I told you I’m all about the suit at the moment. And with it being the last day of Fashion Week for me I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to wear this beautiful Alexander McQueen blazer. The cut, the fit and what a colour! These Maggie Marilyn pants have a slightly sporty vibe about them and made the ideal contrast piece to the structured, polished feel of the blazer.
When wearing such a bold, vibrant colour I think it’s a good idea to keep accessories quite pared back. I kept to a simple black quilted mini top handle bag by Dior to carry all my essentials and Christian Louboutin bow heels to give me some additional height (this is also a must when wearing wide leg pants). Small frame Poppy Lissiman sunglasses rounded out my look and helped marry the sleek and fashion forward look I was going for.
Credits: Blazer, Alexander McQueen; Pants, Maggie Marilyn; Bag, Dior; Shoes, Christian Louboutin; Sunglasses, Poppy Lissiman
As one of the most in demand models in Australia, Roberta Pecoraro has had a busy few days to say the least. With her signature to-die-for curls and blunt fringe, Roberta has walked in multiple shows during Fashion Week, and it seems her next stop may be further ashore as she pursues an international modelling career. Having already appeared in a Country Road campaign and in editorials for Vogue and Grazia, there’s no doubt that she’s well on her way to making her dream of walking in a Gucci show a reality. I caught up with Roberta backstage at the Hansen and Gretel to chat about how she got into modelling, her signature dish and the highlight of her career so far…
You’ve walked in a lot of shows this week. What have you walked in so far?
So far I’ve done Camilla and Marc, We Are Kindred, Macgraw…wow, I’m forgetting them all now. And Hansel and Gretel right now and … I’ve forgotten heaps.
And so what’s been the biggest highlight of the week?
Probably the Camilla and Marc show. It was a beautiful show, the set, it was amazing.
So did you always want to get into modelling?
I did, actually. During high school I really got into it and then after high school I finished school and at [Sydney] Fashion Weekend, [modelling agency] Chic has a stall, and they saw me walk past, and they asked me to come in for an interview and a meeting. From then on, I signed with them.
And so far what has been your biggest career highlight?
Probably last year opening for the Dion Lee show. It was opening all of Fashion Week so that was an amazing opportunity.
And what has been the biggest surprise being in the fashion industry?
Biggest surprise … just all the opportunities that you get. Even travelling overseas, you’re so lucky to be able to jump from one city to another and I’m really appreciative of those opportunities.
And what has been your biggest pinch-me moment?
Biggest pinch-me moment? I actually don’t know this one.
Have you met anyone that you never imagined meeting?
Well, I got to meet [Victoria’s Secret model] Georgia Fowler not too long ago so that was amazing.
And so if you could walk for anyone, who would you walk for?
I’d love to walk for Gucci one day. Definitely a goal of mine.
Is the plan to stay in Australia or go overseas?
I’d like to go overseas during September, to try Fashion Week overseas.
And where do you see yourself in five years time?
Five years? If I can still be doing this, that would be amazing. But I love to cook and anything involving food, so maybe something involving food.
Nice, what’s your signature dish?
I like desserts so, I make these little Italian brioche buns with ricotta.
Need to come to your house for dinner. And what do you love about fashion?
How creative you can get and [being able to] show your personality through it. You can be a different personality one day to another.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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)
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.
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.
With another full day of shows I wanted a look that was comfortable yet still managed to push style boundaries. If there’s one time to experiment with a new look it’s Fashion Week. I was attending the Macgraw show this morning so I wanted to centre my look around a top and skirt from their current collection. I loved the 60s feel of the crochet mini worked back with a statement button down shirt. There’s something about dramatic shirting that I’m really into at the moment and the finishes on this top from the ruffled collar to the puffed sleeves and sweet heart applique on the back, all combine to make a statement.
If there’s one piece in my wardrobe that has me excited at the moment it’s this Gucci trenchcoat. With a traditional feel at the front it’s livened up by the embroidered moth at the back and the cursive writing on the collar. It helped keep me cosy throughout the day and was a definite focal point to my ensemble.
After a few days of heels I opted for comfort today. These flat boots by Maje are not only great to hang out in all day when you’re on the go, the statement buckles at the front turn them into a striking outfit element. Round frame Chloe sunglasses and a classic Miu Miu blush clutch helped provide the finishing elements to my look and are the ideal subtle complementary pieces.
Have you always wanted to know what it’s like to be a stylist? Jess Pecoraro has dressed the likes of Jesinta Franklin, Pia Miller, Carissa Wolford…and me! Having got her start as an intern at Cosmo before becoming the Fashion Editor of Women’s Fitness, Jess is now a freelance stylist in demand. Australian Fashion Week is one of the busiest weeks in the calendar for the Sydney-based stylist who is not only attending the shows but styling attendees and the show of a label about to debut at #MBFWA for the first time. I caught up with Jess before the craziness really hit to talk styling celebrities, the perks of working in fashion and the one thing she insists every girl should invest in.
How did you get into the industry?
I pretty much started straight from school. I was lucky enough to have a friend whose friend worked at Cosmo, so I started as an intern. I interned for probably two years, pretty much every day. My poor parents were like, “When are you actually gonna get a job?”
[I said] this is a job but it doesn’t pay. So I borrowed their car and didn’t have any money for food. So it was just like they were funding my job for a good two years. And then I was lucky enough [that] Cosmo created a role for me as a wardrobe coordinator, which pretty much is an intern but you get your [name on the] masthead. So from there I I worked across a few other titles at Bauer, and now I’ve been freelance for probably four years.
Was the end goal always to be a stylist?
Initially no. Being at school I just thought there’s nothing in fashion for me and I just didn’t realise a role like a stylist existed to be honest with you. So I thought okay, I’m going to go to university and study languages because I could speak Italian and wanted to live overseas. I went into my Orientation Day [at university] and just walked around and thought, this is not for me…So I took a gap year and with that I decided okay I need to do something in fashion.
What is it about fashion that you love?
I guess I was brought up in that environment. My mum’s a designer, so I’ve got a few years of me at age three walking around her showroom pretending that I was dressing an imaginary person saying ‘you shouldn’t wear this with that’ and so it started from a young age. It’s always been me, I guess.
What does Fashion Week entail for you?
Manic week! I guess it’s also the lead up that gets quite crazy. I feel like I am quite organised, but it’s always that waiting for something or waiting for someone and everything always seems to happen the day or two before the shows begin, so it’s a lot of prep. I’ll be styling a show this year as well as dressing girls attending shows, as well as attending shows myself.
Can you tell us a little about the show you’re styling?
Yes, of course. I’m styling the Pereira Fitzgerald show. They’re two young designers, so it’s their first year showing at Mercedes Benz [Fashion Week Australia], which is exciting. I’ve come on board because it’s very much my style. Clean lines, effortless and quite classic pieces that you could wear every day.
What does it entail when you’re styling a show?
From the start we sat down with the designers to go through all their mood boards and their designs. I’ve gone through each piece and said this is what I think, or maybe we should cut that out. We want a strong collection. And then [I did] castings.
So you cast all of it?
Yes. Everything from the models to the style, hair, makeup and shoes.
Where do you find your inspiration when you’re styling a show?
I guess from a mix of things. I’m very old school. I still buy magazines, so I think that’s my first point. We’re lucky enough now with Instagram, it’s a big, big inspo, and I can do that in bed at night. Also my surroundings. I like travel and [the Pereira Fitzgerald] show is inspired by the Italian lifestyle which fits perfectly with me.
You’re styling shows, you’re going to shows, you’re also dressing amazing celebrities. Can you give us a few hints of who you’ll be dressing?
I’ll be dressing [Victoria’s Secret model] Georgia Fowler only for one night. I’ll also have Jesinta Franklin who will be attending a few shows and Brooke Hogan, who’s a young influencer from Melbourne.
When you’re dressing someone like Jesinta Franklin how do you go about it?
At the beginning it’s always quite hard when you work with someone, because you’re trying to get their sense of style. I like to have all my girls look different but still have that touch of yes, she was styled by me. So I guess with Jesinta, we’ve worked together for everything so I know her style. We always go for classic pieces but I think with her attitude, she can rock anything, which changes that look. So if it is just a plain black suit with a pair of glasses, bag and shoes we can change that outfit.
Do you work closely with her in choosing the looks or do you just put together a wardrobe?
We work very closely together so I I fit her probably once a week. We also coordinate even for day-to-day outfits. She’ll send me a snap of what she’s thinking of wearing, and I’ll say yes, or maybe change the shoes or the bag. It’s quite nice to see how her style has changed ever since we’ve started working together,
What’s the best part of your job?
Seeing beautiful clothes and having a look at things that the public doesn’t get to see and also using stuff before it actually is released. I get so excited when I get a lookbook to pick from that no-one’s seen. And also meeting great people. I’m really fortunate to be around such really lovely people. People always say to me, “Is it a bit bitchy?” but I’m really lucky that I’ve got a good group of ladies around me.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Working on a mix of different things at the same time. So at the moment I’m working on a show, dressing people and I’ve got three shoots as well that have nothing to do with Fashion Week and lookbook styling. So I think its just getting your mind at different stages. Like this morning Georgia [Fowler]’s going to Cannes when she leaves [Australian Fashion Week] so I’m dressing her for that so it’s completely different styling— we’ve got gowns and jewellery. I’m like the courier driver and everything! I’ve got a good team of girls as well so that makes a difference. Having them on board just makes me stressed and when you know you can trust someone as well, so they can do those little jobs for you.
What are some of the trends you’re seeing at Fashion Week?
I feel like lots of clean, classic line. A few designers will definitely add some prints. I’m excited to see Hansen and Gretel, they’ve created something fun. So that very classic, tailored style, I’m sure we’ll see that. I was very excited to see Camilla and Marc’s show.
What is the number one key wardrobe piece that every woman should own?
A black blazer. And invest in a really good one— I always say that to my clients. Yes, it’s a big investment to buy a Saint Laurent or Balmain [blazer], but you’ll have them forever. I think that’s my number one. A white T-shirt, good denim, and probably just an easy dress that you can wear day or night, depending on your shoes.
What’s your number one styling tip when you’re dressing?
Don’t follow trends. As much as we obviously do want to be trend-driven and make a statement, you still have to have an overall classic aesthetic and then add little bits and pieces with your shoes and handbags. I think that’s a good way to add a trend in. And also dress for your shape. We see models [wearing something] and are like “that’s amazing” but if you’re petite and short then it doesn’t work. So it’s also dressing for your body shape.
Fashion Week Five
Shows I attended: Albus Lumen, Bianca Spender, Anna Quan Location: carriageworks Fave show: Albus Lumen Biggest trend I saw: Earthy tones, silky soft fabrics and shirting with a feminine twist, The highlight of the day: Sitting down with Jess Pecoraro chatting fashion, styling and celebrity dressing
I wore something quite classic yesterday but today I wanted to mix it up a little. My look today is a little edgier and all about playing with different textures. Usually my outfits start with a single piece and in this instance it was all about the cropped Prada denim jacket. The feathered collar really upped the glam factor and seemed so fitting for the occasion. I also loved mixing relaxed denim with the dramatic nature of the feathers for a truly striking centrepiece to my look.
With such a statement piece already in place, I thought I could take it up a notch even more by opting for a black polyurethane Georgia Alice skirt. I thought it provided the perfect contrast piece to the softer and more playful nature of the jacket.
As far as shoes go I decided on simple black heels to temper the dramatic nature of the rest of my outfit. But I think you can always afford to have a little fun with your accessories! With the current trend towards sunglasses with smaller frames I gravitated towards these Poppy Lissiman sunglasses. Sharp with a slightly futuristic vibe I thought they went perfectly with the rest of my ensemble. My trusty Gucci Dionysius bag can always be called upon to add a fun feature to any look and in this instance it was the perfect fashion full stop.