Fine act

Ac­tress Pia Miller dis­tils her style down to its essence for her lat­est role. By Alice Bir­rell.


Pia Miller is re­flect­ing, with a flicker of re­lief, that she now ap­pre­ci­ates how pre­cious peo­ple’s time is. “I didn’t re­ally un­der­stand the grav­ity of a shoot be­ing an en­tire pro­duc­tion and I guess I took it for granted,” the Chile-born, Mel­bourne-raised ac­tress re­mem­bers. It’s for­giv­able; she was in high school when she used to skip class (par­ent-sanc­ti­fied) to dash back and forth to shoots to model. “I would rock up to work in my uni­form, do a shoot, get back into my uni­form and go to school.”

For her Vogue shoot, a life phase later, she com­mands a con­tent ma­tu­rity, some­thing that might have a lot to do with start­ing young. Tawny-limbed, lithe, with a tum­ble of deep cho­co­late hair, it doesn’t take much of an ef­fort to imag­ine her be­ing that girl in school, ev­ery­thing hap­pen­ing for her. “I guess what it did more than any­thing was open my eyes to this idea that fashion is some­body’s ex­pres­sion,” she says of re­al­is­ing that style could be a valu­able chan­nel of self­ex­pres­sion as a young itin­er­ant model. It’s a no­tion in par­al­lel with her main pre­oc­cu­pa­tion, act­ing, which has seen her add to Home and Away’s tele­vi­sion legacy as po­lice­woman Kat Chap­man. “We wake up and we put on our char­ac­ter ev­ery day and that has to do with how we dress,” she re­flects.

Her modus operandi has been an ease syn­ony­mous with her home city of Mel­bourne. “I’m all jeans; I love a black trouser, a wide-leg pant … I have ev­ery type of white T-shirt you can imag­ine.” The clean­ness of a mono­chrome pal­ette and a mas­cu­line-fem­i­nine du­al­ity comes also from her mother, a for­mer fashion de­signer. “Long lean lines, an over­sized blazer, a man-style pant and then she would carry it with a silk blouse or silk cami.”

In her new role as Mel­bourne Fashion Week am­bas­sador – adding to a Guer­lain am­bas­sador­ship – Miller will draw on both the worlds she or­bits. “I find that that’s some­thing that trans­lates be­tween fashion and act­ing; push­ing the bound­aries as much as pos­si­ble and then find­ing your own com­fort space where you feel grounded and con­nected.” Mel­bourne Fashion Week runs Au­gust 31-Septem­ber 7, be­gin­ning with Vogue Amer­i­can Ex­press Fashion’s Night Out.

Pia Miller wears a Chris­tian Dior dress, $9,600. Sit & Won­der neck­laces, $349 each. Her own Akubra hat and Cartier bracelet. Christo­pher Es­ber dress, $1,100, from David Jones. Tif­fany & Co. neck­laces, $15,700 and $11,100. Vin­tage boots, $350, from Route 66.

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