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Where It All Began | The story starts in Sydney

Once upon a time…I accidentally landed in the most perfect job for me.

Once upon a time…I accidentally landed in the most perfect job for me. I was just twenty years old, at Sydney University studying history for my BA, when my bestie, Edwina McCann, called me about a job. She was assisting at Vogue, where she is now editor-in-chief. She asked me to help on some projects and, although I quickly came to understand fashion was not for me, the departments over on the other side of the floor definitely called to my gypsy spirit: Vogue Entertaining and Travel. And with that my career as a stylist was born.

 

It was meant to be. 

 

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You see, I have always been a finder, keeper & curator of collections & beautiful things, right from the time I was a small child. I created my first collections at around the age of three or four and I still have them now. These assemblages of shells, sequins, beads and ribbons encapsulate memories of my childhood, my mother, our holiday house, early school years, solitary moments, playing with my siblings and other lovely fleeting moments. I have always enjoyed having my things around me, out on show and ready for their story to be told. 

I grew up on the water in Middle Harbour and had a very free childhood. My brothers and sister and I had many kids in our gang and we all had BMX bikes and access to runabout boats, so we spent our time fishing and swimming and exploring the bush around our home in Mosman. We only had to be home by dark so there was a lot of freedom to just muck about and have adventures. So having the opportunity to work in the organised chaos of styling, creating elaborate stories from blank spaces using playsets of objects and creating my own adventures, felt like an extension of everything I’d loved doing since I was a small child.  

 

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My first ever onset styling job, I assisted a stylist Cate Gray with photographer Geoff Lung shooting on 5x4 camera on a Sheridan advertising campaign. I was still studying at Sydney Uni but after ironing for what seemed like 16 hours & a hand covered in blisters, I knew this was the career for me. And 30 years later I have styled beds for the likes of Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Bergdorf Goodman, Martha Stewart and my very own library of books. 

 

Although it wasn’t by design, it turns out I had landed in a career very similar to my aunt’s, who was creative director at Belle magazine. I was also influenced by my beautiful mother, who did three degrees and travelled the world. She was an expert on textiles and always loved beautiful things, and I get my deep love of research and boundless curiosity from her. My dad was a residential builder & lover of ‘satin nickel’ and all building details, and so between the two of them, we lived in beautiful houses full of objects, books and beautiful finishes. My aunt would create bedrooms for us, so we were surrounded by fabrics and tactility. 

 

I began working regularly with a talented circle of creatives including Karen McCartney, Donna Hay, Hugh Stewart and William Meppem, and they became my crew. Between us, we dreamed up and captured what seemed like a million stories. 

 

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But eventually, the world called and adventures in foreign lands beckoned….



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