Which destinations you’ve travelled to have really inspired your creativity?
Of all the countries I’ve travelled to it always comes back to Paris and New York. Paris: the architecture of the buildings and the Eiffel Tower always make the best backgrounds for my sketches. I love the chic, effortless style of Parisians – such great subject matters to draw. And New York: I particularly love it there in autumn. There is nothing more beautiful than the autumn leaves blowing around that incredible city to inspire some creativity. I also love the street-style in Soho. I perch myself in a busy coffee shop Downtown and sketch all the eclectic New Yorkers passing by.
You’ve worked with a lot of luxury brands – Chanel, Dior, Tiffany & Co., to name a few. How do you integrate the feel and look of the brand while retaining your own style?
It’s always about keeping the essence of what is loved about a brand – it’s their DNA, but it’s my job to draw something that’s completely original. I focus on what it is that made that brand special. For example, with Tiffany &Co., women’s heart rates go up when they see that signature Tiffany blue! For Louis Vuitton it’s all about the ‘Spirit of Travel’ – theirs was the only luggage that didn’t sink with the Titanic! It’s those special details that always need to stay, but be re-imagined for today. It’s enormous fun to get to work and collaborate with brands that have such history.
What’s the most memorable travel experience you’ve had?
The very first time I arrived in NYC as a teenager – the excitement of all of the cabs honking, sirens wailing and chic New Yorkers strutting the sidewalk was unforgettable.
What was it like working with Michelle Obama?
It was certainly a career highlight to be asked to create portraits of her. She is one of the smartest, funniest and kindest people on the planet. I took the commission very seriously and really focused on keeping every detail very true to exactly how she looks and carries herself.
Are there any illustrators or artists you take inspiration from?
I’ve always been obsessed with Erté. He was a Russian illustrator and one of the very first artists to bring fashion illustration to life as a profession. His work was so unique and I loved that he ignored all fashion trends and just drew a completely imaginary world. I search for original sketches of his work and I will always be inspired by him.
What is the most opulent or extravagant project you’ve worked on?
I created an illustration for a royal couple in the Middle East – the illustration was turned into thousands of mosaic tiles for the base of their rooftop swimming pool!
What do you always pack when you travel?
All my carry on luggage is Louis Vuitton and even just looking at my suitcases in my wardrobe makes me want to travel! My check-in luggage is Hartmann. I wear the same Chanel cashmere cape on all long-haul flights. It provides the perfect warmth and feels like a blanket. I never wear it in real life and as soon I arrive home I put it in dry cleaning so it’s all ready to go again on my next trip! I also bring soft sheepskin socks. (It’s all about getting cosy on a long flight!) I also always download my favourite TV series onto my iPad so I can watch it on the flight – I never risk not liking the movie selection on board!
Where is next on your travel schedule?
I have a HUGE travel schedule for my upcoming book tour to launch New York: Through a Fashion Eye. We will be kicking it off in Dubai then straight over to Paris and London. From London we will head to New York and LA, finishing up in Sydney then home to Melbourne. In each city I have up to five or six events with lots of media interviews and in-store signings – so it’s a big crazy trip but after working on a book for a year it’s so exciting to see it launch all over the world!
Where in Australia is your favourite place to unwind?
Port Douglas. I just love to sit by the water indulging in fresh seafood and champagne. All I need is my husband, my kids and a good book, and I’m set. Bliss.
Have you got any dream destinations left to tick off the bucket list?
Many. I have so much of Asia still to see and so many parts of Europe that I want to discover. Right now I’m dreaming of the Greek Islands.