Marina Didovich may be one of the fashion industry’s most sought-after stylists, but right now she’s at the mercy of her most demanding client ever: her almost one-year-old son, Cash...
And she wouldn’t have it any other way. It took seven long years for Marina and her photographer husband Steven to conceive, so they count their lucky stars every day. “You know what?” Marina asks. “He was so worth the wait.”
We spent the afternoon with Marina and Cash to celebrate the launch of the new Baby Dior collection (after all, whose baby could be more stylish than a stylist’s?) We talked about all the ways that motherhood has changed Marina’s approach to, well, everything – from her choice of swimwear to the way she styles her home.
Despite the fairytale ending, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. As every parent knows, a new baby throws the world into chaos, and it’s no different for this fashionable family. “We did a renovation, maybe four years ago now”, Marina tells us of her gorgeous Bondi home. “It’s such a beautiful space, we’re so proud of it. It was always immaculate, and then we actually had one of Steven’s best friends come over recently and he just laughed and he said, ‘It finally looks like people live here.’”
Babies tend to do that. But Marina’s not worried – “you just end up having to not care so much because you just can’t do it all, you know?” One thing she can do, is nail a styling brief. Whether it’s dressing Cash in her favourite Baby Dior tracksuit, or styling Sacha Baron Cohen, Marina’s approach is always about pairing her natural creativity with good instincts and comfort being front of mind. “When I’ve seen clients walk on a red carpet, or on shoots, it’s definitely the looks where they are feeling it, that translate the best.”
Here she tells us how she met her husband on a photoshoot in Fiji, shares her heartbreaking journey to motherhood, and takes us behind the scenes of the fashion industry…
Marina wears Dior Technical cotton bralette, cotton poplin blouse, and wool and silk pants. Cash wears Baby Dior cotton jersey T-shirt. All available at dior.com.
Cash is coming up to his first birthday. Tell me what has the first year of motherhood been like?
I’m not going to censor it. I’ll be really honest. Cash took us seven years to have because of health problems I’ve had.
It was incredible just getting pregnant – then staying pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy and giving birth to this perfect human was all our wildest dreams come true. We were and still are beyond grateful. We pinch ourselves everyday that this is our reality!
But in a way, it’s been really bittersweet as I haven’t been able to share these long awaited moments with my family because of the Covid situation, and them living in New Zealand.
What got you through seven years?
Steven (my husband). Obviously, we had our hard moments in that time but he was just always so incredible. He would say, “It’s just not our time yet and this is just our story. Everyone has their own story, and this one day is going to be ours that we’re going to look back on.” He was always so positive and grounding for me about everything.
But you know what? He was so worth the wait.
It ended up being meant to be when it happened. Cash is an IVF baby. We did his implantation and literally, one week later, the whole world shut down. So it ended up being that I had no choice but to relax. I couldn’t work. It was all serendipitous, I think. The timing for me worked really well. I didn’t have jobs to say no to, and no guilt over work.
Did you share your fertility journey with a lot of your friends?
Each to their own, but for me, I found great comfort in being able to talk about it and speaking with other women. For me, I’m an open book. I wear my heart on my sleeve and there’s no way I could keep it inside.
Marina wears Dior wool and silk dress, Plumetis tulle pleated skirt, smooth calfskin belt, lambskin ankle boot, yellow gold, diamonds and black mother-of-pearl watch. All available at dior.com.
Cash wears Baby Dior wool, silk and cashmere tricot knit hooded sweatshirt and track pants, cotton jersey T-shirt, and smooth calfskin and Dior Oblique jacquard low-top sneaker. All available at dior.com.
Over those years, what was the hardest part?
There were stages of hardest parts. I had in one week two of my best friends tell me they were pregnant. That was a hard week and definitely a very challenging time in the journey. I feel like that was the only time I really struggled hearing of other people getting pregnant. Other times, I genuinely felt really happy for people, and supportive… but that was a really hard week for me emotionally when that happened.
There was physical pain, but that was fine. It was the emotional stuff that’s harder to cope with. If you are hurt, you heal. It’s the internal stuff that’s hard.
It's often said that ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ and the fashion industry and the parenting world are two very different spaces, but comparison is rife in both. How do you avoid this?
With Cash and his stages right now, it’s really hard because he’s nearly one. He’s not crawling, he’s not walking, and everyone else is. But Steven keeps on saying, ‘It’s not a competition. He’ll do it in his own time. There’s nothing wrong with that.’ So again, I think Steven’s the one that reins me in there. I read somewhere years ago, that ‘comparison is the root of all evil’, and it’s always stuck with me because it’s so true.
You have had some incredible career highs from styling so many celebrities to collaborating with designers. If you look back, what have been some of the most memorable career moments?
I got to go to Paris for a really incredible Australian hair brand called Mr. Smith, and I’d never been to Paris before. That was a huge high for me because hello, that’s the dream, going to Paris and getting to do an incredible job there with my husband, and the Mr. Smith team are like family to us. So that was definitely a career highlight.
Another pinch myself moment… I’ve worked with Cate Blanchett a couple times, and something that’s always stuck with me was on one of the shoots that we did. She had to do a filmed monologue. I was fortunate enough to sit there and watch her do her thing. It just blew my mind, watching her read these lines. She’s in all these huge Hollywood movies and actually in the flesh, watching her perform was literally mind blowing.
Another career high was when I met my husband in Fiji. I was on one shoot, he was on another shoot staying at the same hotel…. and the rest is history!
Who are your favourite people to style and why?
Styling Sacha Baron Cohen for the cover of British GQ was a lot of fun, and such a highlight for me. One of my favourites is Jennifer Hawkins. She is one of my close friends, I love her to pieces, and she is just genuinely beautiful inside and out, and always just such a pleasure to style.
Marina wears Dior technical organza dress, “Rose des Vents” gold and diamond necklaces, and lambskin ankle boot. Cash wears Baby Dior cotton pique polo shirt, and cotton denim jeans. All available at dior.com.
What have you learnt working with so many different women about when it comes to clothes, what makes women feel good?
Even if I think it’s the most incredible dress on a client, if she doesn’t feel good, she’s not going to look good. It’s got to make you feel confident. It’s got to make you feel like you’re the woman you want to be. When I’ve seen clients walk on a red carpet, or on shoots, it’s definitely the looks where they are feeling it, that translate the best.
When I dress someone, if it’s a new client, one of the first discussions we have is, what part of your body do you love? What part of your body do you prefer to camouflage? Before I start sourcing or sending one email, calling things in, I always have that conversation because they’ve got to feel it.
You've said before that becoming a mother, you used to pride yourself on keeping your home looking like a show home. How has this changed since Cash arrived?
We actually had one of Steven’s best friends come over recently and he just laughed and said “It finally looks like people live here”. Our home used to look like a show home. So immaculate. You just end up having to not care so much because you just can’t do it all, you know?
Speaking about doing it all, obviously you have an incredible career. With Cash coming along, have you stepped back at all? How have you navigated?
A hundred percent. I just feel so blessed and grateful to have him, and really every single day, Steven and I have the conversation about how lucky we are. It’s not lost on me how fast this time will go, so I have very much stepped back from most jobs and I am at the moment, only taking stuff on that doesn’t take me away from Cash for long, of which there’s not much.
With styling, it’s such a big prep, shoot, return. It’s a lot of hours, so most things I’m saying no to, because I just want to be at home with him. I feel like me 12 months ago and me now, are totally different people.
Marina wears Dior wool and silk dress, Plumetis tulle pleated skirt, smooth calfskin belt, lambskin ankle boot, yellow gold, diamonds and black mother-of-pearl watch. Cash wears Baby Dior wool, silk and cashmere tricot knit hooded sweatshirt and track pants, cotton jersey T-shirt, and smooth calfskin and Dior Oblique jacquard low-top sneaker. All available at dior.com.
What changes do you think you've seen in yourself?
I just don’t think I sweat the small stuff as much anymore. That’s totally paraphrasing, but I think that’s very much the case.
Talk to me about dressing Cash. What did you love from the shoot with Baby Dior? What was the cutest thing that he was wearing?
I do love dressing him! I loved all the pieces, but there was a really cute tracksuit. I thought that was absolutely divine, and I really loved the trainers. I thought they were rad. Those were probably my two favourite pieces that he wore.
As a stylist, are you having fun dressing him?
Absolutely! He’s only going to let me dress him for so long, so I’ve got to make the most of it!
How would you describe your style and has your style changed over the years?
So much so. Probably because I’ve become a mum, I feel like I’ve become a lot less fussy with my dressing. I’ve also become very conscious about wearing things once and never wearing it again. When shopping I’m becoming a lot more classic and evolved in that sense. I’m appreciating a pant way more also. Again, probably because of #mumlife. The same thing with my swimwear. I’m having to think of it in a totally different way. I’m not just walking down to Bondi and sunbathing. I’m going to be in the kids pool instead!
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