Friday, July 30, 2010

Apartment Feature/ Real Living Magazine

Having moved to my new apartment somewhat recently, My friend and brilliant Photographer Hallie Burton (who shot my last apartment for "Inside Out" Magazine a few years ago) and I decided to shoot my current one, It's always amazing how a new space breathes new life to the things you own. When I moved I put a lot of "work props" into storage so this place although much smaller was not by nature as packed with things as my last one.

Now I would never claim to be a minimalist, I like a clean feel, but I do love stuff, I would not be in this profession otherwise, right!? When I move in, I always pretty much have the place set up within a week, I will stay up till 3 am if I need to, to get it done. A new space does excite me as it is a fresh canvas in which to start my exploration of how to piece everything together, some people do crosswords, my puzzles are more 3-D! : )

We shot the story and it was picked up by "Real Living Magazine" An Australian publication edited by Deborah Bibby, who has supported Hallie's and my collaborations for some time, Thanks Deb and the team! The layout is really fun and I love the illustration that helps describe the space, Check out Deb's blog on, It's Style Director, Jason Grant also has a great one at and of course Natalie Walton, The magazine's Deputy Editor has, on which has and interview with yours truly! Check them out!

Hope you like the story, Now I just have to move or do a re-furb to guarantee the next, It will happen!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Seventeen Magazine/ Back to School

Some people may look at my blog and wonder what is going on? A couple of posts ago, it was all about pink, then a fashion story and now a dorm room makeover! Well let's put it this way, when you are a Freelance Stylist you have to let your mind go everywhere, even a dorm room. This is a new concept for me having never lived in a dorm (In Australia we don't really have them) but I had seen the movie "Legally Blonde", right?!.. so I had some idea!

Wikepedia says "Seventeen is an American magazine for teenagers. It was first published in 1944, It is still in the forefront of newsstand popularity among growing competition. This magazine is mostly for young girls and women from the ages of 12-19, Seventeen Magazine is a proud sponsor of America’s Next Top Model. The winners of America's Next Top Model from cycles 7 through 14 have each graced a cover of Seventeen magazine"

When Seventeen Magazine called, I had to jump into the mind of a teenage girl, This is not as easy as one may think!. I had to "think pink" (also aqua, orange and lime), It was a Seventeen product, a twin comforter sold at JC Penny that was the grounding item for all props, so the colors and feel revolved around that item. The item felt a little "Boho Indian" so I worked with the Editors to amp up that feel while still keeping in mind price point and not pushing it too far into a unobtainable place for most teenage girls, we had to "keep it real" The challenge also was we had to shoot it in an actual dorm room on the Upper West Side in Manhattan and I really did have to make this drab room over using the existing furniture. From the behind the scenes details you can see closer up aspects of the room, We liked the idea of postcards and pictures on the wall, An eclectic mix of pillows on the bed, a I-pod dock in a fun color, a pair of casual shoes on the floor. You can also see from the sketches how closely we actually stuck to them , although some additional ideas did not make it in.

The model bought her own soundtrack for the shoot, it was blasting on the actual I-Pod, a mixture of Country, Dance, R&B and Rhianna, quite fitting since Rhianna graces the cover! Her taste in music was very eclectic in itself, It makes me realize how really at that age, what you like and dislike is still evolving, it jumps all over the place, to get a teenagers attention there is a recipe but you also have to inspire them, hopefully this story did!

This story was shot by Photographer Karl Jungel.

Hardly "Bob the Builder"!

In the August issue of Better Homes & Gardens, my assistant Jeanne Lurvey and I were called upon to create a set for the magazines Style section, I do this for them every month. The section uses real women, professionals or mom's that are making a difference. This month we were given the opportunity to work with Kate Frick, co founder of Brubacher Building Workshop, a contract design firm based in Lawrence, Kansas. Kate's background is in fine art and architecture, her partner and boyfriend Jesse Brubacher is in construction, They work as designers and builders rolled into one, both taking on the designing and construction together. Check out there work on

Kate can get down and dirty on a construction site so the juxtaposition of her dressed in feminine clothes to a representation of her environment was an interesting one. I used a finish on the wall that was evocative of finishes she does in her own work. Using a rough wooden floor and building elements such as vintage tools and tool boxes, hard hats, we created a "workshop feel" that would fit in with the theme. You can also see my initial sketches for the set, something that I do for every set designed.

The behind the scenes shots here show the scope of the set, It is not a huge set by any means but it can be surprising how much goes into even creating one set, often for one image. Here are also some details of that set that may have been lost in the final outcome.

The story was shot by the very talented Fashion Photographer, Perry Hagopian,

Friday, July 23, 2010

Colorways/ Thinking Pink!

Pink is one of those colors that conjure up immediate connotations, In terms of my childhood, the color was a color deemed only for girls, seen in packaging for Barbie and most toys for girls. Wikipedia says: In Western culture, the practice of assigning pink to an individual gender began in the 1920s. From then until the 1940s, pink was considered appropriate for boys because being related to red it was the more masculine and decided color, while blue was considered appropriate for girls because it was the more delicate and dainty color, or related to the Virgin Mary. Since the 1940s, the societal norm was inverted; pink became considered appropriate for girls and blue appropriate for boys, a practice that has continued into the 21st century.

When I think of pink commercially, I personally think of Hubba Bubba bubblegum, Barbie, The Pink Panther, Snagglepuss the Lion, Elvis’s Pink Cadillac and P!nk the singer, but pink can be one of those misunderstood colors, quick to put in a box, pink has been over branded. The color Pink itself is basically a combination of red and white. Other hues of pink may be combinations of rose and white, magenta and white, or orange and white, it’s here that we get our blushes and apricots and peaches. Pink can be subtle if allowed!?

Moving away from the more obvious, I love the graduating tones of pink ruffles on a Valentino gown, the intensity of a pink peony rose, the quality and purity of neon pink paint, pink felt, go grain ribbon and stitching, as seen on

I have featured in my previous “yellow post” The clever design for the Theatre Agora by UNStudio in Lelystad, Amsterdam, whose exterior is a bright yellow, but parts of it’s interior are actually shockingly pink. In Karishma Shahani’s final-year collection at the London College of Fashion this year, Her collection “Yatra” (“pilgrimage” in Hindi) is beautiful representations of her native India, the land of saturated color, pink being one heavily featured.

Thinking pink in a new way while appreciating it’s potentially cheesy predictable side is the way to go, for me as a Stylist, I use it sparingly but also try to use it unexpectedly, I personally live with “dots” of pink and love it, but a whole room would send me into a sugar high and teenage identity crisis, In that case, I am happy it be one for the gals! : )

Monday, July 19, 2010

Better Home and Gardens Magazine/ Covers

My fourth Better Homes and Gardens cover for August came out today and I snatched one up at the new stands. I have been asked by the magazine to Produce and Style most covers over the last 6 months. I don't always get to work on every cover as Meredith the publishing firm behind the magazine is based in Des Moines, Iowa. I have travelled and produced 2 covers there, one of which unfortunately did not make it, due to a change in direction for that month, but largely we shoot them in New York with the very talented Kate Mathis,

I have featured the March cover on a previous post, to see the planning behind that one you can check out that post. I will post some more "planning" pots with future covers.

The aim has been for me to give the magazine a fresh consistent look over the months, Better Home and Gardens" is the nations third largest magazine in paid circulation and sells 7.6 million copies per month in the U.S.A. As they claim "Better Homes and Gardens delivers more potential buyers than Country Living, Architectural Digest and Martha Stewart Living combined" It's average age of it's reader is 49 years old and 78% of them own their own home.

I understand they have sold very well so that is always encouraging, I hope you like what you see.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vintage find/ Bitossi Cat

With a recent work trip to Chicago, In one of the antique malls while prepping for a shoot, I discovered a piece quite cheaply. I knew that it was probably part of the Bitossi ceramics range, of which I have a few pieces, It is a figurine of a cat, Although I have seen many cats like it, It is a silhouette I have not come across before. It’s a great piece and it now sits proudly with my other blue ceramic birds, a happy cat indeed!

Bitossi (now also known as Flavia) is an Italian ceramics company that has been producing ceramics since the 1920’s, It is still manufacturing today and available through their website.

Many of us would recognize the distinctive look of Bitossi largely with it “Rimini Blu” range in particular (Blue in color) that many of us grew up with by Aldo Londi, It has a very distinct 1960’s/ 70’s look, Often a little rough with a raw quality, their pieces have a very hand made feel. Guido Bitossi founded “Manifattura Cavaliere Bitossi e Figlia” (Manufacturer Sir Bitossi and Sons) in 1921 in Montelupo Fiorentino, an area of Florence. I have not been to the factory, but definitely plan to on my next trip.

Many famous artists have collaborated with Bitossi, A favorite of mine, Piero Fornasetti (Check out another post of his work on this site) Ettore Sottsass, known largely for helping to set up the “Memphis” movement of the 1980’s and Karim Rashid amongst others.

Thanks to Michele at Elephant Props for allowing me to photograph some of her range, a fellow Bitossi admirer.

In these shots you can see a variety of shots including a George Nelson Side Drink Meridian Tables from the 1950’s, pieces as mentioned from Elephant and pieces from the website directly.

You can check out Bitossi’s website at, It is a great site with lots of images or The current catalog for "Bitossi By Flavia" is available at

Friday, July 9, 2010

The New Mood/ Contrived vs Personal

For many years I have been following the Photographic work of American, Nan Goldin, Also German born, Juergen Teller and Wolfgang Tillman’s in particular. I have watched how they integrated into their photography a truthful and non-conformist view of people’s lives and the interiors they inhabit.

Nan Goldin who has been working since the late 1960’s from the age of 15, I felt was one of the first to photograph as she saw it, no matter what the circumstances. For me not only were her subjects hauntingly captured on film but also the personal rooms in which they were photographed in, said as much about them.
I liken this approach to another well known American Photographer Diane Arbus, 1923-71, of whom Novelist, Norman Mailer was quoted in 1971 as saying "Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child." I see some parallels with Arbus and many contemporary Photographers who seem more intent on capturing reality rather than something set up.

Some critics in particular have accused Nan Goldin of making “heroin-use” appear glamorous, and of pioneering a grunge style that later became popularized by English youth fashion magazines such as The Face and I-D. However, in a 2002 interview with The Observer, Goldin herself called the use of "heroin chic" to sell clothes and perfumes "reprehensible and evil", of which we saw much evidence of this in the late 1990’s in many Fashion Magazines and Advertising campaigns.

Juergan Teller, It could be said was one such photographer that pushed the limits in this medium, Teller has shot major Advertising campaigns for Comme Des Garçons, Marc Jacobs, Helmut Lang, Hugo Boss, Yves St. Laurent, Calvin Klein and Louis Vuitton, amongst others. His approach maybe seen more as commercial but he definitely has a more liberal and unexpected approach to Fashion Photography, I again am fascinated with the locations chosen to shoot, often nouveau riche or slightly shabby.

Wolfgang Tillman’s seminal portraits of friends and other youths who are photographed in their immediate surrounding often accompany beautiful still lives that really capture an everyday but edgy quality, Tillman’s puts it like this: “I take pictures, in order to see the world.”

It leads me to explore this concept in terms of Interiors Magazines and even some Interior catalogues being produced lately that have chosen to capture the way people live in a way that seems more real. A lot of people in my industry are talking about the clever blog: and the way it sends up a more contrived approach to producing catalogues for mass consumption. I think some titles and companies are responding to this sort of indirect feedback and producing work that is less “Styled” or contrived. I am not talking my way out of my job, but coming from Australia, the land of “relaxed”,This more natural approach to Styling is something that excites me and when appropriate is a big part of my personal work. West Elm’s latest catalogue definitely takes on a more relaxed aesthetic, you can see evidence in this with images shown here, there is much talk about the new team responsible for this new look and it is generating a lot of buzz in a great way.

Magazine Arpartamento from Spain is the best example of the “new mood”, As they say on their website, Arpartamento is a international editorial project dedicated to the world of interiors, born to tell the story of personal experiences and lives through the spaces where we live and work. Everyday stories, seen without the usual masks of look-a-like interiors perfect to the millimeter, because in real life variables are infinite and unpredictable since every environment has got its own dynamics and peculiarities that make it special, Apartamento has been created by Nacho Alegre, photographer, Omar Sosa and Albert Folch from Albert Folch Studio in Barcelona, and Marco Velardi, an independent writer and curator based in Milan. Check it out at
The selected images here are as follows, Apartamento Magazine, work by Nan Goldin, Work by Wolfgang Tillsman, Work by Jeurgan Teller and the latest exciting West Elm images.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Inspiring Family Members/ Kit Hay

As a Stylist you look back at your past often and wonder what it was that formulated your style, what were those influences that still come up, even if subconsciously? I have to say the interior schemes of my family still strike a chord and leave an impressionable imprint on my mind. My Nanna, Kit Hay was definitely a major influence, my childhood visits every Saturday to her unit/apartment in the Melbourne suburb of Mentone filled me with wonder, of course I adored her so these visits were very special to me, but her interior scheme, although quite unconventional screamed “Austin Powers meets an English Tea Party”.

My Nanna was no professional decorator that was certain but in her later years she seemed determined to fill her small apartment with the things she loved. Her apartment always smelt of makeup, hairspray, mints and “Charlie” perfume. She had developed a love of purple and her living room was a sea of bright purple, purple shaggy carpet, purple swiveling lounge chairs, matched with turquoise shot silk pillows and crocheted throws in multi color. It was these wild mix of colors that excited me as a child. The soundtrack of “Abba” played in the background, it was an old 70’s LP of the super group that Nanna gave to me and I still have it to this day.

The apartment had glass chandeliers and faux drew dropped roses, sometimes mixed with fresh ones from her small rose garden at the front of her window, we ate home cooked cakes off rose printed plates and sipped milky tea from an eclectic mix of similar teacups.

Kit never left the apartment with out some lipstick and a silk scarf tied around her neck, her motto was “you are only as young as you feel” As long as she could “doll herself up” she did, even if her lipstick could be a little askew, I loved her for it!

These images are more like a mood board of her place, sadly she died in the late 90’s, but for me she still lives in my decorating spirit.

Thanks to Martha Stewart, Purl Bee, Arne Jacobsen, Quiang-Huang and of course Abba for providing these “inspiration” images.