When it comes to authorities on party wear, try a DJ who is a practised hand at dressing for the occasion. Alice Quiddington leads the way in micro lengths. By Alice Birrell.
DJ Alice Quiddington is a practised hand at occasion dressing, leading the way in micro lengths.
For those who think being a DJ is getting paid to party, Alice Quiddington’s holiday season is reason for pause. “Last year I had New Year’s Eve off, which was the first time in nearly six years, so that was nice. But I had to work the next day, so …,” she trails off, laughing. “I know it sounds social, but also you’re on your own a lot: you work from home; you’re by yourself behind the DJ booth.”
The petite sandy blonde – ‘bronde’ in beauty speak – is seated in a cafe in Sydney’s Paddington during a prolonged rainy spell. She arrives dry and unruffled in a blazer and white T-shirt that have miraculously escaped the monumental soaking the less-together city dwellers among us couldn’t avoid. It is this composed polish that has made her something of an accidental fashion plate. After holidays to Ibiza and Greece introduced her to house music when she was younger, Quiddington, under the tutelage of a close friend, emerged as a DJ booking club nights and social events, more often than not for the fashion circuit.
Now Alice Q, the name she plays under, has the added advantage of being able to offer the brands she works for an extra layer. “A lot of the time they want to dress me in clothes if it’s a label,” she explains, something her male counterparts initially saw as an unfair advantage. “I did get a feeling that they didn’t want people coming in and taking work, because of the kind of gigs you were getting as girls. I guess the females were just taking over that.” Focussing on developing her own musical style – sometimes disco, sometimes techno and nothing “too commercial” – silenced her detractors. “A lot of people like to tell you how difficult it is to get into without really knowing whether you’re capable or not.”
Honing her own style has been akin to finessing her musical taste. “I just try to add my own little touch. I never really wear anything too polished or done. If I get given a dress I’ll try and mess it up with my hair or something or wear sneakers,” she explains. Chasing summer around the world for holidays and spending the party season in Australia for work, Quiddington finds she ends up in abbreviated lengths more often than not. “I love short skirts,” she says, pairing them with boots or sneakers by Superga or Isabel Marant to avoid being overly done. “I don’t wear tight skirts with high heels so much.” If the night cools off she applies that approach to outerwear, reaching for over-sized leather jackets, blazers and chunkier bombers.
Growing up in Balmain in Sydney’s inner west, Quiddington gravitated toward fashion from a young age. “My mum tells me that I used to have little pink love-heart glasses that I had to wear everywhere with my handbag.” Now she mines her mother’s collection of vintage
suede coats and 70s floral maxis, to which she adds finds from her travels. “I just bought a vintage denim jumpsuit in LA. There are a whole bunch of stores there that are amazing.”
She’s more and more influenced by travel, funnelling her finds into her wardrobe, intentionally or not. “I was always teasing people when they come back from Burning Man and they’re wearing this whole new style – I call them techno shaman,” she says laughing. “Capes and beads and everything. When I went this year I went to Mexico afterwards, so I still had all my beads that people had gifted me, and I thought: ‘Oh my goodness, I’ve turned into one of these people!’”
As she expands creatively (she’s studying interior design and has plans to launch a lifestyle brand one day), Quiddington is finding expression more and more in the physical realm. “I’ve just wanted to be more visual with my creativity. I don’t know why, it’s just changed. I’ve been painting a lot; I do a lot of my own artwork,” she reflects. ”Music, though, will always be a style touch point, going out as a point of inspiration. “It’s showing people what you’re wearing or getting inspiration from other people you don’t know, because that’s really important. Otherwise you’re just in a bubble, and it just becomes all really the same. It’s really important. It’s culture.”
Tom Ford dress, $7,250, from Harrolds. Voodoo tights, $13. Acne Studios shoes, $660. Above: Maje jacket, $815, and skirt, $395. Daisy top, $190.