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Fashion, Shop, What I Wore

What I Wore: Urban Jungle

18th July, 2017

Walking around the busy city streets of Melbourne during a recent trip had me wanting to channel a look that was all about urban chic. I wanted to work with two distinct tones for an impactful look so stuck to fawn and black which also helped to tie the whole ensemble together. I felt a fitted bodysuit provided the perfect counterbalance to the flared silhouette of my A-line cargo style wrap skirt while a structured blazer gave the look a polished finish (and kept me warm in the chilly Melbourne weather!). If there’s one thing I’m wearing to death this season it’s my Balenciaga ankle boots. The close fit keeps helps to elongate the leg and it’s the perfect versatile shoe to wear throughout winter as it works with everything from pants to skirts and dresses. This look called for sleek accessories so I opted for a gold choker to add a point of interest to the outfit, classic black sunglasses by Dion Lee and a classic Chanel bag for the perfect finishing touch to my urban uniform.

Credits: Bodysuit, Celine; Skirt, Nice Martin; Blazer, Balmain; Bag, Chanel; Sunglasses, Dion Lee; Choker, Eddie Borgo; Boots, Balenciaga 

Photography Danielle Castano

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Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate: Steven Khalil

16th July, 2017

Enjoying lunch with fashion designer Steven Khalil at Bistro Moncur, Woollahra

Steven Khalil is one of Australia’s leading designers, specialising in red carpet and bridal gowns. His creations have been worn by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Kylie Jenner, Kelly Preston and Jesinta Campbell. He also launched an e-boutique last month, and is launching a new perfume next month. Khalil, 39, chats to me about dressing celebrities to royalty, and shares his best advice for brides-to-be.

What was your childhood like?

I grew up in Sydney. I was raised by a single mother. I was the youngest of four children … I struggled at school because I was creative and I think back then they didn’t know how to deal with creative students. So I was always in trouble or never really connecting. I could never sit down and keep still. In the end, they had to keep paper and pen away from me because all I would want to do was sketch dresses in class. So growing up was a struggle, but I was a happy child and really positive and I think that’s what got me through.

Did you always want to be a designer? 

Yes, I decided I would make wedding dresses at the age of six.

 

One of Steven’s wedding dress creations. Photo: @stevenkhalil and photographed by @yervantphotography

 

What influenced your choice of career?

I was watching Princess Diana and Charles’ wedding and I remember being really excited about the wedding and my mum was really baffled by it and she said, “Why are you so excited about this wedding?” I didn’t know why, and then when I saw the gown I said to my mum, “I’m going to make wedding dresses when I grow up”… I got my first sewing machine when I was 11.

What route did you take to pursue your dream?

I went through high school and did textiles and design at school, I was very drawn to all the creative subjects. And then the minute I left school I went to college and I studied design, fashion and clothing production and manufacturing, and I got my first real job when I was about 19: I was making flower girl dresses for a company. Then I … got head-hunted to go and work in a bridal boutique in Double Bay, called Mark Holt Bridal, when I was 22 years old, and I was living the dream, really. My gowns were on the covers of all the magazines and I stayed there for about seven years, and then I opened my own store.

You’ve dressed so many celebrities and influential people. What has been your biggest pinch-me moment? 

When we dressed Kylie Jenner for the Grammys – it was very unexpected, although that dress was with Jennifer Lopez, so I was hoping she would wear the dress, but it didn’t fit her and so that dress was sent to Kylie.

You recently dressed the Crown Princess of Greece. How did that come about?

The next day after the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia show we received this e-mail [saying that the Princess Olympia of Greece] wanted to wear [a piece from the runway] for her 21st birthday.

Princess Olympia wearing one of Steven’s creations. Photo: @olympiagreece

 

What was it like to dress royalty?

Well, it’s a first for me … although it has been an ongoing dream for me to make a royal wedding gown because it stems back to the [Princess] Diana thing of me being so obsessed with her wedding dress. So to make a royal wedding gown would be the ultimate for me.

If you could dress anyone, who would it be?

I’ve always wanted to dress Cate Blanchett because she’s Australian and has done so well overseas.

What is the most expensive dress you’ve ever had to create? 

We did a wedding gown for a client in Dubai and she paid $54,000 for that gown. She had seen something that we had done for somebody else, but she wanted a grander version of it, so a lot of it came down to the detail.

What do you love most about being part of a wedding day?

A bride is like the centerpiece of the wedding, isn’t she? The anticipation of her arrival, everybody waits to see her gown. So it’s really special to be chosen to make the gown, it’s such a special honour to do that. So I just love being part of that process.

How do you deal with “bridezillas”?

Over the years I’ve started to realise that it’s so much bigger than me and the dress … You put out the best you can put out… [but] a lot of it is just being patient and they’re under a lot of pressure from their families, [and] under financial pressure a lot of the time, to have this beautiful wedding. So you’ve got to really stop and think about what’s going on for the person and try to be as patient as possible.

What do you think the secret is for a woman looking great on her wedding day?

A lot of it is confidence. I know it probably sounds cliche, but I think if you feel good in something and you’re carrying that really well, you’ll give a good vibe.

What are the biggest fashion mistakes you see?

I think when you seen an image of somebody that looks amazing and you’re like, “I want that whole outfit,” but you always should make something your own. Don’t try to emulate what someone else is wearing because they might have a different body shape to you and the clothes might not fall the same way on you.

Have you got plans to open stores internationally?

I would like to, yes. So what we’re doing at the moment is just developing the brand more, creating more products so that we can then just open beautiful boutiques in chosen cities.

 

Some of Steven’s new jewellery line. Photo: Steven Khalil

How are you expanding?

We are adding more to the line, adding in jewellery, robes; we’re going to go into more beautiful lingerie as well … So we’re working on a new collection for that, because the first season of those christening gowns sold out so quickly… and we still have waiting list for them.

Tell me about the perfume. 

The perfume is really gorgeous and it’s going to be launched in [early August]. We’re just finalising all the labels and the packaging at the moment. The fragrance consists of rose, patchouli and lily of the valley… I want people to come into the store and be able to buy various products, not just the dress. So it’s kind of following in the footsteps of Elie Saab, Vera Wang, to create a really beautiful brand experience.

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

You know, I have no idea because this was the only thing I wanted to do … when I was growing up, so many people were saying to me, “You can’t be a dressmaker, that’s not a real job.” What is a real job? So I thought about becoming a hairdresser or a lawyer.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

I love going out with friends to eat, I love Sunday morning breakfasts, I love being by the water. Yeah, I’m quite simple … I love to shop, I love beautiful clothing, I love going to art galleries.

Where do see yourself in five years?

I would love a concept store with sales people, beautiful products everywhere and just a really beautiful shopping experience.

BITESIZE

We went to Bistro Moncur, Woollahra

We ate Pan Fried Barramundi Fillet, Mashed Peas, Creme Fraiche & Confit Spring Onion, Sunflower Seed & Caper Beurre Noisett

We drank San Pellegrino Mineral Water

Steven wore Ralph Lauren shirt and jacket and Nudie Jeans

Kate wore a Hansen & Gretel top.

Photograhy Jessica Hromas, SMH.

Fashion

How to wear a suit in a modern way

13th July, 2017

Kate Waterhouse Max Mara suit

I think every woman should own one great suit. They’re a staple in a corporate environment but the suit can extend beyond the office with the right accoutrements and silhouette. Banish thoughts of the 80s power suit from your mind and instead think sleek, sophisticated and just a little bit sexy. Here’s how to nail suiting so it looks on point and super chic…

Invest in good tailoring

An ill-fitting suit is a big fashion no-no. If you’re going to wear a suit be sure to have it tailored absolutely perfectly to fit. If you need to, have the jacket taken in, have the pants taken up so the hem sits perfectly with your shoe to ensure the silhouette looks polished.

Think beyond the shirt

A classic button down shirt is, of course, always going to be a no-brainer pairing with a suit however by switching up what you wear underneath you can create a look with an entirely new vibe. You could opt for a turtleneck for a look that would work in a corporate environment but has a slightly more relaxed feel. There’s also the option of wearing a loose t-shirt a la The Gucci Shirt That’s Everywhere for a look with attitude or a bodysuit for an evening ensemble that looks sleek and sexy.

Be adventurous with silhouettes

There are so many different silhouettes when it comes to the suit these days. You could opt for a boyfriend blazer that’s a little more billowy and has a slightly tougher, more masculine feel to a tapered leg for a look that screams sleek. I also love a flared pant and a long length blazer for an outfit that has a slightly Jane Birkin vibe.

Keep shoes streamlined

When it comes to the suit the shoes you wear should be quite pared back. If you’re going to do a boot it needs to be an ankle boot that’s tapered to the leg. You don’t want anything too loose around the ankle as it can affect the fit of the suit and can look a little clunky. You could also opt for a sleek stiletto or if you want to wear flats a pair of pointy slides works well.

What are your thoughts on the suit? Love or loathe?
Fashion

Rules of wearing statement pieces

5th July, 2017

Kate Waterhouse statement pieces bec and bridge shoes marco de vincenzo

A beautiful statement piece can often elevate an outfit from good to great. I’m a big fan of using statement pieces to add interest to an outfit, especially when I’m wearing something that’s quite understated. Whether it’s an elaborate pair of shoes or a great pair of embellished sunglasses here are my rules for working with statement pieces.

Stick to your style

Trends for statement pieces come and go so it’s important to stick to your style. Whether it’s a brightly coloured bag or the latest designer accessory ensure that it’s still very “you” whilst being an attention grabber at the same time. It’s also important to remember that whilst a statement piece is designed to stand out it’s also crucial that it can work seamlessly with what’s within your wardrobe already otherwise it will sit in your closet gathering dust.

Make statement pieces the hero

It goes without saying that you should allow your statement piece to take centre stage. If I’m wearing a statement bag or shoe I often like to keep my outfit quite muted to allow it to stand out. This is why bold pieces are often a great way to bring an all black outfit to life with just the addition of one accessory.

It’s all in the detail

A statement piece doesn’t have to be all about the bling. It’s important to choose something with a striking detail that will really make an outfit pop. My favourite Gucci loafers which I wear to death have a fur trim which make a statement but are definitely not overly bright or embellished. Just find something with an eye-catching detail that will allow it to shine and make it unique.

Find the right balance

If I’m wearing a statement piece I often do a scan of the rest of my outfit to see whether it’s just right or might be just a bit over the top. For example one of the key statement pieces in my wardrobe is my Gucci Dionysus bag which features lots of embellishments and I’ll often wear it when I need to jazz up an outfit such as when I’m wearing a plain white tee with jeans or leather pants. It acts as the final finishing element but it doesn’t overpower the rest of the look.

What’s your favourite statement piece in your wardrobe?

 

Fashion

How to do winter layering

3rd July, 2017

The one thing I really love about winter dressing is the ability to layer different pieces for a warm and cosy look. I love experimenting with textures and big statement pieces such as a coat or boots to create an outfit that will easily withstand cooler temperatures without compromising on style. Effective winter layering requires consideration of the whole look from top to bottom including colours to avoid looking like you just threw on everything in your wardrobe! Over the years I’ve managed to refine my layering formula to a few key things…

Start with the basics

I always start with a cotton singlet or t-shirt underneath as a foundation especially if I’m going to wear a jumper or some sort of knit. Also I find wearing multiple layers provides ample warmth without your outfit feeling too bulky and cumbersome. I will always finish the look off with a big coat or jacket – this is a great opportunity to make a statement by opting for outerwear in a strong pattern or colour. If it’s especially cold outside I wear a big scarf, my favourite being an oversized Louis Vuitton scarf which makes for a nice (and warm) finishing touch. One thing to be mindful of when layering is to watch out for materials rubbing together, sometimes certain fabrics don’t work well against each other and can end up getting damaged or causing pilling.

Mix textures

One of the things I always do when it comes to winter layering is mixing different fabrics and textures. I find this adds a bit of depth to your look and helps to break it up. I normally do a cotton t-shirt, a knit and then I’ll do a wool coat or a leather jacket or denim jacket.

Choose a base colour

Great winter layering for me requires wearing similar tones. I might choose to go with various shades of grey or stick to neutral tones. If I’m wearing black I won’t do all black, I’ll actually add another piece such as a charcoal knit to help break up what I’m wearing. The same with camel colours – I might do beiges or cream and mix the tones up. Whilst I’ll play with various shades I’ll always ensure that there’s one base colour to ensure the whole look works together.

What are some of your tips for winter layering?
Fashion

Shopping for investment pieces worth spending your tax refund on

28th June, 2017
Kate Waterhouse Chanel at Marais boutique launch Melbourne balmain blazer chanel bag bec and bridge dress 2

Kate Waterhouse Chanel at Marais boutique launch Melbourne balmain blazer chanel bag bec and bridge dress 2

It’s end of financial year time and if you’re lucky enough to be expecting a tax refund you may be in the mood to treat yourself. If you’re on the hunt for something to splurge on then there’s no better time to consider purchasing an investment piece to add to your wardrobe. These are often my favourite purchases to make as not only are they special, they’re also usually guaranteed to get plenty of use and have longevity so I feel I’m getting my money’s worth. If you’ve been lusting after something for a long time then perhaps now is the time to take the plunge, but keep these things in mind first…

Choose something that will get plenty of use

This is a given if you’re planning to buy something that’s on the expensive side so take stock of your wardrobe and see what you actually need. For example if you’re after a pair of good quality flats then now might be the time to splurge on a pair of Gucci slides or loafers or Chanel ballet flats. They’re classic designs that will always be in style and they’re crafted beautifully so you’ll definitely have them for a long time. If you think about the cost per wear you’ll probably find that they work out to be cheaper than a pair of shoes that you’ll only wear for one season.

Avoid anything that will date

For me, things that are worth splurging on are handbags, shoes, jackets, blazers and coats as I find they’re usually the workhorses of my wardrobe. However it’s important to think classic when it comes to these pieces as you don’t want them to date too quickly. If you’re thinking about buying a designer bag (or any other pricey item) then be sure to choose a style that’s not identifiable with a particular season – avoid the signature piece of a collection as it’s one sure fire way to have something that won’t be able to work in the long term. Also steer clear of anything that is only going to be around for one season as it won’t age well. A great example of a bag that will work years from now is a style such as the quilted Chanel bag which is so versatile (I’ve had mine for ages and I use it so much) and also has been around for decades and is a staple of Chanel’s accessories line. Apparently it also appreciates in value so it definitely lives up to being called an investment piece!

Shop around

Splurging can mean buying something nice but it can also mean buying something extra nice that’s on sale. If you’re planning on buying an investment piece then definitely shop around for the best deal you can get. You’ll still end up with a great piece but at a fraction of the price My Balmain blazer (pictured above) is one such item. I had my eye on one for awhile but I waited until I found it on sale on Net-a-Porter for half the price. It was worth every cent but I was even happier that I managed to save on the cost of it. Shop smart and you’ll definitely get more bang for your fashion buck.

What investment piece do you have your eye on at the moment?

 

 

 

Fashion

Style staples when I’m in mum mode

26th June, 2017
kate waterhouse mum wardrobe staples

Kate Waterhouse mum style staples

As most mums can probably attest pulling together an outfit is low on the priority list when you’ve got a busy day ahead of you. The aim is just to get out the door fast! I know for myself that when I’m in mum mode with Sophia and Grace I need to be comfortable first and foremost and my outfit needs to be able to withstand whatever a toddler and baby may throw my way. This is why I’ve managed to refine my mum style staples down to a few key pieces so I can just go into auto pilot mode on any given day. Here’s what I can’t live without…

A roomy tote

For me a big bag is essential and I always like to carry a tote as it gives me plenty of room to carry my essentials and the girls’ too. I keep a little bag filled with Grace’s nappies, and wipes and change mat and I just throw everything into a tote. I have lots of different types – from super casual to slightly more dressy – depending on where I’m going.

Athleisure wear

I love workout gear when I’m with the girls. If I’m going to Sophia’s ballet class or taking her to some sort of activity then I can’t go past my Nike sneakers and Lululemon leggings. I live in both! It’s really easy to pull together and you can’t beat it for comfort level.

Sturdy sunglasses

I always carry a pair of sunglasses with me but I make sure that I leave any delicate, flimsy pairs at home. My sunnies are guaranteed to be thrown around in my bag or the girls will want to play with them so I prefer to wear the style that’s made of a thicker acetate so they’re not easily breakable.

Comfortable basics

If I’m running around then I’ll always opt for sportswear otherwise you’ll usually find me in lots of t-shirts and singlets paired with a good pair of jeans. They’re both definite mum style staples. I highly recommend splurging on a pair of jeans that can withstand lots of wear and tear because if you’re like me you’ll wear them to death. I also have lots of great knits throughout winter and will wear a big anorak/parka style jacket which I can easily throw on and can be popped into the boot of my car without too much fuss.

Comfortable flats

Heels are strictly reserved for nights out or for work events. I wear flats whenever I’m with the girls. I’ll usually wear my white Adidas Superstar sneakers or if I need to be a little more dressed up then I’ll wear my Gucci slides which are comfy yet still look polished.

What are your style staples as a mum?

 

Fashion, Shop

Velvet pieces to add to your wardrobe

16th June, 2017

I’m really into the current velvet trend (I even wore it to Fashion Week) especially when in bold colours. It’s a great way to add some texture to an outfit and a beautiful focal point to a look. From a dress to a statement shoe, you can easily add a touch of velvet to any ensemble—just ensure you mix it with different textures so as not to have it look too overwhelming. Velvet also looks great in rich jewelled tones so if you’re planning to embrace this trend it’s the perfect time to go for vibrant hues and add some extra punch to an outfit.

Fashion, Shop

What I look for when shopping during sale time

15th June, 2017

Sale time is here and it’s the perfect time to nab a bargain. However it’s easy to get caught up in a flurry of sales tags with reduced prices and discounts aplenty that you may end up with something that’s not entirely a worthwhile buy. I love shopping the sales and have perfected my game plan so I always end up with pieces I know I’m definitely going to use. Here’s what I do:

Buy wardrobe staples

During sale time I’m a big fan of buying pieces I will use a lot such as t-shirts and jeans. It’s the perfect time to stock up given everything is reduced. I always make sure to do a wardrobe check to see what items need replacing or updating.

Avoid statement pieces

I usually tend to avoid buying things that are easily identifiable from a particular season. There’s always a particular print/colour/silhouette that is a designer’s signature item for each collection and I will steer clear of this to ensure that there will be longevity in what I buy.

Invest in expensive items 

A few years ago I bought a Balmain blazer on sale from Net-a-Porter and it’s still going strong to this day. I remember searching for ages for it and once it went on sale I snapped it up. I find that when it’s sale time it’s the perfect opportunity to buy more expensive investment pieces such as a blazer, leather jacket, a coat or bag as you’re guaranteed to get plenty of use out of these items and you’ll be able to buy it at a fraction of the price.

Do the full price test

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of getting a bargain but just because something is cheap it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good purchase. I always make sure that I look at anything on sale and ask myself if I would buy it full price. If I would that’s usually a good indicator that it’s a good buy, if not then it tells me that I’m just getting caught up in the idea of buying something because it has been reduced.

What’s are you on the hunt for during sale time?

 

Fashion, Shop

Bored of the white sneaker? Here’s the answer

2nd June, 2017

While there’s no doubt that white sneakers are a wardrobe staple given the fact they go with virtually everything, they’re also quite ubiquitous so it’s only understandable to want something different to mix up your look from time to time. Lucky for you there are now a plethora of sneaker options available in a rainbow of colours and striking patterns. Pink! Blue! Leopard! It’s all here for your comfortable footwear pleasure.