Originally from Melbourne and now living in Sydney, Suzy is a mother of three, a true fashion lover and a stylist to some of Australia’s top celebrities and brands. X Files speaks to the ever-chic & stylish Suzy about her career, top styling tips, & what is next.
Please explain your career journey. What inspired you to start your own styling business?
As a child I used to spend days in our “dress up” box at home — which moved into re-working old denim in my early teens and since then I have always dreamt of doing something in fashion.
I studied Commerce and Science at Melbourne University and previously worked in PR/Marketing roles for 15 years. In my PR roles I always ended up doing the styling. After having my first two children, I decided the time was right to take the leap and go for it.
I did one job, posted it on social media and the ball started rolling from there. One celebrity client led to another, then I started styling for brands, magazines, advertorial campaigns and now television stations have become part of my stable.
Since starting your own business you’ve had the opportunity to work with prominent Australian Fashion Businesses. What do you love most about Australian fashion?
It’s incredible how much the Australian fashion industry has evolved in the last 20 years. One of my previous roles was Marketing Manager for iconic Australian label, Bettina Liano, and the landscape of the Australian fashion industry was so different back then. I love the growth and quantity of great designers we are producing —those that are successful are true to their core values. There is a sense of effortlessness to Australian designers that makes them really resonate with the consumer and gives them a unique, global appeal.
How important is sustainable fashion and up-cycling to you?
Tides are changing and it’s the only way forward.
In what direction do you see the fashion industry heading?
I see the fashion industry slowing down. Fuelled by Covid-19 changes, I see designers reducing the number and scale of collection launches.
Covid-19 has also shifted consumer attitudes. They are less interested in jumping on and off trends and are reevaluating their wardrobes and investing in pieces with longevity. Buying good quality pieces has never been so important.
Do you have a most memorable project or client that you’ve worked with?
My role is so varied, but I do love presenting new collections and becoming really connected to a designer’s creativity. Gaining that level of insight is so inspiring and I’ve been lucky to travel around Australia to present collections from a number of brands including Burberry and Fendi.
How have you adapted your business during the Coronavirus pandemic?
During Covid, red carpets and high-profile events were all halted, so one of the one of the only styling jobs was television broadcast. I was grateful that every week I could style talent across the country for the Channel 7 Racing telecast. It kept me connected not only to clients, but with the wider fashion industry who were also doing it tough.
I’ve also had to adapt during Covid to ensure I have multiple delivery systems set up as daily closures to each courier system with outbreaks in their facilities has been challenging. I’ve also learnt to diversify my clients and revenue streams; you never know what’s around the corner.
Please describe your personal style.
My personal style has evolved but I’ve always craved individuality. In my 20’s, my wardrobe was predominantly Japanese designers (including Junya Watanabe, Undercover and Comme Des Garçons). I shaved my head to a number one all over and I’d spend all my money on fashion. I lived in a $3,000 pair of leather pants (which was three months’ rent) and these black studded Comme Des Garçons boots. Everyone around me was wearing skinny jeans and I was obsessed with real denim and very baggy cuts. Twenty years later, I’m still obsessed with denim and would prefer to under-do a look with trainers or a sandal with a skirt or dress and save stilettos for pants.
How do you approach styling a new client for the first time?
I always start by looking at their personal aesthetic and body shape and then I think about where I can take them for their next look; what can we do that’s unique or elevated, given what is available and the time frame to get it.
What are your top styling tips?
- Don’t follow trends for the sake of it
- Buy in outfits not individual pieces
- Balance proportions i.e., skinny leg with oversized top
- Get a good tailor – most pieces need a tweak for your body shape.
Do you currently have your eye on any Parlour X pieces?
I discovered Jacquemus in 2016 while scrolling new designers on international websites and became obsessed with him. That next year I couldn’t believe it when I saw it stocked in Parlour X as he was relatively undiscovered, and no one had heard of him. There were only a couple of pieces on the rack. And while none were in my size it was nothing a trip to the alterers wouldn’t fix. Since then, I’ve been a die-hard fan of his and this next season is so good too.
Where does your sense of style come from?
My random scrolling and late-night image dump on my phone — whether it be new ways to style something or new collections – I just love fashion.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of working for yourself?
Sometimes it's lonely as it is often just me plugging away at my desk or on the phone fighting with TNT or Australia Post.
What’s next for you?
Our family is complete, so now we just need to decide if we are going to live in Sydney or Melbourne. We are excited to plan new adventures post-pandemic and enjoy coming out of lockdown (as I sit here currently planning multiple trips overseas). On the work front, I’m excited to rediscover the joys of red-carpet events and high glamour with my clients and also get back styling some campaigns and creative shoots. I also have a few exciting projects in discussions that I can’t talk about yet ;)