It’s an actual paradise.
Fashion legend Oscar de la Renta has passed away at the age of 82. The designer was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and passed away earlier today.
The Dominican designer crafted couture for every woman in the upper crust, from Jacqueline Kennedy and Princess Diana, to Sarah Jessica Parker and Taylor Swift. Most recently, he designed Amal Clooney’s wedding gown in which she famously wed actor George Clooney in September.
Carrie Bradshaw‘s favorite designer was featured in the famous Vogue wedding shoot scene in the SATC movie, and in the episode where Carrie dates ‘The Russian’.
On the runway with supermodels (from left) Eva Herzigova, Naomi Campbell and Gisele Bundchen
With Liza Minnelli (left) and Audrey Hepburn (right)
Sarah Jessica Parker in a “signed” Oscar de la Renta gown at the Met Costume Institute Gala, 2014
Dressing the younger generations: Lupita N’yongo (left) and Taylor Swift (right)
Images via Vogue UK, Daily Life, Daily Mail, stylebyyellow.com, ibtimes, elasticity.blogspot, InStyle, Pop Sugar
She’s uber talented, smart and beautiful and if you don’t her name yet, chances are, you will become very familiar with Juli Grbac soon. A fashion designer hailing from Brisbane, Juli was the first winner of international TV show Project Runway Australia (pictured below) in 2008. She famously designed a dress for singer Kelly Rowland which the ex-Destiny’s Child chanteuse wore at a concert for Prince Albert of Monaco in Cannes.
Taught to sew by her dressmaker mother, Juli developed a love of fashion at a very young age. She studied fashion design in Brisbane and London before working for several big fashion names, including luxury Brisbane-based label Easton Pearson, before starting her own label, Grbac, in 2002, at the tender age of 22.
And as part of her Project Runway Australia prize, Juli had her designs showcased at the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Week in 2009, which received rave reviews, as well as a six-page spread in the now defunct Madison Magazine.
A darling of the fashion set, Juli showed at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival Brisbane, her label was stocked in top-end fashion retailers and she opened a stand-alone store in Brisbane’s funky Fortitude Valley which closed one year later.
Juli’s recent successes include re-designing Virgin Australia’s crew uniforms in 2010. The glamorous and elegant uniforms (pictured) were unveiled in 2011, with a catwalk show featuring Elle Macpherson and 60 Virgin Australia crew members.
Here, Juli talks SHESAID readers through her amazing success and plans for the future, having relocated to a glamorous bachelorette pad in bustling New York.
What drew you to NY? Are you living the dream? I was 33 and came on my own to New York for a holiday, just after Christmas. On my second day here, I felt like I had truly arrived home. I knew that this was where I was meant to be at this time in my life. I made the move within nine months, and I haven’t looked back. I am very blessed that I get to travel back and forth between Brisbane and NYC. I come back to Australia every two months, to check-in on my clients, which offers me opportunities to see my family and friends in Brisbane. The travel can be exhausting, but it’s really the dream situation.
Please describe your amazing NY apartment and how you came to find it? I live downtown in the Financial District, one street away from Wall Street. I had a broker find this apartment for me, and when I saw the place, I knew it was the one for me. André Balazs, famous for designing The Standard hotels and The Mercer Hotel in SoHo, designed the apartment building, so the style factor is seriously there. It is a chic place to call home! I live alone (pictured below) – my life is truly ala Carrie Bradshaw right now: a closet full of shoes, cocktails for dinner and I’m enjoying dating in the Big Apple.
Your Instagram followers recently got to see you at NYFW (main shot above). What were some highlights? Fashion Week is such a great time in New York! It is a lot of fun and I get to see all my fashion idols at the shows and parties. I have made many industry contacts, so while attending the shows as a new local, it definitely ends up being a mix of both business and pleasure.
From designing a dress for Kelly Rowland to uniforms for Virgin Australia, what’s been your career highlight to date? I will never forget dressing Kelly Rowland! It was one of my favourite moments on Project Runway Australia. After also having the opportunity to show at Australian Fashion Week and the Brisbane Fashion Festival, it was surreal to also win the bid to design the uniform scheme for Virgin Australia (pictured below). I also love being a part of the Virgin family, and seeing the crew looking fabulous whenever I board a VA flight. You would think nothing could top that, but being blessed to work now from New York, for Virgin Australia and my other collaborations, is a dream come true.
What’s best about designing for Virgin? Designing uniforms, as opposed to a collection of ready-to-wear, totally took me out of my comfort zone. I have always embraced a challenge and have loved this experience to fuse the needs for an international airline with my signature designs. My favourite part is getting on a VA flight and the girls thanking me for their new uniforms. That, for me, makes everything worthwhile! For the uniform, we developed our own Virgin Australia red – I even had to fly to Shanghai to approve it!
What new, exciting projects have you been working on? My design business has shifted from a ready-to-wear line – which I of course loved creating for my customers, to now purely consulting for several brands. I can’t wait to share my designs again with the public. I have been working on a chic line of travel accessories for the past year, everything from travel clutches right through to luxe luggage. We will be launching it next year and I am dying to see these pieces floating around the Virgin Australia cabins and lounges! I know what every jet set woman needs: I travel so much myself that I have a packing routine and know that there is a gap in the market for what I want to create. Think jet set chic, with spectacular hardware. I plan to bring the same attention to detail I had with my garments to my new travel accessories. I can’t wait to share the collection with SHESAID readers next year. Watch this space!
What do you love most about being a fashion designer? I love transforming the way a woman feels about herself. When my business was more focused on made-to-measure garments, I used to love the moments where a client may have just had a baby, and had her first post-baby event to attend, like a wedding. Seeing the joy on her face was the ultimate repayment.It is truly not just how someone looks in my designs, but how I can make them feel. That is my true reward.
Who are your style icons? My ultimate style crush is Olivia Palermo. I have always been a fan of her style. She tasks risks and gently pushes boundaries, while always maintaining femininity. I love her eye for putting looks together! I always love what Kimye, Ciara and Miranda Kerr are wearing at the airports. The check-in counter is the new street style and I look forward to sharing my upcoming collection of travel accessories.
Who are your favourite fashion designers? Valentino is the ultimate for me. He is the king of feminine and beautiful shapes, without going over-the-top. I also love what the girls at Marchesa are doing. They share Valentino’s aesthetic, but their designs are so whimsical and dream-like and their latest London show was to-die-for!
How do you balance business and pleasure? Working for yourself is the greatest challenge. You need to ensure self-control and self-motivation. It can be hard to get into the work-zone, when you’re living in the fabulous playground that is New York! However, I have worked for myself for the past 12 years, so I get the work done. I schedule one night a week to focus on getting organized. On that night, I will clean, organize my week ahead and pay bills and… Spray tan! Living in NYC is challenging at times – it is the city that never sleeps and there is always something going on. When I first got here, I would always try to go to every event possible to socialise and network. That novelty wears thin, very quickly. It gets exhausting, so I am a lot more selective with events now and really choose to spend time with people who lift me up and support me.
Do you ever pinch yourself because of your amazing success? Every morning, I wake up and thank God, not just for the success I have had so far, but for my health, my family and my friends. It has been challenging, but I never gave up and I knew it would pay off. I always pushed myself, with all the successful projects that have been shared with the public, and many that didn’t see the green light. At times, I still find it to be a struggle, with so much I still want to achieve and share, but after so many years, I am grateful to keep feeling inspired. I love my work, but cannot wait to slowly develop a lifestyle approach with my brand.
What are your favourite NY landmarks? Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys! Those two department stores are one of the only reasons I go uptown here in Manhattan. I also love having lunch on top of Bergdorf’s and that surreal view overlooking Central Park!
What do you miss most about Australia? I miss my family. I have always had the most supportive family and being alone in a big city can get hard. So, when I land back at Brisbane International, I already feel the love! I also love our laid-back lifestyle, we don’t take the bad things in life too seriously, especially in Brisbane, and we just live in the now. Australia will always be home however I am just enjoying this international lifestyle while I can.
What advice would you give to other aspiring fashion designers? Never give up. This is, of course, not new advice, but even when you have no money and you feel there is nothing more you can do… There is always something! Get a part- time job (anywhere) for regular income, and then spend the rest of your time perfecting the craft you believe you can shine in, and gain as much work experience as possible. I pretty much worked for free for eight years, as making money in your own self-funded fashion line is near impossible in a small local market, but I worked part-time at a pharmacy to maintain my dream. It is lots of hours, and the hustle is real; but if you stick with it, it does pay off. Truly believe in yourself. Always believe in your dreams; and always trust your gut feeling, when going into business with anyone.
What personal sacrifices and obstacles have you had to overcome?
One of the biggest obstacles was dealing with the business side of things. I am naturally a creative, however managing the books, doing budgets, selling to wholesalers and general running of the business was really hard. I couldn’t afford anyone to help so it was all just me learning as I went along. No regrets though, I have lost all my money twice and bounced back both times so if anything it’s just made me stronger. As for sacrifices, when I was 22, I was slaving away with my mum in the work room under my parents’ house. I was never out with my friends. I worked and worked and worked. Sacrifices are all part of the journey, knowing you are moving towards your goal makes everything that much easier.
Project Runway image via www.smh.com.au and VA uniform pic via www.boudist.com.
Michael Lo Sordo has been named the DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship recipient for 2014, which will see him and his label given the tools to help take the label onto the global stage.
Michael Lo Sordo, known for his timeless and luxurious designs, has been growing his label in leaps and bounds over the last 6 years, recently securing Net-A-Porter as an exclusive international stockist to launch in September 2014. His designs have been spotted on celebrities such as Jessica Mauboy, Montana Cox, and Kendall Jenner of Kardashian family fame, as well as being the go-to-man for big name fashion bloggers including Margaret Zhang (Shine By Three), Nicole Warne (Gary Pepper Girl), and Alexandra Spencer (4th and Bleeker).
Lo Sordo receives AU $10,000 worth of international freight, a DHL Express mentorship to supercharge his export strategy and, for the first time, mentoring from IMG Fashion in the US. Following on from the launch of the DHL Exported competition earlier this year, he will also be flown to New York for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week where he will meet with an international buyer.
Lo Sordo said he was overwhelmed by the honour and what this means for his business: “My brand philosophy has always been about understanding our market, and who the Michael Lo Sordo customer is, as I believe this is the key idea to achieving our future goals.
“Since the label began, I knew it was important to cement our foundation strongly within the Australian market before branching out overseas. Over the years we have built a reputation for our designs with strong support from celebrities as well as local and international media and buyers.
As part of his ongoing business strategy, Lo Sordo and his team are currently working on developing their online marketing and social media efforts, building a brand new website which will allow them to have a regularly updated blog and e-boutique.
The job of reviewing this year’s entrants’ look books and credentials fell to an esteemed panel of judges, including Elle Turner, Director, Strategy and Brand Development, IMG Fashion; Alice McCall, acclaimed Australian fashion designer; Prue Lewington, Sunday Telegraph Fashion Editor; and Michael McManus, Sales Manager at DHL Express.
Alice McCall said Michael Lo Sordo was an obvious choice due to his understanding of range planning, ability to appeal to a range of demographics and styles, successful export strategy and huge potential for international growth: “Michael has that subtle gift in that he can make collections stand out, but not shout. You can imagine his collections fitting in seamlessly at Barneys or Bergdorf Goodman.
“Finding this balance is critical for international success. But taking a brand to the global market is about more than just the aesthetic, it is about delivering on time; understand the fit of the garments; and having a great quality product. Michael has all this and more. He shows a real balance between commercial appeal and having a unique twist – I can’t wait to see where he goes from here.”
The DHL Express Fashion Export Scholarship is about helping to support up and coming Australian designers. Previous winners include KAHLO, Haryono Setiadi, We Are Handsome and Bec & Bridge, who have each successfully utilised the Scholarship prize to help catapult their business overseas.
Brisbane-based fashion brand Maiocchi has embarked on an ambitious rebranding and expansion plan, recently opening a new store in Paddington, Sydney. A darling of the fashion set, worn by the likes of local celebrities such as Georgie Gardner, Sonia Kruger, Kate Richie, Kate Miller-Heidke and Ella Hopper, the label has gone from strength to strength since its launch 11 years ago.
Created by label owner and designer Deanne Mayocchi (pictured), the brand started off as a market stall; now, it’s a $3 million a year fashion manufacturing powerhouse with three dedicated Brisbane retail outlets, as well as the new Sydney digs. In addition, Maiocchi had a 40 per cent increase in sales in 2013, at a time when many iconic Australian fashion labels are being forced to shut up shop.
Whimsical, romantic and well-structured, with exquisite fabrics, textures and detailing, Maiocchi also has more than 60 national stockists throughout Australia, a thriving ecommerce site and employs more than 20 people, plus additional, local sub-contractors.
Maiocchi’s spring 14 collection, Kiss and Tell, now in-store (pictured below), showcases the label’s signature figure-flattering shapes in a celebration of colour, print and style. Inspired by florals and classic, lady-like 50s shapes, it also features exclusive Japanese cottons.
Of course, what sets Maiocchi pieces apart are its personalised, handmade details, quirky touches and delightful textures and trims. What’s more, the label is still designed and made in Australia. “After growing three successful Maiocchi stores in Brisbane, we decided to take the leap and extend our brand interstate,” Deanne says.
“Eventually, we would love to have a store in every city, it is exciting to see our business growing and expanding throughout Australia.
“The rebranding of the company aesthetics was only natural, following the strong growth and expansion. We felt that the existing branding no long reflected our business or our Maiocchi customers.”
Under a new motto and company philosophy – Today is the Day – Deanne has also recently started designing her own custom material prints in-house. “I have designed four custom prints for the collection this season,” she says.
“We really wanted to focus on developing our own prints, to emphasise Maiocchi’s unique aesthetic and develop those truly stand-out pieces that our customers have come to love and expect.
“Women are increasingly turning to statement garments and this collection embraces the romantic and flirtatious elements of spring to offer just that.”
Also designing ahead for her spring 2015 collection, Deanne says the material prints offer her a new creative outlet that’s “fun and interesting”.
The designer juggles her booming business with motherhood to Oscar, 4. In fact, she says becoming a mum has made her better at her game. “Since I’ve had Oscar I am much better at managing my time and I achieve more in a shorter space of time,” she says.
“Now, it’s just ‘let’s make a decision and get it done’.”
Maiocchi will show at the Mercedes Benz Brisbane Fashion Festival Brisbane Arcade show at Brisbane City Hall on Wednesday, August 27 at 7pm. For more details, visit mbff.com.au. In addition, Maiocchi will hit the runway at Ekka Wrapped in Natural Fibres Fashion Parades, at the Fashion and Style Pavilion, Royal International Convention Centre, Brisbane Showgrounds from August 8–17, at 11am, 12pm and 1pm daily, with an additional 2pm showing on the first Saturday and People’s Day.
Spring has certainly sprung and as any fine filly will tell you, frocking up for Sydney or Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival is fun with a capital ‘F’ – especially if you know what works best for your shape.
Brisbane fashion designer, mum of two and authority on dressing a woman’s body shape, Sacha Drake, says it’s all about identifying your shape and dressing accordingly.
“I am an ‘hourglass with pear tendencies’” laughs Sacha, who is dressed in her stunning ‘Fumetta’ silk kaftan dress when we meet in her Woollahra store in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
“I’ve been in business – and keep loving my business – for over 10 years now because I listen to my customer and come up with design solutions for various problems. It’s all about helping.” says Sacha, whose celebrity fans include Kerri-Anne Kennerly, Deborah Hutton, Georgie Gardner and Jesinta Campbell.
To make flattering choices even easier, Sacha identifies the five most common body shapes – hourglass, column, pear, apple and pregnant – and lists what body shapes her individual garments work best for on all her clothing’s swing tags and online.
Sacha’s Spring Racing Styling Tips for:
Hourglass – typically have curvy bust and hips, narrow waist, medium width shoulders and slim or shapely thighs.
Celebrity inspiration – Scarlett Johansson
- Show off your slender waist! Accentuate your curves and avoid anything too roomy in the waist. If you have a bigger bust, keep your look streamlined with tailored panels and simple silhouettes. A lean pencil skirt or A-Line shape will be flattering.
- ‘Tatum’ fitted cotton dress (above). A streamlined tailored fit which can create shape, perfect for an hourglass figure. The cap sleeve balances out the hip and the v-neckline draws focus up to the face. It’s a classic shape.
- ‘Simone’ cotton wrap dress. Versatile. The broad collar frames the face and draws attention to the face whilst the wrap shape adds structure and the A-line skirt streamlines the hips.
Column – typically have shoulders and hips of same width, thicker waist with flat tummy, small to medium bust, slender legs and arms.
Celebrity inspiration – Nicole Kidman
- Flaunt those lean limbs! Look for styles that can be wrapped or tied to create a waistline. Styles with wider shoulder lines will make your waist appear narrower. Lean pencil skirts or A-line shapes will suit.
- ‘Liza’. You want to show off those long, lean limbs. It’s a high neck with a tie at the back and hangs loosely which you can leave fluid or belt it with our ‘invisible’ belt that creates shape by blousing the dress.
- ‘Lylah’ and ‘Blair’ silk wrap dresses (above). Effortlessly glamorous. A softer style that works well, in either the long or short sleeve. Underneath is a stretchy slip and it works because it is a wrap and very flexible. It fits nicely across the body and the flare of the skirt accommodates any hip.
Pear – typically have narrow shoulders, a neat bust and waist, wider hips and curvaceous thighs, shapely calves.
Celebrity inspiration – Jennifer Lopez
- Show off your slim upper body. Create a wider shoulder-line with sleeve details or bare shoulders to balance out hips. A-Line styles that skim hips and thighs work well. Hem length should be on your knee to show off shapely calves.
- ‘Reuben’ fifties style dress. The structured bodice, flared skirt and easy fit waist with a tie which can be tightened to create shape will work for you. The square neckline works for small or large busts too. If you’re self-conscious about your arms, a shrug, bolero or ballet-wrap style cardigan will work.
- ‘Bennie’ fifties style dress (above). A classic best-seller of ours. A fitted, panelled bodice and square neckline flatters small and large busts. The cap sleeve provides upper-arm coverage and balances your proportion if you have narrow shoulders. The flared skirt hides a larger hip and bottom.
Apple – typically have broad shoulders, a voluptuous bust, a rounded tummy, slim hips and thighs.
Celebrity inspiration – Oprah Winfrey
- Flaunt your cleavage. Choose garments with open necklines to draw the eye to your face. Soft draping and ruching that skims not clings to a fuller tummy is best. Look for clean, tailored lines to streamline your body and show off slim legs.
- ‘Tyler’ one shoulder kaftan dress. One shoulder, asymmetrical shapes are perfect for apples because it draws the eye up to the shoulder, away from the wider bust. It hangs loosely from the bust and shows off the slim leg.
- ‘Venezuela’ stretch shirt dress (above). Streamlined and fitted with a v-neck and a pencil skirt. This creates an hourglass shape by cinching in the waist. It’s especially flattering because it skims over the body and it doesn’t ‘cling’.
Pregnant – typically tummy is most prominent feature. Bust and hip size will vary for the individual.
Celebrity inspiration – Kate Winslet
- Be proud of your bump! Keep a feminine silhouette by creating shape under your bust. Choose open necklines and show off your slim legs to ensure you’re not ‘all tummy’. Soft, stretchy dresses are easy to wear as you grow, plus perfect for post-pregnancy.
- ‘Martina’ jersey dress. You want to be comfortable and it depends how pregnant you are. You also don’t want to invest in a $500 dress! The fluted sleeves, adjustable ties to fit and flatter any bust and fluid, soft jersey that skims the body grows with most pregnant shapes. It’s plain but you can really jazz it up.
Visit Sacha’s online boutique at www.sachadrake.com.au.
Tell us about your spring racing style – do you prefer traditional or more on-trend dresses for the races?
Fashion Business: Mybag
When did you start your Fashion Business?
What was your inspiration to start the business?
I noticed a trend towards photographic prints and thought it was a great idea for personalised bags. I made a bag for myself with a photo of my son Hugo on it, and every time I had it with me people asked where they could get one. I then made some for family and friends and the business grew from there.
Best lessons learnt so far:
Keep focused on your business plan. Build relationships with customers and suppliers. Don?t try to do everything when you start.
Advice to others who want to start own Fashion Business?
Find a gap in the market, then make sure there is a market for that gap.
Favourite Fashion Designers?
I like to wear vintage pieces with current fashion and am not locked into any particular designer. I mix different textures and fabrics always with a hint of colour. I do love Australian designers: Willow, and Sass and Bide.
Sarah O?Hare, Nicky Buckley, Patty Newton, Melissa Doyle, Effie, Wendy Harmer, Deborah Hutton.
5 Fashion Must haves this year?
Small Mybag tote with an old family photo.
Knee or thigh boots.
High waisted slim leg pants.
Fake fur shawl.
An accessory with sparkle.
Short fitted mini skirt.
Vintage scarf warn as a belt.
White leather Mybag with black and white photos.
Printed cross over rap dress
Strapy sexy heals
My Personal Style?
I would say my personal style is eclectic.
Functional with character is important to me similar to Mybag which is the perfect size tote bag and each one an individual piece. I always buy good quality products and this is reflected in Mybag as I use high quality materials which look better and last longer. I think the two key words that sum up my personal style are eclectic and functional.
One lucky SheSaid reader will WIN their own personalised Mybag worth $255! All you have to do is answer this simple question:
Who would you put on your bag and why?
Email your details to email@example.com
For more details on My Bag, visit www.mybag.com.au