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The Idea is Born | The societies of NYC

The idea of establishing a society first came to me when I was living and working in NYC

  

I was busy working as a stylist in Sydney in the mid ‘90’s, when photographer Geoff Lung (a dear friend of my late aunts, Robyn Duffecy who I was now working with), sent my portfolio off to a company in the US seeking Australian stylists. What was supposed to be work on a single catalogue became ongoing opportunities, with one job seemingly popping up after another–usually right after I’d just landed back home in Sydney, only for me to need to repack my bags and turn right back around again.

 

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I must have criss-crossed the Pacific a hundred times doing jobs in the US before I eventually settled in New York. Prior to finding a permanent home there, I would stay at The Gramercy Park Hotel (pre-Julian Schnabel’s  refurb!) for long stints whilst working on photo shoots and I spent countless hours wandering the streets of NYC learning every shop & supplier from the credits in Martha Stewart Living. Even though I didn’t have a key to the park (I still desperately want one!) I would  peer in the huge first floor parlour windows of the brownstones that line it. Many of these buildings are home to old clubs whose membership I coveted, and in the evening I’d catch enticing glimpses of people milling, scheming & conspiring inside. 


This was when the idea first came to me. 


I wanted to create a ‘society’ where creative people could come & go, exchange ideas, experiment & toss around crazy notions, more imaginarium than brownstone, forever changing & never finished, full of magic & fantasy.  

 

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But life was busy! Through my ten years in New York I did styling and concepting work with Jo Malone, Donna Karan, West Elm, Bergdorf Goodman, Martha Stewart, Saks and Anthrolopogie, every single magazine, amongst many many others. But still, the idea of a society was a seed that was germinating at the back of my mind. 

 

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In my society, you wouldn’t have to be wealthy. Or a gentleman. Our membership would be free and everyone would be invited. I’d make it BYO ideas–as outlandish as possible. 

  

One day…

 

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In the meantime, I spent countless hours over many years, exploring the busy NYC streets, getting inspiration from everything I happened across, from an exhibition of mid-century design genius Carl Auböck’s work, cast iron buildings, cobblestone streets, 100+ year shops to an old ironmonger’s premises that I thought would make the perfect home for my society.

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