With formative years in Paris as a ballet dancer, Sydney-based creative director Christelle Scifo is flourishing in a dynamic world. Led by her passion for floral design, brand consultancy and photography, we talk to Christelle on how she honed her interests, what drove her to creatively produce and why travelling is a major component to her work process.
What is your formal education of background and was this always your chosen career path?
I was a dancer, having studied classical ballet most of my life and full time out of school. I also studied fashion design at East Sydney and fashion business and marketing part time. However the most invaluable education I was given was on the job and with real life work experience working under those I admired and aspired to be in the areas I was most passionate about like fashion, flowers, fragrance and food.
Having studied and worked as a dancer in Paris, how did your experiences influence you professionally?
As a dancer you’re forced to mature and grow up quickly, likewise with travelling and moving overseas, solo at a young age. Living and working abroad teaches you a lot about yourself, it takes you out of your comfort zone and challenges you – to this day the best thing I ever did. On reflection, I see this time abroad really played a role in shaping not just me but all culminating in shaping my direction and passions for what I hoped to achieve for my future.
Tell us about Fleurette.
Fleurette is the culmination of my multi-disciplined self, that enables me to work and create, showcasing all of my skills and all that I care about. It covers but not limited to; creative direction, set design, floral styling, still life, brand consulting, writing and photography.
I assist brands, events, places and people to translate their language into a unique aesthetic of their own using interiors, objects, flowers, food, scent, art and music often creating the language itself.
What have you learnt about yourself through launching Fleurette?
My capacity, my faults and how to focus on my strengths, self-belief in my work and my instincts instilled in me my by my mother, prioritising, time management and how to juggle, including going to bed earlier (I’m a night owl that wakes early) along with finding discipline in organising my professional life within my personal life. I’m still working on a healthy balance for all of the above.
As a florist, what intrigues you most about blending florals and fashion when curating a set design?
Fashion came before flowers for me to begin with, but the flowers were always there – in and around me. My aunts are all painters, teachers and avid gardeners and my French / Italian father a chef; so growing up I was surrounded with culture, nature, gardens of flowers and fresh produce – always drawing, pressing and painting flowers. It all came together me for me on my return to Sydney from Paris. It was then I realised what I loved and missed most along with the fashion, arts and the architecture of Paris, were the gardens and florists spilling into the streets, the food, lifestyle and culture. That’s when I decided I needed to work all these great loves in together. It was the driving force to be surrounded by all I loved to find my niche and work with it. Inspired by nature’s raw and fleeting beauty, I endeavour to interrupt it juxtaposing it with art, fashion, design objects and interiors.
Do you have a mentor?
I count Saskia Havekes both my mentor and a friend with more than 8 years of working together; it feels like family, I am very lucky. My partner too, a celebrated designer and creative force in his own right, with much experience to draw from, he teaches me daily.
What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve received?
I feel all I’ve learnt and certainly the most memorable of lessons and advice has been through experience; observing and absorbing my surroundings and learning from my mistakes, continually wanting to better myself. My mother has been the biggest influence and example of diligence, independence, determination, hard work, and always with a kind and humble spirit.
How important is travelling to reinvigorate your creative mind?
Incredibly so, having spent much of my early twenties abroad, it’s now a big part of my life and work process. It instils in you a craving of culture, change of scenery, of adapting tastes and of diversity and of all the many forms of beauty.
What has been the most memorable or rewarding project in your career to date?
My first editorial published in Inprint magazine with Megha Kapoor was a special one. Along with a handful of personal projects and collaborations I’m currently working on. Of which I hope to build and continue to work and collaborate with like-minded and talented creatives and align myself with brands, businesses and causes I am personally able to invest in and truly care about.
I’m working on my first exhibition of still life photographic prints with Sydney based photographer Jedd Cooney a modern take on still life playing with the idea of the ephemeral and nature in a man made modern world, entitled “A Still Life”. Also coinciding with an edit of handmade ceramic vases and vessels with Sally Cooper of Cooper & Clay X Fleurette set for limited edition release in September.
You can find Christelle on Instagram @christellescifo
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