Rebecca Caratti is what you could describe as Australian fashion royalty. The Perth-born, Sydney-based mother to baby daughter Frankie, has recently been appointed editor of the inimitable Vogue Living after many years editing and contributing to the top style publications here and abroad...
“To edit a brand with such a rich heritage is an honour. Moving from fashion/contemporary culture into the design world feels like a natural progression for me”. Immaculate taste in fashion has extended into interiors personally as well as professionally. Her stunning Sydney home which she decorated in collaboration with Caroline Choker is certainly a testament to this. Caratti’s elevated yet restrained style has been honed from years at the forefront of the Australian fashion publishing industry (Vogue Australia, Harpers Bazaar Australia, and most recently as Editor-In-Chief of Buro 24/7’s Australian edition) and no doubt also from working as a stylist in both Paris and London. Impressive career accomplishments aside, this is an authentic mother’s account of the raw emotions and hard work that accompanies the journey into motherhood, and how difficult it can be without loved ones by your side. “I always knew I had the world’s greatest mother but since becoming one my appreciation and love for her are even greater. I lost my mum five years ago to breast cancer and have struggled through my first year with Frankie not having her with me. We always used to talk about me having children and for Frankie to not have her in her life breaks my heart.” On becoming a mother, she recalls: “The first six months were hard. Really hard. Frankie was hospitalised three times in the first three months. She had bronchiolitis. It doesn’t matter the severity of how ill a baby is – seeing a newborn in the hospital hooked up to tubes is absolutely soul destroying. These moments have contributed to me being a very overprotective and anxious mother.” Rebecca and Frankie’s tale is honest, insightful and at times humorous because we can all relate. On self-care “I don’t self-care! It’s something I will work towards because I’m a bit of a hot mess”; and on style “to be honest I looked like a mess my whole maternity leave and didn’t have time to care or think about style.” While we find this hard to believe of the ever-chic Caratti, it’s a keen reminder to us all that no matter how glossy our lives appear, our little ones have their own agenda. We spent the morning at home with Rebecca and gorgeous baby Frankie and were reminded of some of the harsh realities of life with a newborn, learnt some more about sleep training (cue Jane Surgenor on speed dial!) and discovered some chic style hacks post-baby. But mostly, that a mothers love is all-consuming – “I literally cannot handle how much I love her – she makes my heart explode”… Sigh. Words: Emily Armstrong | Photography: Julie Adams | Hair and makeup: Elsa Morgan
What are your most vivid memories of your childhood? Where did you grow up? How many siblings do you have? How did you spend your time?
I grew up in Perth with my three brothers, mum and dad. I was the only girl and unlike many girls of brothers who say they were a “tomboy” growing up – I was not. I had imaginary friends, loved dolls, loved dressing up. I had a very special relationship with my Nonna Rosa and would spend a lot of time at her house. I had a loving family and beautiful childhood.
When did you move to Sydney and why? Where did your career in publishing begin?
I moved to Sydney when I was 23 and had just finished university. I began interning at every magazine at ACP and finally got a role as a fashion assistant at Shop Til You Drop Magazine. I dedicated my entire 20’s to working hard and kicking career goals. I have a strong work ethic and never thought any job was beneath me – I think that has helped me with my career.
Most memorable moments of working in publishing/career highlights?
I’ve had countless memorable moments. Launching Buro247 into Australia was definitely an amazing opportunity. To build a brand and localise it to fit into the Australian market was challenging but exciting. I had just returned from living in Paris and London and was so inspired with so many new ideas – I built that brand based on my interests – which was such a fun way to work… because it was everything I was passionate about. Also, my new role as Editor at Vogue Living is a definite highlight. To edit a brand with such a rich heritage is an honour. Moving from fashion / contemporary culture into the design world feels like a natural progression for me.
Did you enjoy being pregnant – what was the best part? And what was the hardest? Any cravings?
Physically I had a very easy pregnancy but I struggled a bit emotionally. I’m not a very sensitive person but became quite sensitive and emotional throughout the pregnancy. In terms of diet, I started off really healthy. I continued to exercise and eat well but then soon gave into all the cravings. I craved everything: cake, chocolate, ice-cream, sausages, white sliced bread – everything I generally never ate.
How was the birth – was it what you imagined?
The birth was completely unexpected and of course nothing I had planned in my head. I ended up having an amniotic sac rupture so ended up being induced, as your risk of infection is high. I really wanted to deliver naturally but ended up getting an emergency c-section as I just didn’t dilate. My obstetrician (the now retired Keith Hartman) advised me that my body just doesn’t dilate – so next pregnancy I will have a planned C-section.
What were the first six months like – how did Frankie sleep? Did you get any help (Jane)? How did you handle the sleep deprivation?
The first six months were hard. Really hard. Frankie was hospitalised three times in the first three months. She had bronchiolitis. It doesn’t matter the severity of how ill a baby is – seeing a newborn in the hospital hooked up to tubes is absolutely soul destroying. These moments have contributed to me being a very over-protective and anxious mother. At four months Frankie went through a pretty intense sleep regression – waking every two hours, sometimes 45 minutes. I know the importance of sleep for babies brain development so had Jane Surgenor sleep train her at five months. It took one night for Frankie to adjust and has been sleeping 12 hours every night since – with no night feeds. Jane has also become a dear friend. Her guidance and support have really helped me through this transition of becoming a mother.
How do you self-care – what are the things you do to take care of yourself?
I don’t self-care! It’s something I will work towards because I’m a bit of a hot mess.
What has motherhood taught you?
Countless things. But the biggest thing it’s taught me is patience. And to stop and enjoy the moment. Watching Frankie learn and discover the world is just the best thing ever! Seeing the world through her excited, curious eyes is what life is all about.
What did your own mother teach you about life/being a mother?
I always knew I had the world’s greatest mother but since becoming one my appreciation and love for her are even greater. I lost my mum 5 years ago to breast cancer and have struggled through my first year with Frankie not having her with me. We always used to talk about me having children and for Frankie to not have her in her life breaks my heart. She was the most selfless, nurturing, beautiful soul and I’m so lucky that I had the greatest teacher when it comes to motherhood.
How have you decorated Frankie’s nursery – talk us through some of the key pieces?
I’ve kept it simple with no clutter. I don’t understand all those intense nurseries – they just seem like a huge overwhelming distraction for babies. I will look at re-decorating when she’s a bit older.
Has your fashion style changed since you became a mother – what’s a typical look for you?
I go for comfort and live in flats. But to be honest I’ve looked like a mess my whole maternity leave and I haven’t had time to care or think about style.
How long have you lived in your home?
We’ve lived in this home for almost two years now.
Talk us through the inspiration behind the interior of your home? And who did you work with on the interiors?
I wanted to create a calming and peaceful energy – and I think I’ve done that because it’s actually the first thing people say when they come over. The house is surrounded by bamboo so wanted to work with different shades of green inside. . . I collaborated with Caroline Choker – I know exactly what I like but it was great to work with an interior designer to make the process logistically easier.
Do you have a favourite room?
I love my living room. It’s where we spend most of our time as a family – although it’s now been turned into Frankie’s playroom – so it’s a bit of a disaster.
Can you list some of your favourite pieces of furniture/objects in your home?
My favourite pieces are actually my custom rugs. They are a wool and silk blend and feel amazing.
Would you say your interior style is similar to your fashion style?
Yes, I would say it’s similar – clean, minimal, good quality. Although in my home I like to work with a lot more colour than what I would wear
What does the future hold for you?
Trying to find balance. Trying to figure out how to juggle work and parenting. The lack of support working women are given in this country makes my blood boil.
Favourite thing to do with Frankie?
Making her laugh and our afternoon cuddles in bed. I literally cannot handle how much I love her… she makes my heart explode.
How do you keep your home tidy/organised with a child? Are you more on the minimal side of things?
I am an absolute neat freak. I pack her toys up at every nap time and after she’s in bed so we’re always working with clean areas. Will I be able to do that when she’s older? Probably not – but it works for me right now. It also helps that my husband is very neat as well (well he’s learned to be).
What are your time management tips – how do you get everything done in a day?
I don’t stop. I don’t necessarily think that’s a helpful tip – it’s just the way I am. I struggle to relax and have a very short attention span so I’m always doing something.
List 8 or so things you’re loving right now – eg fresh flowers, a bath with Frankie, a restaurant, a facial, a book, a certain food – anything.
Cuddles in bed with Frankie Almond milk cappuccinos with lots of sugar (my new sweet tooth) Red wine Stella McCartney Pyjamas Society Bed Linen My garden in bloom Facials at Melanie Grant Sisley black rose mask and hydrating spray