Tuesday, 30 November 2010

designer & stylist alice flynn

As I'm about to take my big leap, it's interesting to see the journeys the launch staff from real living have taken since leaving the mag. There's former style director Andrea Millar, who now is a regular writer and stylist for the (sydney) mag as well as habitus. Deputy editor Belinda Graham has become something of a craft queen over at The Happy Home. And style editor Alice Flynn has returned to her design roots, and launched Penny Farthing Design House with her sister Sarah Neilsen. She's also a successful interior decorator and renovator (which you'll know if you've got the latest issue of real living).

This just in - Alice is going to be hosting a "Design Lab" at the last Magnolia Square event for the year in Melbourne. See the website for details.

Which five words best describe you? Focused, generous, driven, calm, and artistic.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I started assisting with stylist Andrea Millar and after numerous magazine titles we went on to the launch of Real Living with Deb Bibby, who taught me drive and to push myself creatively. This then lead to the launch of PrintDolls. Since then my sister Sarah Neilsen and I have launched Penny Farthing Design House, a platform to produce the abundance of ideas we have together.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? The power of now. Once you get that, life is just better.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Styling the Gordon Ramsay event celebrating the launch of his new TV show, it was a lot of fun and went incredibly smoothly.

What’s been your best decision? Going into business with my sister; we balance each other, and work has never been more inspiring.

Who inspires you? Anna Wintour, Tracey Emin and my parents, they have embraced every step along the way and pushed me to the next one.

What are you passionate about? Family, art, tulle, plaster and all things blue.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Annie Leibovitz, aside from unquestionable talent, I think she would have some pretty cool tales.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? New York. New York. New York.

What are you reading? Toddler Taming, and Indian Vogue.

images courtesy of penny farthing design house

Monday, 29 November 2010

monday giveaway!

Today's giveaway is from Ubabub, a cool Melbourne company that's all about injecting high design into nursery furniture, and now... artworks. Natasha and Daniel are offering 2 lucky winners their choice of an artwork from their online store. (This would be my pick.) They come unframed and are worth $69 each.

For a chance to win, please visit Ubabub and their online store, and leave a comment below. Two winners will be chosen at random on Wednesday 1 December. (So don't forget to check back Thursday to see if it's you!)

In this Daily Imprint interview with Natasha I could really relate to her proudest career achievement!

Good luck!

The winners are
#21 Tracie
#45 Jess
Congratulations!!! Please contact me with your postal address and daytime phone number (as well as your chosen print) and I will arrange delivery of your prize. Thanks everyone for taking part.

images courtesy of ubabub

Friday, 26 November 2010

must-visit pop-up shop

How things happen... Well, last week I let you in on a secret project that I'd been working on - Taika. This week, I'm going to reveal that a lot can change in a week. The site is now live in what marketing types like to call a "soft" launch. Ie, if you want to buy a fun and cool Christmas gift for a child this year then just pop along here. A bells & whistles site will follow.

But you'd better be quick though because Taika has been invited to sell its wares at a great little pop-up shop set up by some of my favourite people.

Rachel Brown from Attia - read her Daily Imprint interview here.
Richard McAdam from Puddin' Head - read his Daily Imprint interview here.
Tessa Bautovich from The Lowercase - well, we've only just met so an interview is on its way; but in the meantime read this.

Click on the pop-up shop image for details.

See you there!

images courtesy of puddin' head, attia, the lowercase and taika

Thursday, 25 November 2010

papier d'amour's phoebe gazal

One of the first features that I produced for real living involved finding three stylish women and their gift cupboards. When I contacted Phoebe Gazal and saw the pic of how she stored paper and stationery, I knew she would be perfect. Turns out I'm not the only one. Recently she was featured in >Harper's Bazaar as part of a promotion with >Domayne. Some of the pics are above - can you guess which ones?!

Seriously, though, almost every styling shoot this year I've ended up in Phoebe's shop Papier D'Amour. It's not only because she has one of the best edited selections of decorative items around, but it's all so well priced too (not what you'd necessarily expect for Sydney's Double Bay). It's amazing how much the shop has grown. While Phoebe started out focussed on stationery design, she now has an amazing shop and online store too.

Which five words best describe you? Bossy, creative, straight to the point, funny (I hope).
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I went to UTS and did a visual communications course majoring in graphic design. I then went and worked for a large advertising company but I really kicked off when I was asked by a friend to design their wedding invitation, then invitation design and my love for stationery just flourished.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Honesty is the best policy.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Being flown to Europe make sure everything at my client's wedding looked beautiful – it was a huge compliment. The bride trusted me to be the one that okay'd everything and as far as weddings go it was pretty big.
What’s been your best decision? Taking on more staff and opening the store as it has given me so many more of creative outlets - not just graphic design.
Who inspires you? Exciting new products, paper cutouts, completed invitation jobs that look amazing and my children.
What are you passionate about? I am passionate about design and paper and my family - sounds cliched but it's the truth.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Martha Stewartapparently she is hysterical and straight to the point.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Drinking cocktails next to my Moroccan swimming pool.
What are you reading? The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

images courtesy of phoebe gazal, harper's bazaar and domayne

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

interior designer paul hecker

Confident. Sharp. Beautiful. Hecker Guthrie - the interior design business headed by Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie - is hands down one of the best in Australia. Just take a look at the images of The Ivy on their website. It remains brave and dynamic yet playful. Paul asks clients how they want a space to make them feel (rather than just what they want it to look like), which is worth remembering.

On another note, he was one of the reasons I watched the HomeMade TV show a couple of seasons back. Paul always had something insightful to offer, and I always felt that I learnt something from his comments. He's got a great sense of humour too, as you'll soon discover...

Which five words best describe you? Impatient, playful, curious, selfish, optimistic.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I started by leaving Adelaide and moving to Melbourne to work for Daryl Jackson (where I first met Hamish Guthrie). Without that, who knows!?
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Things go wrong if you don’t establish a culture of strong communication, whether it be with a client, a builder or a business partner.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Having a part in building a successful design practice.
What’s been your best decision? To keep exercising – I started exercising at 42.
Who inspires you?
Any designer who creates something beautiful that I didn’t think of – in other words, lots of people.
What are you passionate about? Popular culture – TV, the things that make now, now.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
The guy who was getting it on with the dog – you know, the rugby player. I would probably say something dumb if I were to meet a real celebrity or genius.
What dream do you still want to fulfil?
Be rich.
What are you reading? The world of interiors magazine and some cheesy novels.

images courtesy of hecker guthrie

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

photographer justin ridler

A name to watch, Justin Ridler is a fashion photographer on the rise. He has shot for Elle, Harper's Bazaar and Oyster. He is signed to The Artist Group, which also has the likes of Ben Watts, Georges Antoni, Chris Colls and David Mandelberg on its books. Justin was also featured in the Australian Masters of Photography exhibition.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My first real job after uni was for a film production company as a stills photographer. I didn't really assist but I think that experience was similar in terms of what I learned on set through observation. Listening to directors work with actors and cinematographers formed the basis for my approach to photography. My first real break was from Karen Webster, who was the director of the LMFF at the time. Karen gave me my first big campaign which lead to more commissions and agency representation, that was around 2005/06. Since then I've spent time working in Australia, Asia and Europe. Now home is Paddington in Sydney.

What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way? That there is a lesson to be learned in almost everything you do.

What's your proudest career achievement? My enthusiasm always lays with what is current, not so much with what has past. I'm not the sort of person who dwells on the past because I don't think it's good for me creatively to focus on what has already occurred. It clouds the mind. My role is to create images, achievements are just a by-product of that focus.

What's been your best decision? To walk down Collins Street in Melbourne in early 2004 and turn right instead of walking straight.

Who inspires you? The woman I met when I turned right. My fantastic family. Women and men with something to say. I am inspired by crystallisation and innovation of thought, and above all else, by the enveloping force of nature.

What are you passionate about? Creating not destroying.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? My grandfather when he was my age.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I'd love to sail around the Croatian coast with Lajla. I'd love to travel around the Sahara some more, it's my favourite place on earth.

What are you reading? I just finished reading a fantastic book called Half the sky by Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl Wundunn.

images courtesy of justin ridler

Monday, 22 November 2010

monday giveaway!

What better day of the week to start a few giveaways than a Monday. Just in time for Christmas, the talented women behind the Australian design brand Polli are offering 5 readers the chance to each win 3 of their gorgeous Eco Decoration Kits (value, $59.85). Each kit - in Polli Red, Sunshine Yellow and Sky Blue - includes 30 decorations and red twine, which you can use as a garland, for tree displays or gift tags. The kits are designed and printed in Australia.

For a chance to win, please visit Polli's online shop and leave a comment below. I'd love to know who YOU would like to read about on Daily Imprint next - but the winner will be selected at random on Friday. Good luck!

To learn about how Maja Rose and Tess Lloyd turned their hobby into a success story, read their interview on Daily Imprint here.

The winners (using random.org) are
#11 - Paula
# 22 - Anne-Marie @10 Rooms
# 31 - Leah leahluna32[at]gmail.com
# 19 - Gem
# 35 - Terri

Please email me your full name, postal address and daytime contact phone number (by Friday 3 December) so I can organise delivery of your prize - natalie[at]nataliewalton.com

image polli

Friday, 19 November 2010

designer megan park

Sometimes it's not easy to appreciate what you've achieved until you take a moment and look back. After studying fashion design and working as a textile designer in Melbourne, Megan Park moved to London. She designed textiles for an agency that created products for Givenchy, Dries van Noten and Kenzo. If that wasn't an achievement in itself, when Megan launched her eponymous collection of bags and scarves in 1997 it was quickly picked up by the world's leading department stores. She has since returned to Melbourne and launched a homewares as well as a girl clothing line.

Which five words best describe you? Passionate, determined, loyal, forgetful, compassionate.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? This could be a long, long story... but I will try and make it quick. I graduated from RMIT fashion before getting my one and only fulltime job as a designer for the bridal house of Mariana Hardwick. Working with her was a fabulous experience as I was given the complete freedom to create without any real limitations and also it allowed me to travel the world for inspiration. Having worked with her for 2 years I set off on my travels which took me to London (a childhood dream) – I stayed for 13 years. In London I started working with an Indian company as a textiles design consultant - a life of 6 months in India developing the collections which I would then spend 6 months in Europe showing to the design houses. I look back on this now and am amazed at who I met and worked with during this time. Gaining 7 years of experience in India and working with the most talented embroiderers I decided to venture out on my own and the rest is history. What began as a small accessories collection developed season upon season into something much bigger, but always evolving at its own natural pace. I have been encouraged by some amazing people who have believed in my collection and that has given me the conviction needed in this sometimes tough industry. I was fortunate enough to sell my first collection to Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus, Joyce, Harvey Nichols and Liberty. I think I was in the right place at the right time, but their stamp of approval set me off on the right path from the beginning.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way? To listen to your heart, as then you can never go wrong.
What's your proudest career achievement? Dressing the editor of British Vogue Alexandra Shulman to meet The Queen of England on International Women’s Day. I am not a royalist but this was a pretty cool thing to read: she wrote an article for The Independent newspaper in England about getting dressed to meet the Queen as being watched and commented upon by her young son, and summed it up by writing that she eventually chose to wear Megan Park teamed up with Prada.
What's been your best decision? To have children with my beautiful partner Anthony.
Who inspires you? So many people inspire me. I support an NGO in India called Tomorrow’s Foundation run by very good friends of mine that work to educate the street children of Calcutta. They are truly inspirational and I always feel so humbled and energized to give more when I see what they do. I am also an Ambassador for The Australian Childhood Foundation – again the work that they do makes the fashion industry seem quite facile sometimes! My mother inspires me to better mother – she is totally selfless when it comes to her children and is also open and accepting of everyone. In my years of work and travel I have met some amazingly inspiring people, including even the Dalai Lama. I love meeting new people that I can learn from in some way, whether they be creatives or people that are doing something that is beyond the norm.
What are you passionate about? Sunday morning’s in bed with my family, India, Melbourne cafes, antique textiles, vintage markets, a good cup of tea.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Oh, this is a hard one. I could be lofty and spiritual, but then again I could just be honest: David Bowie!
What dream do you still want to fulfill? I am actually quite content with where I am. I have lived a very lucky life. I do work quite hard and whilst I love my work and the places that my travels take me I do look forward to a little less of this so as to be spending more with my children and partner. They are the most important things in the world yet the world of fashion can be a hungry beast that requires a lot of feeding at times.
What are you reading? Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and many other bedtime stories. Alas, grown up novels have been a thing of the past for the past 3 ½ years. Even the Sunday papers are an achievement.

images courtesy of megan park; portrait vogue australia

Thursday, 18 November 2010

cartell music's jean-francois ponthieux

What would you expect the owner of a record company to be like? If films are anything to go by, he'd have to be short, pushy and talk fast. (I don't think I've ever seen any reference to a female record head.) My experience meeting Jean-Francois Ponthieux from Cartell Music couldn't have been further from the stereotype. He's a French man living in Melbourne, to start off with. He's also married to fashion designer Yeojin Bae, who I interviewed here. Jean-Francois also takes a different approach to finding and promoting music too. (As you'll see from this and this.) When we met a little while back he had just worked with SBS to bring performances from So Frenchy So Chic to the small screen. The artists he represents - Nouvelle Vague, Melanie Pain, Berry - are some of my favourites.

Which five words best describe you? Curious, hyperactive, daydreamer, thinking, laughing.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I started my career organically. After my business degree I experiment many jobs. I worked on a political campaign, radio, film festival, exported Pierre Cardin home perfume, marketed a travel guide, travelled around the world and landed in Australia. I found out what I wanted to do (music) at 29 and never looked back.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Trust your gut feeling and be patient.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Starting my own business, loving the freedom and the responsibilities.
What’s been your best decision? To make the first step. It's always the hardest with whatever we achieve. Once the step is made, the horizon opens up.
Who inspires you? My father.
What are you passionate about? Music, politics, history, geopolitics and people watching.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Continuing my path.
What are you reading? Mao - The unknown story.

images courtesy of cartell music

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

styling for xmas gift guide

There's a pattern emerging. The last shots from most of my shoots seem to be the ones that everyone likes the most. Can you guess what that was in this xmas gift guide, which I did with photographer Maree Homer, for real living? While you have a think, here are the last shots of the day for other shoots:

The "bookish bohemian" room in my
very first shoot.
The "French industrial" space in outdoor settings.
The "clutter-free" bedroom in store-bought storage.
"Circus kids" in the nursery shoot.

Well, above, it was the "man" spread with the monkey tshirt (from Two Ruffians). I'm ashamed to tell you how quickly I threw that look together. We were losing light and I had to work fast. Besides, I knew what I wanted the shot to look like. It was just a matter of placing the products in the right place and doing a little bit of tweaking. (Originally I was only going to have photos on the right-hand side, but decided to add a few products at the last minute to give a bit more depth to that side of the page.)

The December issue of
real living went on sale yesterday.

images courtesy of real living and maree homer

Monday, 15 November 2010

artist alex lekias

Alex Lekias is a self-taught artist from Perth who learnt a valuable lesson from the GFC. She wasn't able to get a start in creative advertising design after studying it at university and a specialist school. So she took the spare time she had on her hands and did what she really loved - create artworks. On November 18 she will open her first Sydney exhibition at Friends of Leon gallery.

Which five words best describe you? Messy, sentimental, daydreamy, silly, tea-drinker.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I started out just drawing for my own pleasure. I studied film and creative advertising design at uni and found that my favourite parts were thinking up concepts and storyboarding. I was really getting into comics and graphic novels at the time, so I started working on narrative ideas and designing characters to write and draw a little graphic novel of my own as that medium seemed ideal for what I was interested in - telling a story and visualising it through drawings. A lot of my friends were organising collaborative local art-meets-music projects and opening submission group shows about town, so I started submitting work for those and drawing artwork for my manfriend's band. I realised increasingly that I really loved the practise of thinking up concepts and realising them through drawing, more so than the practise I was studying at university. After uni I got into this industry-run creative advertising course called AWARD School. I was told that if you won a place when graduating from this course, it was likely that you'd be head hunted by an ad agency, the possibility of which appealed to me as I am the worst "schmooser" in the whole world and thought this was the least tedious, least wanky route to get work. As it turned out our class graduated pretty much as the GFC hit, and despite coming second in the competition, no job offers came my way and the prospect of getting any work in the industry was pretty bleak. So I thought to myself, what better time than this to have a bash at what I have always wanted to do - a solo exhibition! So I found a gallery that liked my stuff and had a opening in their calendar for me to show and I worked toward a new collection of work to exhibit, asked friends to lend a hand with the logistical side of things, and put on an exhibition. I found the whole experience full-on and completely exciting, and I decided that this was definitely, for now at least, what I wanted to do. Then my friend Jodee Knowles (a beautiful artist) kindly showed some of my stuff to the gorgeous Leon after she had an exhibition with Friends of Leon and he asked me if I would like to show with him. The moral of which was that I am indebted to the GFC, as without that old son of a gun I might not have received the nudge into the direction that I think I really deep down truly wanted to take myself.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Pursuing the "sensible", "rational", "safe" route isn't always best, because if your heart's not in it, it makes it difficult to motivate yourself and enjoy what you do. I think I heard Stephen Fry say in an interview recently something along the lines of - if you have have a fall-back plan, you will almost definitely fall back into it. I was lucky in that my fall-back plan got taken off the table for me and that pushed me to just go for it and focus all energy into what I really wanted to do, which is making art. I guess time is the most precious commodity, and it feels good to spend it doing what you love, and what that is is different for everybody. If you love what you do, working your ass off doesn't feel like a chore and you are able to invest 100% of yourself and enjoy doing it.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Probably this exhibition; it has been the largest collection of work I have produced. Fingers crossed people will enjoy seeing it.
What’s been your best decision? To put on an exhibition and put my stuff out there. And to no longer expend time and energy pursuing something that I thought I should do and instead invest my energies into what I want to do.
What was the starting point for this exhibition? Researching and realising the concept of this body of work and defining what I was setting out to do. I apply the creative process I learnt when I was studying creative advertising design to my art practise. Research, single-minded proposition - once you have defined and clarified in your mind what you are intending to do and what the overall theme or concept of what the collection of work is going to be, I find it easier to generate relevant ideas for each art work.
Who inspires you? Pixar Studios. I think they are the most creative, inventive, universally engaging, socially aware, multifaceted art-force out there right now, in my opinion anyway. And people who are enthusiastic and find interest in the world around them, are open-mined, kind and helpful to others and appreciate silliness.
What are you passionate about? Making and experiencing art, learning more about the world, sharing stories, enjoying good food and wine with family and friends, and Seinfeld.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Off the top of my head
here is my ultimate dinner party guest list: David Attenborough, Larry David, Hayao Miyazaki, Stanley Kubrick, Mel Brooks, Stan Lee, David Bowie, John Hughes, Aubrey Beardsley, Peter Ustinov being Prince John from Disney's Robin Hood, Bjork, my grandfathers, and Oprah to announce each guest as they enter and hide treats under our seats.
What dream do you still want to fulfill? I would love to work on an animated film and to illustrate a graphic novel or have a crack at translating some of my ideas three dimensionally - work that encourages a bit more tactile audience engagement. I'd also love to collaborate with someone from a different discipline, a writer or a scientist or a psychologist or my little brothers.
What are you reading? I must admit, I am very behind on my reading, I've been busy drawing! The last books I read were the Persepolis graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi. Incredible books, such a beautifully realised and intimate autobiography.

images courtesy of alex lekias and friends of leon


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