The fine lines of jewelry

An extension of the body like no other piece of fashion, fine jewelry lands itself somewhere in the art realm of things. Somewhat influenced by mother who’s never worn a piece of costume jewelry in her life and really fascinated by the romance of pieces you never take off your body; I made a conscious effort to collect the practical stuff. Sculptural, symbolic, sentimental. A mix of family heirlooms and custom made designs, pieces are accents rather that accessories. Not pictured is the only piece I take off, a Gucci men’s watch, mostly to protect its mechanics. It lands straight in a valet tray when I get home, yet I feel pretty naked without its weight on my wrist. Putting it on when I wake up has become the first step in my morning routine.

mood board with line studs, divided cross necklace, cartier trinity ring

Summer beauty essentials

Summertime is too short for high maintenance beauty. Strip back your staples to five key products and win back a few extra late balmy nights turned into coming to soon mornings. My makeup is seasonally minimal, but in summer I'm a light base-n-go kind of girl. I could never give up perfume, but try to switch to a summer scent for the warmer months. The rest I leave up to the proper skin and body care and regular maintenance of beauty treatments; I avoid missing out on haircuts and micro to keep the sun and heat damage down.

PARIS: travel guide

Paris Travel Guide

What is it about Paris that no other city can quite attain? Skip the text book French quote for anything indescribably good, anyone in a sick love affair with the city will tell you it's all about the delectable contrasts that permeate the city life. I was enamoured with flow of energy in Paris way before I knew what that meant. This sometimes throws off first time visitors, they find the city perplexing with its strong attitude. I find the city cheeky, it plays with you; but as long as you play back with a little bit of smarts it’s a very interesting ride. The thing I struggled with the most was getting my walking/browsing/shopping pace up to scratch. Dawdle and you’ll spend eight hours getting slapped by bags and getting stepped on. Not really the right vibe for browsing the sites or giving away your hard earned euros at Lafayette. Walking with a purpose and standing out of the way helped like nothing else. Oh and make sure you underpack yourself a suitcase of all black everything to ease yourself into streets. But by the time I found all that out I was on my fourth trip over.

To an outsider, and as friends living in Paris have told me, you forever will be if you didn’t grow up there; life seems a lot more curated yet simple. Everything feels meticulously thought through but not excessive. It’s forever a sartorial and cultural reference point. Start walking everywhere and take the metro once your legs have had enough, eat (three meals a day as you’ll soon find really isn’t enough to try all the cheeses), carefully edit your fashion buys, pack picnics, enjoy the outdoors and view art, arm yourself with a bottle of wine and make sure it’s full at all stages of discovering the city. Or simply become Baudelaire’s flaneur, the detached observer trawling the city with an inquisitive mind if you have a soft spot for French literature. Paris is really all about collective experiences of the city. There’s no easier way to obtain these than with a lack of responsibilities you have on holidays. You’ll probably find that you’ll pick up and take some of these new habits home with you, I know I’m forever eating cheese.

STAY In hotels such as the Ritz, Hotel D'aubusson or Pigalle's infamous Hotel Amour if fresh linen is your thing and hotels are your budget. After several months of renting during a stay, Airbnb has become a favourite. Neighbourhoods like Montmartre and Batignolles have a nice bohemian feel and are ideal for longer term visits as apartments there are generally bigger and the neighbourhoods quitter than their city counterparts. On my last trip I stayed near Filles Du Calvaire, just a stone throw from Saint Paul and the Marais so I was able to pack a lot into a short trip.



SHOP Whether you’re shopping or doing the window variety, visit the French flagships for a serious lesson in styling. Paris is the mecca of all things fashion meets art and the boutiques on Rue du Faubourg St Honoré will keep you occupied for a full day. Hermes, Givenchy, Goyard, Balenciaga and Lanvin have the most breathtaking visual merchandising displays. Paris also does high-street exceptionally well, probably something to do with being surrounded by all the fashion heavy weights and that good old Parisian attention to quality. APC, Sandro, Maje and IRO are perennial favourites. Le Labo's Paris boutique is worth a visit if you like artisan perfumes. Concept stores like Colette and Merci are abuzz with locals and are great for people watching. With a focus on stocking lifestyle goods, use them for stocking up on souvenirs of the non tacky variety. For vintage take Metro Line 4 to Porte de Clignancourt for Les Puce Marche, the largest flea market of antiques and clothing. Catherine B is a tunnel wonderland of vintage Chanel and Hermes. My favourite all round vintage store is Come on Eileen near Bastile. The store itself is multi levelled with the bulk of its goods being downstairs, housing a rail of Burberry trench coats I eye off at every visit. I've snagged vintage YSL and Celine here for around 50 euros. Bring a friend to hold you back from buying everything in your size.



EAT It's really hard to find a bad meal in Paris, even when what you’re eating doesn’t constitute an actual meal ie. piece of cheese between a piece of bread for any time of the day. I've attempted to make ravioli by pouring water from a kettle into a bowl of pasta, decanting the water into a bathroom sink and repeating the process until kinda cooked, which was still better than a number of pasta haunts in Sydney. It's also the reason I don't stay in hotels when visiting Paris. But I digress; my food choices have become a little smarter since then.

Fresh produce markets on Rue des Dames are a big hit for me. I stocked up on my weeks groceries here and cleaned up big at the stalls selling chanterelle mushrooms. Grab a few different cheeses to try. Lafayette Gourmet Food Hall is the holy grail of delis. Head here for all your cheese and meat picnic or fancy dinner supplies. Try not to breathe heavily into the glass cabinets, its near impossible to count the variety of cheese that Lafayette stocks. They have an impressive wine library (I lost my travel companions here) but remember a 2 euro bottle of wine is still, French wine. As for restaurants, you really don't need to go expensive to get something amazing. Petite Perigourdine has a sickeningly awesome ratio of cheese to potato in their mash and this is place to try a steak tartare if you've never been game. I discovered Le Bouledogue by accident on my last trip. I spent most of my time swooning at pictures of frenchies and playing with a neighbours bulldog rather than eating, but the duck here was ace and so were the numerous Kir Royals that accompanied it. If you're not a big fan of duck I recommend ordering some cheese. L'as du Fallafel makes for a perfect night cap and sunday brunch in the Marais. If you like a good cheese crepes Little Breizh does both the sweet and savory kind. The Rose Bakery has made its way into every trendy Paris guide with their carrot cake and cool interiors. The best croissant? Is the one you buy at your closest boulangerie, freshness trumps any butter to pastry ratio here. And if you find yourself in a less than favourable eating situation, it probably has something to do with the lack of cheese included.



VISIT Musee d'Orsay, Musee Rodin, Arts Décoratifs, Pompidou and Louvre for everything from classic to contemporary art. For the best picnic spots try Jardin Luxembourg, Jardin des Tuileries and Champ de Mars. Make sure you walk your way to all the usual suspects like Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur and Pont Alexandre because the best of the city is in the streets.

NOTEABLE MENTIONS Laurent Garnier's Rex Club for nocturnal music adventures, Le Crazy Horse for cabaret done right, Les Etages for happy hour and every other spare hour.



WEAR Saint Laurent brogues, Theory silk boyfriend blazer, T by Alexander Wang tshirt, J Brand leather pants, Anthony Vaccarello belt. Keep it dark, tailored and simple.



Any personal travel tips and recommendations welcome in comments!

Special thanks to Lara Elisa Chiarot for being my Paris insider throughout the years!

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photos:

the louvre,

tour eiffel on bastile day,

interiors at crazy horse,

l'art du basic store near the marais,

goyard flagship on rue du faubourg st honoré,

endless supply of fat and sugar at laduree,

cheese, meat and liquour count as a meal,

les etages in the marais.


































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notes:
pack your language guides and maps, it's easier to get out of a tricky situation if you can at least speak some broken french. monthly prepaid metro cards are worth the spend on longer stays. some museums are closed on tuesdays and most stores are closed on sundays.

Rustic Pearl

Rustic Pearl Surry Hills Lobster eggs benedict spinach and cheese gozleme

Sydney’s best cafes are an absolute luxury to visit on a weekday. Rustic pearl has made its way into my top 5, and is a real treat on a mod week day off or an early finish. Long time hesitations ensued after Saturdays of queue watching on Crown St but I was finally swayed by the Lobster eggs bennie. Cheaper than your average fish market feed, the eggs bennie comes out in a mammoth stack of 3 lobster tails, eggs, avo, chilli, fresh herbs and an extra rich hollandaise. The eggs are bang of perfect, just set whites and flowy yolks. The gozleme is up next, I usually steer clear of these at market stands as they’re swimming in oil but Rustic Pearl nails their dough. Crispy with a nice char, the gooey innards are made from baby spinach so the whole dish tastes sweet and fresh. I try and avoid all eye contact and mop up the rest of my hollandaise with bits of gozleme. I’m pleasantly surprised to see Turkish coffee on the menu, my parents have been boiling the stuff all my life so I skip my regular creamy based drinks and go straight for the shot which comes with a small piece of Turkish delight as a chaser. The space itself is small, seating about 10-15 people, the food service takes a while (and rightly so, the food always tastes fresh) which with large serving sizes which inevitably means people take their time. Always smiley and accommodating staff. Kitschy eastern European interiors. Coffee by Mecca.

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Rustic Pearl | 415 Crown st, Surry Hills
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All leather everything (all year round!)

All leather everything

The second best thing to wearing nothing, really is wearing leather. Behind a grocery list amount of reasons why everyone should own their favourite piece in leather, is that undeniable fact that anything leather will be the polish on your outfit that ties it all together. That inexplicable ability to complete any look comes down to contrast, the most underrated stylistic trick. It's value lies not only in the fact that no other material in your wardrobe looks like it, but also as a double whammy; the ones that don't, play a perfect contrasting piece to leather's buttery soft yet protectively fluid texture. Mix with crisp cottons and linens in summer, wool and cashmere blends in winter and silk for nights out. The best leather pieces are the classics you’d expect in wool or cotton reworked in leather. The leather tee has hit all the right spots in my hunt for luxe, updated summer basics. Playing a big part in transitioning my wardrobe into a more sleek and modern one, a leather jacket is perfect for taking the girly edge off my favourite silk tops and dresses when I need to feel more pulled together.

Now while a head to toe leather ensemble is not for anyone that’s wading water with the insouciant material, I have before and the pieces above were my outfit of choice.

Caring for leather pieces is fairly easy. Think of it as your own skin, a great leather conditioner every few months works wonders as well as keeping it away from direct heat or sunlight. Leathers age beautifully over time so embrace the creasing and patina as it add character to your garment. For more tips read my leather care guide for David Lawrence.



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Studio Life

Studio Life essentials

A friend once asked what I would do if I had to wear a uniform for work, or if I was to find my self in an environment where corporate dressing was the norm. I was in the very early stages of my career life, but the answer seemed clear even then, that’s not somewhere I’d like to end up. Work life would be just another style to take on, but I could never see myself in a tailored skirt suit. My first office job saw a rotation of fairly safe for work casual outfits, replaced ever so often with a trend piece. Numerous jobs later, my style has never needed to be so versatile as it is now that I work freelance hours. Broken up between time in the studio, client meetings and good old screen to screen time. The first two have needed a little bit of a tweak, and the last is usually done in pyjamas, gym gear or whatever pieces of clothing were still hanging on my chair from the day before.

I fell into studio dressing fairly quickly, a few 11hr shoots in uncomfortable shoes, a couple of 7am starts where I probably should have washed my hair the night before and numerous studio spaces where air conditioning and heating seem to have been left out of the structure plans. All this meant I fine tooth combed through my essentials real quick and picked out a handful of items that were fuss free and still something I’d enjoy wearing without compromising; not a skirt suit in sight. After all, you'll spend more time in your work clothes than any other, you'll need to be happy with what you wear. Think functionality, with enough little details to keep the look interesting, natural materials for durability and minimal accessories.

Button up shirts: I’ve written countless bits of online copy over the years on why you should own one of these, and the most important reason is stylistic variability. Depending on the style of button up you chose, it can take you from casual to formal in a slight play with the buttons. Done all the way up, sleeves rolled down, rolled up or cuffed, unbuttoned to a modest V, unbuttoned further for a flash of your favourite lingerie for when you’re ready to leave work, thrown over a cami as a light over up, tucked into a high waisted skirt, worn loose over denim cut offs, twist tied for weekend ease. All in one shirt. I own the above chambray shirt from Topshop for studio and casual wear and a silk Alexander Wang button up for client meetings and formal occasions, but both cross over on occasion.

Cashmere sweater: I usually catch public transport to wherever I’m working on the day. If it’s a particularly early start, especially in autumn or spring, Sydney weather will vary 5-10’C during my travel time. An extra layer of warmth I can shed quickly is up there on my hierarchy of morning needs along with food and water because I can pretend I’m still in bed for an extra half an hr and then tie it around my shoulders when I start shooting and get too warm. It doesn’t have to be cashmere, wool is a great alternative with pretty much all the same benefits. Look for fine knits and skip anything with angora, the last thing you want to do is use the lint roller on yourself.

Denim: Denim needs no introduction, how casual you can go will depend on your work environment, but even the most dress code conscious person can substitute black pants for a pair of black fitted and nondescript jeans. At the moment I’m really into dark grey denim in a light wash, goes with just as many things as black does and adds depth to an all black outfit on the odd occasion you’re just too damn of wearing all black. Extra hot days have seen me change these up for a work length appropriate pair of light denim cut offs.

Flat-but-not-too-flat shoes: Photographers, stylists, production crew and anyone else on site will tell you sneakers are the go to staple. With sports luxe being on the fashion radar more often than not, its pretty much the norm to mix up sneakers with whatever it is you normally wear. Personally, I still err on this, I wear sneakers, but ankle boots are my go to piece for two reasons. An ankle boot with a small heel will give you better support for when you have to be on your feet for 10hrs and they just look so much more put together with just as little effort. No bigger buzz kill than having to turn up to a dinner after in sneakers. Leather doesn’t sweat so I have no problem wearing these when it gets warmer. Lace up brogues are another great option.

Hat: Hats are an absolute life saver and there’s no two ways about it. It’s one of those accessories that packs a whole lot of personality and functionality into one. Bad hair day? Want to hide from a co-worker? Seem to have covered every part of your body but still cold? Hats, to all of the above. Nothing says don’t talk to me until I finish this as clearly as glaring at someone from underneath a wide brimmed hat. That being said, I never wear them into meetings or any jobs that require extensive eye contact and conversation. A lot of people steer clear of hats, but take the time to find the right style for you and you’ll never go back. I mainly wear Rag & Bone fedoras with a medium brim in winter and a light panama in summer. I look horrid in beanies but if your head fits they double duty for holding up convenience stores after a not so great day at work.

Personal accessories: Most accessories just aren’t that functional lets be honest, especially when your fancy oversized necklace is getting caught in the hair of some model as you’re trying to zip up her dress. High heeled shoes are out of the question too. Jangly bracelets will drive your coworkers up the wall. So its best to keep these to a minimum, but make sure the ones you chose pack a punch. I wear a small selection of gold, silver and rose gold jewelry and a men’s watch daily. Mixing silver and gold tones is really easy if your jewelry is fine and you carry the colour combinations throughout more than one piece. I’ve worn my Russian wedding ring for over 8 years now, its small and sentimental and I can spend hours twirling it when in thinking mode.

And once you find your work staples, invest in them. Buy them in the best quality you can afford because they'll be working just as hard to keep comfortable and effortlessly well dressed.



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