A VISUAL LIFE | Creative Direction + Design

DEAR DIARY // the big design market




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In perfect timing for Christmas, The Big Design Market was on at The Royal Hall of Industries over three days this weekend in Sydney (Melbourne is on 2-4 December). Starting in Melbourne in 2012, this is the first year it’s come to Sydney and I think it’s debut was a success. Showcasing the best of local and international art, craft and design with over 200 stands of unique, exclusive products. There’s an emphasis on ethical production, sustainability, quality, originality and good design. This shopping mecca caters to all ages with a huge choice of everything you could ever need – or just really, really want!

There’s also a limited number of showbags on offer with a selection of pieces from the designers involved. Another innovative extension to the stalls are the creative workshops hosted by stallholders and renowned designers such as Sibella Court, Beci Orpin and Home-Work. With free kids activities and areas to sit and relax, it’s an enjoyable day out for the whole family. You may need to refuel for energy, so there’s plenty of delicious food and drink from all your favourite local taste-makers.

MASTERSTROKE // frida loves diego








Frida Kahlo has been adored as an artist worldwide and as a national treasure in Mexico. Her work and life is celebrated in literature and film, and she is still influential as a feminist icon today. Suffering injuries from an accident she began to paint while recovering in hospital. Initially fame came to her when she married the acclaimed painter Diego Rivera, but her auto-biographical paintings eventually gained her the respect and recognition she deserved.

Frida’s art chronicled her physical hardships and relationship betrayals. In particular her self-portraits feel intimately real but as if she were hiding the secrets of her personal life, with Diego even nicknaming her ‘the great concealer’. Diego focussed on painting the serious problems of the world and they both became involved in politics and the issues facing their country. 

The exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW was so popular that it was extended. The artworks are from the collection of Jacques and Natasha Gelman who were their friends, although this friendship was complicated with extramarital affairs. Photographs and letters were also on display, which gave an insight into the family dynamics and the problems they faced. The bond between these two colourful characters is undeniable when you watch them lovingly interact in the Super 8 film footage shown on screens at the end of the exhibit. The couple had an intriguing relationship but ultimately their artistic world endures as well as their revolutionary and modern views.

STYLE FILE // collette dinnigan






‘Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced’ at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney is the first exhibition to showcase the breadth of her work and design process. Featuring distinctive pieces from the archives grouped in a series of themes, the vignettes are offset by a video wall with continuous footage from catwalk shows. She is an internationally acclaimed Australian fashion designer with a career spanning more than 25 years and a celebrity following. Photographs from editorial spreads and campaigns reiterate the label’s feminine designs and romantic aesthetic.

The highlight for me was the vision and creativity behind the scenes which is on display with a variety of moodboards in different colourways. It was interesting to see how inspiration was born from artistic influences, cultural travel, vintage details and natural elements. At the end of the exhibit you get a chance to play and sketch your own designs on paper cutouts which are then displayed in an illustrated Parisian backdrop. Overall it was an escape into the fashion world and an insight into the stages of how ideas evolve and transform into a collection.

DEAR DIARY // spring has sprung



There’s nothing like the changing of seasons to give that sense of renewal and inspiration. While I can appreciate the cooler months, I am definitely more of a warm weather lover. Spring is here for the southern hemisphere with the smell of blooming flowers, pretty sorbet skies and clear days. It feels like a good time to not only spring clean the home but also the mind, body and spirit!

STYLE FILE // isabella blow





The embodiment of a fashion fantasy, Isabella Blow’s incomparable style is celebrated in the exhibition ‘Isabella Blow: A Fashionable Life’ at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. As an English stylist, editor and muse she nurtured and supported many designers such as Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy, Hussein Chalayan and Julien Macdonald. A true visionary, she saw their talent and wore their designs and now you can see complete outfits of her clothes, hats, shoes and jewellery.

This exhibit is a beautiful tribute from her friend Daphne Guinness who purchased Blow’s collection and has now shared this personal story about the woman behind the clothes. You can feel the true bonds with her fashion friends, clearly reflected in the number of Alexander McQueen pieces on display along with Philip Treacy hats. Her devout friendship with McQueen is touchingly on show with a video of them on the grounds at her Gloucestershire estate, where a young McQueen learns to handle a falcon while a fabulous Blow in all her finery walks across the fields.

Her sincerity is accurately shown in this quote. “Fashion is a vampiric thing, it’s the hoover on your brain. That’s why I wear the hats, to keep everyone away from me. They say, ‘Oh, can I kiss you?’ I say, ‘No, thank you very much. That’s why I’ve worn the hat. Goodbye.’ I don’t want to be kissed by all and sundry. I want to be kissed by the people I love.” A woman who loved the fashion world but truly adored the creators who had become her friends.

STREETSCAPES // in transit



I totally understand that the daily commute on the train and bus can feel mundane and uninspiring. Everyone is staring at their phones and they barely look up to interact or take in the sights. Sometimes it’s the simple things that can catch your attention and make a difference to your day. Whether it’s a young man tucked away in the corner engrossed in a book, or a woman who looked like she stepped out of a Wes Anderson film. While train stations are usually boring it’s the people watching that can be the most refreshing.

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