Spell & The Gypsy Collective
If you're dusting off your boots from Coachella or, like me, you've trawled through enough festival fashion photos while sipping on coconut water that you can vicariously feel Tame Impala still ringing in your ears, you will likely have come across an outfit or two from Spell & the Gypsy Collective.
Sisters Elizabeth and Isabella "Spell" Briedis make the kind of clothes destined for desert frolicking, sunset swaying, and boy-in-the-band finagling—all cheeky shorts, fringed vests, crochet dresses, breezy jumpsuits and exotic kimonos. But, as their Instagram feed can attest, they don't just dream the gyspy life, they live it, soaking up the flower-child vibes of Byron Bay, the Australian coastal town they call HQ. Here they mix business and the beach, bedecked in shredded band tees, Stevie Nicks-worthy silks and stacks of Native American-influenced jewelry.
"Spell and I both grew up in the suburban sprawl of Melbourne, but always had a yearning to jump in a car and fly up the coast highway to a warmer, tropical fairyland," Elizabeth says. "Whether you live in a city or a beachside town, we all get wound up in our own busy routines and how we dress and accessorize can help us channel that wild-child-of-the-'60s alter-ego that usually only comes out at a festival, or on holiday…. I think that Spell taps into that sense of freedom we all crave now and then." For Spring 2013, the duo explored "lots of textures—tasseled knits, lace, velvet and animal print. Our jewellery range is about to get very bold with chunky carved bone tusks and animal claws that we've cast in brass and silver. It's all very wild this season." To celebrate the recent opening of their flagship store in Byron Bay, which they have kitted-out with vintage antler lamps, cane chairs, cowhides and distressed leather couches, Elizabeth gives us a peek into their new boutique and shares some of Spell's hippie wisdom and local favorites.
Our Perfect Byron Bay day:
Early to rise, coffee and pastry at our fave café
with girlfriends and their kids, then spend the day at a quiet beach with our boys. Or, if we're lucky, it's the first sunday of the month and we'll head to the Byron Markets
for an organic donut. Muses:
Stevie Nicks, Kate Moss and Sienna Miller in her boho heyday. Words to live by:
Inspire and be inspired. Also, my mum gave me the Desiderata
in a birthday card when I turned 12, and every year I read it on my birthday and use it as a compass. Favorite scent: Vanessa Megan
Essential Blend. Current obsession:
Vintage rocker tees and bells. Favorite foods:
Oysters, or all seafood, really. Byron Bay has an epic fish co-op. Our idea of fun:
Designing a new range with Spelly, Fleetwood Mac playing in the background. Our take on style:
Style is only style if it's your own style. For me, I dress down and over-accessorize. On our stereo right now, you'll find: Storms
by Fleetwood Mac—I'm learning it on guitar. —Natalie
The chill vibes of Byron Bay
, the iconic Australian beach town that Isla Collective
designers Katie Burmester and Ayla Caughey call home, inspires their collection of hand-printed basics made from 100 percent cotton and other natural materials. "It will bring out the tomboy in you," say the girls of their casually-cut muscle tees and stripy trapeze tanks. This season the duo adds chunky knits, slouchy pants and long-sleeve T-shirt dresses into the mix, giving more options for those of us who don't have the luxury of walking around town barefoot or going for a cheeky surf on our lunch hour. Here, Isla Collective gives us a preview of their southern hemisphere winter 2013 collection, photographed by Hannah Leser on a lazy afternoon in the tropical splendor of their local surrounds. —
LOVE WANT Issue Six
Creative couple Bec Parsons and Bartolomeo Celestino founded LOVE WANT in 2005 to keep the magazine dream alive. "It's a reaction to the overwhelming gravity of putting images online," says Celestino. "It would be sad to think someone will never handle a magazine one day. It's a very personal journey when you self-publish, but one that's very satisfying when you see who it touches." The petite publication, which just debuted its sixth issue, also gives the photographers a chance to express themselves beyond the confines of their commercial work, while encouraging the same from their peers such as Pierre Toussaint, Gen Kay, Derek Henderson, Valerie Phillips and Ben Sullivan. As it has evolved, LOVE WANT's focus has strayed from fashion to embrace "beautiful images that convey a sense of place and time," says Parsons. "We decided that issue six would be an intensely personal conversation between its contributors. When we commission someone to shoot for us, the only thing we ask them to achieve is that their images won't date."
"Shooting Staz in Los Angeles was special for me because I was pregnant, and the temperature was extreme, but she has such a special character," says Parsons, whose pictures have appeared in RUSSH, Oyster and Harper's Bazaar Australia. "It was difficult to jump fences to get those shots, but it was worth it. I also love Valerie's pictures of Arivida; the whole concept is wonderful--a photographer photographing another photographer with such freedom that you can't help but be enthralled."
"The cover with Bambi is special," says Celestino. "One because she's wearing Lover, who we greatly admire for their ethics and craft, and then the sense of excitement and happiness that comes through that image. I also think Gen Kay's images of Codie Young are absolutely amazing."
"Raw and direct" is how the Sydney-based pair sum-up LOVE WANT, issue six of which was designed and art directed by Monster Children's Campbell Milligan, and introduces the work of burgeoning Australian photographers Axel Moline and Jack Salkid. "Jack gave us a beautiful story of Rachel Rutt he shot in Japan, that is beyond wonderful," says Celestino. "So many young photographers are more concerned with fame, money or status in social media, whereas Jack is the complete opposite. He creates images you can fall in love with and that's all that concerns him." What else would they advise the next generation of young fashion snappers? "Often, mistakes are the best answers," says Parsons. Adds Celestino: "If you travel a long distance to take a picture, make sure there's film in the camera."—Natalie
Girl Crush: Elise Pioch Balzac
We first met the delightful Elise Pioch Balzac in Sydney when she was the head buyer for the Belinda boutiques. Her French girl coolitude (to borrow a phrase from another Gallic style crush Garance Doré, who took the above picture of Elise) had us at bonjour. Elise has a way of dressing that exudes both classic and quirk in equal measure and, aesthetics aside, it's her joie de vivre that really shines through. These are all qualities the South-of-France born, Sydney-based creative has channeled into Maison Balzac, her new line of natural scented candles, which she founded last year after leaving Belinda. Here, we ask her about starting a passion project, being a Frenchie in Australia, and why the South of France is the most beautiful smelling place on earth. —Natalie
Hi Elise! How did Maison Balzac come to life?
After eight years living in Australia I started to seriously miss my homeland so I decided to collect my best childhood memories and translate them into perfumed candles. The place [in the South of France] where I grew up is so enchanting and so fragrant that it deserved to be captured in soy wax.
What are some of your favorite scent memories?
Each candle captures one of my favorite scents. "Le Sud": Thyme and lavender; "La Rose": Garden roses; "Le Bois": Cedar and pine wood; "Le Soleil": Orange and tuberose; and "Le Eglise": Musk and clove buds. The five of them together talk about a typical Sunday at home: I would wake-up and drink a freshly-squeezed orange juice and then take a bath infused with lavender flowers before heading to the local church with my grandmother. Then, after a big lunch, we would walk in the bush—here are the five scents!
What's your approach to building a brand?
Maison Balzac is about nature, authenticity, quality and fun. I admire labels like Marni
, Christopher Kane
and Martin Margiela
where a sense of humor and personality are mixed with excellence and eccentricity.
What have you learned about the art of candle-making?
Everything from perfumes to essential oils to working with precious materials like milk glass and the different natures of waxes.
The name Maison Balzac is so romantic. Where does your last name originate from?
My mother's maiden name is Balzac and apparently she is related to Honoré de Balzac
, the French novelist from the 19th century.
Wow, that is quite the pedigree! How did you decide on the design of the packaging?
I wanted the design to be very clean and French with a touch of quirk. We had to strip back and back until we got to this bare box. The design team (Mine Design in Sydney) thought I went mad, but I feel this simple packaging can allow for a lot of things in the future.
Speaking of packaging, you are always so beautifully turned out! What are some of your everyday luxuries and style essentials?
I live in the countryside near Sydney and wake up to nature every day. This is definitely my first luxury! In terms of fashion, I think once you own a few pieces from Marni (necklaces, dresses and knits) and Dries Van Noten
(shoes, pants, jackets), you are ready to go anywhere. Paired back with some tees and denims by Bassike
, you don't need much else!
Being a Frenchie in Australia, how do the two cultures mix?
On a cultural level both countries share the same passion for food and wine, but I would give a little advantage to Australia for being so open-minded and relaxed.
What's next for you?
There are so many projects and collaborations coming up this year. And our office-slash-laboratory is moving into an 1880s renovated church on the banks of the Colo River
Valentine's Mixtape by Lonely
It's OK to be lonely this Valentine's Day. We like our romance served year-round, anyhow. We do, however, see it as an excuse to gift ourselves a little self-love token from our favorite New Zealand lingerie purveyors, the very aptly named Lonely. And if you're hell-bent on wallowing in solitude, the designers (who just so happen to be a romantic couple, too--awww) have dedicated a mixtape filled with alternative love songs to all you lonely hearts out there. Plus, a sneak peak of their new collection! --Natalie
The Vaseline's: Molly's Lips
Daniel Johnston: True Love Will Find You in the End
The Runways: Cherry Bomb
Old Crow Medicine Shop: Wagon Wheel
Dead Moon: Play With Fire
Neil Young: Harvest Moon
Fleetwood Mac: The Chain
Yeah Yeah Yeah's: Maps
Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here
Stonefox Magazine Issue Two
"The reason I like to self-publish is because there are so many rules on magazines—no matter who you work with—plus, I like to support the industry," says Australian photographer and publisher Christopher Ferguson, who followed-up his lush and luxuriously visual fashion magazine SUMMERWINTER with STONEFOX, named for his creative studio of the same name.
"It's exciting meeting new people and the magazine gives [readers] access to talented people—and I can do what the fuck I want." Issue two, featuring the mesmerizing Bambi Northwood-Blyth
on its tactile, matte cover, and interviews with Joanna Preiss
, Roman Coppola
and Haley Bennett
is hot off the press. Here, we chat to Ferguson about Australian style, the inconveniences of bad weather, and the beauty of whispering. —Natalie
How would you describe the spirit of STONEFOX's second issue?
This issue was a nightmare! I have always described my magazines as albums—we don't pump one out every one or two months. The staff is the band and then we have a core line-up of guests to mix things up. This issue went on forever; I can't even look at it, I've seen it so many times. We were supposed to shoot all of it in Europe, but last summer was the worst weather in Europe in 100 years. Second album blues, I call it. So we had to come up with some ideas to make it work. The spirit is always the same, I guess: Shoot interesting people who have something to say or who I want to meet because I'm drawn to their talent. We don't go for fads, we go for people who quietly go about their business and who are brave. The people we feature don't shout, they whisper.
The divine Bambi is on the cover. What is she like to work with?
I have known Bambi from the start. The quiet girl who came into the studio shy with a cute smile. The reason certain models work—especially Australian girls—is because they're cool and laid back, funny and cheeky, they get the joke but they're still professional. I always pick models on personality before looks. Of course I have to be attracted to them, but they have to have charisma and spunk.
How would you describe Australian style?
I think we have a great style, unique to our climate and way of life. Like anywhere in the world, some people should be shot in site for what they're wearing, but generally we are really cool and understated.
Who are your favorite Australian models, designers and creatives?
Models: Julia Nobis
is an amazing person, I don't think she's changed since I shot her for one of her first tests. Abbey Lee
, before she became Abbey Lee, she was always great, she was always going to do well—she just didn't give a shit. Zippora
(but she's from New Zealand), she's a free spirit, an amazing woman.
Designers: I'm not sure on this one yet, they have to have a point of difference but still be Australian, and I find that hard because everybody in Australia wants to be international. I think Australians lead the way in fashion in a different way, it's our style more than our designers. Sass & Bide
always do a great job. Dion Lee
is a craftsman and should jump on a plane and leave without passing go and collecting $200.
Creatives: David Michod
who wrote and directed Animal Kingdom
is brilliant. I think Andrew Dominic
who directed Chopper
and recently Killing Them Softly
is amazing. There is whole crop of gifted ozzies. Nothing makes me prouder then seeing an Australian do well because I know how hard it was for them to do it. It takes two words: hard work.
Accessories Love: Pared Sunglasses
We're as attached to our sunglasses as Anna Wintour at Fashion Week. The windows to your soul need a good pair of shades and choosing sunglasses with wide sides is more effective than eye cream when it comes to preventing wrinkles. Ok, we'll stop justifying our need for more and hand over our credit card for a pair from brand new Australian label, Pared. The brainchild of ex-ksubi eyewear designer Samantha Stevenson, Pared takes its sunglasses seriously. Each model is handmade using high quality 6mm Japanese acetates, German rubber-dipped screws and scratch-resistant lenses, and a bespoke service is in the works for online customers. The gorgeous, weighty styles (which come in traditional black and tortoiseshells as well as more inventive hues like brilliant blue and tangerine) are inspired by the philosophy that everything works better as a pair, uniting opposing elements: Masculine/feminine, classic/modern, old/new. To wit, each is branded with the name of a well-known pair. There's Puss & Boots, a sleek cat-eye with cutaway corners; chunky, square-frame style Bread & Butter; the timeless-with-a-twist Dollars & Cents (complete with leather inlay); round frames Salt & Pepper and oversized statement Bigger & Better. We'll take one in every shade, please.—Natalie
Get It Together: Clean Up Your Act
Being clean. So fresh, so honorable, such a common courtesy for anyone who regularly ventures out in public. But is our version of "clean" really as wholesome as we think? Maybe you eat organic, use energy-saving light bulbs and switch off the faucet in between tooth brushing and spitting, but are you absent-mindedly slathering yourself and your environment with potentially harmful chemicals on a daily basis? Quite possibly. It's cool, we're not here to judge, we're here to help. We're a bit of a hippie and we think about these kinds of things a lot. So, not to go all GOOP on you, but may we suggest four super-simple all-natural, non-toxic, earth-kind everyday product swaps? Okay!—Natalie.
1. Hand Sanitizer
February is the season of all things beginning with F, namely the flu and Fashion Week
. And according to the New York Times, fashion folk and flu season do not mix well
. (Nina Garcia, in fact, shields her face with an Hermè
s cashmere scarf at all times and "avoids breathing in other people's air.") She probably, like Rachel Zoe admits, slathers on the Purell with pure abandon, too. The antibiotic and synthetic ingredients in most drugstore hand sanitizers are not only harsh on your skin but they can also kill the good bacteria your body relies on to fight infection. Most also contain triclosan, a known carcinogen. Try essential oil-based germ killers, like Herban Essentials Lemon Towlettes
and Burt's Bees Aloe & Witch Hazel spray
, which are packed with natural antimicrobial ingredients that smell lovely and don't contain enough alcohol to make teenagers wind up in newspaper headlines
2. Household Cleaners
This one's pretty obvious, but trust us, the natural alternatives works just as well. Ditch multi-purpose cleaning sprays often loaded with scary things
like phalates, neurotoxins, quarternary ammonium compounds and chlorine for readily available natural alternatives like the beautifully packaged, refillable Common Good
range. Better yet, make your own detergents: A tablespoon of vinegar and a few drops of tea-tree oil mixed with water in a spray bottle (scented with another essential oil of your choice if you like) works for general wipe-downs, while baking soda is a great scrubbing agent for tougher clean-up jobs.
We didn't think too much about the talc, mica, aluminum powder and ethylhexyl paliminate we were plastering onto our precious eyelids until we discovered brands like 100% Pure
and realized there was a better way. The New Zealand company's products, like its Pure Party Naked Palette
and Pure Gel Eyeliner
, are 100% natural, vegan and gluten-free and get their pigment from friendlier stuff like black tea leaves and fruit. Also keeping things clean when it comes to cosmetics is Rose-Marie Swift
who, having worked in the fashion industry as a makeup artist for many years with photographers such as Mert & Marcus
, Terry Richardson
and Patrick Demarchelier
, quickly became schooled in the impact of daily exposure to chemicals in beauty products and decided to create RMS Beauty
, which uses nourishing, raw ingredients like coconut oil and rosemary extract.
Yes, the romantic allure of perfume is hard to resist, like the storied scent of Chanel No.5 or attractively designed Fantastic Man
-endorsed indie brands such as By Redo
, with their handsome founders
and exotic product names like Gypsy Water and Oud Immortel. But do you really want your personal body odor to be branded? And, for that matter, containing ingredients that have been linked to a host of chronic allergies and illnesses? Seek out natural alternatives like Malie Organics
' ready-to-roll Perfume Oils
and Beridan Naturals Perfume
(which boasts its own evocative names like Mysticism and Midnight Nectar). Crafted from hand-blended botanicals, these fragrances react with each individual's body chemistry to create a more unique, subtle scent. If spritzing's your thing, try Spit O' Rose body mist
, a refreshing blend of rose distillate, vegetable glycerine and organic aloe by local Philly salon American Mortals
Lonely Hearts Spring 2013
For Spring 2013 New Zealand's Lonely Hearts had The Cramps, R.L. Stine's teen book series Goosebumps and sci-fi horror on the brain and '90s rap on the stereo. The result? A collection, dubbed Badsville, that's high on stonewash denim, tartan velvet and electric blue leopard print. The silhouettes that have become Lonely Hearts signatures—fit and flare mini-dresses, silk tap shorts, and micro motorcycle jackets—are all there, while peekaboo sheer pieces and lingerie-inspired tops clash with baseball shirts, graphic punk tees and pegged leather pants, all fit for a girl who skateboards from naughty to nice to tomboy with the greatest of ease. —Natalie
Fallen Broken Street
It doesn't matter what side of the equator you're on, right now a felt hat is a desirable object. I've been using mine to protect my head from the strongest of sun rays (that hole in the ozone layer above Australia is no joke), while those braving sub zero temperatures (hey, it's an excuse to drink hot toddies!) could use something to shield from blizzards and combat brain freeze. My favorite new millinery find is Australian label Fallen Broken Street, launched by model David Frim and photographer Justin Crawford, two surfers from Sydney's Northern Beaches. What started in 2011 with knitted beanies has evolved this season to include options like a floppy Carly Simon-worthy style called the Little Hippy; a compact topper named the Cove; an adorable sailor cap dubbed the Slipway; and the Dingo, a modern update on the classic Australian outback hat, minus the dangling corks. Hats off to you, boys! -Natalie
Happy Australia Day!
Got It Together: The Fashion Pack
In the December 2012 "Wise Up" issue of i-D Magazine, Vogue’s creative director Grace Coddington (above, winking on the cover in all her flame-haired glory) commented that designers need "a few things going wrong in their life. I mean, I hate to say it, but it teaches you a hell of a lot, you know." Some of the fashion world’s most lauded luminaries have fallen off the horse (and the wagon) and made major pratfalls on their way to becoming the industry icons they are today. "Nicolas [Ghesquière] took forever to get where he was. Marc [Jacobs] got fired ten times before he made it," Coddington added. So, if you’re jobless, scandalized, or just a little down-in-the dumps, take comfort in fashion’s fabulous failures and how they rose from the ashes.
[Marc Jacobs, 1992]
Epic Fail: In 1998, Jacobs was plucked from relative obscurity to become Perry Ellis' creative director, a move perhaps doomed from the start as the magnitude of the job caused massive fear in Jacobs, which spiralled into a serious drink and drug habit. His critically acclaimed ‘grunge’ collection of 1992 famously got Jacobs fired, and had his business partner Robert Duffy remortgaging his house to keep the pair afloat. Who: Anna Wintour Epic Fail:
Back in the Game: Jacobs’ fall from grace was at least a glamorous one, and with supporters like Anna Wintour and Bloomingdale's in his corner, it wasn’t long before Louis Vuitton came calling and the designer cleaned up his act.
[Anna Wintour, 1970]
In 1976, Wintour’s first foray into the New York publishing world ended abruptly when she was fired as junior fashion editor of Harper’s BAZAAR
for, as she puts it, “not understanding American fashion.” Back in the Game:
While her edgy appeal proved too much for some, it highlighted her as an innovator to others. In fact, Wintour later cited the incident as one of the best things that could have happened to her career. "I worked for American Harper’s BAZAAR
... they fired me. I recommend that you all get fired, it's a great learning experience," she told the young audience at Teen Vogue's Fashion University
[Alber Elbaz, 2012]
Who: Alber Elbaz Epic Fail:
After a short stint as creative director of YSL
, Tom Ford
unceremoniously dismissed Alber Elbaz when Gucci Group (now known as PPR
) took over the label in 2001. "At Yves Saint Laurent I felt like the son-in-law, like I was part of the family but not quite," he has said of the events. "When I was fired, I felt like the widow." Adding insult to injury, Elbaz went on to work for Krizia
in Italy, but left three months later after an alleged falling-out with the label’s founder. Back in the Game:
Elbaz briefly considered going into medicine, but was hired to resuscitate Lanvin
, the world’s oldest running couture house, which he has achieved to overwhelming success. "It was painful and destroying, but it didn't crush me," he said of the YSL incident. "I have never been Alber from Saint Laurent, just like I'm not Alber from Lanvin. I am just Alber, short. And I am very short." LOLZ.
[Kate Moss, 2006]
Who: Kate Moss Epic Fail:
Two words: Cocaine Kate
. Back in the Game:
Nothing keeps this good-time girl down. Moss pulled up her bootstraps, worked her butt off, and pouted her way to becoming a more powerful fashion force than before. Fragrance deals
, endless billion-dollar campaign contracts, high street collaborations, wedding bells
and a coffee table tome
And, let’s not leave out the woman in question…
[Grace Coddington, 1980]
Who: Grace Coddington Epic Fail:
In her recently published Grace: A Memoir
, Coddington details her move from British Vogue
to Calvin Klein
in the late ’80s. Having consulted for the brand and styled its ad campaigns, Coddington was hired as design director when Klein was admitted into rehab. After dismal reviews and a direction that proved "completely wrongheaded and far too grandiose for Calvin’s minimalist aesthetic," in her words, "My efforts showed that I was not good at leading a design team, and certainly not one that worked on the basis of designing from the ground up. Eventually I might even have led the company into deep trouble." Ouch. Back in the Game:
Coddington made nice with Klein by creating the iconic Eternity campaign with Bruce Weber
, then promptly jumped ship to American Vogue
, where she still presides, decades later, as the über-respected creative director.
Welcome Natalie Shukur
Natalie Shukur has worked in New York, Sydney and London, including stints as the fashion features editor of NYLON and NYLON Guys, and as the editor of RUSSH, a mag we swoon over. She's currently enjoying the southern hemisphere summer in Byron Bay (and yes, we're jealous), so give a warm welcome to Natalie, who will be blogging for us about all of the best stuff that Australia and New Zealand have to offer!