The Stylist Alphabet: M is for…
Measure [tools & apparatus]
Fabric tape measures, wooden squares with etched numbers, enamel liquid measures, cone-shaped footed etched glass, old shop 1-metre sticks with a hole in the top for hanging, metal measuring sticks attached to the long tables at the draper’s or even just a good old-fashioned wooden ruler. I think these things are a tribute to vintage classrooms, a time of Cuisenaire rods, and maps that pull down from behind the teacher’s desk. Perhaps it’s the typography of the numbers that attracts or maybe the different shapes they come in.
Metallics appear in just about every one of my 10-colour palettes and styling themes. I love the contrast in texture that a metallic finish offers and the way it picks up and reflects the light and other colours in a room. I might use paint with a hint of shimmer or a sprinkling of glitter, a textile or cushion with a beaded or sequined embellishment, or perhaps fill shelves with objects made of precious and everyday metal, decorative silver pieces and tableware, or gold-papered boxes, things made of pressed tin or bronze. Mirrors and all kinds of glass should also be introduced for their wonderful light-enhancing qualities.
When I was living in NYC, I thought I knew every shop there was to know until I accidentally stumbled upon Dulkin & Derrick, one of the manufacturers of handmade fabric flowers. Ones likes the signature camellia of Chanel and even Carrie Bradshaw’s numbers. Brown-labelled boxes line all the walls & shelves, many with Chanel, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Alexander McQueen and the like scrawled across the front.
I was passed a velvet-lined tray and left to roam into the depths. That day, I was into dusty pinks and grey browns (thinking of silk stockings and chemises. I spent a small fortune but have never forgotten my first visit.
My dad has had a moustache forever. Maybe that’s where my fascination with them came from, or was it our next-door neighbour, the conductor, who has a white ringmaster one that needed to be waxed? When I travel I look for moustached men in photographs & paintings, plus I named one of my paints ‘Moustache‘.
If I weren’t a stylist and shop owner, I’m quite sure I could be a curator. Everywhere I go, whether the venerable capital cities of the world or small, non-touristy towns, I seek out museums and galleries – anywhere that houses a collection. I’m drawn to anthropology, art and cultural exhibits but feel even more at home amongst the specimens of birds and bees, flowers and trees. I could spend days – and have – at the American Natural history Museum and Sydney University’s Macleay Museum, but have also enjoyed many hours at New York’s Explorers Club, Oxford University’s Pitts River Museum, and the 178-year-old taxidermy shop Deyrolle in Paris. I study the beetles, butterflies, cicadas, dragonflies and, of course, my beloved feathered friends. They all have precise colour combinations and patterns of such beauty and harmony – it makes my job all the easier.