura Mercier secret camouflage and set with translucent powder. Next apply a matte nude tone over the entire lid from lash line to browbone (Chanel's beige) Using a dampened pencil brush, dip into the corner of the metallic eyeshadow. Dust off any excess on the back of your hand and then trace around the entire eye, slightly smudging outwards.  Next up, use a lighter metallic shade and apply only on the centre of the lid- this creates depth and opens the eye. Curl lashes and two coats of mascara. There are tricks to a perfect red lip – Claire first blots any excess balm off and then she likes to apply red lip pencil and fill it with lipcolour. For people experimenting with bright colours for the first time, it may be daunting to fill out a naked lip with a red pencil, so try applying the colour in the centre of the mouth and working outwards, then evening out with a pencil. Claire likes to use a a light trace of concealer and powder to clean up around the lip line and add further drama to the lips. When confident try a darker lip pencil and use it to fill in slightly at outer corners lightening as you get in creating more dimension.Claire used Mac Powderkiss lipstick in Devotes to Chilli and Pro wear lip pencil in Kiss me quick and bespoken for the countoured lip . The cheek is highlighted with a soft baby pink Nars blush in Impassioned, to create a pretty contrast with the red. ( Camilla and Marc top, H Brand coat )

Monochrome cheeks and eyes.
For this look , Claire used Nars' Multiple for a nod to 70’s glamour that’s really quick to achieve  First,  prime the skin with Laura Mercier Primer, then use Nars tinted moisturiser sparingly to even out the skin and add a glow. Follow uo with Nars matte soft touch concealer and set the T zone only with a light dusting of Laura mercier translucent powder. Slightly fill eyebrows with Mac Brow sculpt in Spiked, then use Mac clear brow gel to brush the brows upward and outward to open the eyes and frame the face. Using Nars's South Beach, apply straight to cheeks with fingertips or a brush to countour the cheeks. Blot out any oil from the eyelids, then use the cream on eyelids by concentrating the colour at the lash line and blending it over the entire socket with upward movement so it is visible when the eye is open. Claire used a slightly winged shape on our model, play with the possibilities. Curl lashes and apply 3 coats of Maybelline Volume Express waterproof mascara in brown black. Claire clumped the mascara on the bottom lower lashes on the outer third to define the eyes, then added a bit of gold highlighter on the inner corners of the eyes and a light sprinkle over the top of the cheeks. Select a glossy lip that packs juicy colour to set off your matching eyes and cheeks, this one is Marc Jacobs beauty lipstick in Infamous with February gloss bomb in Fenty Glow. ( top from Outnet )

Intense supermodel vibes with every feature slightly amped yet still appearing naturally flawless.
Prime the skin with Ayu rose face mist than add Laura Mercier primer and apply Mac face and body really worked into the skin. Conceal any blemishes or discolouration with Mac concealer pallette in Light. Set with translucent powder. Use a bone colour shadow over the entire eye lid - lashline to browbone.  Then select a matte brown shadow (Mac Symmetry) to trace lashline slightly out and beyond lashes ,arching up,  back into the socketline, and blending slightly above so visible when the eye is open. Continue lining the lower lashes, thickest at the outer lashes , then tapering in. Play with intensity but make sure there are no obvious marks – blending is a must.
Use a black cakeliner such as Becca or Chanel and paint a fine line on top and slightly sitting between the lashes. Claire recommends this great eyeliner trick : sit and lean both elbows on the table then hold a compact underneath your chin and look down into the mirror- this makes it so much easier to apply a liner.
Curl lashes and add as many coats of mascara as the occassion necessitates - each coat adds another layer of drama (Ysl Vinyl Mascara). Using the Kat von D brow pomade in taupe really brush the brows and let them be slightly messy, then set them  with benefit brow gel. Benefits benetint liquid blush gives a healthy cheek glow, just beware of the stained fingers – start in the centre of the cheek, blending upward and outward. Use it to also create a bitten lip stain and then use clear gloss for a juicier mouth. Final touch is a highlighter on the browbones, cheekbones, inner corners of eyes, cupid’s bow and centre of bottom lip. Claire loves Lit by Westmin Atilier or Nars Copacabana ( Camilla and Marc top )

Photographed by Tanja Gacic
Make up by Claire Thompson

this post originally appeared on vogue.com.au

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!

Fashion has been morphing so much the last few years that no one decade has precedent anymore. This season, the 80s are entering centre stage, early 90s are all the rage, the 70s is still going strong, sports luxe has stretched its tendrils into evening wear, the rock and roll chick has gone into Samantha Fox territory and all things lurex have taken charge.

As Vetements predicted fashion is now all about diversity in taste, age, gender and style. It is no longer taboo to mix up pieces that don’t belong together — we just witnessed the trend of mixing puffer jackets with cocktail dresses, remember? Here, we investigate the highlights and must-have trends of the season and how to wear them now.

Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses from Sunglass Hut, Max Mara crop top, Gucci belt, Rolla’s jeans, Isabel Marant boots, Ellery jacket, stylist own vintage earrings

Choose high waisted, slightly cropped, carrot shaped jeans in stiff denim this season - this shape is surprisingly flattering across all body sizes. Boots are either cone shaped in the heel department and wide in the ankle or socked and pointy with a stiletto heel– choose your poison. An updated motorcycle jacket will get you through everything – oversize,studded, embroidered; fancy is the new norm.

Hermés pants and jacket, Calvin Klein swimsuit, Givenchy slides, stylist’s own vintage earrings

Embrace your new comfort zone in wide legged pants that can be worn for any occasion and are sure to become the antithesis to the legging. Slides continue their reign as the ultimate chilled shoe.

Sportsmax jumpsuit, Balmain slides from Farfetch, Dior bag, Max Mara jacket, Bvlgari Serpenti necklace

Sports luxe has grown up, so choose across a wide array of applicable items including stirruped 80s exercise pants worn with heels, puffer jackets worn with everything, tricked up slides and jumpsuits that belong in the disco.

Don’t be aftraid of OTT jewellery this season, it can go with everything any time. The bigger and flashier the better, whether it is across ear cuffs or drop earrings.

Rue Stiic jacket, Interval top, Prada skirt, Gianvitto Rossi booties, Ray Ban sunglasses, stylist’s own earrings

Don’t give up on your army greens – khaki is set to stick around for a while. Pick out an oversized jacket, then drape it over your nighttime or daytime look.

Styled by Tanja Gacic of My Empirical Life
Photographed by Alice Wesley-Smith
Hair and Make up by Claire Thomson
Model: Stephanie Joy Field from Chic
This post originally appeared on vogue.com.au!


Whether it's the smell of opening jasmine, warm northerly breezes or the still shy crickets' song ; summer is on it's way and let's face it- boy does it feel good. I travelled to Paris recently to shoot some fun stories (that I cannot wait to share with you) but before I left Sydney I had to move house and nearly froze in the weird coldsnap storm that gripped the city in it's frosty clutches. Coming back home was a delightful and decidedly beachy welcome and my only plans for this weekend include assuming the lazy lizard pose on the Bondi Beach sands ( oh please stay sunny! )

This summer's edit for Shona Joy was such a hoot to make. Shot  at the hip Beach Club resort on Hamilton Island, my photographer and I ran around the beach and grounds of the hotel while I pretended I was a spoilt heiress with all the funds and time in the world to enjoy being absolutely languidly fabulous. I feel Shona's clothes have been going from strength to strength with amazing new silhouettes and I have had so much fun shooting the edit this year in fabulous locations around Australia. This season, revel in flippy hems, high thigh splits and exuberant print - a summerliscious SJ affair indeed

above: pop white with red for a Billy Idol kind of white wedding ( Shona joy dress, Christian Louboutin heels)

Wide legged pants and tunic tops are what leisurely summer days are made of ( Shona Joy top and pants, Chloe wedges, vintage hat, Sarah and Sebastian jewellery )

Hello sailor! Don't be afraid to play it sexy this summer ( Shona Joy dress, Sarah and Sebastian necklace )

A simple dress gets tricky with side detailing and mixed print while staying firmly boy friendly with a deep neckline ( Shona Joy dress, Amber Sceats necklace, Pushmataaha bracelet and ring )

Whether it's lazing on a yacht or surveying the beach, this dress is on the prowl ( Shona Joy dress, Dita eyewear sunglasses, vintage Prada sandals )

Waiting for your heart on the dance floor is this little number- just wait 'till you see it twirl! ( Shona Joy dress, Chloe sandals, Pushmataaha bracelets )


Shot by Alice Wesley - Smith

With thanks to Hamilton Island and Beach Club Resort
beauty note : Charlotte Tilbury's lipstick in Lost Cherry and Beach Stick in Formentera will brighten up day or night


This season take on the subversive allure of silky lace and sharp tailoring for a femme fatale Parisian charm that is always en vogue.

1. L’oreal Paris Preference Glam Lights comes in a variety of shades because the look of bronde is je ne sais pas nonchalance. Bronde means easy sun kissed lightening and unintentionally perfect highlights across brunette, blonde and caramel base tones. Beautifully multidimensional customisable colour at your fingertips is the new trend du jour. (selection of shades now available from the L’oreal Preference Glam Lights range)

2. Evoking floral undertones with heady spices is the easy way to an alluring Spring ( Tom Ford’s Santal Blush)

3. Match your mannish, tailored suit with delicate silk underwear for the perfect mix of business woman and seductress ( Agent Provocateur lingerie)

4. Sharp tailoring requires timeless accessories ( Hermes Collier de Chiens cuff )

5. Shoes can speak volumes about an outfit. Spike your suit with pointy heels and red python ( mules from Christian Louboutin)
6. A camel coat is forever. This season play on texture as a focal point but stay mindful of forever piece potential of perfect tailoring ( Max Mara alpaca coat )

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


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?


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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