CROSS CUL­TURE

This cre­ative di­rec­tor, set stylist and brand con­sul­tant’s per­sonal style and aes­thetic tra­verses her com­bined French and Aus­tralian back­ground. By Zara Wong.

VOGUE Australia - - CONTENTS - STYLING PHILIPPA MORONEY PHO­TO­GRAPH DUN­CAN KILLICK

Cre­ative di­rec­tor, set stylist and brand con­sul­tant Chris­telle Scifo’s per­sonal style and aes­thetic tra­verses her French and Aus­tralian back­grounds.

In Chris­telle Scifo’s short life, she has danced bal­let for the Paris Opera and cabaret in Mont­martre, had stints in fash­ion, from in­tern­ing at Is­abel Marant in Paris to work­ing at Belinda in her home­town of Syd­ney, and counts pre- em­i­nent florist and cre­ative Saskia Havekes of Gran­di­flora as a ca­reer men­tor. “For me, there has al­ways been a love of beauty,” ex­plains Scifo on what draws and in­spires her and what pro­pels her work as a cre­ative.

While one’s life road is never smooth, or straight, Scifo grew up dream­ing of mov­ing to France to pur­sue a ca­reer as a bal­le­rina. Suc­ceed­ing at the age of 18, she was way­laid by an in­jury a few years later. “It was from danc­ing the can-can – such a cliche!” she says with a laugh.

With her fa­ther, a chef, hail­ing from the south of France and Italy, and an Aus­tralian mother, Scifo had al­ways been in­trigued by her French her­itage. Af­ter her in­jury, she stayed on in Paris to ex­plore her love of fash­ion by in­tern­ing at Is­abel Marant. “My dream was Paris and bal­let, and then, when I achieved one dream and had to stop, the city had taken a hold of me – the night life, the fash­ion, cul­ture and ar­chi­tec­ture,” re­mem­bers Scifo. Her French back­ground has in­flected her dress sense, too – her work wardrobe con­sists of jeans, flats and belted blaz­ers from Is­abel Marant and Iro, non­cha­lantly off­set with min­i­mal make-up and her long Raphaelite-es­que waves.

Upon her re­turn to Syd­ney, she was gifted the Gran­di­flora book, which spurred an in­ter­est in floristry. “I was liv­ing in the area and I made Saskia an ar­range­ment with a hand­writ­ten CV and let­ter – she asked me to start the fol­low­ing Mon­day!” She started sweep­ing the floors be­fore work­ing her way up to help­ing de­velop Gran­di­flora Fra­grance, the brand’s so­cial me­dia strat­egy, and more. “Saskia is a men­tor and like fam­ily now. She and my mother have been ex­am­ples of how to do things grace­fully and with a lot of hon­our and hu­mil­ity,” she says.

Re­cently, Scifo has fo­cussed on her own set de­sign and brand styling busi­ness, Fleurette, which com­bines her loves of flow­ers, food, fash­ion and events. “My role is help­ing a brand, event or space cu­rate and cre­ate their own unique aes­thetic – help­ing them find their voice,” she says of her com­pany, which has her work­ing on cam­paigns for brands like Ayu, in­volved in im­agery and set de­sign and col­lab­o­rat­ing with pho­tog­ra­pher Jedd Cooney on a still-life series fea­tur­ing Scifo’s edit of ceramic vases.

Scifo has spent years work­ing in var­i­ous realms, has her own aes­thetic vi­sion and knows how to ex­tract it out of oth­ers, too. “I’ve found I need to be sure or com­fort­able within my realms and abil­ity … and I’m able to un­der­stand some­one’s else’s aes­thetic and help them find a way to project it – that’s prob­a­bly one of my great­est strengths.”

It has only been in the past year that she has taken a more de­ter­mined ap­proach to her in­de­pen­dent ca­reer. “I de­cided it’s now or never to be able to cre­ate more op­por­tu­ni­ties for my­self to work on my own and to con­tin­u­ally be in­spired,” she says. “[What] I’ve learnt through my mother, my part­ner and Saskia has got me here. I’m con­stantly evolv­ing.”

En­ter­ing her 30s and hav­ing a re­newed fo­cus on her pro­fes­sional en­deav­ours with Fleurette has led her to a more so­phis­ti­cated wardrobe. “Qual­ity, colour and fab­ri­ca­tion!” she ex­claims on what she’s look­ing for now. “Be­cause of work, I have so much black, denim, linen, men’s shirts and T-shirts in my wardrobes, so I’m look­ing for more colour, tai­lored pants and beau­ti­ful blouses – more in­vest­ment pieces as well as amaz­ing vin­tage finds,” she says. Her ap­proach to flo­rals is as or­ganic and ef­fort­less as her own styling aes­thetic. “Come sum­mer, I love a flo­ral­print dress with sneak­ers and a denim jacket,” she says.

When in Paris, her first stop is al­ways a thrift store be­tween Mont­martre and Pigalle. “It’s in the heart of the red-light district and it’s a free-for-all. Then I do din­ner at L’En­trecôte and af­ter that I’ve had my Paris fix.”

She reg­u­larly trav­els be­tween Syd­ney, Bali and Paris for both work and leisure, so her wardrobe too is split be­tween the three cities. “I cer­tainly have a very sim­i­lar look across the board, but my heav­ier coats and beau­ti­ful trenches are in Paris for the weather.” Based in Manly and with reg­u­lar trips to Bali, where she as­sisted on the cre­ative be­hind ho­tel The Slow, co-owned by her part­ner Gareth Moody (who co-founded Ksubi and Chron­i­cles of Never), she has em­braced the re­laxed, sea­side life­style. It is in Syd­ney that she plays up her French style, and in Europe that her Aus­tralian side comes out. “Sum­mer dresses, slips and vin­tage cro­chet throw-overs for Posi­tano beaches!”

Scifo steers away from buy­ing new pieces, in­stead can­vass­ing St Vin­cent de Paul and Sal­va­tion Army stores, mar­kets and con­sign­ment shops for her wardrobe. “I can go to a vin­tage flea market in Paris and recre­ate an en­tire Is­abel Marant look!” she ex­plains proudly. “I hardly buy any­thing new – ev­ery­thing is sec­ond-hand or vin­tage now, un­less it’s a spe­cific bag or shoe,” she says. “The last time I bought the lat­est dress and turned up to a mu­sic party three other peo­ple were wear­ing it, so I thought to my­self: ‘I’m not buy­ing any more brands.’ I want to get longevity out of my clothes.”

Gucci kaf­tan, $3,190. Lee Mathews dress, $659, worn un­der­neath. Cartier ear­rings, $3,150. Bul­gari ring, $6,800. Off-White c/o Jimmy Choo boots, $1,995.

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