With GRACE Melbourne, you bring a world of exclusive designers and stunning products to your customers. How do you go about sourcing the great brands and pieces you stock?
Discovering and curating the mix is part of the joy of what I do, but I can’t say that there is a specific formula to this. It’s really about what speaks to me and this goes beyond great design or a great name. Everything that we select has to reflect a certain “je ne sais quoi”, that is, have an inherent value and be something special. It could be anything from the Italian toothpaste we sell (which is effective, looks beautiful and cleverly stands on its cap), to a simple but well-cut T-shirt, the perfect wash of denim or an impeccably cut blazer – you basically know it when you see it!
GRACE also gets approached regularly by brands wanting to be stocked, which is really flattering. But when I do add a new brand, it is very considered and chosen because I feel it will be a great long-term fit, offering our customers something super exciting that makes sense for their lives. This July we have two incredible new brands coming on board that will be sure to surprise and delight our girl!
As well as fashion, you stock a selection of lifestyle and homeware items. How do you feel that lifestyle elements can work with fashion to create true personal style?
I guess that the fun of fashion is in the discovery of items you essentially ‘need’ (we all must get dressed) but that you also love – they get you excited and feeling confident about the way you present yourself to the world. How you put it all together to reflect who you are is where fashion meets style, because true style is about more than the clothes you wear.
Things for your life are no different. These things also reflect who you are and what makes you feel good. The way we curate things (whether that’s an outfit or other objects in our life) is how we communicate our own personal style, which ultimately speaks to who we are. Mostly we’re not even aware we are doing this, as what we are drawn to is usually more of an emotional response. We might know we need a t-shirt but why we choose the one we do is because of how we feel in it. I think that is part of the magic of GRACE; because you can come in and know that the best product range possible has been curated for you and you can let your emotions do the rest!
What is your personal approach to fashion? Do you subscribe to a uniform?
I don’t really think about “fashion” per se and instead get inspired by great, well-designed pieces that I can see will work for me (and our customers) for some time. The idea of effortless style is what inspires me, because I think there’s nothing better than seeing someone who looks completely comfortable in their skin and confident in their choice of clothing. I don’t think most of us really care about trends or what is “in fashion”. I think we are more inspired by the idea of personal style which thankfully today embraces so much and really celebrates the individual.
Personally, I dress to reflect how I’m feeling, what I have on that day, and the weather (my pet peeve is seeing street style photos from NYFW in January when girls are teetering in open-toed heels through the snow!! Each to their own but I’m not convinced they’d be doing that if the cameras weren’t there, it doesn’t feel authentic). Some days I might be feeling more feminine and polished, and others a bit more laid-back and edgy, so my ‘looks’ might be quite different. I love that the clothes we choose to wear give us so much freedom in expressing ourselves.
Overall I really don’t subscribe to a uniform although I do believe there are certain pieces we all benefit from and should ‘invest’ in, including a great white or striped shirt, a well-cut jacket (it needn’t be black!), flattering jeans, an iconic handbag, amazing shoes etc.