Set in the beautiful The Calyx in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden was a golden hued haven for launch of the Pandora Shine collection. As I had the honour of hosting the event I wanted an outfit that echoed the theme of the day so it was truly special when I was able to wear this gold number by Bec and Bridge before it even hit stores.
I love the look of gold satin as it has such a beautiful drape and finish and has a glam touch that was perfect the occasion. The long sleeves juxtaposed with the thigh high split is in keeping with my longstanding fashion formula of choosing one part of the body to focus on when it comes to outfits. The split was a definite showstopper feature but the sleeves helped temper it and made it work for a day event.
When it came to my accessories I wanted to keep most of the look quite tonal so I stuck to all gold jewellery. I found it added to my outfit without taking away from the beautiful dress being the centrepiece. Simplicity is always key when working with such a statement dress so I thought my black Alaïa heels would be the perfect choice. They added a touch of colour without being too over the top. And I’ve always found that black and gold is a winning colour pairing and dialled up the glamour of my look in a subtle, yet striking way.
Credits: Dress, Bec and Bridge (not in store yet); Heels, Alaïa
Enjoying lunch at 169 Darlinghurst with the creative duo behind Bec & Bridge
Becky Cooper and Bridget Yorston are the duo behind the popular Australian fashion label Bec & Bridge, which is marking its 15th year and has celebrity fans including Kim Kardashian and Miranda Kerr. Cooper and Yorston chatted to me about the secret to their success, juggling motherhood and a fashion label, and what to expect from them during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) in May.
Congratulations on 15 years in the fashion industry. What is the secret to your success?
Bec: Thank you! We’ve learnt so much over the last 15 years … too much to recount. We have also made so many mistakes. Through it all we have remained open-minded and allowed room for things to happen organically and to evolve.
Bridge: Being best friends and business partners, we have always made sure that we keep an open line of communication at all times.
Bec & Bridge is a highlight at MBFWA. Can you reveal any plans?
Bridge: We have a great team on board and will be presenting our Resort 17 collection … The inspiration behind [it] stems from the work of Henri Matisse and his innovative and intensive use of light and colour. The clashing of bright azure blues, fiery reds and a sense of freedom … The collection channels a ’90s minimalist look, with mini hemlines, bias slips and spaghetti straps.
Bec, you gave birth to your second son, Teddy, earlier this year. Have you taken some time off?
Bec: Yes, I took a break from being in the office, naturally, but with MBFWA and the launch of retail coming up, I have started popping in a few days a week. Luckily I have an amazing husband and family who come with me to support and assist with Teddy.
How has it been juggling a newborn with the lead-up to MBFWA?
Bec: It really is a juggle. The key for us has been having a strong partnership – this has allowed us to each take the reins at different times when we have both had our babies. But mostly, it’s about our wonderful team and supportive families. Without them, we couldn’t do what we do. Having children has forced us to be more organised and more decisive. There is no time for dilly-dallying.
How did it all start for Bec and Bridge?
Bridge: We met at uni – we were studying fashion design at UTS. We became best friends and we started just making stuff for friends. And we were always known as Bec and Bridge because we were always together, and actually started with men’s jeans … it was revamping old jeans for them, printing our name all over them and then some stores started calling us and saying, “Can we order these jeans?
Did you ever imagine that it would be as big as it is today?
Bridge: No, not in my wildest dreams.
What are the biggest challenges you face as an Australian fashion label?
Bridge: Over the last 15 years we’ve seen the industry change so much and so many brands come and go … It really is just a reminder that you have to constantly evolve and stay on top.
Bec: It’s definitely important to never get too comfortable. We are both big believers in staying open minded and being flexible to move with our B&B girl as she grows and evolves.
Bridge: We produce 95 per cent of our pieces in Australia. This allows us to keep a really tight rein on our production quality as well as build strong relationships with our manufacturers.
What’s been your biggest pinch-me moment in your career?
Bridge: I think seeing some of the celebrities that have worn Bec and Bridge has been amazing. It’s quite funny because the general public think that if Rihanna is wearing something of ours, that we’ve actually met her and given it to her and that’s why she’s wearing it.
How does that come about when celebrities wear your clothes? Bridge: We work with a great publicist in LA. She’s amazing and she totally gets our girl. She’s got a lot of great relationships, so she gets the clients.
When a celebrity wears your clothes, is there a direct translation to sales?
Bridge: If they wear it well. Like the “Kendall” dress, we call it the Kendall dress now, because when she wore it, we had to re-cut that dress like three times. I think we just had no idea of the effect.
How do you react when other designers copy your designs?
Bec: [It happens] all the time. Sometimes you just have to let it go and take it as a form of flattery … it’s not worth losing sleep over. Bridge: We have got a standard letter that we send, but I don’t know whether that makes much [difference] … Sometimes it’s annoying. Hailey Baldwin wore this little dress [of ours] that hadn’t even delivered into stores yet, and then it was seen in a shopping mall in Queensland and they’d used the photo of Hailey in our dress from Instagram and said, “Available in store”, and it was a quarter of the price or less.
Bec: We get outraged for two minutes then we move on.
WE ATE GRILLED ROMAN BEANS with yellow zucchini, pumpkin, fermented chilli and chicken breast; CHICKEN, BROCCOLI AND BARLEY SALAD with broccoli, Spanish onion, goats feta, barley; KALE SALAD with fresh kale, shiso leaves, pear, celery, avocado, sunflower seeds, pepita, crispy kipflers & tahini dressing add chicken breast / smoked salmon
There are times when I’m in the mood to for a really feminine look and this dusty pinkBec and Bridgedress was the perfect option to satisfy that whim. The colour was just too pretty to pass up. It’s important to have harmony in an outfit so I particularly liked how the midi length hemline helped to balance the deep V-neck of the dress. I’ve loved being able to experiment with different looks throughout this pregnancy and have discovered a lot of great silhouettes. I particularly love the pairing of the loose fit of the dress and matching sash — it’s a great look for keeping up with my growing bump! I wanted to keep my shoes quite simple so opted for these neutral Gianvito Rossiheels to let the dress do the talking and topped it with my favourite TRIWA sunglasses.
I am all about a shift dress. I love the simplicity of the silhouette and when in a fresh colour such as crisp white it’s the ideal year-round dress (it’s also been great as a maternity dress, too). I loved the tie-side detail of this Bec and Bridge dress which gives it a slight edge to the usually more demure look of a regular shift. I’ve teamed it with my Adidas sneakers for a casual day out but it could easily be dressed up with a pair of heels for an evening event. My Christian Paul watch, Preen sunglasses and my personalised clutch from The Daily Edited are the ideal way to add a pop of colour to the neutral canvas of the dress.
This Bec and Bridge is the latest result of my continuing love affair with off the shoulder pieces. It’s a great update on the little black dress and teamed with my favourite Aquazurra fringe heels and cat-eye sunglasses from Preen it gives it a playful touch. I’ve kept the outfit quite simple by sticking to the one hue head-to-toe and pairing it with my black Proenza Schouler clutch. I wore this out to a lunch event but it only needs a blazer to take it from day to night.
As we move into the cooler autumn weather and into winter you’ll soon find that the blazer will be an all important style staple to get you through the next few months. A great black blazer is a constant in my wardrobe and easily pulls together a look. Plus the hue is versatile and timeless so it’s easy to get plenty of wear out of it and also have it for seasons to come.
A great relaxed fit blazer like the one above by Chloe is the ideal cut to take you from work to the weekend. Team it with a structured bag a la the Givenchy Antigona and statement accessories like the above Karen Walker sunglasses and you’ve got yourself an eternally chic look. A single breasted jacket is always a safe bet, however if you’re after something slightly different try a double breasted option or look for interesting finishing touches such as gold buttons or a flared sleeve.
Australian model Elyse Taylor was discovered at 18 and went on to walk for Victoria’s Secret, Dolce & Gabbana and Tommy Hilfiger and has been on the cover of Australian Vogue. The 29-year old, born in Sydney and based in the United States, is now the face of Nude by Nature make-up and involved with Milea swimwear. Taylor chats to me about life, juggling motherhood and modelling, and her quirky cleaning habits.
What’s a day in the life of you when you’re at home in the US?
If I have a day off, I have breakfast with Lila and then I walk her to school, with my neighbour. Our kids are the same age and go to same school. While she is at school, we go to the gym, work out and pick her up and have lunch, and then have enough time with her and just hang out. But then if I’m working, I’m up at five [o’clock] and gone. So it’s constantly changing but it’s good.
How do you juggle it all?
I’ve learnt to be a little bit more aggressive. I’ve had to say no to certain jobs, just because they’ve been back to back. I don’t really want to spend more than four or five days away from my daughter because she is just growing and doing so many things and you don’t want to miss anything. I start getting a little strange after five days. I get really anxious and hostile. So I just try and make sure that I have enough time off and enough time on.
What do you enjoy most about motherhood?
Just the milestones and watching her and seeing her personality come through because she is two now.
Do you have plans to grow your family?
I would definitely love to have more children. It’s just trying to find the right time. If it happens, it happens. It would be wonderful. But we’re just taking it one step at a time.
What’s next for you?
I have this amazing relationship with Nude By Nature, and Milea is about to launch … And then, I think I was planning on coming back for Australian Fashion Week in May.
I think it was just like a natural alignment. Nude By Nature had a worldwide search for a face that was an Australian kind of beauty. When I got the call saying “it’s you”, I was so humbled and honoured.
What’s your top beauty secret you’ve learnt while modelling?
If you’re doing smoky eye, you put your foundation on afterwards … and with highlighting, just highlight the bridge of your nose and cheekbones.
Out of everything in your life, what are you most proud of?
In life, I feel like I’m most proud of Lila, but my career probably has been over 10 years now. As a model, you never think it’s going to last that long.
When you did the Victoria’s Secret show, what was the most surprising part about that?
The grandeur of the show. You don’t realise how big it is, and how big the machine is behind it. I was also surprised at how it is like a little family – doing the catalogue, doing the commercials and then doing the show. I still keep in contact with the girls.
What’s the worst part about your job?
That it’s not forever. That’s always in the back of your mind, especially as I get older!
What’s your plan after modelling?
There is no set plan. I would like to keep building my brands and keep moving forward and seeing where that takes us. There’s definitely a lot of opportunities, especially in the States. So it’s just trying to find the right outlet for that.
If you didn’t become a model, what would you have done?
I like to be creative. So I think I would like to stay within the industry, but maybe in art direction or maybe on the other side of the lens. I would still like to create content for brands and stuff like that, so that’s very natural for me. I enjoy that.
Do you think Lila will follow in your footsteps?
I don’t know. If she wants to, and if she is passionate about it, I’ll support her in her work. I’d love her to have a real job, one that lasts forever. But if she is passionate about this, then, of course I’ll support her and direct her in the right direction.
Who do you look up to and admire?
I look up to other women that have children with really intense careers. Especially how they find the balance to make it all work and have success after having children as well. You don’t realise how intense and what a whirlwind it is having children and then how much you are actually taking on.
Do you have any quirky habits that no one knows about?
I really am OCD about cleanliness … I clean all the time. I can’t stop. With my nanny’s cleaning, I’ll clean over the top of her cleaning and she is like, ‘is something wrong?’ I’m like, ‘Just go find, Lila. I have to finish this’.
Do you have any fears?
I don’t really like heights … I climbed the Harbour Bridge and I was dying inside.
Where is your favourite travel destination?
My favourite personal travel destination is St Barths, especially with my daughter. It’s a quiet place, to just be with the family, be on the beach. We know the island really well so there is no surprises, which is always great, especially when you have a kid.
How do you stay in shape?
I work out and I try a lot of different diets, and a blood-type diet works best for me.
What is a blood-type diet?
Each blood type is different. I’m an O blood type, so I can have lots of meats and certain kinds of fruits. I can eat as much of that as possible and not gain weight, which is great … because before I was juicing and eating all these types of salads but I was holding all this body weight. Then, once I started that, all the weight came off, all the extra baby weight.
If you have this strict diet regime, what is your biggest indulgence?
Pizza. If I’m in Australia, I like seafood pizzas. And then, if I’m in the States, macaroni – because I try and think of like the worst possible thing I could eat after a week’s rigid diet.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I guess I see myself just keep working and keep planning for the future and keep building on what we’ve already been building; constantly working with different brands and just trying to diversify myself as much as possible. There’s definitely things in the States with [talent agencies] WME and IMG combining, so there is a lot more film and television options that weren’t available before, which is exciting.
WE ATE vine ripened tomato salad; salad of beetroot, balsamic glazed heirloom carrot, goats curd and hazelnuts; buffalo mozzarella, figs, witlof, basil and vino cotto; pan fried barramundi fillet with mashed peas, crème fraiche and confit spring onion, sunflower seed and caper beurre noisette.
I’ve been getting so much mileage out of this Bec & Bridge wrap dress. Not only is it the perfect grey marle, it’s lightweight, super comfortable and it’s the kind of dress that travels easily as it’s so compact so it’s been a go-to when I’m travelling interstate. It’s also really easy to transition it from day to night just by switching up a pair of flats for heels so it ticks the versatile box, too. Also now that we’re in that trans-seasonal period between autumn and winter, it’s the ideal dress to take me through to the cooler months. Plus as an added bonus it’s the perfect maternity dress. Wrap dresses are a pregnancy staple as they can easily accomodate a growing belly so I can see myself wearing this non-stop in the coming months.
I am all about a wardrobe that can work virtually all year round so when I saw this dress from Bec & Bridge‘s latest collection (in-store now) I could see myself wearing it now and through to summer. I love the little details on this dress such as the cutout detail and draping and I am always on board with anything in monochrome! While the weather is cooler I’ll be wearing this dress with my leather jacket and come summertime, it will be ideal for long lunches in the sunshine.
So many shows, so many clothes, so many trends! Fashion Week is always a great place for a little fashion inspiration. It’s an even better way to compile a very lengthy shopping list! There were a whole lot of shows during the week, but these were my favourites…
My favourite by far. It was just breathtakingly beautiful and I loved every piece in the collection. The production was incredible, the styling was beautiful and it was just a really gorgeous show.
I loved Ellery. It was a really great show to kick off the week and I love all her designs. Having Gemma Ward open the whole show also really created a lot of buzz. She’s a favourite in fashion circles and to have her open Australian Fashion Week was pretty special.
Bec and Bridge
I’ve known the Bec and Bridge girls for many years and I’ve always loved what they do as they always create really wearable pieces. Even though the show was held at Carriageworks (where MBFWA is based), it was still offsite in this big open space and the whole show just had a bit of wow factor.
I thought this show was great. Loads of 70s inspired pieces to fall in love with and I walked away with a favourite or two (maybe three!).
Bianca Spender just knows how to make clothes that have me falling in love with them immediately. I was mentally marking some pieces as I saw them coming down the runway and was adding them to my shopping list.