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Date with Kate

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Miranda Kerr

28th October, 2018

From killing it as a supermodel to founding the hugely successful skincare company KORA Organics, Miranda Kerr certainly knows how to succeed at whatever she puts her mind to. During a recent trip to Sydney, I caught up with the mother of two to chat about how she built KORA from the ground up, what she wishes everyone knew about organic products and her number one beauty tip.

What’s a day in the life of you?

It’s a juggle… being a mum and running a business, no two days are ever really the same, but I do my best to try and keep to a schedule and navigate through the day as calmly as possible.

I usually wake up around 5:30am when Evan gets up. This gives me a chance to do my meditation while he is in the shower and the kids are still asleep. Hart generally wakes up around 6am and Flynn at 6:30am.

We then have breakfast together and get Flynn’s bag and lunch packed for school. I try as best I can to schedule in work and meetings during the day while Flynn is in school so that I can I drop him off and pick him up in the afternoons.

At the moment I’m working mostly from home because Hart is only five months old and I’m still breastfeeding. I feel it’s so important to be present with him when he’s awake, and try to get work calls done while he’s napping.

Welcome home. What is the first thing you do when you arrive home in Australia?

Thank you! It’s so lovely to be back. The first thing I do when I come home is see my family. This recent trip was to bring Hart over to meet my grandparents, it was really special.

Your organic skincare line, KORA organics, has had amazing success. Did you ever imagine your brand would become so popular and successful?

Well, I initially got into the organic skincare space because I was looking for products that were certified organic and natural, but I couldn’t find anything on the market that delivered results, so I decided to create my own range as a passion project. KORA was my first baby!

I don’t think I could have ever imagined how much we were going to grow back then, because I was just focused on creating products that were safe, non-toxic and that delivered results rather than the bigger picture of expanding the business globally.

Since we launched in Australia in 2009 with David Jones, our customer base has grown rapidly year-on-year as people are starting to be much more informed and educated about organic and cruelty free products, and generally adopting a more sustainable and natural way of life. In the last financial year our online sales alone grew 900%. We don’t advertise, so it’s all word of mouth and recommendations. That’s the greatest compliment to know it’s all about the integrity and efficacy of the products.

What has been your biggest pinch me moment with your KORA business?

One of my biggest ‘pinch me’ moments would be launching into the US market last May in over 360 Sephora stores, and the incredible growth we’ve had in the past 18 months. KORA Organics has expanded from being in 300 retailers across Australia just 18 months ago, and by the end of 2018 we’ll be stocked and in more than 2,500 stores, across 25 countries. It’s a WOW moment for sure!

Tell me a bit about the new products launched in 2018? 

In 2018 we launched the Noni Radiant Eye Oil. I love this product! It contains kahai oil, which is a natural retinol that helps improve elasticity and smooth fine lines. Coffee seed oil to revitalise and reduce puffiness, tomato fruit extract to brighten the eye area and of course my hero ingredient of noni fruit extract which contains over 100 vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. My favourite part of the eye oil is the special rose quartz ball applicator, it’s super soothing and uplifting.

I’m really proud of the results… when we did consumer testing over a 4-week period, 90% noticed fine lines around the eye area appeared visibly softened and 93% noticed visible improvement in the eye area looking healthier and smoother.

We also recently launched a 2 in 1 Turmeric Mask. I’m obsessed with exfoliating and also face masks, so I wanted to create a product that could be used as both a physical exfoliator and a revitalising mask. I essentially wanted a product that delivered a post-spa facial glow, that can be done at home or when traveling, in one simple step and in under 10 minutes. It contains natural AHA’s from papaya enzymes and aspen bark to stimulate cell renewal, as well as rosehip seeds and quartz to polish and peppermint to control sebum production and for an invigorating tingle. You can really feel it working while it’s on! It’s honestly the best exfoliating experience I’ve ever had; I am so proud of this product!

Selfies with a supermodel

What product could you not live without?

Agh, all of them! But the Noni Glow Face Oil is one of my must have products, I use it religiously every morning and night… so does my husband! He loves it too! I also love the balms, both the Noni Glow Face Oil and Body Balm have won beauty awards recently in the US (Allure Best of Beauty), and here in Australia (David Jones Best of Beauty), which I’m really proud of.

KORA organics only utilises certified organic and natural ingredients. Can you explain why this is so important? 

It’s something I feel very passionate about because what you put on your skin soaks directly into your bloodstream.  People are now so aware of eating organic and non-processed / non-GMO foods for example, but they don’t think about all the chemicals in the everyday products they are using and putting on their skin. The thought of unnecessary chemicals in my bloodstream is one of the driving factors of why I created KORA in the first place.

But it’s important for consumers to know that there is a BIG difference between products that are Certified Organic, like we are through COSMOS-Ecocert, and products that claim to be Natural or Organic or have those words on their packaging… many products claim to be organic, but actually only use one or two organic ingredients.  Unless products are certified by an independent body they come with no guarantees, because using the terms Natural and  or Organic on packaging or in marketing is currently unregulated.

Due to the lack of regulation within the beauty industry, manufacturers can misleadingly label their products as ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ even though they contain processed, toxic and chemically enhanced ingredients – it’s just false marketing!

Certified Organic is the most heavily regulated ingredient system and only Certified Organic guarantees no toxic synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals are used in production of ingredients. Organic producers and manufacturers also are subject to rigorous certification inspections by third-party inspectors such to ensure that they are producing and processing organic products in a manner you and your family can trust.

Our products are officially certified by the world’s leading international certification body COSMOS-standard AISBL/Ecocert.

Where do you foresee KORA organics to be in five years time? 

My dream is for KORA Organics to become a household name that provides, safe, clean, Certified Organic products that deliver effective results and uplift our customers. My focus will also be on continuing to cement our position as the leader in the clean beauty industry. I also want to continue to focus on growing our range.

What is your number one beauty and skincare tip? 

Less is best! Don’t camouflage your natural beauty with layers of make up, instead focus on achieving healthy, radiant skin. Healthy skin is the most beautiful skin! Our skin is our largest organ and it supports the life of all our other body parts. It plays a vital role in maintaining our immune system and works 24/7 to take care of us, protect us and keep us healthy. It makes sense to look after our skin with products that replenish it and fill it with the nutrients it needs to function at its best.

I believe that the health of our skin is also connected to our mind and body – for example when we are stressed or tired, or eating unhealthily it shows on our skin. We try to encourage our customers to look after and nurture their mind and body, as well as their skin for best results. Our brand philosophy is to “feed your mind, with positive affirmations and self-love”; “feed your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best”; and “feed your skin with products to help detoxify, nourish and revitalise”.

With Miranda during her recent trip Sydney

Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy, Hart. How have you been juggling your career with a newborn baby? 

Thank you! He’s gorgeous and we’re all in love and doing really well. I find it really important to prioritise and organise my schedule around both Hart and Flynn so things run as smoothly as possible and thankfully I have a wonderful support team around me.

What is it like to be a mum a second time around?

I absolutely love being a mum and having a newborn, although it is very different this time around as I have to balance my time with both of my children. It’s really important to me to be able to make sure I am spending enough quality time with both of them, as a newborn is so dependent on you I am so conscious of meeting Flynn’s needs too.

Have you taken time out from work since having Hart?

Although I have remained actively involved in my business, KORA Organics, I did take some time off right after Hart was born to really enjoy this special time and bond as a family as I believe it is so important.

Good vibes with crystals and healthy snacks

You keep your personal life pretty private, why is this important to you?

I have chosen a career in the public eye, but I believe my children deserve the right to choose whether they would like that or not. It is important to me to respect their privacy and freedom of choice until they are old enough to make these decisions themselves.

What’s something that people don’t know about you and would be surprised to find out?

I’m obsessed with cleaning and organising!

What is the biggest misconception people have about you?

People often think that I am just the face of KORA Organics, they don’t realise that it’s my own company that I built from the ground up.

There are so many brands out there these days that are fronted and promoted by celebrities.  It’s important to know that KORA Organics isn’t fronted by me, it’s owned by me.  I self-fund it, invested all my savings into it and I’m across the day-to-day operations from product development, marketing, packaging and customer service. Actually, I even see every online sale because I get an alert on my phone, I see the full transaction – what they’re buying, if they’re return customers and where they’re shipping to!

What has been the best advice that you’ve ever been given?

It came from my husband! When I was first approached by Sephora in the US for them to stock KORA Organics, I sat with my team and did the numbers…. and it was going to be a substantial upfront investment for the raw ingredients, packaging and additional staff. I had already invested a considerable amount of money and my savings into the business (still to this day haven’t taken a cent out – I just keep reinvesting), and I was worried if I should self-fund the expansion or look for an investor, but he gave me the confidence to take the risk. It’s the best decision in business I have made as it’s also provided a platform for me to expand globally into stores and my vision isn’t diluted by having outside investors.

Bite-sized morsels of goodness

 What are your go-tos for being a stylish mum?

I like to keep it simple; a great pair of jeans that flatter the figure (I prefer a high waist and slim leg), white t-shirt, tailored blazer and white sneakers… but to update this look from school drop off to a lunch I’d swap out the sneakers for a great embellished pump to dress it up. I like to be classic and comfortable.

For a busy, tired mum what is your go-to pick-me-up?

I add my KORA Organics Noni Glow Skinfood Supplement to water and shake for a delicious and nutritious drink. It contains noni extract and also many of my other favourite plant foods for healthy skin and general wellbeing such as: acai, blueberry, mangosteen, pomegranate, matcha green tea, rosehip, chlorella and elderberry flower.  It comes in convenient single serve sachets that are easy to use on the go, providing me with beauty and wellness benefits from the inside out!

Do you have a personal trainer?

I like to mix up my exercise routine so I do have a few different trainers that I do yoga, reformer pilates and ballet workouts with. But to be honest, I’ve been taking it easy after having Hart so that my body can heal which means and just doing light workouts and a lot of walking these past few months. It’s important to be kind to yourself and your body and give it the time to it needs to rest and recover after birth. I’m ready to get back to the grind though so I’ve just started scheduling some more intense exercise regimes for the coming weeks! Cardio on the bike, swimming and reformer pilates will be my go-to.

What’s the number one thing you wish someone had told you about parenthood?

Be kind to yourself and try not to put any pressure or expectations on yourself. Each pregnancy, birth and baby is different. It’s exhausting, but the most rewarding experience of your life.

Photography: Blask Design

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Sabrina Carpenter

9th September, 2018

She’s a modern day slashie— singer, songwriter and actress Sabrina Carpenter already has three albums to her name and has opened for singer Ariana Grande. She has appeared in shows like Orange is the New Black, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and was the lead in Disney show Girl Meets World. Here I sit down with Sabrina to chat about her new single, having Beyonce as a fan and how she gets through a crazy touring schedule.

What are you doing in Australia?

I’m here promoting my new single, “Almost Love,” but honestly, just being able to come and do some things before I hopefully get to tour here next year. I’m just such a fan of Australia. Whenever they ask me to come, I’m like, “Sure!”

You’ve been to Australia before. What are some of your favourite things to do while you’re here?

Eat Tim Tams. Eat more kinds of Tim Tams…No honestly, I’ve been able to do a lot of the things that I wanted to do over time of coming here, like going to the zoo and going to the beaches. We went to Bondi Beach. It’s just beautiful. The people are my favourite part. Everyone’s got such a nice energy.

Tell me about your single, “Almost Love.”

I wrote the song with Stargate, and, honestly, it was kind of inspired by these events where you feel like you’re on the cusp of something really great, a new possible, whether it’s a relationship or not, it’s that really exciting feeling, where you just want it to speed up and happen quicker. I actually had the words to the song in my phone for a couple of years. And it was one of those things that when I got into the studio, it was the right day to write the song, and now it’s the first single off the album.

What is the writing process for you?

It depends, it’s different every time. Sometimes it’s very quick and very easy, and other times, I will break down the song and write it over the course of three months. So, it’s never quite the same. I’d like to believe that every song that I write ties into my life somehow, because that’s the best way that I can write, where I feel like I’m getting something out of it, you know? I don’t think I ever to write to just write.

Tell me a little bit about the album.

It’s called “Singular,” and I really just wanted to embody the feeling and sound of this confident, empowered version of myself, that I feel like I’ve always sort of been since I was little, but I think that I had to learn to really be that way as a young woman in this industry. There’s so many doors slammed in your face, and there’s also so many fears that you have to overcome in order to have people listen to you, and understand what you’re saying and where you’re coming from. So, it’s been such a journey, and I think that was one of the reasons why I called it “Singular,” but now, at this point, sonically, it’s such a departure from everything I’ve done before. So, I’m really excited for my fans to hear it.

What would you tell your younger self, considering you would have learned so much over the years?

I would tell my younger self, like, stop with the pink and sparkles! Like, I wore way too much pink, it was a problem, when I was like, 10. But, I would say trust your instincts, because I think that that’s a huge thing that I’m still learning. I’m still learning how to put my own opinions before other people’s, because it’s so easy to be, “Oh, well, maybe they know what’s best.” But then, at the end of the day, it wouldn’t be your choice.

You’re immersed in singing and film. Out of the two genres, what do you gravitate more to?

I put it this way, music is my own voice, music is my stories and I have complete control. And with acting, I get to tell other people’s stories, and I get to put myself in someone else’s shoes, and I really, really get to feel what they’re feeling, and hopefully contribute something else to this world in a way that I can’t do with my music. So I love both.

What were you like as a child? 

Always singing. Like, literally never shut up. Acting, I didn’t really know what it was, but I loved to play with Barbies and give them their own lives, and I loved to do different plays with my friends, and just pretend. I lived in an area where there wasn’t a whole lot around. It was like in the middle of the woods, so I had to build a world around me in my imagination, and I think that that really, really helped me now.

What was your first big break?

I think in acting it was obviously a television show that I did when I was 13 years old called “Girl Meets World.” I think that was a big moment, just because that show reached a lot of people. And I think in my music, I’d like to believe I haven’t had it yet. Because I think that I’m still at the beginning of everything, I’ve accomplished so many insane things so far in such a short period of time with music, that I didn’t think I would get to such as being able to travel to places all over the world and write three albums by the time I was 19. And that in itself, I think, is a big thing. But, I don’t think there’s one specific thing.

What about your biggest pinch-me moment?

Biggest pinch me moment? Mm, when Beyonce knew who I was!

No! What happened?

She stopped me, we happened to be at the same place at the same time, which I like to believe is just the good Lord looking out for me. She stopped me, and she was like, “I think you’re so incredible, and so talented, and me and my daughter love watching you.” And I was like, what? I knew who she was, obviously, as I passed her, but she stopped my friend, and she was like, “Is that who I think it is?” And I was like, “Come again? Is there someone else in this hallway?”

Who do you look up to in the industry?

I look up, obviously, to Beyonce. I love Rihanna. I love her sense of ‘I don’t care’ attitude, but in a great way. You know I think we need more of that. I think those are two really, really strong female musicians that have always made me feel like I can do anything on a stage, and I think that that’s a great inspiration to have in this industry. It can be scary. But I have so many. I grew up loving Christina Aguilera. She was one of my first.

What’s the best thing and the worst thing about being in the spotlight?

I think the best thing is that you have an opportunity to speak to a really large audience and hopefully contribute to some of the growth in the world in a positive way, however you choose to.

The worst thing is probably that your little mistakes are magnified so much, and especially as a teenager, I mess up every five minutes, and you know, back in the day without social media or anything like that, you didn’t know. So you just have to handle it different, and you also have to, I guess, learn how to not care, but just not take it to heart so much.

What’s your number one beauty tip?

Wash your face. It’s very simple, but it works every time. No, I constantly have to work with my skin, because I’m always on the road. I mean, it’s easy to say drink water, but at the same time, I think it really is just listening to your skin, because your skin is different from everybody else’s, so it’s just doing what works best for you.

Favourite travel destination?

Sydney, Australia. Duh.

What’s next for you?

I’m releasing the album later this year, and I’m a part of a movie coming out, I think for you guys on New Year’s Day, but it’s called “The Hate You Give.” Then I filmed another movie that will be coming out next year, and touring.

Do you like touring?

I do. I think you have to be twisted to like touring, so I think I’m really weird. It’s very challenging, and I think that I’ve probably developed most of my anxiety from being on the road, but I think that when you come out of it, you’re just a lot stronger. And it sounds like it’s not that big of a deal, but when you’re constantly waking up in a new city every day you’re not really like stationary for too long at all.

How do you get through it?

You need to sleep whenever you can. I’m always taking juice shots on the road, like, lemon and ginger and cayenne, because it’ll keep me healthy as long as I possibly can be. And then I like to explore if I have time. I like to see the cities that I’m in because I’m there, you know?

If you could collaborate with someone, who would it be?

Wow. I would love to either write a song or do a song with Paul McCartney, because he’s amazing. And I’ve also always wanted to do a musical.

Have you? That’d be great.

Yeah, because I’ve never really gotten to blend the worlds together, and I think that that would be really hard, and I want to do it.

Any particular one?

No. Actually, I’d love to do an original. I love so many different musicals. So I would, I’m sure, if one came along that had a role for me. There’s not a lot for girls my age. But, if there was like an original one, I think that would be really cool.

BITESIZE

WE WENT TO: Hacienda Bar Sydney at the Pullman Quay

WE DRANK: Champagne!

WE ATE: Fruit plate & Pastries with confiture

Kate is wearing a Camilla & Marc dress

Photography and videography: Ash Larden

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate: Jessica Sepel

1st September, 2018

We’re all so health conscious these days that it’s often hard to differentiate what’s fact and what’s fad. Nutritionist Jessica Sepel is one person who is aiming to make being healthy easier, more sustainable and most of all, enjoyable. Jessica, through her popular blog, books and new app is trying to ensure that looking after our health becomes a lifestyle rather than a chore. We caught up recently to chat about the one question she gets asked the most, why she’s packing up and moving to LA and why she wants me to cook kalettes for dinner…

Hi lovely. Good to see you. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Thank you for having me what a gorgeous morning.

What have you been up to lately?

So I have just launched my app and vitamins so it’s been a really busy 2018 for me. A lot going on but also moving to LA next week. Very exciting.

What’s a day in the life of you?

Day in the life of me is wake up probably seven, 7.30 and I practice yoga normally, either yoga or a walk in nature and I have a JS Health [Jessica’s health program] breakfast. I actually don’t check social media or my emails or any of that until after a really beautiful morning routine, then I hit the office just like everyone else about 9 o’clock and full of meetings, recipe creation, technical meetings now because of the app and then finish work six, seven o’clock, make dinner for my husband and I, and I go into bed early.

You’ve had such an incredible journey did you always want to be a nutritionist?

I always wanted to be a nutritionist, but I absolutely didn’t have a dream bigger than that. I’ve studied health and nutrition for five years. After school, I went up to study nutrition, and then in my fourth year of study I started a blog just very casually, but I’ve always just wanted to be in private practice, that was my end goal. But then the blog took off and that’s how it kind of turn into a brand which is JS Health and JS Health turned into the books. And the books turned into a program and the program turned into an app and vitamins.

Did you have any idea that you’d be doing books, vitamins… apps?

No, no way. I always say if I can do it anyone can because I have zero business skills, zero business training…but I guess I’m really passionate about the healthy life and that as you know, when you’re passionate about something you can make it work. The best part of JS Health is that it’s this community, this really strong loyal community who have supported me and I’m supporting them on this journey to live a healthier life.

What would be some of your top tips for living a healthy lifestyle?

I actually think removing the pressure to do it all right. JS Health really is all about balance, of course making the best choices that you can most of the time, but then also allowing for flexibility, balance, moderation.

My tip is making one to two small changes a week that creates profound physical change in the body. Also, developing or fostering a wholesome relationship with your body is probably the first step when it comes to living a healthy life. Because when you love yourself and you want to take care of yourself, you automatically make healthy choices. We have to start to change our mentality around a healthy life and see it as this long term journey and make small changes week by week.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people make?

Definitely the attachment to extreme and fat diets that is the biggest mistake, because unfortunately the minute we restrict and deprive our foods it always leads to overeating, binging, emotional eating and having this really complicated relationship with food. We’re not meant to be so complicated with food. Food is here to nourish us, to energise us.

Social media, especially in your world, must have such great benefits but also such negatives as well.

Yeah, definitely and I feel like I’m in the middle of both of those worlds because I’m trying to encourage people to live a healthier life, but I don’t want them to feel like that is the perfect life. I always say the healthy life does not mean the perfect life, but obviously it’s my role to inspire my community with healthy food all the time. I also always encourage people to only follow people who inspire you and unfollow the people that you are comparing yourself to. You know when you’re following an account do you feel good when you look at it? Does is it inspire you, does it excite you, does it motivate you or you’re like, “oh gosh, I wish I had that, I should be looking like that.” If you’re feeling pressure and anxiety in any small way, it’s a good idea to unfollow.

Tell me about your app. Congratulations, it’s very exciting.

Thank you, so with the app I feel like it’s been like 10 years in the making to get to this point because I had a very complicated relationship with food as a young teenage girl as a  chronic fad dieter. I was like 13 when I just got into dieting, which is very weird at that time because there was no social media. So I think I was actually reading those trashy celebrity magazines and following what they were doing.

It’s amazing how young that all starts.

Really young. And then I have had this complicated relationship with food until after school and then that’s when I went to study health and nutrition and then that’s when I started documenting my transition from being this fad dieter to becoming more of a balanced eater. And then I started documenting it into a blog and then I start writing about the recipes that I was creating and developing into the blog and so the app is really just a manifestation of my philosophy, of my principles, the recipes that people have loved all these years, and really it teaches you how to give up dieting for life. It is giving you access to a nutritionist 24/7. I have a whole team someone can just ask at any time.

That’s amazing!

It’s kind of a game changer, there’re 53 health guides, so kind of a virtual online nutrition clinic. So if you suffer with your sleep you’ll go into the sleep room and you’ll capture the JS Health sleep guide, nutrition guide, lifestyle guide for sleep, and then if you need further support there’s a nutritionist there guiding you through that whole journey or whatever you might be struggling with. I guess everyone wants a nutritionist in their pocket. We’re all on our phones all the time, so the app is really just this way for people to have access to my philosophy and my recipe with absolute ease.

You gave me these amazing kalettes for my dinner tonight, what am I cooking tonight with these?

I’m inspiring you to cook tonight, well firstly because you have kids and kids love chips, and kalettes are basically a very nutritious chip. You can bake them in the oven with some olive oil and sea salt, pop them into the oven for like 20 to 30 minutes and they turn into crispy chips and then you can use Hummus or Tahini to dip them or I chop them up and I sauté them with leeks and mushrooms and then I add goat’s cheese. So it’s like a kale stir fry topped with goat’s cheese and leeks and it’s just so delicious. I bought you some mushrooms and leeks to go with the kalettes, which you can get from Coles!

So you must be a good cook?

I wouldn’t say like I’m an amazing cook, but I’m really good at discovering healthy alternatives to our favourite foods and cooking simply but tasty, like I think you can still be a foodie even if you’re health conscious. We have this perception that healthy food is bland and boring and tasteless, I’m really trying to break that conception and show people that healthy food can be really delicious and satisfying and rich and decadent.

What’s your go-to recipe?

Probably the JS Health Japanese salmon, which is basically like a healthy teriyaki sauce over salmon with probably cauliflower mash.

What’s the number one question that people ask you?

Definitely energy, how do I get more energy? I think energy is such a big issue, right now for women especially so that’s one of them. Sugar cravings, how do I combat sugar cravings and gut health? I think those three are the most commonly asked questions in the JS Health community.

What do you say when it comes to energy?

So when it comes to energy, you really want to make sure that your gut is in good shape. So with gut health I will really give them a gut treatment protocol to get their gut back in shape. Really starting with food and not being too worried about it but cutting out those foods that will probably make you feel tired, and the two most common triggers are gluten and wheat and refined sugar. So if you just take a four week break from those two and see if your energy improves, which 90 percent of the time it does, then those are the two culprits to kind of reduce. When I say give up gluten, I mean you can still go out on the weekends and have your piece of salad and have your toast it’s just I have found from clinical experience, gluten does make people feel tired. A lot more sleep and also going to bed by 10.30, 11 anything after that can, people wake up feeling really tired.

Australians drink a lot of coffee. I love coffee I’m never giving up my one a day, but I normally say one a day before 10:00 AM because having caffeine from midday onwards can really interfere with your cortisol and adrenal glands, which can really affect your sleep and can make you feel really tired the next day. So I say try and stop at 10 or maybe the latest midday and you should notice the energy started to pick up.

Is going out to restaurants ever tricky?

I mean restaurants are also catering to the health conscious so you can always find a healthy option wherever you are. I think it really is just about making sure you have the macro nutrients to keep you full and satisfied at meals. So making sure you have your protein, your veggies and making sure you have your fibre from your veggies, making sure you have a bit of a complex or releasing carb, lots of good fats.

Do you ever indulge?

Yes, definitely.

What is your biggest indulgence?

I love gelato. I love going out on a Saturday night and having wine and definitely trying the dessert. I’m a foodie so I want to go to these beautiful restaurants and experience the food. So actually because my life is so healthy and every day is based around the healthy life, I actually got out of my way to break that and be flexible with food and travel and go to new restaurants and try the food because I think that is the healthy life.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working, what do you do with your husband?

That’s a good question. I definitely need to improve on getting the fun back into my life because my husband is the CEO of JS Health so we work together, it’s really challenging. For me, honestly like fun is taking Saturday off going for a massage, practicing yoga, really not checking my emails and my phone and having a really beautiful dinner somewhere. And travel is what brings me so much joy and fun. Seeing the world, seeing different cultures, seeing more different food, experiencing different food I guess that to me is what I really look forward to in life.

What is it like working with your husband?

Interesting. We work really well together because we have so much respect for each other. And when you respect someone, it’s very rare that we break each other’s boundaries or speak to each other in a negative way. But it’s challenging in the fact that our life is work now, but there’s this amazing holly bow underneath, this is like my dream. We work together, we spend every waking moment together.

Tell me about moving to LA are you excited/ nervous?

Yeah, there’s a lot of fear. It’s a big move. I guess I have such a beautiful loyal community here and I will never leave that and I’ll always continue to nourish an Australian community, but this app, the app and the vitamins really does need to be in the American market and I think, I hope to build a JS Health community over there. The JS Health message is really unique because it’s really helping women around the world give up the diets, give up the fads, give up on the extremes around food and finally find balance and peace with food and their bodies, and so I really think America needs that. Hollywood needs that.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Well, my mum always has said hard work never goes unnoticed, and so every time you know, we all have those days and those moments where you’re like, is all of this work actually worth it? But then I remember she says, you’ll see, you’ll see the hard work will get acknowledged and noticed. I think people don’t have a really true perception of what it takes to build something. It’s really not easy, it’s really not glamorous, it’s gruelling and you actually have to be relentless. My dad has always said, keep going, keep going, keep pushing it’s the only way I guess to do what you want to do and create what you want to create.

Amazing. I wish you the best of luck over in LA!

Thanks Kate, thank you so much.

Try Jessica’s recipe for this one pan dukkah crusted salmon dish below.

Serves: 2

This easy one-pan dinner shows how to make a meal that’s nutritious, quick and easy.

Ingredients

  • 2 x salmon fillets
  • 1 x packet kalettes, stem removed
  • ½ cauliflower head, cut into florets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray
  • Himalayan salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp dukkah spice

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C if fan-forced). Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place two salmon fillets in the middle of the baking tray, surrounded by the kalettes and cauliflower florets.
  3. Spray olive oil over the veggies and salmon. Season with the salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Top each salmon fillet with 1 tbsp of the dukkah spice. Pat it down.
  5. Place the prepared baking tray in the oven for 12–15 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through and the vegetables are lovely and roasted. Serve warm and enjoy. Pro tip: make extra veggies for lunch!

BITE SIZE

WE WENT TO: Butcher and the Farmer

WE ATE: Fried Brussel sprouts; Honey glazed carrots; Baby cos; Crispy skin salmon; & Char-grilled chicken breast

WE DRANK: Sparkling water

Jessica is wearing Zara; Kate is wearing a Hansen & Gretel blazer & skirt

Photography/Videography: Ash Larden

Fashion, What I Wore

What I Wore: Date with Kate with Poppy Delevingne

30th June, 2018

For my recent Date with Kate with Poppy Delevingne I honed in on a look that was light and airy and a fun colour palette of green and white. It was a refreshing change from a lot of the heavier looks I’ve been wearing during winter and what better excuse to embrace a little colour than lunch with one of my favourite models/actresses.

I am always easily won over by a long sleeved dress—there’s just something about the silhouette and the way it always looks chic and polished that I love. However I also couldn’t look past all the design finishes on this particular Maggie Marilyn dress (who by the way is quickly becoming one of my favourite designers). The cutout neckline, the sweet oversized bow and the ruching all work together to achieve a look that’s sweet without being too saccharine.

I wanted to have fun with my accessories so it seemed the perfect time for my embellished Gucci Dionysus bag to come out to play. My floral Gucci slides added a statement element to the rest of my look and pink sunglasses made for a vibrant finishing touch.

Credits: Dress (not in store yet), Maggie Marilyn; Shoes, Gucci; Bag (similar), Gucci; Sunglasses (similar), Gucci

Photography: Ash Larden

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate: Poppy Delevingne

24th June, 2018

You’ll be familiar with Poppy Delevingne first and foremost as a model. She was first scouted at the age of 15 by Sarah Doukas, Storm models founder and the woman who discovered a young Kate Moss. And whilst she’s modelled for the likes of Burberry and Alberta Feretti, and landed magazine covers for Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue and fronted campaigns for the likes Louis Vuitton it seems she’s found her true calling: acting. She’s starred in King Arthur and Kingsman: The Golden Circle and is appearing opposite Antonio Banderas in Genius: Picasso. However we’re sitting down for a chat for another reason—her Queen of Pop collection with Jo Malone London. The fun, 60s inspired range includes everything from bubble bath to fragrances and has brought Poppy to Sydney to chat about its launch in Australia. Here we chat about working with such an iconic brand, why she loves Aussie labels and the one place in the world that gives her butterflies.

What are you up to and what are you doing in Australia?

I am in Australia for the last leg of my Jo Malone London Queen of Pop tour. We’ve done LA, London, Dublin, Paris, Milan. Now Australia. So this is my last bit, and I’m very sad that it’s ending.

Tell me all about your collection. 

So Queen of Pop… we created our first standalone bubble bath. It’s Jo Malone’s first ever bubble bath. It’s about time. In a much bigger bottle, with three very luxurious fragrances. And then what is bath time without a luxury candle? Which we did in another three fragrances. And then I picked three favourite colognes, which all mean something to me in very unique and special ways. I’m a 60s girl at heart, so we went for quite a Mod aesthetic. I was very inspired by the 60s, and by pop art, and Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. So, bright polka dots, bright colours, gold stripes. We just wanted to do something that was really playful.

And so how did you go about choosing the fragrances? 

So, Red Rose is … Was the first Jo Malone perfume I ever wore, and I started wearing it when I was 18 years old and I always go back to it, it’s like an old friend. Amber and Lavender is the cologne that my husband wears. It’s a unisex cologne and we did these little bottles so I can now carry him around wherever I go. And Peony Blush & Suede is my all-time favourite Jo Malone fragrance because it’s so feminine and light and floral, but has a little edge to it. If I wear it I get compliments.

The Queen of Pop collection is now available in Australia

What is a day in the life of you?

Every single day is so different…. a lot of planes, usually make up a lot of my time. I’ve actually at the moment just started [filming] a new TV show called Riviera, season two. So I’ve moved out to Nice, and I’ll be living there ’til November. Which is super exciting. Every day is a new adventure.

You’ve come from a modelling background, and now you’re focusing more on films and TV. Which genre do you prefer?

I prefer acting. I never really felt like I belonged to the modelling world. I was just always that goofy girl with lipstick on her teeth, tripping over lighting cables. I’m so grateful for the career that I had in the fashion industry, but acting really has my heart.

What was the biggest lesson you learnt while modelling?

Oh my God, to have a thick skin. To not take things personally. How to deal with jet lag.

What do you love most about acting?

For me, I like the challenge of it. I’ve always been someone who likes to push myself and challenge myself in any way that I can. So, for me it’s that terrifying feeling I get before going on set, and then being able to do it and achieve it. That sense of achievement at the end of the day is everything.

You’ve worked on some big films. What has been the biggest pinch-me moment?

I think my biggest victory moment would have to be doing the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in America. And I did that with Steve Martin and Martin Short. I’ve always been  [a] huge fan [of both actors], since I was young. I grew up with [the movie] Father of the Bride. So, for me to be sitting on a sofa with those two comedic greats, and with Jimmy Fallon, who’s also a genius, he’s unbelievable, I was absolutely petrified and I opened a beer bottle with my eye sockets. I was like, “Oh my God, don’t do this, you’re gonna get a black eye!” It was so fun.

What was it like to be on such a big production like the movie King Arthur?

I mean, daunting, but quite incredible. Working with [director] Guy Ritchie is a dream come true. Getting to act with the wonderful Eric Bana and to meet all these incredible actors who I could learn so much from. It was daunting, but magical all at the same time.

What was it like to work with Antonio Banderas in the show Genius: Picasso? 

Incredible. He is such a kind and generous man, and such a generous actor, and to be able to work with someone like him who I could learn so much from and … He was always so helpful and so respectful and I learnt a lot from him.

What’s been the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I’ve ever received would have to be from Cinderella, which is, “Be kind and have courage.” I love that.

How would you describe your personal style?

I think my personal style is very eclectic and I would say that I always dress to suit my mood. I like spontaneous dressing.

What are your wardrobe essentials?

For my daily uniform, I always have a really good pair of jeans. I’m obsessed with FRAME Denim or Citizens of Humanity. T-shirts, I love James Perse and Calvin Klein. A leather jacket. I have a gorgeous one by Anine Bing. And then I’d wear these little trainers called Feiyues, which are actually from China. I live in them. So yeah, like jeans, t-shirt, leather jacket and trainers.

What about beauty essentials?

Oh, my God, where do we begin? I wash my face with MBR (Medical Beauty Research) enzyme face wash. I love using Crème de la Mer eye cream and soft moisturizing lotion. That’s basically me done. I like to keep it very simple and quite basic.

What are you makeup daily essentials or are you one of those people that wears no makeup on a normal day?

If I’m not working, I like to do no makeup whatsoever, because whenever I’m working, it’s part of my job to wear it so I like to give my face a day off every now and again.

Are you a flats or heels girl?

Flats, because I’m so tall on my own. I don’t need any help in that department.

Do you like Australian labels? and if so, what are your favourites?

I do. Zimmermann has been one of my all time favorites and it’s come to London now, which is so exciting, because it means that I can basically wear them. I used to love sass & bide. I was so devastated when that stopped, because it was literally like my favourite store in the whole world. Who else do I really love? I’ve got really beautiful things … I can’t remember what she called it now. Her name’s Kit Willow. KITX, she’s got some gorgeous things. She’s a beautiful designer.

What are your favorite things to do when you come to Australia?

See all my Aussie fans, because they’re literally some of my favourite people in the whole entire world. To see them, to drink Aperol Spritzes, be in the sunshine, work on my freckles and shop.

Where is your favourite travel destination?

When I think about Italy, when I think about Positano and I think about having pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner, that gives me butterflies with excitement. And Le Sirenuse Hotel has ton loads of memories. One of my all-time favourite places in the world.

What do you carry in your travel bag?

In my travel bag I have a lovely organic lavender hand sanitizer. Yes, it’s literally the best thing ever. What else do I always carry in my bag? Jo Malone London do a gorgeous lip balm, a gorgeous vitamin E lip balm. They also do a lovely geranium and walnut hand cream that I’m obsessed with. And I’m also really obsessed with Dr. Barbara Sturm, who does these hyaluronic ampules. They’re like acid ampules and you crack them open and put all over your skin and just let it sink it. It’s heaven.

Amazing. I need to try that.

And a silk eye mask.

Really? Do they really work?

Yes. Makes the world of a difference. It’s so bad to leave … you know if you take off an eye mask and you have a mark on your face, as you get older, it’s really bad to do that. My dermatologist told me that. She’s like, “You need to get silk pillows, silk everything, because-yeah, because, it just wrinkles your face so much. I know, right?

I always saw them and thought, “Oh, it’s too high maintenance to wash silk pillows.”

I know. It’s annoying, but a silk eye mask is good enough.

What’s next in the pipeline?

I’ve been finishing off this show, Riviera. I’m filming it till November, and then I think just seeing what comes next. I’m going to be doing a third collaboration with Jo Malone London, so I’m super excited about that. I’m working on it at the moment, so it’s a work in progress, and we’ll hopefully get to tour with it next year.

If you could work on any film or with any actor, what would be your dream role?

My dream would be to work with the wondrous Meryl Streep. I think she can do no wrong. It doesn’t get much better than that.

And any particular character you could play?

I would love to play a character who’s perhaps completely out of my comfort zone. Somewhere where I’d have to really transform myself and really immerse myself and become that person. Anything that’s a real challenge.

Where you see yourself in five years time?

Five years time. Babies, babies, babies. I hope so. Fingers crossed.

BITESIZE:

We went to: Bistro Moncur Mosman

We ate: Pan fried barramundi fillet; Potato & ricotta gnocchi

Poppy wore: Zimmermann

I wore: Maggie Marilyn

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate: Rebecca Vallance

27th May, 2018

Since her first show in Paris in 2011, Rebecca Vallance has cultivated a brand into a celebrity favourite and one that is stocked both locally and internationally. Her designs have been seen on everyone from Emily Blunt to Rachel McAdams and Chrissy Teigen and is now available at designer boutiques including Harvey Nichols, Net-a-Porter and My Theresa, along with bricks and mortar stores in Sydney and Melbourne. However that’s only just the beginning. As one of Australia’s top designers, Rebecca has her sights set on expanding her brand both at home and globally, and from our chat she’s not about to slow down any time soon. Here I chat to Rebecca about the two women she would love to dress, the one piece she considers to be one of her standout designs and why she only ever wears her own label.

What’s the latest with you?

I have just come back from London. I was there for Harrods and Harvey Nichols, and meeting with press over there. So it went really well. The brand’s on a big trajectory over there, so it’s really exciting to be there and be a part of it.

I know it’s amazing. I think last time I interviewed you, you were about to show at Australian Fashion Week.

Ah yes. Two years ago. Oh my god.

Now you’re showing internationally.

Yeah. So in that two years we picked up Net-a-Porter, and all the big international majors like MyTheresa. Then we’ve opened our stores now.

Oh yes, that’s right. You had just opened [in Sydney’s] Mosman.

Just opened Mosman. There’s Armadale [in Victoria] as well, which is a beautiful store. We’ve just opened The Strand [in Sydney] last week, two weeks ago, which is beautiful, and the pop-up in Paddington [in Sydney].

Congratulations! So why did you choose The Strand?

We could see from our eCommerce site that we were sending a lot [of orders] to the city, and we just wanted our customers to be able to come to the store and have the full Rebecca Vallance experience. To be able to see the full collection.

When you first started your label did you ever imagine that it would grow to what it has done now?

Look that was the goal, I hoped, but I think from day one, when I launched it in London, I always wanted it to have an international DNA and an international customer. Yeah, that’s always been the focus. We’re thrilled it’s going so well.

Where do you find your inspiration?

It changes every season. Like the collection that’s in store at the moment was inspired by one of Pablo Picasso’s works, The Ladies of Avignon. But then the Resort Collection, I was planning my husband’s 40th in Capri, and [I was inspired by] the colours of Capri. So it really depends what’s going on with me at the time and what I’m thinking about.

Out of all your collections, what has been the biggest stand-out piece that you’ve designed?

Oh wow. Look, I think [TV presenter] Sylvia Jeffreys‘ wedding dress was definitely quite special. But every season we evolve the brand. Every season there’s a new favourite. We’re definitely known for our dresses, but suiting for us is having a huge moment at the moment. You wore the Maya Suit.

Oh I love that suit.

Yeah. I think it’s about evolving the brand to a point where we’re known for most of the women’s wardrobe. You know options for everything. I think too, we’ve just launched Pre-Fall today, and that’s beautiful, that’s really special. I think that’s probably the collection I’m most proud of to date.

That’s amazing. You’ve had so many celebrities wear your outfits. Who are some of your highlights?

I think Emily Blunt was a highlight. She did a great speech [for Variety magazine] and she wore Rebecca Vallance for that. But we’ve got some great girls in the pipelines at the moment that are about to wear RV.

I noticed when I was in London last week, everyone knew of the brand, which was really exciting, and all the editors were already across it and already wearing it themselves. I think that’s exciting. You can see it’s obviously picked up an international following, and The Strand’s done really well already, so that’s good.

If you could dress any celebrity, who would it be?

Nicole Kidman or Cate Blanchett.

You are a mum of two, young boys.

Yes.

How do you juggle work, running a successful business, and having two kids?

It’s so full-on. I am obsessed with my two little boys, they are just adorable. They’re so sweet. I look forward to every day. I love going home to give them dinner, and bath them, and play, and hang out. I think it’s about priorities. There are times where they really need me around 24/7, and there are times where they don’t, so it’s about prioritising, about what I’m doing every day and making sure that I’m available for both. But it’s also too quality over quantity.

So if my boys need me, then being at home, but if the business needs me then being at work. So I just do my best. I’m not saying I’ve got it perfected but I do my best.

What’s your number one style tip?

I think it’s not about what you wear. It’s how you wear it. I think if you wear anything with confidence, you’re 1,000 steps ahead.

What are your wardrobe essentials?

Wardrobe essentials. I think, for winter, a long-sleeved dress, like the one I’m wearing. Long sleeve mini dress. And colour! I always see so much black and charcoal and brown and whatever. I think colour for winter. I’ve tried this season. I made a conscious effort in putting lots of colour and colour palettes.

What are we seeing for winter?

So this [colour] that’s a dark raspberry, maroon, but then I’ve also done lots of blush and ivory. So I just felt even though it’s winter, your personality should still shine through with some colour. So yes there’s lots of beautiful knits that are colourful, and always beautiful coats. I’ve done a beautiful tweed coat this season, which has got bold statement buttons on it, and it’s quite distressed and it’s quite beautiful. There’s always some things that are staple pieces but a little bit different.

How would you describe the RV girl?

I think polished in an undone way.

Where do you see you and your brand in five years time?

I hope we’ll have lots of international retail stores. I hope we’ll have beautiful Australian retail as well, and I hope the brand will continue on the way that it’s going. I want it to be internationally renowned, that’s for sure.

What sets you apart from other designers?

I think it’s our unique DNA. We know who our customer is, and I think it’s our product. Each season we try and refine it more and push it further and making sure when people see the collection, they know that’s a Rebecca Vallence dress.

Is your wardrobe filled with your own collection or do you wear other brands?

I only wear Rebecca Vallance.

Do you really?

Yeah I know. Well this is the thing. I think for me I design what I want to wear to some extent. So, there’s always everything that I want in a collection because it’s what I’m looking to wear. So yeah I only wear my own stuff, and obviously shoes and handbags is different.

Have you ever seen a piece of clothing that you’re like, “Oh, I wish I had designed that.”?

Not yet. I think there’s some incredible wedding gowns. I appreciate other designers, absolutely, but I think I’m so focused on what we’re doing as a brand that I’m kind of stuck looking at that.

You see so many designers that take inspiration from international designers. How do you steer clear from not making it look too trend orientated?

I think that when I launched the brand when I lived in London, I wanted it to have an international DNA and be authentic to who I was and we were as brand, and that’s, you know whether it’s going to Europe and sourcing out fabrications or working to develop that fabrications with the mills.

Will you ever face moving the business overseas?

I hope that if it becomes a problem, that the business is too big to be just in Australia, I hope to see it off in London and New York. Yeah for sure.

Is there anything coming up we need to know about?

I think for us at the moment, we’ve had the launch of the Strands store which is really exciting. They’re putting a tram in George Street [in Sydney] as well, so there will be lots of traffic coming through there. In addition, were launching Paddington, test it to see how it goes. I think we’ll just keep building out online. It’s doing very well at the moment, whether it’s in Australia or our global customer. I think it’s about doing what we’re doing well and refining it and pushing the collection further and further.

Bitesize

We went to: Rosetta

We ate: Grilled market fish with salmoriglio; Burrata with radicchio; Green salad

We drank: White wine

Rebecca wore a Rebecca Vallance dress

I wore an Unreal Fur jacket

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate at Australian Fashion Week: Victoria Lee

20th May, 2018

New York City is about as far away as you can get from the rural town Narrandera where model Victoria Lee grew up. As a self-confessed homebody, she says even she’s surprised that she’s now based in the Big Apple and miles from home. However relocating to the other side of the world is the logical next step when you’re one of the hottest models of the moment. Along with walking in last year’s Victoria’s Secret show alongside Gigi Hadid and Naomi Campbell, she is also a freshly minted David Jones ambassador joining fellow Aussies Jessica Gomes and ex-AFL player Adam Goodes. I caught up with Victoria to chat about the secret to a flattering photo, the one beauty product she can’t live without and how she stays fit.

What’s a day in the life of you?
Every day is different, which took awhile to get used to, to be honest. But I’ve since learned to embrace this fact and just go with the flow—as much as I can anyway! In general though, I love to wake up early, exercise in the morning, make yummy food and then get on with my day. If I’m working the hours and location always change but if I have some time off I’ll usually take care of any chores or e-mails, catch up with friends, sort the neverending pile of mail, run errands… it’s always a little different.

What is Fashion Week like for you? 
This is the first time I’ve been home for Australian Fashion Week in a long time so I’m very happy to be home, but also [being here] where I haven’t done the shows. Actually being able to sit and experience the show is fantastic. I’m really enjoying seeing the way the show comes together and to appreciate the collections and creativity of the designers and all their hard work, from the other side.

What was it like to attend Camilla and Marc’s opening show? 
I am such a huge fan of Camilla and Marc and to think it was their 15 year anniversary which was amazing. The show was fantastic—you felt transported to this other world through the lighting, set, sounds and music. Not to mention the collection itself which was stunning—the models looked so beautiful, powerful and strong.

Last year you walked in the Victoria Secret show in Shanghai alongside other supermodels like Tyra Banks, Gigi Hadid and Naomi Campbell. How did that feel?
Surreal. It was so much better than I actually expected. I thought I’d be more anxious, that I wouldn’t be fully present and just enjoy, but did. And I think that’s because of the Victoria’s Secret team and the girls I was there with. Everyone is so welcoming and supportive. They know you’re nervous! They really make an effort to make you feel as comfortable as possible and to just have fun and enjoy yourself, which is what it’s all about. It was very exciting, I really enjoyed the entire experience.

What does it mean to you to be an ambassador for David Jones? 
It’s a real honour. I grew up shopping at David Jones and admiring past ambassadors Megan Gale and Miranda Kerr. To be a part of such an iconic Australian brand is incredible and I’m so happy to be a part of the David Jones family. Especially now; to be alongside Jess Gomes and Adam Goodes is amazing. And to be celebrating the 180th birthday of DJs is really special.

How did you first get into modelling?
I met with agencies after being recommended by photographers when I was in Sydney one time with my family. However I didn’t start going to castings until I finished school.

Was this always your dream? 
No, not at all. Mainly because I grew up in Narrandera, rural NSW. I had no concept of the modelling industry—it was a long way away. Even after I started, I never viewed modelling as a career option. I had no idea what to expect, but I appreciated the fact that the opportunity doesn’t come by every day. I thought I would try it out in between school and university. I’m extremely lucky to have such a wonderful support network that has been by my side every step of the way.

What were you like at school? 
I loved sport and athletics but was also very focused on my studies. I worked hard to get the best possible mark on my exams as I could. I ended up being Dux of my school which I was really happy about.  All my friends from school try to catch up when everyone is home over Christmas which is always a lot of fun.

What’s something that people don’t know about you and would be surprised to find out?
Growing up I was a real homebody—I hated being away from home. Even on school excursions, I would want to go home ASAP. I couldn’t even do sleepovers. So to now live as far away from home as possible is something that still surprises me!

What was your first big break? 
Very early in my career, my first Fashion Week, I walked for Camilla and Marc at Australian Fashion Week.

What has been your biggest pinch-me moment? 
Can I have two?! Walking for VS [Victoria’s Secret] and being named as a David Jones ambassador were both pretty special pinch-me moments.

Who do you look up to? 
I admire my parents and grandparents—I’m lucky to have such a wonderful family whom I look up to. I also admire women like Elle McPherson, Jess Gomes, Megan Gale, Doutzen Kroes, Diane Von Furstenberg, my agent, Doll, just to name a few! Intelligent, hard-working, very genuine women.

What has been the best advice you have ever received? 
My mum always encouraged me to do my best in any situation and not to follow the crowd—be my unique self, always.

If you hadn’t become a model, what would you be doing? 
Probably something in health or nutrition. I’ve always been fascinated by the human body.

As a model, how do you stay fit? 
I love dance-based workouts—I find my body responds well and they are a great combination of strength and cardio. Along with stretching and recovery I make sure to respect my body and to prioritise sleep and recovery as much as my workouts. Along with proper nutrition. I love food and aim to nourish my body in the best way I can.How do you prep for a big show?
I have a healthy lifestyle constantly but leading up to a big show I’ll make sure to drink plenty of water and get as much sleep as possible. I have a sweet tooth so I might cut back a little on the chocolate. But it’s all about balance.

What is it like living in New York?
I love it. It took a while to get used to—it’s a far cry from Narrandera and Sydney. But it’s an amazing city with such a vibrant and eclectic energy and culture. I’m very lucky to be able to live there and call Australia home. It’s the best of both worlds which I’m very appreciative of.

What do you miss most about living in Sydney? 
The wonderful beaches, weather, our laidback attitude, our sense of humour, our fresh food, being close to my friends and family of course. The list goes on… travelling and living away really emphasised to me just how lucky we are as Australians to live here. I know it’s such a cliché, but it’s true—we are the lucky country.

What is the secret to a great photo? 
Oh my gosh—good question!! I guess try to relax and keep your chin down.

What is your number one beauty essential? 
Oils. I’ve noticed a real improvement in my skin since using them. I love Dermalogica phyto replenishing oil at the moment but I’ll change it up depending on how my skin is feeling. They can be used to remove make up, as a treatment, to prep for makeup, during a flight—just make sure you get one that suits your skin type.

Photography: Sophia Athas and Ash Larden

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate at Australian Fashion Week: Miro Kubicek, Seating Director, Australian Fashion Week

17th May, 2018

It may seem innocuous but when it comes to Fashion Week seating is crucial, especially when it comes to the front row. As the seating director at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia, Miro Kubicek is the man in charge of ensuring that the right people end up in the right places, which with last minute no shows, VIPs running late and the occasional attendee trying to secure a spot in the coveted front row, is no easy feat. Having been in the role for over 15 years, Miro has seen more than his fair share of dramas and here he chats to me about how he maintains order at the shows, how fashion has changed over the years and flirting with Anna Wintour…

Can you describe your role?

So my role is seating director of this event. What it basically means is that I have to make sure that the front row is the way it should be or the way it was designed. I’m dealing with the last minute changes and all the small details that actually happens last minute, which is people not showing up or running late, being tied up in meetings, and I’ll get a notification or I’ll get an SMS and I kind of start adjusting. At the end of the day, the front row needs to look right and it needs to be the right people in there.

Why is the front row so important?

Well, look, the designers, this is the time when they’re presenting their collection and they worked really hard and long hours and all that. SO, it is really important because it makes a difference in sales, in exposure, in how the collection is perceived or how it’s received.

It makes a difference in who sees the collection? How does the hierarchy work? 

The hierarchy, it’s more like a mixture of things. It’s not like if you just get editors and give them the preference. That’s one dimension of the whole spectrum, when normally we would have couple of aspects of it. You’ve got the media, you’ve got the journalists, you’ve got the celebrity, you’ve got the buyers, and then the socialite and then sort of the exposure on that level. So, you need to just have a good mixture of it all.

And you’re the man to know it.

Yeah!

I can’t remember a Fashion Week where you haven’t been in charge of this. How did you get in to this?

I was always around events and doing different things, but I got engaged so I was asked to come and do Australian Fashion Week, I think maybe it was 2002 and 2003, which was on the events side. There was a guy who was doing seating, I didn’t know that role existed. I was looking at him and I was thinking “That’s a pretty cool role and I would like to do that one day.” I was doing it the next year.

How has the landscape at Fashion Week changed over the years?

Oh, dramatically. It’s changed. We’re talking here, 15/16 years, when I started. So, in those days, there was no social media or blogging or Instagram or the instant feed of the design. Back then, it was really the old fashioned way. Taking the pictures, and then downloading the pictures, and then the magazine would have those pictures, and they published them. Now, very different game. Everything loads instantly. We have the shows on the screen, straight away. Anybody who’s around that can watch it, Facebook Live streams, Instagram Live streams. With that, also the broad difference in the industry.

How do you stay on top of your game with that? Knowing who’s who and who’s the best blogger to celebrity to editor?

The industry is fairly small. The people are more or less the same, they just change publications. That’s on one side. Yes, you have new players in the game, but you just keep on top of it like everybody else. You read, you look at  social media, who’s coming up, who’s doing the right thing, who’s doing the nice things about fashion. We also have a delegates list. So we have lists that is released, that’s given to me with all the internationals and all the locals, and every year or every season, I go through and see who has changed and who is new and who I have to get to know a little bit. So you do your research. There goes a couple of weeks before the event, where  we literally just study, like you go to University.

Really?

Yeah.

What’s your biggest pinch-me moment?

There was few ’cause I’ve been involved with a lot of different Fashion Weeks over the years. I’ve been part of New York Fashion Week and Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Berlin, so there’s a lot of international stuff. I met a lot of really famous people, which is always very exciting. But, you know, as far as fashion, I think the moment with Anna Wintour was really, really special. That goes back to 2008 I think. I looked after her for about a day, a day and a half, and then we were running into each other throughout the week in New York and it was really cool. We were like buddies. We flirted a little bit.

Watch out!

It was fun. It was good.

Well everyone does want to be your best friend because they all want to get front row, that’s for sure.

It’s funny. I come to Sydney to do the Australian Fashion Week every year and it literally is, there’s a group of people that you never hear from until the week before Fashion Week.

Really?

“Hey buddy, how are you?” It’s like oh, Fashion Week’s coming up, yeah.  It’s part of the game. It’s fun.

Any front row faux pas over the years?

Similarly to the previous questions, there’s so many. In general, some nights people can be quite nasty. A lot of people that don’t belong in the front row try to be in the front row, get a little bit aggressive at times. Verbally aggressive, not physically.

Really?

Yeah. You’ve seen it also, over the years. People sometimes stubborn, they think if they sit there and don’t move, then nothing’s gonna happen.

Yeah.

I try to control the front row. At the end of the day, it’s like “You’re gonna move.”

Does security ever get called?

No, I don’t think we ever needed to call security for seating. I have a chat and I kind of engage in a manner that, after 30 seconds or 40 seconds of talking to them, they realise that this is not the right thing to do.

 

All right. Well thank you so much. It’s such an insight into what you do and this whole week, so thank you so much.

Miro: Thank you.

Photography: Sophia Athas and Ash Larden

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate at Australian Fashion Week: Pereira Fitzgerald

16th May, 2018

What’s it like to show at Fashion Week for the very first time? Bella Pereira and Gemma Fitzgerald are the pair behind the eponymous label Pereira Fitzgerald. Founded in 2015 the brand has a focus on luxury fabrics, dramatic silhouettes and strong tailoring and this year marks their debut at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. I paid a visit to the girls prior to their show to chat about the ups and downs of putting on a show, founding a label with a little help from Kickstarter and the one woman they’d love to see wearing one of their designs.

Ladies, congratulations on your debut collection at Fashion Week.

Bella: Thank you so much.

What an exciting time for you. How does it feel?

Gemma: Incredible. It was always in the path for us, I think.

Tell me your story. How did it all begin for you?

Bella: We met through mutual friends. I don’t think I always thought that fashion would be my path. I was studying science at the time.

Studying science? That’s crazy!

Bella: I think we immediately clicked, definitely. I knew that Gemma was an incredible machinist and into designs. I was really interested in learning about crafting a garment. Basically the conversation really just rolled from there.

Gemma: I studied fashion design. I was working for Zimmerman before. It just comes naturally. We were destined to meet.

Bella: Yeah, I think so. I find it hard to think of another person [I’d like to do this with]. We definitely don’t agree on everything, but we can always find a medium.

 

Why was it so important for you to show at Fashion Week?

Gemma: Just to branch out. I think it’s really important. We’ve done so well, so far. Our friends, our family.

Bella: Yeah, and a very close-knit, amazing group of loyal clients. They have kept us going, but I think we’re at a point now where we’re really ready to take it to another level. It’s also our beginning in wholesaling. We haven’t been stocked anywhere except in our online store, so far. That’s really exciting for us, as well.

What are the benefits of showing at Fashion Week? 

Bella: It’s an international stage. It’s like everyone is there. IMG have been incredible in giving that to us in terms of the people that are there are so influential. Whether it’s a buyer or an influencer. It’s a huge stage for us, and everyone’s in the same room at the same time. You can’t really compare that to anything else.

What have you found to be one of the biggest challenges so far?

Gemma: I think it’s just time. Everything’s new. We’re both well and we’ve hired some amazing people to work for us, which is great.

I don’t think everyone realises how much work goes behind a show. What are some of the things that have surprised you?

Bella: [Everything] down to music composition. That’s a massive task and it is so important to have captivating music while the show is happening. Music, as well, that tells a story that’s in line with our collection and the kind of people we are. It’s so important that it makes the audience feel the way that you want them to feel.

The amount of conversations and emails and drafts and playlists that go back and forth. That’s one tiny thing in the whole production. It’s not just everyone shows up and you smack the garments on a girl and run down the runway. Everything is so considered and thought of. Nothing is by chance, nothing is a coincidence, everything is purposeful.

How would you describe your style aesthetic?

Gemma: It’s quite glamorous in a way, but then it’s like everyday glamorous, so you can definitely work with it on a day-to-day basis.

Bella: We love the idea of being really feminine, but also embracing the feel of feminine strength. I think we’re taught that powerful dressing always has a masculine edge and we’re very much about turning that absolutely on its head. You can dress really delicate and beautiful and feel really feminine but still feel powerful and confident and you can do anything. It’s all about those outfits that give you that and for me, I want an outfit that feels like that.

Do you guys feel that you are on the same page for your style? Or does one want a bit more of something else?

Gemma: Definitely, we’re a little different…I’m a bit more girly, feminine.

Bella: I like things long and tight, I guess.

Gemma: We start with one idea and then it goes there and it goes there and then neither of us like it and then it’s just this beautiful thing we create.

Bella: And I think it’s important, as well, because Gemma comes up with ideas that I never would, and I come up with ideas that she wouldn’t and it’s not necessarily something that I would wear, but it’s something that I love and appreciate and think is divine. I think that’s important. We’re dressing for a range of women, not just this narrow focus of ourselves, which is really important.

What would be your advice to young girls wanting to get into the fashion industry? 

Gemma: I think just work hard. I mean, that’s a tale as old as time, obviously, but it’s hard when you have to intern and you have to do this and you have to do that and you’re studying, but that’s the real world. And, if your mum’s saying, “oh, that’s too tricky, don’t do it,” just do it!

Bella: Do what you feel really passionate about. You’re gonna end up there anyway, so you may as well. I think it’s just hours and hours of really hard work, but nothing good comes from anything that’s not hard work. No, if you want a boring life, don’t do this!

Do you think it is as glamorous as they make it?

Bella: No, it’s not glamorous…It’s up at crazy hours of the morning and going to sleep at crazy hours of the morning. Obviously it changes, that’s not sustainable all the time but definitely in the lead up to Fashion Week it is that real around-the clock dedication. I think you need to take it very seriously from the beginning if you wanna be taken seriously. I think there’s no way we could have made big sales in the beginning if we didn’t have one-hundred percent belief in what we were putting forward. We wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t have that really propelling us forward.

And so Gemma you used to work for Zimmerman, they’re such a powerhouse in the whole fashion industry. What was the biggest thing you learned from them?

Gemma: Well, I was in the design room, so I saw everything from fittings and cuttings and seamstresses, pattern-makers, everything. It totally helped me.

I couldn’t think of a better learning ground.

Gemma: Yeah, even down to my drawing. But they taught me how to really hone it in and – I don’t know it’s good when the sketches matched what your vision is, sometimes that’s not so easy.

How do you decide who goes to your show?

Bella: We have an amazing publicist. Well, that’s the thing, we are so new, we don’t have those connections, and it’s just been amazing to team up with someone who does and to give us that head start in getting ready for what people that we need there.

Is it a bit daunting to have so many magazine editors and so many important people within the industry front row at your show?

Bella: It’s very much like a pressure, but it also fuels the adrenaline that keeps you crazy, so it’s worth it. It’s really exciting. Super exciting.

Gemma: Our mums will be front row. Really excited [about that].

And can you tell me a little bit more what we will see on the runway, what will we see coming up?

Gemma: Well, we went to France to buy fabrics earlier this year, so there’re things inspired by French silk and-

Bella: Very much like that Rococo [style]. How fashion is depicted in those paintings, that really lustrous, incredible silk, we’ve really tried to capture that. But again, it’s really soft with this kind of contrast of really sharp tailoring, big, oversize silhouettes. We don’t really do anything halfway, we’re very zero or a hundred, I guess, in everything.

Gemma: If we’ve got a ruffle, it’s a ruffle.

Bella: I do think you can really wear these pieces to anything, they’re definitely not like your average everyday casual piece, they are pieces that we want women to really reach for and be excited to reach for it in the wardrobe every morning.

Gemma: And be confident, too. We know a Sydney blogger and she dresses up every day just to go and buy milk. And we love her, she’s amazing. And I suppose she’s got that confidence, and we want everyone else to have that confidence, you know? Dress up, you’ll feel amazing, and you’ll look amazing.

Bella: Even if you’re gonna pair it back with something really casual, it’s that amazing feeling of having a beautiful handmade piece of clothing on your shoulders, and it feels gorgeous and it’s just… priceless.

And if you could have anyone wearing your label, who would it be?

Gemma: We have spoken about this, Cate Blanchett really comes to mind.

And what’s next for you guys after Fashion Week?

Gemma: Well, hopefully we’ll have offers after Fashion Week.

Bella: Yes, it’s just kind of getting into those commitments with them, delivering, seeing our clothes stocked, hopefully internationally at some stage. We’re big believers in owning our way in Australia first, but that’s definitely a long time off for us, to see our clothes hanging in The Bon Marche or somewhere incredible.

So the fashion industry is so hard to get into, what was the pivotal point that you got into a fashion?

Gemma: Well, we started with Kickstarter.

Bella: Our first collection was pretty small, eight piece collection that was made from entirely silk satin. Really heavy, lustrous, really high end premium silk satin. And we had all of these friends and family members that were so interested in what we were doing and we kind of hit a bit of a roadblock in terms of just taking things to the next level and in terms of production, all those things you run into when you start a business in fashion and garment production. And so what we did was through Kickstarter, which is a crowdfunding platform, we started a campaign that basically had all our pieces up for sale, and our friends and family, anyone who knew about us, potential clients, could go on there and purchase at a discounted price with the understanding that the garments would be delivered four months in advance.

Such a great idea.

Gemma: We weren’t asking for money and everyone was so excited anyway.

Bella: We’re surrounded by such beautiful people and our families and friends and everything, so it just meant that they could have a part in our beginning as well, which was really special.

Gemma: We also got some overseas clients from that as well.

Oh, did you?

Bella: Yeah, we did, because Kickstarter itself has its own marketing strategies that involved our campaign so that helped us enormously as well.

That’s incredible. Well, I wish you very best at the show and I can’t wait to see it.

Gemma: Thank you so much.

Bella: Thank you.

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate at Australian Fashion Week: Macgraw

15th May, 2018

My Day 3 wrap video, interviewing the designers behind Macgraw and We are Kindred.

Beth and Tessa Macgraw first launched their label in 2012 and since then their brand has amassed a celeb following that includes Lorda, Coco Rocha and Karlie Kloss. They’ve won prestigious awards including The Tiffany & Co. National Designer Award, The BT Award, The Regional International Woolmark Prize and The Australian Fashion Laureate for Best Emerging Designer. Macgraw is now available worldwide via online retailers such as Farfetch and Moda Operandi, and department stores David Jones and Lane Crawford. I caught up with Beth and Tessa ahead of their show about how they got into fashion, what it’s like to work with a sibling and the challenges they’ve faced to get where they are.

Congratulations on this amazing collection. How has Fashion Week been for you?

Tessa: Well, actually I think we’re quite calm this year. It’s always got its challenges and issues, but I think we’re handling them pretty well so far.

Beth: We’re having a different approach.

Tessa: We’re trying a different approach,

Beth: Yeah. It’s fashion, it doesn’t need to be stressful, it should be fun. I mean we like all our models to smile and be in a good mood on the runway.

That’s something you don’t always see. Is that something you focus on?

Tessa: We do. Yeah, we cast a smile. Which is kind of tricky. It’s challenging.

The collection is absolutely stunning. Can you tell us a little bit about the it?

Beth: So, we showed our collection at a beautiful gothic revival match in Cold Swiss in Darling Point. And as soon as we saw the architecture of the building we were quite inspired and knew we wanted to entwine that and work that into our collection.  So, we kind of created a collection around the woman who would have resided there in its heyday. So, she’s pretty fab. She likes to-

Tessa: There’s an opium room in there, in the house. She’s a bit naughty I guess.

What is your favourite thing about Fashion Week?

Beth: I really love how it brings everyone together and builds, like there’s a lot of pre-events and then we go to our friends’ showing. So we go to their shows and they get to come to ours. The other time we get to see each other is in Paris.

Tessa: I think there’s an energy, I think it’s nice that everyone comes together. It’s an exciting week.

How did you both get into fashion in the first place?

Tessa: I studied fashion design way back when. We’ve grown up loving fashion.

Was that always a plan, to be designers?

Tessa: Pretty much, and to work together. Some people think we’re mad.

As sisters, what is it like to work with family?

Beth: It’s both, I mean, we’re very much on each other’s wavelength, we have a lot of non-verbal communication.

Tessa: I mean we get along, we do like each other. It helps, it does help, and I don’t think we’d be doing it if we didn’t.

Beth: It’s very important, though, that we have the same aesthetic and we gravitate to the same fabrics and if we didn’t, because we are quite honest and verbal about it, it probably wouldn’t work. So you need the personality mix to be right as well.

It must be so nice working together.

Tessa: I trust her and that’s pretty important I think in this industry.

Beth: We get to do it together, like we’re constantly pinching ourselves. And we get to go to Paris and we’re on the plane together and we’re in the shows together and-

Tessa: It’s a lot of time together, it is.

You only started the label five years ago and already you’ve had such huge success in that short time frame. What has been your secret?

Beth: Same focus I think, not growing too quickly for us,… You make a lot of mistakes. and you don’t want to make them in the best store or on the biggest celebrity, and it’s good to just learn and, what are your strengths and what’s her aesthetic, it takes a few years to work that out I think.

Tessa: I think it’s hard work as well, you’ve gotta commit to work till late at night and just all the time, you know, you’ve gotta be passionate. You just gotta love it.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in the Australian fashion industry?

Beth: We make in Australia, it can be challenging, I won’t lie, but it’s, for us, really important to be mainly made in Australia. And we make some things in Italy and some fabrics in Switzerland and different places but, I think it’s nice and I think a lot of our stores preach it that it’s made in Australia, definitely.

Tessa: The challenge, I think in the Australian industry is that we’re sort of getting a bit smaller in production so making in Australia I think is probably a challenge sometimes.

Beth: Probably the other thing is, I mean, they’re all kind of Australia-focused answers for me, like the fact that we’re so far away, has its benefits but it also can be quite hard for the distance. If you’re from the U.K. and you have to go on the train over to Paris Fashion Week, it’s a much bigger effort for us when we’re outside of the business. And breaking in can be a little bit harder but Instagram and the internet definitely has helped as well.

We have noticed that that’s a huge impact.

Tessa: Absolutely. We’ve had stylists reaching out to us through direct Instagram. If they see us around then they will help.

You’ve dressed some pretty amazing people. What has been the biggest pinch-me moment?

Tessa: Julianne Moore I think we both agree? That was pretty cool. I just loved that.

How does that happen?

Beth: Organic. They actually held an event for us in London and the InStyle editor walked in and she was like, “I’m shooting Julianne tomorrow. I’m going to put that on her.”

You’ve also teamed up with Vittoria Coffee again to create these beautiful Fashion Series cups. Tell me a bit about the story behind these and your inspiration.

Beth: We were inspired by love and love letters.

Oh really?

Beth: Tess draws out all of our sketches, all the love hearts are all sketched out. They’re a little sinister, they’re black love hearts these ones. This one has a little loyal sash and he flies in love. And we love colours as well.

You’ve teamed up with them for a few years now. Why is that so important to you?

Tessa: I think it’s a nice alignment they have the Fashion Series and we do prints in-house and as I said we draw them. I think it just, it’s a nice fit really.

Beth: And they’re a family run business. They’re a lovely team the Vittoria family.

I saw the beautiful campaign. It was shot by fashion photographer Sonny Vandevelde. Tell me a little about that.

Beth: We love Sonny. He’s backstage at every one of our shows. He’s kind of part of the family as well. Yes I hear they’re going to be life size light boxes of us.

Oh amazing!

Beth: It will be down at Carriageworks for Fashion Week. And then Vittoria also did a really cool art installation which took a few of our items like our shoes, and love letters and created a beautiful piece of art. That was cool.

Tessa: It’s really pretty what they’ve done this year.

Where do you see Macgraw in five years time?

Beth: Good question. Well I think we’ll be probably in here. Maybe we’ll be in a different studio in this space.

Tessa: Maybe a bigger space, yeah? We’ll probably have a couple more staff members I hope. Yeah I mean we want to grow overseas a bit more don’t we?

Beth: Europe and the US are in our sights at the moment. We’re already in a few stores but just a bit more focus there.

 

Videography: Ash Larden 

Video brought to you by Vittoria Coffee.