Your Brisbane-based jewellery label has achieved considerable success overseas (with a number of well-known Hollywood clients). Do you find your location is relevant to the work you do, and is it a conscious decision to work from Brisbane?
My location is irrelevant for me as I actually like the quietness of being separated from all of the noise. At the same time I do crave that world which I have the luxury of stepping in and out of as I please, so Brisbane works really nicely for me. Plus my family are here.
Your work strongly references early 20th century glamour. How important is history to what you do?
History is everything. It is the heart and soul of what I do. There was true passion in everything back then. How a person dressed, spoke, conducted themselves. There was a real sense of pride and polished perfection. And I love that.
Tell us how you came to be interested in fashion…
I have always been interested in fashion from a very young age. My sisters and I grew up on a banana plantation in a small Italian community in North Queensland. A far cry from a fashion hub! But something along the way struck a chord with me and I bought my very first Vogue at 12 years of age. I pored over the pages of fashion magazines way before then, any way I could get my hands on them. I was obsessed with the imagery and the fashion and the life that they promised. I was captivated by it all.
I then started my business whilst working in advertising. Seeing all of the mass produced ordinary jewellery around made me feel really disheartened, and it seemed so wasteful. So I began scouring flea markets for original vintage pieces and reworking them into modern wearable accessories. And it all began from there.
Where do you look for inspiration on matters of style?
So many things inspire me. I look to the past for inspiration in all sorts of ways. It could be a colour or tone of a film. It could be a pattern of a wallpaper I caught a glimpse of in a 50′s film. It could be a song I can’t get out of my head. Lots of different things inspire me that I like to twist into an idea to then make modern wearable jewellery with charm. I build a narrative from there and so the collection is born.
What is your most treasured dress-related object or memory?
I’d have to say my wedding dress. I wore a long silk slip with a silk georgette bias cut sheath over the top. Classic and beautiful. I was married 13 years ago and could pull out my dress and easily wear it today. And the memories that come with it make it my all time favourite piece.
And I have some beautiful vintage pieces from Missoni, Christian Dior and Mary McFadden which I adore!
Give us three words, people or places you associate with Queensland fashion…
Confident, relaxed, colourful.
Is there such a thing as a distinct Queensland style?
Colourful caftans make me think of quintessential Queensland style, but it’s changing.
Published in Issue 4, on October 8, 2013.