RE­LAX MODE

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents - Pho­tographed by AN­DREW FIN­LAYSON

At home with Mode Spor­tif’s Deb­o­rah Sy­mond.

Vi­brant, sleek and laid­back, the Syd­ney home of Mode Spor­tif founder Deb­o­rah Sy­mond per­fectly re­flects her style ethos. By EL­IZA O’HARE

At­mos­phere is every­thing when you’re cre­at­ing a home, as dig­i­tal en­tre­pre­neur Deb­o­rah Sy­mond knows well. She is all about the big easy — in the most lux­u­ri­ous way. Sy­mond has care­fully con­structed a world around her own style; a pulled-to­gether kind of su­per­luxe com­fort that ex­tends from the sanc­tu­ary of her Syd­ney city apart­ment to her on­line fash­ion store, Mode Spor­tif. The on­line edit is a re­flec­tion of her per­sonal style. Mode Spor­tif deals in chic, pre­mium ath­leisure wear and ca­sual pieces, cham­pi­oning brands such as 3.1 Phillip Lim,valentino and Kenzo worked back with la­bels with street cred such as Nike, Spring Court and adi­das by Stella Mccart­ney. She has a gift for se­lect­ing the per­fect sneak­ers, the ul­ti­mate sweats and the most lux­u­ri­ous off-duty looks imag­in­able, kind of like her ap­proach to dec­o­rat­ing her home, start­ing with a struc­tured, well-de­signed base and neu­tral pal­ette, adding pops of colour through an im­pres­sive art­work col­lec­tion she reg­u­larly ro­tates through the apart­ment.

Mode Spor­tif was born of Sy­mond’s de­sire to share the sort of lux­ury leisurewear al­ready in her wardrobe, draw­ing on her time work­ing as an as­sis­tant buyer for Syd­ney de­signer bou­tique Robby Ing­ham (now shut­tered) and as the e-com­merce and whole­sale man­ager at Lit­tle Joe Woman by Gail El­liott. “I worked for a year to get Mode Spor­tif off the ground, and here we are two years later,” she says. Over the past six months, the store’s in­ter­na­tional sales in­creased by 500 per cent, ce­ment­ing its place in the on­line fash­ion land­scape.

While Sy­mond’s sun-drenched three-bed­room, two-bal­cony pad is low-key and warm, it’s still deeply lux­u­ri­ous. It was the home’s lo­ca­tion that prompted her to snap it up four years ago.

“My brother ac­tu­ally lives in the build­ing and I’d al­ways ad­mired it,” she says.“there’s a re­ally beau­ti­ful park just across the road and it’s very tran­quil. But I also like to live some­where close to the ac­tion, with great restau­rants, and be able to walk every­where.

“I’m an apart­ment per­son,” she con­tin­ues. “I think in dif­fer­ent stages of life you’ve got dif­fer­ent needs — and right now, in terms of home and lo­ca­tion, this is the ideal space for me.”the apart­ment is sleek and mod­ern with high-ceilinged open-plan lounge rooms and two sep­a­rate din­ing ar­eas flow­ing onto a wide bal­cony that makes for a per­fect win­ter sun­trap. Liv­ing rooms are sep­a­rated by the clever use of floor-to-ceil­ing sheer cur­tains that can be drawn to cre­ate an in­ti­mate space or opened up to re­veal the whole ex­tended area.“the lounge is my sanc­tu­ary, so when I come home and have about 10 min­utes when my phone’s not ring­ing, I lie here,” Sy­mond says. “I want my house to be re­laxed and lived-in — I don’t want to come home to some­thing that feels like a mu­seum. I love en­ter­tain­ing and hav­ing friends over, but most of the time when peo­ple come over we’re sit­ting on the floor, on cush­ions, and it’s kind of cosy and chilled, which is im­por­tant to me.”

Sy­mond took some in­te­rior di­rec­tion from her de­sign friends at Syd­ney’s MCM House,charles Hinck­fuss andtroytindill.“be­cause I have no time and I just needed to get it off the ground, they helped de­sign the space.they came in and did a con­sul­ta­tion, and we spoke about how I wanted it to be. MCM House is right around the cor­ner from our Mode Spor­tif of­fice [in Surry Hills] and some­times if I just need a break, I like to walk down there, get a cof­fee and have a look at some of the pieces. A num­ber of the things in here are from MCM: the couches, the cof­fee ta­ble and some of the con­soles. It’s re­ally helped to make it feel more homey.”

The art­work in Sy­mond’s home is a se­lec­tion of im­pres­sive mod­ern pieces. Marc Quinn and Mr. Brain­wash fea­ture heav­ily, and a wall is be­ing pre­pared for a new Dina Broad­hurst work ti­tled Ladies in Wait­ing. Her favourite piece, though, is Marc Quinn’s Hip­popotami in the Thames. “I ab­so­lutely love it,” Sy­mond says.

“I want my house to be re­laxed and lived-in — I don’t want to come home to some­thing that feels like a mu­seum.”

“I tend to be quite up­beat and vi­brant, and that piece is just ‘me’. I adore it and I think it sets the right tone, es­pe­cially with the neu­tral pal­ette I have go­ing with the couches and some of the other pieces. I don’t like any­thing to feel too still, so I move every­thing around. I got art rails in­stalled so we can just un­clip and then clip any­where, but I do need to get some mus­cle in to help.”

Move­ment and change is a re­cur­ring theme that re­flects her life run­ning a glob­ally grow­ing busi­ness, with reg­u­lar buy­ing trips to Paris and New York. Keep­ing up this sched­ule re­quires a strat­egy. “At the mo­ment I’m do­ing an or­ganic-meal de­liv­ery ser­vice called Hexey, which I’m re­ally en­joy­ing,” she says. “That means very lit­tle meal prepa­ra­tion on my part. And I love train­ing. I do yoga at Body­mindlife, Bikram and KX Pi­lates, which is right around the cor­ner from the of­fice. I also love Pi­lates Physique and I do per­sonal train­ing with Ben Lu­cas from Flow Ath­letic in Padding­ton, which in­volves lots of cir­cuits, so we’re con­stantly mov­ing with a com­bi­na­tion of weights, car­dio and box­ing. It’s 45 min­utes of in­ten­sity where you feel like you might not make it. But you do.train­ing is def­i­nitely my re­lease from work — it’s my ‘me’ time.”

Sy­mond’s style doesn’t just in­spire Mode Spor­tif — she’s al­most al­ways wear­ing some­thing from the store.“i def­i­nitely end up with pieces I’ve seen on buy­ing trips and dreamt about for the six months be­tween then and de­liv­ery. It’s very hard to shop any­where else.” Her wardrobe — fea­tur­ing high-end train­ers snug­gled up to a cov­etable col­lec­tion of Aquaz­zura heels — is housed in cus­tom floor-to-ceil­ing cup­boards in the main bed­room and spills over into an unused third bed­room con­tain­ing her ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of bags and sun­glasses. “I def­i­nitely have a strat­egy, prob­a­bly my own mad­ness, but I tend to do it in cat­e­gories,” she ex­plains. “So I’ll do jack­ets, tops, evening, jump­suits, boots, pants and sep­a­rate things, and then if I’m feel­ing in a tidy mood, I’ll try to colour co-or­di­nate to make things eas­ier.”among her favourite pieces are sam­ples des­tined for the Mode Spor­tif of­fices, while a gor­geous cream­valentino trunk, picked up in the la­bel’s Hong Kong bou­tique, takes pride of place be­side her bed. It houses items on high ro­ta­tion.“i just ab­so­lutely fell in love with it about eight years ago and brought it back here,” she says. “It’s get­ting bet­ter with age — wear­ing beau­ti­fully. I re­ally use it; it’s not just a dis­play piece.”

There are two words that keep turn­ing up in Sy­mond’s con­ver­sa­tion: pol­ished and re­laxed, which ap­ply to all as­pects of her style, her busi­ness and her home in­te­ri­ors. “Yes, it’s true, it’s got to be com­fort­able; it’s got to be re­laxed but al­ways pol­ished and pulled-to­gether.” Stylish words to live by.

Deb­o­rah Sy­mond, in her Syd­ney home, wears Michael Lo Sordo dress, $700; Spring Court shoes, $110, from mod­e­sportif.com; her own Cartier bracelets, and rings (jewellery worn through­out).

Deb­o­rah Sy­mond wears Proenza Schouler top, $1449, from David Jones; Kenzo pants, $420, from mod­e­sportif.com; Alinka ear­ring, $2100. Above: Sy­mond’s Chloé bag. Right: in­side her Syd­ney home fea­tur­ing Marc Quinn’s Hip­popotami in the Thames and pieces from MCM House.

Above: de­tails in the liv­ing area. Left: pho­to­graphs and il­lus­tra­tions on dis­play; Sy­mond’s col­lec­tion of sun­glasses. Be­low: Sy­mond wears her own Ellery dress; Pierre Hardy shoes, $610, from mod­e­sportif.com; Natasha Sch­weitzer ear­rings, $490.

A com­bi­na­tion of bright and minimalist pieces in the liv­ing area.

Left and above: ex­ten­sive win­dows cre­ate light-filled lounge and din­ing zones. Right: the sec­ond din­ing area fea­tures the paint­ing When We Opened Our Eyes by Ja­son Ben­jamin (2004).

This im­age and left: the breezy liv­ing area filled with books and art­works. Be­low: Madonna by Mr. Brain­wash hangs be­hind the lounge. Sy­mond wears Cé­line dress, $3699, from David Jones; Natasha Sch­weitzer ear­rings, $490.

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