When one of Australia’s top fashion stylists has a baby, images of babies in front rows and heels pushing prams spring to mind. But as Kelly Hume so humbly proved, no one is exempt from the relentless demands of new motherhood, regardless of their fashion pedigree. “I'm pretty sure I spent the forty days pounding the pavement down country streets with Bea in the Bugaboo,” she says...
As the Style Director at Stellar magazine and with a resume that includes GQ and Sunday Style, Kelly has styled every big name in the industry, from Nicole Kidman to Miranda Kerr. Now with three-year-old Beatrice in tow, her own style has evolved (“you will rarely find me in a stiletto these days, whereas it was a rare day I didn’t wear heels to the office pre-motherhood”), and while she still subscribes to a work uniform that would have most of us drooling in lust, she also embraces practicality. “On my days off work I very much like to be ‘off-duty’,” she says. “It’s very important for me to not have to worry about what I’m wearing and the way I look on those days. My personal style is so tied up in what I do that the expectation is naturally there that I always make a certain effort. Weekends are so precious and not nearly long enough so I really want my focus to be on nourishing my family, both physically and emotionally and I find that so much easier to do when I am disconnected from that world.”
We visited Kelly and her daughter Beatrice in their idyllic home in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire to discuss all things motherhood, style and why sometimes, a stomp around a shopping centre can be the making of a sane mother.
Tell us about yourself and who makes up your beautiful family...
I am the Fashion Director of Stellar Magazine and freelance stylist/creative consultant. I am constantly trying to juggle my professional career with being a conscious and considerate mother to my very spirited three-year-old daughter Beatrice and a present and supportive partner to my husband Josh. Also, I need to give our dog Agnes a bit of regular love too.
Can you share a little about your own childhood?
I grew up in the Sutherland Shire and have what I imagine to be a quintessentially suburban Australian childhood of the ’80s. I’m the eldest of three and liked to think I was the ‘organiser’ amongst the neighbourhood kids. The suburb in which we grew up in was only really being developed when we moved there so there was still lots of bushland and scrub to explore, build many a fortress, hunt for worms and make mud pies. I also ran a bike riding competition every Sunday afternoon with the prize being a Caramelo Koala from my mum’s secret stash. It was pretty idyllic and we really only played inside on a rainy day.
What inspired your love of fashion?
I was very pedantic about what I would and wouldn’t wear from a very young age. I loved getting dressed of a morning and was always putting on concerts for my poor parents. Neither of my parents nor anyone else in my family was particularly into fashion as such but my Dad works in the music industry so there was definitely the freedom and encouragement to be creative from a young age.
You’ve worked with some incredible brands and personalities. What have been some of the highlights?
I have shot so many incredible people over the years, some more famous than others but the images I look back on and still love so much are those I did of Nicole Kidman for Stellar with Nino Munoz in LA. When I’m creating an image, for me, it’s not so much about the clothes but creating a feeling and working with the photographer to capture an energy and authenticity and I think those shots really captured Nicole’s spirit. Every fashion show I have ever styled stays with me as well. I really love being involved in the whole process of interpreting a designer’s concept and making the show an experience.
You stepped away from the city life in search of a slower pace and moved to the south coast of NSW for a year – can you tell us about what led to that decision, and how it played out?
We had been living in Elizabeth Bay for many years before I fell pregnant and often discussed moving down to the South Coast where my husband grew up. My father-in-law was very ill with cancer and Josh was offered an opportunity to run both Bannisters properties in Mollymook. We relocated, buying a house in Milton, just before Bea was born and stayed for about a year, heading back to Sydney not long after Josh’s Dad passed away. Country life in a very small town just wasn’t for us on a full-time basis. We love visiting every month and spend much of summer there, but without our close friends and my family close by, we just couldn’t make it work. That coupled with the distinct lack of international food choices was enough to make me move somewhere where Uber Eats existed.
What does life look like for you now? Is there a happy middle ground?
We moved back to Sydney and rented a terrace in Zetland for a year while we decided where we wanted to buy, finally settling on the Sutherland Shire where I grew up. We are so so happy here. It’s the perfect compromise between country and city life. We’re close to the beach and my family, we have a lovely backyard and back on to bush so it’s very similar to the childhood homes we grew up in. Bea has space for a trampoline and a vegetable garden and I can order Vietnamese takeaway on a Friday night!
On my days off work, I very much like to be ‘off-duty’. I don’t particularly want to bump in to people from the fashion and media industries when I’m at the farmer’s market with my family and have to make small talk. It’s very important for me to not have to worry about what I’m wearing and the way I look on those days. My personal style is so tied up in what I do that the expectation is naturally there that I always make a certain effort. Weekends are so precious and not nearly long enough so I really want my focus to be on nourishing my family, both physically and emotionally and I find that so much easier to do when I am disconnected from that world.