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Date with Kate

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. 

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate at Australian Fashion Week: We Are Kindred

15th May, 2018

Chatting to design duo Georgie and Lizzie Renkert.

Masters of floaty silhouettes, floral prints and embellishment, sisters Lizzie and Georgie Renkert established We Are Kindred in 2013. With Lizzie a former fashion magazine editor and Georgie previously in product development at Sportsgirl, the two combined their sartorial strengths to form the brand to great success. This year marks five years since they first debuted at Australian Fashion Week and it looks as if their bohemian meets sexy meets modern aesthetic continues to go from strength to strength. I caught up with Lizzie and Georgie ahead of their show to chat about the Kindred woman, how their designs have evolved and what we can expect from their new collection.

So it’s been a big couple of weeks for you guys.

Lizzie: It has. It’s been pretty hectic.

How have you been in the lead up to Fashion Week?

Lizzie: Well it’s stressful and everything but we kind of love it. It’s organised. It’s our favourite time of year.

Georgie: Yeah. To do this it’s constant.

Lizzie: But we start planning for Fashion Week before Christmas

Georgie: …before Christmas. So we actually design before Christmas.

Lizzie: I start to talk to sponsors and all those sorts of things before Christmas. So even though it’s really stressful…

Georgie: …It’s manageable.

Lizzie: I hate to think how it would be if you weren’t organised. That would just fill me with anxiety.

What do you love most about showing at Fashion Week?

Lizzie: I think it’s a really great way for us to showcase the brand in its entirety. Because where we tend to have more of an online presence, this a way for people to actually see it up close and personal. It’s a way for us to bring the vision of Kindred to life. So that’s why we love it so much, I think.

What can we expect to see on the runway this season?

Georgie: It’s extra pretty.

Lizzie: It’s so calming. The Kindred girl comes to us for beautiful prints.

Georgie: It’s actually sexy-pretty.

Lizzie: And yeah it’s actually a pretty aesthetic. [We know] they’re coming to us for florals and lace. We have some darker colours. We’ve got black [in the collection] which is still in a floral. We’ve got black in there these days.

Georgie: And the trimmings also.

Lizzie: Yeah. Beautiful intricate details. We’re primarily a dress brand, but we’re trying to train our customer to realise that yes, you can wear a really gorgeous dress that you might wear to a wedding or engagement party to the office with trainers if you want. You don’t have to compartmentalise your wardrobe so much. That’s certainly how we get dressed up. I look like I’m going to a wedding most days when I do the school drop off.

How has the Kindred Girl evolved over the years?

Lizzie: She’s kind of growing with us.

Georgie: Cooler, I think.

Lizzie: I feel like the Kindred girl is not really a particular age. It’s more of a mindset. We appeal to teenagers going to their formals, to mothers in their forties.

It’s an amazing market to have.

Lizzie: Yeah. So we do feel like mums and daughters go shopping at Kindred together and they can both find something.

How do you balance that?

Lizzie: Essentially, we’re always designing for us.

Georgie: For us. Pretty much.

Lizzie: I’m in my early forties, Georgie is in her thirties. The teams are in their twenties and thirties. So twenties, thirties, forties. So we don’t sit down and go oh what would mother of the bride want? What would a girl going to a school formal want? But it does seem to translate. Which is good. So it is quite a broad demographic. Which is what we want.

How did your fashion journey begin?

Georgie: Well, as kids we used to talk about it. We didn’t ever think it would actually.

Lizzie: And Georgie studied fashion design, and I worked in women’s magazines for ages. We both had very happy careers in the corporate world. Circumstances changed and we thought oh well let’s just [start a brand. It’s surprised me. I didn’t think that I would like working for myself this much, but Georgie’s got an 8-month old and I’ve got a six and a four-year-old.

Georgie: Flexibility is amazing.

Lizzie: As well as how amazing it is to be building a brand from scratch and to have an amazing team around us and all of those things. It’s just amazing to not have that mother guilt. Because we’re still doing both.

Georgie: Yeah. Pick up the kids at 3:00 if we have to. So that’s amazing

Lizzie: So that’s definitely important. But the journey, you know, we combined our skill sets.

Georgie: [It] happened organically.

Lizzie: We combined our skill sets, and thank god-

Georgie: There’s no way. I couldn’t have done it without her.

Lizzie: And I couldn’t have done it without you.

What’s it like working as sisters? 

Georgie: Oh. It’s amazing.

Is it hard?

Georgie: No.

Lizzie: It’s great. We annoy each other a little bit sometimes. But not-

Georgie: You can kind of go …. So far.

Lizzie: And the big issues we always agree. Which is on the important things. We always agree. And because we’re sisters and we’re best friends. We just –

Georgie: In sync. We communicate very well.

Lizzie: She’s the only person I could do this with. (laughs)

Georgie: I know I’m the only person you could do this with. (laughs)

Lizzie: Definitely.

You teamed up with Vittoria Coffee again on their Fashion Series this year, which is exciting. 

Lizzie: Yeah. Vittoria have been incredible to us. They started supporting us before we even launched actually.

Georgie: Yeah.

Lizzie: They helped us with our launch party. They have a really great grasp on how the two industries can merge. They’ve been so supportive, and it’s really great to see something like we used to create in garments [on coffee cups] because we’re all print brand. We start every collection with our prints. That’s how we actually start designing. It kind of makes perfect sense for us that we’ve teamed up with a brand where the print is key.

What was the inspiration behind these prints on the cups?

Lizzie: The Kindred girl comes to us to feel pretty – when we got a pretty dress on when feeling good then-

Georgie: Then you feel better.

Lizzie: -much nicer people. And I think [our inspiration was] things like walking through the Parisian gardens. And it’s just really beautiful and pretty. And like yes you have your coffee and you can pick them up at your local coffee store. But then you bring them back-

Georgie: And put pens in them.

Lizzie: You can put pens in them on your desk or you can put flowers in them. They’re really beautiful.

As part of the Vittoria Coffee fashion series you also did the behind the scenes photo shoot with fashion photographer Sonny Vandevelde. What was that like?

Lizzie: I’ve known Sonny for years. Shooting backstage and everything. So when they were like oh yeah Sonny’s going to shoot. [I thought] Oh that’ll be fun. And he takes such gorgeous pictures.

Georgie: Was fun.

Lizzie: He takes such gorgeous pictures. But they’re all supermodels.

Georgie: Like having our pictures taken. It was actually amazing. We were like oh.

Lizzie: And because he’s used to shooting on the fly backstage, it was really —

Georgie: Jumping up and down.

Lizzie: But yeah it was great. It really captured a moment. It was nice.

I can’t wait to see your show.

Lizzie & Georgie: Thank you so much.

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

 

Videography: Ash Larden 

Video brought to you by Vittoria Coffee. 

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate at Australian Fashion Week: Camilla and Marc

13th May, 2018

Brother and sister design duo Camilla and Marc Freeman have seen great success since the launch of their brand in 2003. Their namesake label is now stocked in Australia and internationally at major retailers such as David Jones, Saks Fifth Avenue and Net-a-Porter. Additionally they have also launched a diffusion line C&M, which comprises off duty pieces and swimwear. It has now been 15 years since they first showed at Australian Fashion Week, and this year, Camilla and Marc are opening this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) and I for one cannot wait to see their latest collection. I caught up with Camilla and Marc at their Sydney studio ahead of MBFWA to chat about what Fashion Week means to them and what we can expect from this Resort collection.

So guys are opening Fashion Week. Are you excited? How are you feeling?

Camilla: Excited. There’s a nice little hum in the office. Everyone’s really looking forward to it. The energy is definitely at a high.

Marc: We’re busy and there’s a nice, frenetic energy. But we’re organised and focused, and extremely excited to be opening the week.

What does it mean to you to open the week?

Marc: It’s really an honour. We’ve been in the industry now for a little while, so to be able to [show] at the beginning of the week is a huge honour.

What does Fashion Week mean to you guys? Why is it so important to show?

Marc: I think we love being able to put our range on the runway. To be able to present our vision in a immersive experience, to our customers, to our buyers, and to the media. So Fashion Week is really important to us, to be able to share that message.

Camilla: And not just that. I think also to be able to show all of those people the way that we would style the collection. That’s really important.

What can we expect to see on the runway?

Camilla: Some exciting things happening. We’ve been working on the show for about six to eight months. The set is going to be, as Marc said, a fully immersive experience. And the collection is looking beautiful. [Vogue Australia Fashion Director] Christine Centenera is flying in to style it.

Oh, wow. Fantastic.

Camilla: So we’ve got some exciting styling touches coming from her. And some interesting new silhouettes. And the rest, you’ll see.

What was your inspiration behind this collection?

Camilla: The resort collection was inspired by a strong, forward thinking woman. Which drove us from the very beginning, and it’s continued to do so. And you’ll see that on the runway.

How would you describe the Camilla & Marc woman?

Camilla: She’s strong, she’s effortless, confident. She is sensual and feminine as well. I think those two words are really important here, with the confident woman that I described before.

So as a brother and sister duo, is that easy working together or does it find its challenges as well?

Marc: Surprisingly easy… I think we’re very close, both in age and as individuals, so we find having a working relationship to be effortless. While the business of running a business and daily life are hectic, I think being able to rely on someone – your sister —

Camilla: [Someone you] trust implicitly.

Marc: Yeah, that you trust implicitly makes business a little bit easier

Have you always shared the same vision?

Camilla: Very much so. But we’ve got different strengths so that’s, I think, part of it. That’s part of the magic.

Marc: I think we share the same vision, but we often look at it ibn a slightly different way.

Camilla: Different angles.

Marc: So think that allows us to achieve our vision in a better way. In a more considerate, powerful, and better executed way.

What do you think is the secret to your success?

Camilla: I think trust is definitely one. We have an incredible team around us, who have been supportive in helping us build the business that we have today. And we wouldn’t be here without them. And each other.

Marc: A lot of hard work…But it’s shared vision and a great team that allows us to achieve it all.

You’ve had some pretty incredible celebrities wear your outfits. Is there one that stands out in your mind?

Camilla: Do you know what, we get often asked this question. And just seeing anyone and everyone—whoever is wearing our pieces—makes us feel really happy. There isn’t one person that we’ve gone, “That’s our dream.” It’s really been daily, weekly, monthly, when we were out and about and we see someone wearing one of our pieces or carrying one of our shopping bags. That’s the good stuff for me.

And do you tell them that it’s your brand?

Camilla: Yes. Well, I was just saying…The other day I was at a function and there was this beautiful woman wearing one of our Emory dresses from the current collection, and I went up to her and I said, “You look absolutely radiant. You look beautiful.” And she was so happy, and it’s nice when you can, you know…touch someone like that.

What is the most satisfying part about having a successful brand?

Camilla: I think there’s a lot of things. Being able to wake up every day and know that you’re going to a place that you absolutely love to go. And see the people, and the people that are around us, they really inspire us—inspire me—every day.

If you could have anyone wear your brand, who would you dress?

Camilla: Honestly, again like we were saying before, there isn’t one person. It’s just – it’s the journey of seeing people, you know? That’s what makes it worthwhile.

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

Camilla: I think that it’s the opposite. It’s not challenges, it’s we are so far removed from everywhere else in the world. I actually think that we have advantages. We’ve got an amazing landscape that inspire us every day. We’re ahead of everybody.

That’s true.

Camilla: In terms of timezone, and really the only downside is you lose a day when you fly back from wherever you’ve been. Apart from that, I feel like there’s more pluses than negatives.

Marc: I think Australia is a really fortunate place. I think we’ve got quite an affluent country. And people love fashion here. So I think while we are long way away from the rest of the world, I think we have an amazing country that really embraces Australian designers…So we’ve been fortunate to be able to build a really strong business in our backyard.

Do you think living in Australia influences your brand?

Camilla: Certainly. I think the landscape, number one. Light. Colour. It definitely affects our decisions when we’re going through the design process and choosing colours. When you look at say, London life versus Australian life, it’s just so different.

Marc: And likewise, we get to travel a lot. So I think being an Australian, everyone travels. Just to go anywhere is far, whether it’s in Australia or outside of Australia. I think by virtue of the way we live geographically, we get to experience the world and learn by the world. We come from an English lineage, but we really are a melting pot for all nationalities globally. So I think there is a unique lifestyle happening in Sydney, in Australia, that influences us on a daily basis.

What’s been your biggest career highlight so far?

Camilla: So far, I would say this. There isn’t one. Every day is a journey for us. Every day we are continuing to enjoy, inspire, be challenged. It’s just a continuous journey. I think we are so privileged to be able to do what we do and be able to love what we do, that I just…Every day is a highlight, and it continues.

Marc: Yeah, I was going to say It’s a journey. And that’s what we love about having our own business; that we’re able to go on that journey, and particularly go on that together. The two of us and with our team. So I think there’s no specific one, but it’s the small things that really get us excited.

What’s your number one styling tip? 

Camilla: Don’t even start to get dressed until you feel fantastic about yourself. Then when you’ve put all those pieces on, just make sure you’re comfortable, because that’s the most important thing, I think. Every woman should feel confident and comfortable and beautiful in their own skin.

What’s the number one wardrobe essential?

Camilla: A fabulously tailored blazer.

What is your favourite piece from the runway [current collection]?

Camilla: I do. I have a jade Lurex funnel neck top and skirt, that I just can’t wait to wear. And I can’t wear it until the runway is done, so it will be one of my first outfits that I wear.

Do you only ever wear Camilla & Marc?

Camilla: I wear lots of Camilla & Marc, but I definitely wear other brands. I like to mix it up. And then there are days where I’m head to toe.

Where do you see Camilla & Marc in five years time?

Camilla: Continuing to evolve. Continuing to do what we do. Continuing to try and be better at what we do.

 

Fashion Week Five:

Shows I attended: Camilla and Marc
Location: Royal Hall of Industries
Fave show: Camilla and Marc of course!
Biggest trend I saw: Oversized silhouettes, tailoring, pastel prints and striking tailored blazers
The highlight of the day: Seeing Victoria’s Secret model Georgia Fowler on the runway in a green metallic dress. And the set— the transformation of the The Royal Hall of Industries into an Australian desert environment was incredible.

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Elle Halliwell

6th May, 2018

I first met journalist now author, Elle Halliwell when we worked together at The Sunday Telegraph. Given her writing talents it was no surprise to hear that Elle was releasing her own book, A Mother’s Choice. The inspiring story centres on Elle’s diagnosis with cancer in 2016 and not long after finding out she was pregnant with her first child. It was then that she had to make the impossible choice of having life-saving cancer treatment straight away or keeping her unborn baby. I recently caught up with Elle in Sydney to chat about how she feels sharing her story, dealing with motherhood and her illness and why she doesn’t really plan too far into the future anymore.

Congratulations on your book! Tell me the inspiration behind it.

In 2016, I was diagnosed with leukaemia. Chronic myeloid leukaemia. And then two days later, I found out that I was pregnant after taking a pregnancy test at home that I had lying around. That put me in a very rare group of people when I had to decide whether to keep my baby and delay the life-saving treatment that had come onto the market only about a decade before or terminate my child and take the drugs straight away.

Me and my husband had been wanting a baby and we were planning to start trying. So for us it was a bit of a miracle that we’d fallen pregnant because we weren’t trying. For it to come at such a terrible time was quite heartbreaking. And it took a lot of time and angst trying to decide what we were going to do. But in the end, I felt that if he could survive in a body that had cancer then I had to give the baby the benefit of the doubt and continue with the pregnancy for as long as I could.

And you know, he was a strong little baby. He beat the odds, and I guess I beat the odds as well. And we both came out of it well. A few months after I had him and was just settling into motherhood, I was approached and they asked me if I’d be willing to share my story with Australia and I said sure.

It was actually really cathartic for me to revisit all of those moments and relive them. Because I think when you’re in that moment, it can be quite emotional and you often can’t look at it from a different perspective. I’m really excited to now be able to share it with everybody.

What was it like when you had to make that choice of what to do?

Oh, it was so hard.

What went through your mind?

Is this going to kill me? Will this be the last chance I have to ever have a baby? You know, how is my family going to react when I told them that I’m going to try and keep the baby. That was a tough one.

How did they react?

Everyone was so supportive, which was great. But they were all a bit scared for me. They didn’t really know much about [the cancer] and I think the unknown was quite terrifying for everybody. But they respected mine and [my husband] Nick’s choices which I really appreciate. Having the support of family and work really made me feel confident with the choice that I made.

What motivated to keep you going through such a difficult time?

My baby. I thought, if he’s strong enough to stay there and fight, then I’m strong enough to fight for him. The more I grew, the more he grew and the longer the pregnancy went. It was like, the motherhood hormones kicked in and I just became a woman on a mission. It just became a lot easier to back up my decision.

How has motherhood changed you?

I’m a completely different person. I don’t know whether that’s motherhood or also coming to terms with the cancer diagnosis. I think it’s a little bit of both. I think I’m a lot more sensitive than I was. But I’m also a lot stronger. I know myself more. I have stronger convictions, and I think that I’m more aligned with my values.

Was it hard to be so honest in your book?

Yes, it was like someone’s published my personal diary. I am really nervous about how people will respond to it. But I also feel proud of myself for pouring my heart out in these pages. And that’s just me in a nutshell. I think every one of my family members who has read the books says it’s me. It’s written very authentically. So I’m really proud of that.

How are you today?

I’ve reached a major molecular response, which is where the cancer levels are so low they’re nearly undetectable. So 0.0051. And that’s down from about I think 27 or 29 percent. So that’s kind of the percent of cancer cells that was in my body at any time. So that’s a real relief that the medication’s working.

Do you have to continue treatment?

Every three months I go to the doctor and I get tested. And every time I go I’m hopeful that I’m going to get [the result of] undetectable. And I haven’t yet. So that’s a bit disappointing. But I think this is my year where it’s going to be undetectable. And then once that happens then I can start to look forward to maybe trying to go off the drugs. That’s the plan.

Oh that’s amazing. You’re such an inspiration. I think this book is going to be such an inspiring story for everyone.

I hope so. I think it’s like, anyone who’s been a mum and has had cancer or even had someone who has cancer can relate to some of the feelings.

How do you juggle having a career and being a mum to a toddler?

It’s hard, as you know too well. And especially the days where I’m just so exhausted. The medication knocks me around a bit. But I’ve got great support. From family and friends and things like that. And I know my limits better now. If I’m overexerting myself I just have to stop. Those days where you just really start to feel like you can cope with it. You look at them or they do something that’s just so cute. They give you a hug or a kiss and it gives you this boost of energy and love and it makes it feel like everything is worth it.

You’ve had an amazing career on top of all of this, what has been your biggest career highlight?

I think it must be launching this book. It’s something that I never thought that I’d ever do. So that’s been really great. I mean, the circumstances around it aren’t ideal but I still feel it’s an achievement. Especially considering how I was feeling writing it. I think there’s so much more that I want to do. I I’m studying naturopathy and health coaching.

Tell me a bit about that.

Oh, I absolutely love it. It’s really tough, learning anatomy and physiology is just a whole new world for me. But it’s amazing. And I’m learning so much more about my own health, my own body. And I want to use that as a launch pad to make sure that me and my family are as healthy as possible. But also hopefully to be able to share what I’ve learnt with other women who are dealing with an illness or chronic illness and a new baby or dealing with motherhood and trying to balance that. And also maintain their own health and wellbeing.

Is that something that you want to focus more on, even though you’ve still got your career in journalism?

I’d love to be able to write a bit more about health and wellness. I’m going to hopefully use my writing and journalism skills but I just wanted to have a foundation of knowledge. And of course I love entertainment and fashion. It’s always going to be a big passion of mine. But this is a whole new world that’s opened up for me. Who knows if I can balance it all, if I can juggle it all, but you have to try, right?

What’s your number one styling tip? Especially for being a busy mum.

Having a great foundation wardrobe is key.

What’s in that foundation wardrobe?

It’s all very basic. I’ve pretty much got a uniform now. I’m a big fan of the uniform, and it’s generally a white or a blue shirt and black pants or black jeans. And the same colour t-shirts of grey, white and black. I really just interchange them all during the week. It just takes one more choice out of your day. So you don’t really have to think about it. Myy biggest mum hack is just having a really neutral wardrobe so that you can shop and change without walking out of the house and going oh my gosh, why am I wearing a green T-shirt with pink pants?!

What’s your key wardrobe essential?

A grey cashmere jumper.

What advice would you give if you met someone who was going down the same path as you were?

Accept help when it’s offered. That was one thing. I thought that I was invincible and that I didn’t need any help. But I did. And people are so willing to help you when you need it. So just say yes. Let people do your washing, you know, when you’re still in shock about being diagnosed. And let them make your dinner.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Five years’ time I see myself hopefully with another baby.

Is that on the horizon at all?

Maybe. If I can get down to undetectable that would be the dream…

It’s highly encouraged [to get down to undetectable] because the outcome of patients who stay on the medication longer have a better chance. So the longer I wait, the better. But you know, biological clock is also ticking, so we’ll have to figure it out. I might be able to try and go off them, and then have a baby and go back on them if my levels go up again. So it’s all very much a juggle. We’ll just have to take it as it comes.

But to be honest, I don’t look that far ahead anymore. I used to always think in 10 years’ time what am I going to be doing? And now I live very much week to week, month to month. And I think that’s what happens when all of a sudden your life can suddenly just go out of your hands. So I just feel a lot less in control of my destiny, and not in a bad way. But I’m just very much willing to just leave it in the hands of the universe.

Bitesize

We went to: Cafe Sydney

We drank: Signature Ice Teas

We ate: Cured salmon belly, bug tail, crispy salmon skin, avocado, finger lime, salmon roe;  Green salad with pear, herbs, olive oil and verjuice

Elle wore Zimmerman top and pants

Kate wore a Uniqlo top and Camilla and Marc vest.

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Samantha Jade

22nd April, 2018

Catching up with Samantha Jade at Sydney’s China Doll

From winning The X-Factor in 2012 to a stint on Home and Away, playing Kylie Minogue in the television mini-series INXS: Never Tear Us Apart and touring with One Direction, Samantha Jade certainly knows how to excel in multiple artistic endeavours. Having already released two albums, Samantha Jade and Nine, the singer, songwriter and actress’s third record titled Best of My Love has just dropped. An album filled with disco anthems, Samantha Jade says it’s a “tribute to amazing, powerful women who in the disco era became really comfortable with their sexuality”. Here she chats to me about writing songs, dealing with crazy rumours and the strangest thing she’s ever read about herself.

What are you up to at the moment?

It’s funny with music because you make the record and you’re behind the scenes completely [in the]. studio and you’re writing. You don’t have to think about anything because you’re just in this emotional place. So now I’m in that zone of promoting and publicity and performing and actually learning the words properly, learning how to sing it, and learning choreography. So it’s really fun.

Tell me about your new album.

It’s my third album, which is pretty cool to say that I made it to three. The first one obviously was X-Factor, and it was a bit of a postcard from the show. And then the second one I wrote every song, and it was really deep and about my mum [who passed away]. And then this one now is fun. It’s all disco classics that we’ve remade. It’s a bit of a tribute to amazing, powerful women who in the disco era, became really comfortable with their sexuality and being a solo female artist.

So the album’s called Best of My Love. Where did the name come from?

So basically, Best of My Love is that song, “Got the best of my love,” which I’ve always loved. You see it in so many movies and a lot of people have remade it. There are so many disco love songs so you have to pick and choose and that one was my favourite. And to me, it’s the sentiment of the record. You know, giving you the best of my love and being happy.

What a fun album! So what’s a typical day for you?

Lately it’s been insane. We are finishing up all the things with the record, all the ads that we’ve done for TV, and we’re making music videos and obviously all the promo going along with it. A typical day is probably flying in or flying out, and then going straight to rehearsals…along with other side projects that we have going on.

What is the best part about what you do?

I think the travelling is amazing. I get to see the world, which is so great. It’s never for a long time…but I try and extend a little so I can see a bit [of the place I’m visiting]. And meeting great people. Even the ladies I’ve just been working with, Kate Ceberano and the Veronicas and Dami [Im] and Amy Shark and so many great people that I get to talk to about music.

What’s the worst part about what you have to do?

It’s very rare to have time off. I think the weird hours too. If you are writing a song you can be there for like three days and haven’t gotten it yet, so you stay there trying to get it. Especially with choreography, that is hours and hours of time. My family are in Perth, so it’s hard not seeing them.

Do you get a feeling when you know you’ve got the song right?

Yes, there’s a feeling. When we wrote “Firestarter,” which is one of my songs from ages ago, we wrote it, and we knew. And we wrote that in like an hour so it was a pretty fast one which is really rare.

Really? That is amazing. What is the process when you’re writing a song?

I always try to write from personal experience, so it depends what you are doing through at the time. If you are really in love and everything’s going great, you are going to write really happy music. If you are going through break-up, it’s going to be really sad. But, at the same time, it depends on the track, because chords make you feel different things. Minor chords make you feel sad and moody and then major chords make you feel happy, and so, it’s very dependent on the track.

If you had never gone down this career path, what would you be doing?

I love doing make up, so I have a make-up range and I would probably do something [with makeup]. But then I love children, so I would probably love to teach music or singing, maybe have my own little singing school.

Seeing as you have a love of makeup, what are your top beauty products that we need to know about?

Well, I think it’s really important to have a good moisturiser. I think that is something people forget.

Our delicious meal

What do you use?

It’s a French moisturiser [I found] when I was in Paris and I was obsessed with it. It’s Embryolisse and they’ve got a mattifying one and just a moisturising one. On the T-zone I use the mattifying one. It’s never oily and your makeup goes on beautifully over it.

And I have actually found this amazing thing by a brand called The Ordinary. It is cheap, it is easy to get, it is called Caffeine Solution and I dab it under my eyes.

What is your number one fashion tip?

My mum gave me this advice and she used to say that Coco Chanel said, “Always take one thing off before you leave the house”. And I agree…I love simplicity.

Then what would be your wardrobe essentials?

A good black blazer. That’s my uniform for myself every day, like I can wear a T-shirt, with a blazer and blue jeans. But a good blazer that fits on the arms, I think. Those big baggy ones I am not into. And a really good pair of jeans. A good pair of high waisted jeans. Never ever go with straight.

Where is your number one holiday destination?

Well it’s changed, ’cause I just did the whole Europe thing last year and I went to Santorini, and I loved it. I always suggest to stay at Sand de le Hierarch. It is known as crazy. Also I just love the Amalfi Coast. It is so beautiful.

Do you enjoy life in the spotlight?

I do and I don’t. I mean, it’s always hard to read things about yourself that aren’t true and not you have to defend yourself, but at the same time, I have learned to deal with that. If my dad is happy with me, and my brothers, and my important people then I’m doing OK.

What’s the funniest thing you have ever read about yourself?

Oh gosh, I read something about hair from a fan that I keep. That was funny, and then that I was dating Niall from One Direction, for like a year, on and off.

Always great chatting to this lovely lady

How did they get that?

Well, only ’cause I knew him, but I knew him because we did a tour together, and his cousin actually lives in Melbourne, who I know. He’s so young, he’s like my brother’s age, and I was no, god no!

You’ve been with your partner [music exec Pat Handlin] for awhile. How is it having a relationship when you’re in the spotlight?

I’m lucky, ’cause he totally gets it, and he’s totally supportive, so he’s just a dream. But it is hard, because it’s hard to see each other. I mean, he’s always working too, so we have to have date nights.

What’s the secret, do you think?

Making time, and going, “OK, we’re going to hang out now and not have our phones”. So at dinner but we put our phones away.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I hope I have a baby. I love kids. Love them. And my best friend, Julesy, she has two babies who I am obsessed with. I hope I still work in music, because these days it’s really a big accomplishment to still be in the music industry, so I hope that I’m still here.

Do you have a career highlight?

Winning an ARIA was a big one to be standing up there with a reward, that is voted by your peers. Probably that, and I think Nine coming out, ’cause I wrote that album for my mum, and I think that she would have, I never got to play it to her, but I did play her a lovely song while she was in hospital. So that coming out, knowing that she liked some of it.

Bite Size

We went to: China Doll

We drank: Cocktails – “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Mandarin & Kaffir Lime Spritz”

We ate: Cured Hiramasa Kingfish with Avocado & Jicama; Wontons – Pork Prawn & Shiitake with Black Vinegar & Soy; Corn & Zucchini Cakes with Coriander Chilli Sambal; Spicy Sour Assam Fish Curry with Pineapple & Tomato

SAMANTHA JADE WORE a Elliatt suit with a Tuchuzy Chosen top, Tony Bianco heels and Christie Nicolaides earrings

I WORE a Seed Top and Skirt

Photography & Videography: Ashleigh Larden

On the 9th of May, Head Chef Frank Shek at China Doll will head to restaurant China Lane and join Kristian Vale (Head Chef) to cook up an incredible banquet style dinner. Book here: http://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/china-doll-china-lane-celebrate-20-years/103346 

 

 

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate: Kate Ritchie

18th March, 2018

Kate Waterhouse Date with Kate with Kate Ritchie at Meat and Wine Co at Barangaroo

Whilst we all grew up with her on our screen as Sally Fletcher on Home and Away, Kate Ritchie has come a long way from her acting days. She’s currently co-hosting the radio drive show Kate, Tim and Marty on Nova; she’s about to release a new children’s book all while juggling ambassador duties with underwear brand, Jockey. I recently sat down with Kate in Sydney where we spoke about oversharing on radio, why bad underwear can ruin your day and the one person she would love to play on screen.

Tell me what’s a day in the life of you.

I am very lucky at the moment working at Nova and doing drive radio. It is nice to be able to have a little more say over how my day’s scheduled rather than being handed a schedule and being told where to be every minute.

So some mornings I’ll be doing a day like today, which I suppose is full of press and then other days I’ll be taking [my daughter] Mae to swimming or soccer and usually I head into the studio at about 2 o’clock. And then we just do the show from four till six. It could be the greatest job in the world except that I have to work with Tim and Marty. Everything else about it is fantastic.

What do you think is the secret to being successful person on radio?

I think learning to share and to be yourself a little more. I’ve spoken a lot about that about having come from an acting background, coming into radio. The main challenge was just learning to be myself and find my own voice. That was kinda tricky to start with. I think that there is still an element of you being a different version of yourself or a particular version of yourself on air.

How do you draw that line being in the public eye and keeping some things personal?

I think it’s experience. I think you work that out and I’m a firm believer in following your instincts and what my gut tells me. And I think that if I feel as though I’m oversharing my body will instantly tell me that I’ve done that and I just don’t do that again. I spent more than 20 years really acting and rehearsing everything within an inch of its life. So it’s a lovely freedom to work in radio.

Do you prefer acting?

Yeah I do. I think acting is what’s in my heart. It’s not something I trained to do or chose even. It was just always what I did and so I think there’s a real sentimental attachment to it. It goes beyond any job I’ll probably ever do. I had such a nice experience there that I think that everything is connected to me far deeper than anything else that I’ll ever do.

Do you think you’ll ever revisit your Home and Away character, Sally Fletcher? 

No, I don’t think so and that is no disrespect to Home and Away. And they haven’t asked me. I’d like to think the door’s always open. But I think the older I get and the further away from the show I am I start to realise that that chapter in my life is over. And that’s okay. I think that if I try to recreate it or to revisit it, it will never be the same because it’s not the same show that it was when I was there. Like any workplace, they change and they evolve and to go back and expect it to be 1996 again is ridiculous.

Tell me about your new Jockey campaign.

Well, big pants are back. Which is good news for us I think. So the campaign is “She wears the pants,” and I guess what it’s really about is encouraging women to feel confident and great, but also feel comfortable and it’s been a really lovely campaign to be part of. I feel silly talking about it sometimes, but we all know how your day can actually be ruined if you’re wearing the wrong underwear.

This is my second collection with Jockey, being the ambassador of course. I’m approached to do lots of things all the time and really when I look at it, maybe even 12 months ago, if someone had said that I’d be the ambassador for Jockey underwear donning not much more than my knickers, and a t-shirt, I would have said that they were crazy.

How has motherhood changed you?

In every way. Mae will be four in August, and it always sounds so corny when you say it, but it’s really the greatest achievement in my life. She brings so much joy to my life and puts things into perspective for me, more than anything. And she’s also taught patience and to be more present.

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

Well, I’m not saying I’m the most stylish woman in the world, but I think that I’m always at my most stylish when it’s an outfit that I’ve completely chosen from head to toe. I think my style has always been probably a little conservative, but it’s about comfort and what I’m doing for the day. I’m usually dressed in denim and sneakers and sweatshirt or a shirt. You know, I love shirts and things like that. And I’ve got my gum boots on in the garden.

What are your favourite things to do with Mae?

Play in the garden. Look for fairies. She’s going through a period at the moment where everything’s role play. So I often have to be the baby and she’s the mother and I’m crawling up the stairs at 7 a.m., being a baby and pretending to cry because she has to go to work. And so you start to realise, when they start to role play, it’s a mirror of your life. They are watching and absorbing everything that you are doing. She really likes to cook and is really interested in cooking so we cook with her a lot. It’s a big part of our life as well, I suppose, so it’s nice that she’s involved.

What’s your go-to dish?

I eat a lot of fish, like ocean trout. I eat everything. That’s half my problem. Like I love all the really bad things. I don’t have a sweet tooth necessarily, but I like, meats and cheese and all that stuff that the Heart Foundation would be telling me not to eat, probably. But, yeah, I think I find food too is about cooking and cooking for other people and entertaining.

Kate Waterhouse Date with Kate with Kate Ritchie at Meat and Wine Co Barangaroo

Tell me about your children’s book.

I do have a new one. Kind of under wraps for the moment, but it is inspired by the little person in my life again. And I’m thinking it’s probably set for about August release. I suppose, going back to talking about my schedule with Nova, one of the great things about having a job like that is that I can do all these other bits and pieces.

What inspired you to write a book?

I always wanted to write and in fact many years ago, even the writers on Home and Away encouraged me to come in and sit in on meetings and learn to write, but the HSC got in the way of that. And so I never really developed that skill properly, but I’ve written so many things over the years. Ultimately I’d like to write teen books, but I think maybe this is just me feeling my way through. I mean, children’s literature, that world I have never obviously been involved with before, until I wrote my first book when Mae was born. And it’s such a nurturing, lovely environment.

Does Mae listen to you on the radio?

She does, she does. We were driving down the freeway on Saturday morning and she saw me on a billboard and she said, “Oh, that’s you, Mummy.” I said, “Yes.” I said, “Mae, why is your mummy on a big poster like that?” She said, “Because your job.” And I thought, “Well, it’s exactly right,” but it’s a strange, strange little existence, you know? I think that, she knows I work on the radio and she knows I work with a Tim and Marty, but thankfully she doesn’t know much more than that.

What has been your career highlight?

Really, I don’t know. I think when I first left Home and Away and I joined Merrick and Rosso straight away, but during that first year, I think it was, I was asked to do Underbelly, and I really loved doing that. And I think for me too, it’s marked an acceptance by some people within the industry that they were prepared to give me a go at doing something else. So that was probably up there, me feeling as though, “Oh, maybe I’ve made a right decision,”

Kate Waterhouse Date with Kate with Kate Ritchie at Meat and Wine Co Barangaroo

If you could play any role, what would it be? 

I’d probably say the Duchess of Cambridge. But I think that might be just because I want to be the Duchess of Cambridge. Then I think, maybe I want to be Princess Mary. I’m like, “No. Hey, there’s a running theme here. You just want to be a princess.” I think it must be some childhood fantasy kind of thing.

What’s next in the pipeline for you?

I’m busy with the Jockey campaign, that will roll out over the next three months, and then the launch of my children’s book later in the year, and having to drag myself into the studio five days a week. Everything’s kind of bubbling along nicely.

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

Over the last year or so, the biggest piece of advice I’m trying to give myself is to just kind of quieten things. You know, that inner dialogue, and worry, and I think maybe that’s why I like to be in the garden. When I’m there, it’s the only time I ever really feel present.

If you hadn’t gone down the acting career path, what would you be doing?

I always thought I wanted to be an architect or a vet, but that would have involved getting incredibly high marks. I still did okay, considering I was only at school two days a week. I’ve been doing it for so long, I don’t have any idea. But I am glad, I’m happy with the way life has turned out. It’s been lovely. I think the universe has looked after me beautifully.

Bitesize: 

We went to: The Meat & Wine Co – Barangaroo

We drank: Red wine

We ate: Tasting plate: Szechuan calamari, pork belly, bruschetta and croquette; Shorthorn Fillet with farm salad – cos, pomegranate, cucumber, onion, radish and vinaigrette. 

Photography: Ashleigh Larden

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Roxy Jacenko

18th February, 2018

Roxy Jacenko is the epitome of a woman who knows how to juggle a millions things and make it look effortless. Not only is she at the helm of three successful businesses – Sweaty Better PR, The Ministry of Talent and Pixie’s Bows, she’s also an ambassador for several brands including ENJO, Toni & Guy and Stan Australia, and has released her own self tanner, Roxy Tan and a range of healthy salads with Sydney institution Chargrill Charlie’s. Oh and she’s also a busy wife and mum of two. Here I chat with Roxy about the key to her success, her secrets to looking amazing and the one thing she wishes she could tell her younger self…

What is a day in the life of you?

Every day is different. It’s filled with site visits, client meetings, new business pitches, thousands of emails and ambassador requirements.

You look amazing! What does your exercise regime look like? 

I am happy with where I am at now in terms of weight and tone. I was up and down for about a year and got to a point where I was OBSESSED which is never a good thing.

I think it’s about finding a balance between eating well and training. I love resistance training and TRX – cardio and I are NOT a match!

How do you stay motivated to keep fit and look so amazing? 

I train with Ben Lucas at [Sydney’s] Flow Athletic once a week and then the other two days a week with Ryan Cairns. Fitness isn’t an option for me, after [having] breast cancer it’s an essential part of life.

Roxy starring in the campaign for RoxyTan, her collaboration with brand Skinny Tan

What were your new year’s resolutions for 2018? Have you stuck to them?

I don’t do NY resolutions. Never have!

How do you juggle such a busy career and motherhood? 

I have an amazing support network who help me with Pixie and Hunter daily. My mum lives above me and is also wonderful in terms in helping me with special projects within the business. Oli is a great dad and allows me to be able to manage work more efficiently.

What is your favourite thing about being a mum to Pixie and Hunter?

They make a bad day good when you open the door to their smiling faces!

Roxy Jacenko with husband Oli and children Pixie and Hunter

Roxy with her husband Oli and children Pixie an Hunter

How did you come up with the flavour combination for the range of salads you’ve released with Chargrill Charlie’s?

Initially I did research on ingredients, I wanted to provide nutrient rich salads that were not only visually pleasing but good for you AND filling!

I worked closely with the team at Chargrill Charlie’s to refine these key ingredients and come up with the finished (three) salads. The Clean and Lean range actually took a good four months to develop and each was seriously critiqued on taste, nutritional value and visual appeal!

Roxy Jacenko's range of Chargrill Charlie's salads

Roxy’s range of salads with Chargrill Charlie’s

What is your indulgent food that you must have?

Killer Python DAILY!

What are you most proud of in your life so far?

My children, Pixie and Hunter and my businesses, Sweaty Betty PR, The Ministry of Talent and Pixie’s Bows all of which I have built from scratch.

Career-wise, what is the key to your success?

Hard work, risk taking, breaking the rules and always looking for what’s next.

What do you find most challenging about a life in the spotlight?

I don’t really look at it like that. I am grateful for the opportunities that I have afforded from all that has happened in my life. It’s not challenging, it’s just life!

Roxy speaking at a Roxy's Tips and Tricks event

Roxy says life in the spotlight is “just life”

Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self? 

Save more and fast cars depreciate FAST!

Where do you see Sweaty Betty in five years time? 

Who knows, with the way my life goes, what happens tomorrow could be a surprise.

What is your favourite way to spend a weekend? 

At home with my kids and Oli.