Fashion Quarterly - - Profile -

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

Bazaar Aus­tralia.

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).

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