Name: Jodie Mckenzie Location: Sydney Occupation: Minkpink designer
Have you been to Coachella before? If so, what's the best memory you have? No, I have never been before but I've heard some amazing stories from friends and I'm really looking forward to going.
What are you most looking forward to about this year's festival? Seeing Dropkick Murphys, Grimes, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Social Distortion, Gas Light Anthem, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And the people watching! I love festival fashion as people really experiment and it's full of color and fun and crazy inspiration!
What are you packing and why? I like to be comfortable at a festival so I tend to go with loose layers that are easy to run amok in. I like to wear a lot of black with print and texture clashes all topped off with lashings of heavy silver jewelry. I always wear boots to a festival; they are essential to stomping around in the dirt and keeping my toes protected in the pit. A pair of statement shades and a fun tote to carry my phone, sunscreen and water are the finishing touch.
Name: Kara Location: Sydney Occupation: Minkpink designer
Have you been to Coachella before? If so, what's the best memory you have? No, first time going! Can't wait!
What are you most looking forward to about this year's festival? The awesome line-up!
What are you packing and why? Vintage patched & customized denim jacket, leopard creepers that I always wear and can dance in for hours, my Spice Girls polaroid camera to capture every minute of it (!), sunnies from UO, holographic backpack from UO, Minkpink 'In The Grass' shorts because they're a great fit and super cheeky, a '90s tattoo choker necklace and finally a vintage Harley Davidson beat-up tee!
All the colorful brooches, earrings and hair clips in the Kite Design Etsy shop are k i l l i n g me. The little cameras and little cassette tapes and little ice cream cones are the perfect accessories for easy, breezy, beautiful summer outfits, especially with their bright and exciting colors. I never knew how strongly I could want an ice cream cone barrette until right now. —Katie
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
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.
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
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 Hermès 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.
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
I'm weirdly into this recent spread from Oyster Mag titled 'Power and Fashion.' Shot by Byron Spencer and styled by Mark Vassallo, the editorial takes all my favorite crazy pieces from the season and, of course, mixes them together to make some bananas ensembles. They describe it as, "Baroque meets disco meets hypercolour meets floral" which is DEFINITELY what your 2013 look should be, amirite? - Hazel
Monster Children Magazine's video "Waiting For Tomorrow To Wake Up" follows a group of 20-somethings through a normal day of hanging out on overpasses, eating tacos, having hotel raves and falling in love. It's so good that if it was up to me, I'd have this video be the Season 7 trailer—and cast—of E4's Skins(not to be confused with the shitty US version). -Ally
We reached out to some of our favorite people to find out what is on their wish lists this year. Here, Kara Otter from MINKPINK tells us what she's asking for and makes us super jealous that it's not warm during our holiday break!
UO store employees Ashley Irwin and Megan Nardone took a trip to visit the Insight offices in Sydney, Australia. Here, Insight’s Laura May talks to the girls about their time down under.
Talk to me about you’re time here in Sydney! Ashley: My time spent in Sydney was an amazing adventure! I loved meeting the Insight crew, and experiencing the laid back Australian culture. Bondi Beach was absolutely beautiful, and I was so happy that we took a walk down the Bondi-Bronte coast. Breathtaking! Megan: Sydney was incredible! A 14-hour time difference had a hard time holding us back, especially with the itinerary we had planned. We jumped right in straight from the flight. Everyone was so great! Every single person I met was super welcoming and so excited to have us.
What was your most memorable moment? Ashley: It was awesome to be able to watch the model casting with inside the Insight offices. I really felt immersed inside a world that is so different from my own. Megan: My personal favorite thing that we did was the walk from Bondi to Bronti. It was such a scenic and beautiful experience, and it really made me appreciate the sheer beauty of Austrailia. It was hard to take it all in!
What did you love most about Sydney? Ashley: For me, the people I met in Sydney made the trip! Hanging out with the Insight crew was an unforgettable experience. Everyone was so genuinely nice, generous and interesting. I loved having the opportunity to have the conversations I was able to have, and the new friendships I was able to make! Megan: Where to begin? I loved the stress free and down to earth vibe. I loved the amazingly friendly people. The food, the juices, and the abundance of Thai food didn’t hurt either! I really loved that we got to see Syndey from a real locals perspective. The entire trip was completely non artificial. We got to hang out with locals, and do the things that locals normally do and that gave me the best feel for Syndey, and made me really love it.
What you found strange, weird or obscure? Ashley: The relaxed intersection between life and work. It was inspiring to see that you can work and live simultaneously and still achieve amazing business results. Megan: The slang! Although we all speak the same language, there were times where communication was lost to Australian slang. My favorite slang term is going to have to be “jumper” (as opposed to “sweater”). It was fun to learn all the sayings!
What I love most about travelling are the new experiences and people you open yourself to. You never return home quite the same. Was there something in particular on this trip that resonated with you, inspired or changed you in that little way? Ashely: I really want to make a change to be more present in my own life. I think that the reason everyone I came in contact with, while in Australia, seemed so authentic and genuine, was because they were present in the moment. I hope to take this idea back to my daily life. Megan: I loved that Sydney had this relaxed vibe that you cannot find anywhere in New York. Everyone seemed to be doing the things that they loved, incorporating work into it, and keeping a stress free mindset. It was a contagious attitude that I totally loved. I was inspired to bring this into my day to day activities, and I feel like this attitude can help me to stay clear headed and achieve my personal goals. My trip to Sydney helped me to see the importance of staying level headed, worry free, and spontaneous!
There is no way you could walk around wearing a pair of Electric Alice's printed tights and not be happy. So be good to yourself, get a pair, and get ready to start smiling, because it's all you'll be able to do all day. -Ally
Turn your legs into green-eyed cats, cowboys and indians, or Mexican Day of the Dead with Uptights by Sydneysider Penny Kokinelis. Every limited edition pair is handmade in her apartment, so best allow three weeks for sewing and delivery. - Nadia
Zimmermann have been thriving in Australia since the early '90s but with the recent opening of their killer new store and absolutely smashing AW12 'Rebellion Is The Night' collection, I see them being everywhere in a heartbeat. Who could resist filling their closet with such exquisite pieces? X - Jen
The latest Canyons video is electric. Filmed on the Sydney's harbour beaches and spliced with cinema bits from all over, it's the handiwork of French directors Fleur and Manu. The song's a cracker too. - Nadia
Toni May has the boho rock, wood, and leather jewelry thing all wound up. And feathers! Rock, wood, leather and feathers. Great combo. Fittingly the creations (by Sydney lady Laura Byrne) are called things like 'Flame' cuff, 'Fire on the Ocean' bracelet and 'Fly With Me' cuff. We might just do that.-Nadia