The passion and love comes from creating something that is yours. We see what we do as a story and the characters just come to life.
One of my most favourite topics within the realm of Australian fashion is the creative team. We often take for granted the contribution that these teams make to the success of independent designers, important events, and the general gorgeous hype that our industry rocks. No other creative team is more deserving of this kudos which is the topic of my latest editorial.
Who are they? Karlstrom Creatives.
I absolutely love the work of Petter and Leigh Karlstrom.
They have reached, what I consider to be, the pinnacle of creative prowess.
Petter and Leigh Karlstrom are the dynamic duo. Quite literally. Petter is the photographer, Leigh the stylist.
I first discovered their work when I interviewed the amazing Chisato Chris Arai, another creative genius. Definitely one of Australia’s most coveted makeup artists. If you have not discovered Chris Arai yet, do yourself the pleasure of checking out her work. Just navigate through the menu to her article. Truly inspiring.
But back to the Karlstrom duo. Their work is fresh, inspiring, different, engaging, and pure creativity. It is the epitome of imagination and fantasy, and I love it!
I can’t sing the praises of these people enough. I know, I know. You think I say that about everyone I interview. Well I do try to sing everybody’s praises. That’s true. But it is never undeserved, as I am blessed to be granted interviews with the very coolest of people!
Every now and again, you come across people and talent that is truly special. And this article is about these human gemstones.
Petter told me, “the streets inspire us. Characters and spaces. I usually get an idea from being at a cool location and then the rest just comes naturally”.
I first discovered the work of Bec Cole when I was at VAMFF earlier this year. Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival is always a treat as it combines the week long excitement of the runway with a cultural taste of Melbourne itself, and it truly is a wonderful delicatessen of fashion experience.
On one of the last days, through the haze of my exhaustion I could feel my interest pique when I saw Bec’s work, and made a mental note to myself as I do to remember to contact her with a view to highlight the obvious dedication to her work when I returned home.
Bec is one of the highly talented, hard working stylists, and passionate devotees of the Australian fashion industry, who travels far and wide to bring us the wonderful smorgasbord of visual delight that only such a stylist can.
A kind of creative hero if you like. I feel we tend to forget the amazing creative minds and teams who sit behind the creation of the collections of fashion designers. Personally, I believe it is so important to remember to applaud the work of these dedicated professionals who work tirelessly behind the scenes.
Stylist |Bec Cole | Photographer | Benn Jay | Hair & Makeup | Blanka Dudas
What do you believe is the role of “the stylist”?
A stylist is a visual translator….helping a designer, art director or editor achieve a look, story and campaign brief. It’s helping create a visual reality….This can be anything from dressing talent, liaising with designers to designing sets and alternative worlds.
I have a background in set design, so I love seeing a whole vision come to life….this includes not only the wardrobe side of things, but the propping, set design….even the casting of the talent / models. It’s helping everything come together visually to tell the whole story.
If you put something together and it doesn’t look so good, the fashion police are not going to come take you away. And if they do, you might have some fun in jail.
The wonderful American Style Queen, Iris Apfel, commenting on how women combine the elements of good dressing …
well, after all, Iris should know …
Who better than Iris to show us all how to put the ultimate in fashion craziness together with some other garments which equals perfection?
Our current world is so homogenised in every way. And the way we dress has become a victim to it. Whatever happened to wearing crazy colours, either on their own, or together? I have styled many people over the years who have been afraid to wear colour. Want to add colour to your wardrobe? Here’s how.
Remember that colour does not have to be always worn near the face. It can be introduced into an outfit with colourful shoes or a handbag.
Wear colours that make you feel good and remember that as we age, hair colour and skin tone changes. Revise your colour choices often. Finding confidence in this ability is how we all secure a connection with our own confidence and creates our sense of wellbeing. Be prepared to take a “fresh look” at yourself and reassess how you can improve your image. If you’re not comfortable wearing colourful garments introduce colours through nail varnish, lipstick or your hair!
Photography & Styling | Karlstrom Creatives
Colour does not have to take the form of block colour. Sometimes we look better in plain colours or colours that are infused within a pattern.
If you prefer to wear plain, block colours because you feel they suit you better, try introducing patterns and interesting prints through cute shoes and handbags. Another idea is the simple layering of colour underneath another block colour, such as white or black. I like to call it ‘colour referencing’.
Remember, all you are trying to achieve is a “joining of the dots” effect – a visual reference of design and colour, continuity and harmony.
Colourful tops, and even tops with a blend of more muted colours, can look great underneath plain understated jackets.
An outfit of block colours works a treat with a gorgeous pair of leopard print ballet flats and a stylish Gucci handbag! Things do not necessarily have to match but there does need to be a marriage of harmonious elements and colour tone. Tonally they work together and there is enough visual space between the two items to make the combination work. The natural balance of the outfit then becomes effortless and an understated elegance of good quality and taste becomes the highlighted theme.
All beautifully constructed outfits and exceptional dressing comes down to the combination of colour and texture, and the ability to achieve the all-important balance of proportion.
It is always a good idea to be generally aware of what is trending, not because your individual style depends on this, but because it allows you to have a choice of product in every season to add different elements of value to your wardrobe.
Photography & Styling | Karlstrom Creatives
If you wear black or grey, wear colour that compliments your main palette. Try to move outside of the normal combination. For instance, lime green and acid yellow are exceptionally beautiful with black. Gerbra pink is divine with charcoal.
If you are teaming these items with jeans or casual trousers, bring the reference of colour from the top of your body (ie. lime green top), down to the feet with gorgeous flats in a tonally appropriate colour, or paint your toe nails in a tonally balanced shade in open-toed heels.
Introduce visual depth and weight and experiment with colour, tone and texture.
Adhering to these general rules will mean that you achieve a lovely balance in your wardrobe that you will be pleased to visit every day!
My husband recently showed me a video he thought would interest me. … what an understatement!!!
I loved it!
And I’m pretty sure you will too. With over five million views already, I guess I’m not the only one who thinks it hilarious. To all the wonderful Instagram Husbands out there, I’d like to thank you, for lots and lots of laughs.
I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we appreciate you and love you … our Instagram lives would not be the same without you!
I was so intrigued and fascinated by the way the video was produced, I just had to find out who was behind it’s creation.
Michelle and Jeff Houghton, a married couple from Springfield, Missouri in America’s mid west, are the ingenious creative minds who birthed the concept. They are parents to their little boy, Elias and Michelle is also a counsellor and an artist.
Her Instagram husband, Jeff, is a comedian and talk show host. Jeff creates a syndicated show called The Mystery Hour, which is what Instagram Husband was written and produced for. Michelle also writes and performs for the show.
“we thrive on keeping things interesting and are driven by a desire to connect with others and chase after our dreams. I am an avid Instagrammer and I love tacos, philosophical conversations, indie music, podcasts, and creative expression”.
Their Instagram account is the “official account bringing support, comport, & praise to all you human selfie-sticks out there …”
It is truly brilliant and hilarious. Quite simply, I’m hooked!
I hope you love this piece as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it.
I absolutely love what you are doing … how did you start Instagram Husband?
Jeff, my husband, came up with the Instagram Husband concept and wanted to do it as a video for his show, The Mystery Hour. He thought of it last summer, after having a lot of experiences where taking a pretty photo got in the way of experiencing the moment in both our lives and the lives of our friends.
Is Instagram Husband a collaboration, as often I see many things that are posted by different people?
In some ways, yes, it was a collaboration, in other ways no. We have a group of writers who write for The Mystery Hour and we collaborated on the video for that entity. The idea of Instagram Husband was Jeff’s and everyone who was involved was doing it for the show.
How has Instagram changed your life?
I have a lot of good friends who I have met through Instagram, actually, which is the greatest impact it has had on my life.When I find a new Instagrammer from my area who has similar taste, I follow them and then start commenting on their posts out of mutual respect and admiration. Often that has lead to online friendships which have lead to hanging out in real life. Some of my closest friendships started that way over the last five years. Instagram has also enhanced my connections with my friends because we have access to knowing what is going on in each other’s lives. It starts conversations about things we otherwise wouldn’t know about, and I love that.
Do you feel we have created a problem of “oversharing” on social media in general? Do you feel that Instagram specifically has created an aspect of “oversharing” in our life?
I think we do have a bit of “oversharing” going on in our culture, but I don’t think it is unique to Instagram. I am a counsellor and work primarily with adolescents. To them it’s not Instagram, it’s Snap Chat. For others, it’s Facebook. Regardless the medium, we do go to ridiculous lengths to provide interesting and appealing content related to our lives. I think we are going to look back in 50 years at this time period and see a lot of good things that have come from social media, but we will also recognise a lot of mistakes we have made culturally with regards to our obsession with it. We cannot learn those lessons until we go through them, however. I do see a lot of individuals online who go to extremes to get “likes” and ultimately gain validation from that, which creates a culture of comparison, and as Theodore Roosevelt said …
“Comparison is the Thief of Joy”
– Theodore Roosevelt
Are you addicted to social media?
You know, it sort of depends on what lens I am looking through to say whether or not I am “addicted” to social media. There have definitely been times in my life where I have spent more time on it than others. Also, compared to some people who are rarely online, I am definitely addicted, and yet compared to those who very obviously check their phones every few minutes, I am definitely not. I probably check my Instagram and Facebook feed a few times a day, but I don’t let myself get sucked down the rabbit hole of spending a chunk of time there as much as I used to. I really enjoy photography and curating a space which exudes my asthetic, so Instagram tends to be my “addiction” more than other mediums of social media.
Do you believe that people lead “fake” lives through Instagram, as is often suggested?
I have a hard time saying what is “fake” and what is “real”– with social media, because I truly see a movement toward people sharing the rawness and realness of their lives online. This is probably in response to all the curated lives we are seeing others live through the social media lens. I think it takes a real balance to share authentically what is happening in your life online, because you don’t want to make things “too” pretty or you are not relatable, and yet you also don’t want to over-share your struggles or the not-so-pretty side of things, because if you’re doing that all the time it can come across as humble-bragging, which is equally off-putting. In the end, I think we all want people to see the best in us. It just happens to be on a different platform and a different level with social media.
What was your motivation for starting “Instagram Husband”.
We started Instagram Husband because we thought it was a funny concept. We really enjoy making people laugh, and Jeff has a knack for coming up with relatable concepts to do that. It just so happened that this video connected with a lot of people.
What do you feel are the main differences between Facebook and Instagram and are you fan of both platforms?
I like both Instagram and Facebook. I tend to lean towards using Instagram more because I am such a fan of art and photography, and I follow a lot of people who use Instagram to showcase their work in both genres. I like Facebook to hear about what is going on with family and friends.
What do you see as the positives of Instagram. And, the negatives?
Instagram positives: good photography, platform for people to connect, photos often convey concepts in an easily-deliverable way where people connect to an image, community, and inspiration. Instagram negatives: tends to lead us to compare ourselves with others (just as all social media platforms do), FOMO– personally I have a hard time seeing vacation pictures of other people or people around the world in beautiful places if I’m spending my hours at work feeling uninspired and unmotivated.
What is your opinion of buying followers and likes?
I don’t really know anyone, (well, at least to my knowledge) who “buys” followers and likes– to me it seems like another marketing ploy mostly for businesses or brands wanting to seem culturally relevant. I would be very suspicious of individual people who do that for personal accounts but I haven’t really dealt with it.
What is your view of people who share a difficult personal moment on the Instagram platform?
I sort of answered this in #7, but I’ll add to it by saying this– I heard a podcast where Elizabeth Gilbert interviewed Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly and Rising Strong among other books about shame and vulnerability. She asked her about sharing personal stories in what she writes. What she had to say about it really resonated with me. She said that she never publicly shares a personal story that she has not already fully processed. Her rule of thumb being that if her healing is contingent upon what others say about that story, then she should not share it. She says she’s shared her story before she was ready, and learned a lot of lessons from that. When you share a difficult story before you have healed, it is not giving and generous to the people hearing it, and can actually be abusive to yourself. Attempting to gain deep healing from a wound in a public arena is just not the way to go about working out your issues– that is what close friends and therapy is for.
She missed another job interview today because the light was “just perfect”
“Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world”.
– Brene Brown, in her podcast, Big Magic
Do you believe that social media is responsible for people having poor interpersonal and social skills in real life?
People throughout the ages have had poor social and interpersonal skills in real life, so I don’t think social media is to blame. In my career as a counsellor I work with a lot of people who have poor social skills, and there isn’t one specific set of circumstances that lead them to be that way. Some have manipulative or abusive upbringings, some have disorders like Autism where social interaction doesn’t come as easily, and some are just downright introverted, which is fine, but is not always valued in our culture. I know some very inward people who are also successful bloggers or Instagrammers. Just because they are less likely to wow someone in person than online does not mean that blogging is what caused them to be introverts. Blogging, social media, and writing may just be the platform they feel the most comfortable socialising on.
Do you believe that Instagram amounts to modern day narcissism?
I think Instagram can portray a sense of narcissism, yes, but I also believe most people don’t go out and create Instagram accounts because they want validation and “likes”, and thus are essentially narcissistic. I think to some extent we all want positive social interactions, and naturally that is a healthy thing. When someone spends an inordinate amount of time curating a space online that looks nothing like their real life in the hopes of gaining followers and likes, however, that crosses the bounds of healthy living.
What is your view of Instagram advertising. Do you feel that it is effective?
Every form of advertising is effective if it gets people to buy things.
What has been your personal response to Instagram Husband?
My personal response to Instagram Husband? Wow, there’s a lot in this one question. I’ll start by saying that I have been a supporter of my husbands show since he started it in a crappy basement of an improv theatre 10 years ago. It has been his dream to consistently showcase his talents of writing, acting, hosting, and performing on a large scale, and Instagram Husband got him, as the creator, a lot of the attention he deserved because the video was such a big hit. My biggest response to it therefore is just sheer happiness. Mostly because of the story of our struggle. For him to be doing what he loves in a very obscure way.
Personally, I’ve had a lot of fun posting the Instagram photos on our @ig.husband account, and have had a great time connecting with people all across the world who relate to the video through that, through interviews, and with people reaching out after they saw it. It’s weird that so many of us have had this phenomenon in our lives– asking our husbands (or wives or girlfriends or friends or sisters or whatever) to take our photos so we can later post them– and we didn’t have a term for it up until this point.
Do you enjoy your food less when you are always wanting to photograph it in it’s untouched state first?
Heck no! I enjoy it MORE! I love anything that is well presented, and especially food! It’s fun to snap a picture of it before it’s all gobbled up. Obviously the line of “we used to eat our food, now we just take pictures of it…” is a comedian’s take on prolonging eating things when we are taking pictures of it– but I promise I would never sacrifice tasting food for a photo!
Do you feel a certain pressure to constantly find new and interesting material to post?
Yeah, to be honest, sometimes I do. If it’s been a few days since I last posted a picture, I start to think about what I should post, or why I didn’t post. To me, snapping an iPhone picture of a scene or a person or a thing that happened during the day is a way to look at it with a focused lens– to not miss the beauty of that moment. If I am just going through the motions of my days and I don’t stop to REALLY look at my surroundings, I notice because I generally don’t have any pictures from that time. Now, of course, it CAN go the other way, where you take so many dang pictures that you miss the moment entirely, but I do think there is some balance. There is always something beautiful right in front of you, you just have to take a moment to really see it. I just happen to do that sometimes with snapping a photo of it.
Is your husband generally interested in Instagram?
He’s so-so about it. He definitely doesn’t spend much time on it– a lot of his pictures are of our son or of something funny he sees and wants to share.
“Vacations make the best Instagram posts…”
– Michelle Houghton
What do you think of the selfie?
I have so many mixed feelings about the selfie!! I have only recently upped my selfie game, realizing that people who follow you like to see YOU, but before that I mostly felt self-gratuitous and weird about taking them. It was when I read an article somewhere about how selfies actually promote people LIKING themselves (gasp!) when I started to see the logic in how it could be a good thing. We’re often so down on how we look or who we are. I don’t think its a bad thing if you like the way your face looks in a particular light to take your own darn photo.
Do you believe we are over the selfie and the duck face?
I am so over duck face. I’ve always been over it. That and women standing with their hand on their hip and their butt curved out. WHO STANDS LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE!?!?!
For people who are looking for followers, what is your advice of increasing one’s following on Instagram?
Offer something unique, special, genuine, and worth following.
How often do you personally post to Instagram?
I post to Instagram about once a day or every other day. It depends on what is going on in my life at the moment and how busy I am.
Do you believe that posting to Instagram at a certain time is important? Why?
I never really took the time to think about what time of day to post to Instagram for maximum exposure until I started curating the @ig.husband account — then I asked my friend who curates a famous blog about timing, and she gave me some tips. If you want to reach your audience, you need to think about when they are going to be online. So yes, I think it is important. Is it the be-all-and-end-all? No.
What is next for Instagram Husband?
There are some things in the works for what is coming next, but at this point we can’t share what that is. For now, we’re just trying to focus on putting out quality work with The Mystery Hour, and are having a ton of fun doing it!
Where do you see yourselves in five years from now.
I HAVE NO IDEA! As an artist, I just started selling my artwork online and in local venues, so I am hoping to get more exposure with it and incorporate it more into my life. I also LOVE counselling, I am planning on starting a private practice and other ventures where I share my expertise on a community platform. While all that is going on, The Mystery Hour is also a huge part of my life, and I hope that my husband and I continue to work together on the show or in some capacity to put out comedy to the world. Jeff is so incredibly talented and I LOVE working with him in that arena.
What is your greatest dream?
My greatest dream would be for Jeff and I to both be simultaneously employed doing what we love. “Chase your dreams” has practically been the motto in my house for a long time, but it has not come without sacrifices. More than anything I want us both to be happy creating unique things to contribute to the world, and to do it while providing for our family.
What is your favourite food, country, and fashion designer?
Food- tacos. Hands down.
Country- Croatia. I visited there last summer and FELL IN LOVE.
Fashion designer?? Hmmmm… to be honest I’ve never been able to afford designer labels, but if I would name a few that speak to me I would say Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, and Rachel Comey. I tend to shop H&M, Free People, Urban Outfitters, Need Supply, and Madewell the most.
Have you ever visited Australia? Do you intend to?
I haven’t, but its definitely on the bucket list. I’ve heard that it’s breathtakingly gorgeous, and I’ve never met an Aussie I didn’t like.
Lastly, what subject do you believe makes the best Instagram post?
Anna Whitehouse “This photo took 15 minutes of her standing in front of that wall with the kiddo writhing like Gollum to get out of her grasp. It took 45 more minutes just for the little one to stop snot-crying”.
Recently, I caught up with Cimon Vozzo, Fashion Editor of the Sunday Mail in Adelaide, Adelaidean stylist and fashion blogger whilst she was visiting Sydney for the recent launch of the spring collection at David Jones.
We chatted about Australian fashion designers, styling, the emerging fashion market, and what we hope for, for the future.
Adelaide fashion is something that is growing fast and many labels that we know and love were born in South Australia. Cameo, Finders Keepers, and The Fifth just to name a few. It is so encouraging for me to see that wonderful emerging designers and more established designers are finding their way into our major department stores and speaking to the broader population no matter where they have been birthed. As a nation, we are now being recognised in a significant way on the global stage of the fashion community and I believe we will continue to witness continued growth. Next time you are browsing through David Jones, take a look for yourself.
Who cares about where the labels are developed? Talent is everywhere!
I for one want to see each and every state in Australia contributing to our wonderful fashion industry which I am totally in love with, as you all know!
We are all Australian gals, wearing fabulous Australian labels, and I want to see more of it!
We should celebrate, celebrate, and celebrate again, the phenomenal talent we have on our doorstep.
Good on you Adelaide … can’t wait to see what you come up with next!
I asked Cimon some things that I felt curious about.
What do you see as the differences between Sydney and Adelaide fashion?
People in Sydney are more adventurous, less conservative, more fashion evolved and not afraid to take risks.
What changes would you like to see around Australian fashion?
I would love for things to be made in Australia. Design wise I tend to like the way the Europeans use colour, and I am a fan for a little bit of glamour and dressing up! I would love to see more of this in Australian design.
We all need to realise that making it in the fashion industry isn’t easy for anyone, and we should support each other as we go on our own individual journeys. If everyone was super supportive of each other, imagine what we could all achieve!
Who are the people within your industry that inspire you and that you admire?
People like Steph Claire Smith and Mimi Elashiry are my biggest role models because they are both highly successful in their own fields. Even though they may not have reached the ‘supermodel’ status, they are making a strong name for themselves within their circle.
As a young woman, what do you think of today’s street fashion?
Today’s street fashion is so different than previous years/trends. Because its winter, it seems like a lot of people are sticking with shades of cool and playing it safe. I would prefer to see a few more risks!
Chanel Caldwell at Chadwicks Photographer Jeremy Choh HMUA Alana Santos
Zoe Van Zanten
Zoe Van Zanten is a Perth stylist. She believes as we do that Perth is a fashion hot spot. Zoe says “there is a wealth of creative talent in Perth, from designers through to photographers and models. What makes Perth a fashion hot spot is that it doesn’t have a ‘style’ like corporate Melbourne, or hipster Sydney, there are all types here of all different fashion styles”.
“…growing older doesn’t have to mean losing your style and getting the same haircut as your husband.”
Phillipa Bingham at Chadwicks photographer Meiji Nguyen Hair Kerryn Wilson MUA Kristen Ashton
You know, when I find myself in Sydney city these days, I am always eager to check out what people are wearing to work. I have just returned from New York where I have to say, by and large the working population have really got it together, at least in the sense of their wardrobes. I was there at the start of Winter and so naturally that meant that I saw the beautiful coats, scarfs, and boots which we all know are the perfect marriage.