DEANNA DIDOVICH, MARINA DIDOVICH AND STEVEN CHEE
CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT RUBY / FREELANCE STYLIST / FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER
A fashion stylist, photographer and designer respectively, Sydney-based husband and wife team Marina Didovich and Steven Chee, and Marina’s Auckland-based younger sister Deanna Didovich are what you might call a creative triple threat.
Individually, their achievements and work credits are some of the most impressive in the
Australasian fashion arena. As creative director at Ruby — whose design team she has helmed for 10 years — 33-year-old Deanna designs and develops seasonal clothing and accessories collections in addition to overseeing all other creative areas of the brand. Former Fashion Quarterly fashion director Marina, 35, whose styling career stemmed from a work experience stint she did at Cleo magazine while at university, relocated to Sydney from Auckland in 2009 where she established herself as a freelance fashion stylist. She’s since contributed to such illustrious publications as Vogue Italia, Russh and Grazia
UK, worked with brands from Johnson & Johnson to Vodafone, and grown a celebrity client list that includes Australian red-carpet favourites Delta Goodrem, Jennifer Hawkins, Lara Bingle and Cate Blanchett — the latter of whom she has also styled for covers shot by Steven for Variety and Harper’s
It’s a prime example of how any combination of this talented threesome has the potential to be greater than the sum of its parts. Indeed, in addition to frequently collaborating with his wife on high-end fashion editorials, Steven, 44, has worked with Deanna on a number of Ruby campaigns. Marina, meanwhile, is Deanna’s go-to when it comes to styling Ruby’s new-season lookbooks, and has been known to add her two cents in at the design stage — her most famous contribution being the sell-out Marina gown from Ruby’s SS16 collection which is, according to Deanna, one of the most iconic pieces the brand has ever produced.
Constantly consulting one another in an unofficial capacity, geography naturally precludes Deanna, Marina and Steven from working together regularly as a trio. In 2017, however, they pooled their talents in making Ruby’s Resort 2017 lookbook, shot on location in Sydney’s Bondi Beach. It went off without a hitch because, as Steven notes, “There’s no chicken and egg confusion. Deanna makes the dress. Then Marina styles it. Then I photograph it. And all three of us only ever bring our A game, leading to a great end result that pushes our careers forward.”
This isn’t to say everyone stays in their own lane all the time. Steven notes that a picture is always subjective, “and being Croatian, both girls love to voice their thoughts, regardless of whether I ask for them or not!”
But speaking of his wife in particular he says he wouldn’t have it any other way. “I love that Marina always gives her opinion even when it’s not the popular direction. It’s this willingness to go against the grain and explore new avenues that sometimes (she would say always!) leads to magnificence.”
For her part, Marina says that the endless source of feedback and inspiration that comes from working in the same industry as her sister and husband is a definite advantage. But when it comes to constructive criticism, the open communication can be a blessing and a curse. “It can cut deep!” she says. “You get a level of honesty from family that no one else in the world can really provide.” Deanna adds that classic sisterly arguments are an occupational hazard, but explains that these disagreements come from a place of love. “We all want the best for each other in work and life, and aren’t afraid to have upfront conversations where either area is concerned.”
And if there’s one common thread that holds this family together, it’s that work and life are inextricably linked, which ultimately makes navigating personal and professional relationships a moot point. “For all of us,” says Marina,
“work and life are one and the same. We live and breathe it so it’s easy to subconsciously manage the two.”
Freelance stylist Marina Didovich with photographer husband Steven Chee, and sister Deanna Didovich, creative director at Ruby (right image).