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