When I moved back to my hometown of Newcastle from Sydney I said it would be for 12 months… 6 and a half years later I’m still here. However, that now means going to Sydney is an exciting adventure for a Country Mouse like me: I think I actually make the most out of the city now that I actually don’t live in it, taking in inspiration from the street fashion, the slick retail merchandising and the buzz of the new I once took for granted – aiming to soak it all up and reinvent some of it back in the small-smoke. With a To-Do list in hand my 12 hours in Sydney this week was a jammed-pack pilgrimage:
DONNA HAY GENERAL STORE
The first time I picked up a Donna Hay magazine I immediately saw what the hype was all about. Donna had literally reinvented the aesthetic of food styling. Gone were the days of stylists spraying roast chickens with hairspray to add maximum gloss and sheen – instead her real, simplistic shoots have a raw and rustic approach, with ingredients splattered around as if you are quickly whipping up the meal on a kitchen bench top yourself. It’s a look that is now commonly replicated but never as perfected.
The Donna Hay brand is also an inspiration – now immediately recognisable and growing from strength. So I was excited to see what she had created in her newly opened General Store. It didn’t disappoint. Established in the stunning leafy Eastern Suburb of Woolhara, but set back off the main shopping strip, the corner shop is a two level terrace with dark chocolate floors and stark white walls: the perfect backdrop to show off a fabulous range of cooking ware, yummy ingredients, organic cleaning products, handmade soy candles and children’s wear.
My splurge for the day – a box of six yummy macaroons in pastel colours, fresh from the in-store kitchen. Yum!
THE SOCIETY INC.
Stylist Sibella Court spent the past decade based in New York, and on returning to Australia last year opened the doors of The Society Inc – another charming ‘corner store’ set away from the main buzz in Paddington, it’s a delightful terrace filled with rustic and rare curiosities that Sibella finds on her travels and uses as props in her editorial work. (A very clever idea – after 12 months of styling I had to have an upmarket garage sale of sorts to clear my accumulation of homewares and antiques!)
The eclectic wares are displayed in a perfect stylists manner, as if you’ve wandered onto the set of a location shoot for a fabulous magazine. Tactile and unique, it’s wonderful to have an insight into her creative world. The stylish scenario changes theme every season with a launch to mark each one. Add to this her colour range with Murobond paints, and we’re in instant awe and admiration…
I had already visited IVY late last year when it first opened – but I was dying to visit the sprawling building of bars and boutiques again. It’s an inspirational journey to wander through the maze of themed areas – all slick, theatrical and unique in their own way from the darkly glamorous interiors to the bright and breezy outdoor areas.
This time we dined on the opposite side of the building (that I didn’t even realise existed) and had a chance to check out the PoolClub. Needless to say, with the sudden cold snap there was no swimming taking place – but I can see myself in a poolside kabana come spring/summer…
‘THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE’ PREMIERE
Finally. The Septmber Issue screened in Australia! The doco follows Anna Wintour and her US Vogue team putting together the biggest issue of the year (correctly refered to as a chunky telephone-book in scale). Wintour gave little away in the movie, coming across as a real life Devil wears Prada in her ruthless cutting of editorial spreads magically created by the uber-talented stylist Grace Coddington (who constructs vintage-inspired glamour perfectly from her couture racks).
Sydney fashionistas flocked and filled the glamorous State Theatre for the premiere as part of the Sydney Film Festival, and we managed to walk the red carpet with the divine Miranda Otto. A perfect big-city end to my visit.
Oh, and I managed to squeeze in a couple of business meeting and drum up some exciting new editorial work! Stay tuned…