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Fashion, Fashion & Beauty

Designer items that will never go out of style

17th October, 2020


Investment purchases often have a few more zeros in the price tag than your average chain store buy but when you factor in the longevity and its cost per wear you’re definitely getting a bargain. I’ve spoken in the past about my approach to buying designer goods that you won’t regret, but there are definitely certain pieces that will forever remain stylish. Add these to your wardrobe and I promise you’ll have a long and happy relationship.

Burberry trench

If you’re going to splurge on a trench coat make it one by Burberry. The coat was designed by Thomas Burberry for military personnel in World War One to keep officers protected against wind and rain and the design has been around ever since. The hardware and fabrication are of course top notch but one glimpse of the iconic checked lining sets this trench above the rest. I promise a trench coat is one purchase that you will get plenty of use out of all year round. Plus if you’re after a unique touch, Burberry now offer a personalisation service that allows you to monogram the inside of your coat.

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Chanel 2.55 bag

Everyone knows the quilted 2.55 bag by Chanel and whilst its ubiquitous it’s also one of the few designer bags that will not only appreciate in value (research has shown that the bag has increased in value by 70 per cent over the last six years) it’s also the kind of bag that will not date, will go with virtually everything you own and will always be a classic staple that you’ll be proud to carry. It’s a hefty investment I know, but if you’re going to splurge on a designer bag this one is definitely worth considering.

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Cartier LOVE Bracelet

The ultimate in wrist candy the beautiful Cartier LOVE bracelet first came to prominence in the 1970s and has only grown more popular since its inception. Available in a variety of metals including yellow gold or rose gold plus if you’re really looking to splurge there’s also a version studded with diamonds this is one piece of jewellery that you’ll remain in love with.

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Balenciaga moto jacket

I have had my Balenciaga leather jacket for years and its still the kind of piece that has remained in constant rotation in my wardrobe over the years. The perfect moto style jacket is ideal for wearing with everything from dresses to denim. I particularly loved Balenciaga’s design but designers like Saint Laurent, Tom Ford and Acne have all released their own versions of this jacket style. A major splurge it may be but one feel of the buttery leather, the sturdy metal hardware and the perfect fit will inspire instant love.

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Chanel ballet flat

Ballet flats will always be a wardrobe staple but add a pair of interlocking Cs and you venture into try style classic territory. Whilst they’re not the type of shoe that you’d wear daily to run errands (they’re definitely a bit more special than your average ballet flat) they are an easy and stylish footwear option for those days when you just want to take a casual look up a notch. A close runner up in the shoe departmet would be the classic Gucci horsebit loafer. Over 60 years on and it’s still going strong.

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Gucci loafers

First released in 1953, the Gucci loafer has been around for 65 years and whilst it has never ever really gone away it has experienced a huge resurgence in popularity. Whilst the range now encompasses everything from floral print to an array of colours, fur trim and a version with a collapsible heel, this style is a forever shoe. Translation: if you invest in this you’ll be wearing it for the next few decades without it ever dipping in style cred.

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Tell me—which designer items do you think will always be in style?

A chat with suit designer Effie Kats

21st June, 2019
(L-R) Effie Kats, Brooke Boney and Tanya Hennessy

As the founder of her eponymous suit label, Effie Kats knows a thing or two about great suiting. Having dressed everyone from Kelly Rowland to DJ Havana Brown and Sophia Cachia, she was thrilled to be given the opportunity to dress another strong woman: Toy Story’s Bo Peep. As part of the launch of Toy Story 4, Effie reworked Bo Peep’s traditional look into a suit with a thoroughly modern spin, debuting the looks at the launch on herself, the Today’s show’s Brooke Boney and comedian Tanya Hennessy (pic above). Here I spoke to Effie about working with such an iconic movie, the key to a great suit and the one mistake women often makes when it comes to choosing a suit.

What prompted you to want to collaborate with Disney for the launch of Toy Story 4?

I’ve always been such a huge Disney fan so when they approached me it was an instant yes. 

What inspired the design for Bo Peep’s look? 

I took various elements from Bo’s looks; her light pastels, her neckline, the frill on her pants, her cape—there were so many elements to draw from. 

How does it feel to be involved with such a beloved movie series such as Toy Story?

It was a very surreal moment for me, Disney was such a huge part of my childhood so to collaborate with them has been a dream come true for me. 

How long did it take to create Bo Peep’s new looks from start to finish? What’s involved with the process?

All three looks took a total of just under a month. There was a tailoring component for myself and Brooke’s [Boney] suits so they were produced in our overseas tailoring factory and for Tanya’s [Hennessy] look it was pattern made and produced in house by my pattern maker and seamstress. 

What was the catalyst for you starting your own bespoke suiting brand? 

Suiting started to come through in a big way, all the big fashion houses were heavily featuring suits in their collections. I felt there was no one really catering to women in Melbourne for suiting, particularly custom made suits. I’ve managed to capture a niche market. 

What inspires your designs? 

I want women to feel confident and powerful so with each client I meet with I think to myself how can we get maximum impact here? What’s going to make them feel incredible?

How does it feel to see celebs wearing your designs?

It’s a pinch-me moment every time. 

Who is one person you think wears a suit really well?

Gwyneth Paltrow

What are your tips for choosing a suit?

I always look at the quality of construction, the way it sits on the shoulders. I always opt for a slim sleeve (it makes such a huge difference) and of course the fit through the waistline. 

What are some mistakes people should avoid when choosing a suit?

A lot of women go up a size to cater for their bust and then it’s too big and shapeless everywhere else—but that’s the nature of the beast with off the rack suiting! 

What’s been the most challenging thing about starting your label?

Definitely establishing the right in- house team. It’s a process and I’m very lucky to have an incredible pattern maker by my side! 

What drives you?

My passion for the industry and my drive to always evolve and better myself. 

What are three things you can’t live without? 

Day time it’s quite casual and androgynous, night time it’s very clean cut and classic. I can’t live without my vintage Levi’s and my tuxedo blazer!

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What I look for before buying anything designer

1st December, 2018

Nothing beats buying a beautiful designer item but they’re often a significant investment so I always make sure I am strategic about what I’m purchasing to ensure there’s no buyer’s remorse involved. If you’re looking to snap up a special piece to treat yourself or are looking to add some key pieces to your wardrobe in the new year here’s what I always look for…

Is it really popular?

I steer clear of the ‘it’ bag of the season. If I’m shopping for an everyday bag that’s going to be carrying everything from my essentials to my laptop then I make sure that I opt for something that’s a signature item for the brand but not ubiquitous. I don’t like having a designer bag that everyone has because I feel they go in and out of fashion just as quickly as they come in. Plus you don’t want people being able to immediately identify that your bag is from a certain year’s collection. To combat this I always ask the shop assistant if it’s a style they intend to do again so it’s not so identifiable to a particular year.

Finding a unique style

I’m the complete opposite in my approach to evening bags and shoes. If I’m buying something special like a clutch I like to make sure they’re not making further runs of it because I want it to be a one-off. The same rule applies when I’m shopping for statement heels. I want them to be quite unique so I don’t want them coming back season after season.

Anything with interlocking Cs is always a good buy!

Researching what’s out there

I used to do a lot of shopping whenever I went on an overseas trip but these days that’s impossible as a mum, especially now with two little girls to entertain. So most of my designer purchases are made online these days. I always make sure to visit various websites such as Net-a-Porter, Nordstrom and Matches Fashion to see what’s available. One way I make sure I’m only getting up to the minute releases is to click on the ‘What’s New’ section when I’m browsing websites. That way I’ll only be seeing current stock.

Double check the size

Shopping online at the high end e-tailers is often a little easier as doing returns is fairly straightforward if something isn’t quite right. However I always do a check of the size just to be sure it’s the right fit. If it’s true to size generally choosing your normal size will be fine, however if it’s not I always check if I’ve bought the brand before and see if there’s something in my closet that I can cross check the sizing against.

This Gucci clutch will be a go-to for years to come

Always opt for classic

I’m all for taking a fashion risk or two but when you’re making a purchase that’s quite expensive it pays to think longevity. I always opt for neutral colours and opt for classic styles so I know that I’ll end up with something that will last in my wardrobe season after season.

Shop around

Anything by a high end designer is generally going to come with a significant price tag so be prepared to shop around. Check out prices both in-store and online before you buy anything so you can get the best deal. Whilst they’re definitely an investment buy and will (if you choose right) last you for years to come, it still doesn’t hurt to pay the least amount as possible…and hey, anything leftover can always go to another future purchase!

What’s one designer purchase you’ve made that you absolutely love?

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The designer bum bag: would you wear a belt bag?

2nd December, 2017

Carrie Bradshaw rocked a Gucci one in Sex and the City. Blogger Chiara Ferragni (above) matched her candy pink Hello Kitty sweater with a pink and burgundy Miu Miu belt bag. Closer to home, Tash Sefton of They All Hate Us wore one to a Gucci launch in Sydney. It seems designer belt bags or bum bags as we like to call them are now very much a thing. So would you wear one?

Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw wearing a Gucci belt bag

Tash Sefton rocking a Gucci belt bag

There’s no denying they’re practical- they leave your hands free (perfect for parties and other such gatherings where you’re required to balance a glass of champagne in one hand and canapés in the other); they’re basically a 2-for-1 deal in that they merge belt and bag; and they’re a fashion forward alternative to say a clutch or mini crossbody bag in that they will allow you to carry your key essentials, but is just that little more adventurous as far as accessories go. But on the other hand some might argue that ultimately you’re paying four figures for what is essentially a bum bag at the end of the day!

In case you’re in the market for a designer belt bag you can shop a few options below but I’d love to hear your thoughts… Designer bum bags – are they a yay or a nay?


Fashion Q&A: Nic Cerrone, founder Cerrone Jewellers

26th October, 2017


The Cerrone family

Established in 1972, Cerrone is one of Australia’s most esteemed jewellery houses with its pieces frequently seen in magazines, on red carpets and many a glamorous event. At the helm of the brand is founder, Nic Cerrone who unexpectedly discovered his passion for jewellery design whilst doing gardening maintenance for the man who would eventually become his teacher. The rest, as he says, “is history”. Here Nic chats to me about his most favourite design ever, his biggest career highlight and the celebrity he considers to be “the perfect customer”…

What is a day in the life of you?

I get energy from getting up at 5am to get to the gym. I’m in the Leichhardt office between 7am – 6pm where my desk overlooks our workshop. I can be in and out of the office with various commitments. After work I like to be home with my wife, Carmela and our dog, an Italian greyhound named Charli.

Nic at the Cerrone workshop in Leichhardt

Where did your career in jewellery design begin?

In Australia, I was doing the garden maintenance for a jeweller and used to watch him craft. I was very interested and asked him for an apprenticeship. He became my master and before long I had opened Cerrone up in the back of my mother’s terrace, the same location the Leichhardt boutique stands today. The rest is history.

Do you remember the first big break for Cerrone? 

When I finished my apprenticeship I travelled the world for six months. This gave me a lot of inspiration and once I came back, I crafted a new collection and it sold out.

Who has been your favourite celebrity client to date?

There are so many beautiful customers, and I love that we are now looking after their children and their children’s children. However Barbara Streisand was the perfect customer. She is very well educated on diamonds, especially pink diamonds. She loves her jewellery and appreciates unique pieces.

You have won over 50 national and international jewellery design awards. What award have you been most proud of? 

The De Beers Diamond International award in 1998.  It is considered the Oscars of the jewellery industry and I was proud to bring the recognition back to Australia. The Elizabethan Cuff I designed is still my wife’s favourite piece and women continue to ask to wear it to various events.

Cerrone’s Elizabethan Ruff design

Nic and model Kristy Hinze wearing the award-winning Elizabethan Ruff

How has the industry changed over the years? 

The industry has changed on an international scale with global techniques. Handmade jewellery is very rare these days and is a craft that continues to define Cerrone.

Cerrone is now a global brand with a presence across Sydney, the US, Middle East, India and Italy. Do you find there is a difference in taste across your clientele? 

Absolutely. Different style appeals to different cultures and various gems tend to be more popular in different countries. Cerrone is passionate about pushing the envelope with our creations and I like to challenge myself with new designs so we constantly produce a broad selection of hand crafted jewellery pieces.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date? 

Making the vessel, plate and ciborium for the Pope for World Youth Day 2008. I am Italian—it was a dream come true.

The vessel, plate and ciborium for World Youth Day

 What does timeless style mean to you? 

Where beauty meets balance and craftsmanship.

Where is your favourite travel destination? 

Italy, Milano is my favourite city in the world.

 What do you like to do in your time off? 

I have a property in the Southern Highlands that I like to retreat to with my family. It is the most peaceful place on earth!

Nic’s property in the Southern Highlands, NSW

What is your favourite piece from all your collections? 

The ‘Elizabethan Ruff’ I designed which won The De Beers Diamond International award 2008.

How do you ensure your craftsmanship remains world class? 

 I travel around the world frequently which helps keep me inspired while keeping note of different trends.

Where do you find inspiration? 

Through travel, mainly Europe through architecture and fashion.

How did you grow your business to the success it is today? 

Quality always and customer service is key.

Where is your favourite place to eat in Sydney?

Sokyo at The Star.

Where do you see the brand in the next five years?

Still as successful as ever, looking after our clients.

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What I Wore: Spot the difference

1st August, 2017

I was in the mood for a playful look on a recent day out so this Nice Martin polka dot skirt immediately came to mind. The spotty print adds a fun touch to an outfit whilst the monochrome colour scheme still keeps it classic. The wrap top is huge this season and with its ruffled sleeves this particular piece lends an ultra feminine touch to this look and works well with the high waisted silhouette of the skirt. Black and white always works beautifully with a pop of colour so I opted to pair this look with my burgundy Marco de Vincenzo heels and ombre pink Rebecca de Ravenel drop earrings to help liven up this ensemble. The rest of the look needed minimalist accessories so my black Dior chain bag and simple Chanel frames made for the perfect finishing touches without overshadowing the rest of the outfit.

Credits: Top, Nice Martin; Skirt, Nice Martin; Bag, Dior (or mix it up with Chanel); Sunglasses, Chanel; Heels, Marco de Vincenzo; Earrings, Rebecca de Ravenel 

Photography Danielle Castano 

Steal the look

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Gucci to Givenchy: Designer logo t-shirts and sweaters to love

7th July, 2017

Pledge your brand allegiance loud and proud with the new crop of designer logo t-shirts and sweaters. Whether you opt for a simple, understated tees to work back with jeans or a bold sweater emblazoned with brand insignia the only thing you have to worry about with this trend is deciding which luxe label’s team you’re on.


Fashion Profile: Designer, Anna Hoang

17th November, 2016

Photography: Zimbio

When it comes to designing less is more for Australian designer Anna Hoang. A 2011 graduate of the Sydney Institute of Technology, her label Anna Quan is a perfect example of statement-making minimalism. Hoang has dressed  international celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Karlie Kloss and her range is stocked in Australia and internationally in Paris and Puerto Rico.

The label focuses on women’s ready-to-wear items and is about clean lines, functionality and attention to finishing details such as a strategically placed pocket or a perfectly finished lining. Each piece specialises in strong tailored silhouettes in luxe fabrications. Here I chat to Anna about her favourite trick for dressing well, where she gets her inspiration and how she gets ahead in the competitive world of fashion…


What influences your designs?

Streetwear. I love the way people style their clothes and how they wear common items everyday.

What is your favourite piece from your collection? 

Fringed pants from Resort ’16. It adds a little bit of fun and playfulness into everyday dressing.

What is your most loved fashion item that you own?

Currently obsessing over Alighieri earrings from my friend who is a London-based designer. She makes these rough but elegant lost wax cast earrings in gold. They are just one-of-a-kind.


Who do you look up to ?

People who follow through and do what they say they will do.

When you need to escape where do you like to go?

Bed. Sleep is few and far between a lot of the time. I would love nothing more than a nap.

What do you think is the most important trick is to dressing well?

Definitely tailoring. Making sure your clothes are custom fit and taken in or up to your level. Never underestimate a great fit.

What has been your proudest moment so far in the fashion world?

Seeing my clothes snapped for best of street style for Paris, Milan, New York, Copenhagen fashion weeks for

What is it like to compete in such a competitive industry as an emerging designer? 

Like a marathon – it’s a long game – endurance and resilience is key. Sometimes it’s important to be reminded that you can get further with consistency rather than great big spurts and lags.

Which style icons do you look up to?

Pernille Teisbaek – she’s always putting together unlikely combinations that just work. She’s never boring


Anna in a snapshot:

Favourite colour: Red

Ideal comfort food: Hot chips

Most played song on playlist: “Killing Me Softly”, The Fugees

Go-to heels: Flats all the way

Signature cocktail: Mojito

For enquiries and more info on the label go here