The Chief Maids at Tailor Maid - Sally Brown and Chrissy Biasotto - compliment each other's style, drive and vision and have created a publicity engine room and a force to be reckoned with. We talked to the ladies about their time overseas, the changing industry and what's next.
Hi Guys! Thanks for spending some time with us.
F: How long have you two been in business? How did you first meet?
TMC: 7 YEARS THIS MONTH!!!!!! We met working together at Marchant Communications in 2001.
F: You’ve both worked overseas – how does Australia compare?
TMC: We have had experience in both the US and the UK, both are very different to Australia. From experience we believe that overseas the thinking is about collaborating and cross-pollinating brands/businesses in order to get ahead and get the most for their clients. If something is discussed it almost always comes to fruition. The opportunities are endless.
In Australia we find that businesses, PR businesses particularly, are more inclined to keep to themselves instead of connecting with other like-minded businesses. We just get the job done.
We are not suggesting that either approach is better than the other as both seem to work, however in our experience we like the international approach… “How can we help you so that you can help us?”
F: Running a busy PR agency means juggling many balls at once – what does a day look like for you?
TMC: We both train every morning – it’s a great way to start the day and get the mind fresh and ready for the working day ahead.
No one day is ever the same at Tailor Maid, we have learnt to become very good multi-taskers and have been lucky enough to employ exceptional staff who are able to carry some of our workload. We would love to say it’s all champagne and Jimmy Choo’s but it is bloody hard work. We have the occasional networking lunch, or events we attend, but to be honest we spend most of the day chained to our desks.
And thanks to modern technology and international clients, we are generally working around the clock.
F: The industry is changing – have bloggers and social media changed the way you work?
TMC: 100%. We like to employ the mindset that bloggers should be treated the same as print media; bloggers are part of the future media. The online community is forever at the forefront of our minds when planning and forecasting PR strategies for our clients.
Tailor Maid uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as a way to communicate with our followers. They are great platforms to showcase our clients’ work and achievements.
F: No 1 shared moment at Tailor Maid?
TMC: It’s hard to narrow it down to just one moment! We are doing what we love, working with brands that we love… what could be better than that?! Winning new business is always a memorable moment, that’s what we strive for. Hearing that you have won a pitch is a pretty amazing feeling; we still get tears and goose bumps when we receive the good news!
F: What are your favourite sites/blogs/tumblrs for fashion/lifestyle/creative inspiration?
TMC: There are so many! Here are just a few of our faves:
Pedestrian, Gary Pepper Vintage, Harper and Harley, Lifestyled, Mumbrella, The Cool Hunter, The Vine, Pages Digital, Broadsheet and Etsy.
F: What do you love most about your job?
TMC: We are so proud of everything we have achieved, the fact that we have created our business from scratch with no funding or extra help is pretty satisfying.
The best part about our job is being creative. We are very selective with the clients we represent; therefore we are working on brands that we truly love. And to add to that, we have a fantastic team who all get along famously - it’s like one big happy family.
Oh and being your own boss is pretty sensational.
F: Top 3 items on your must-have lists for AW13?
TMC: Lots of leather, capes and fur.
F: Cheese or chocolate?
TMC: Chocolate. Our new thing is raw desserts - heavenly without the guilt.
Can we say cheese too? Sometimes there is nothing better than Friday afternoon wines and a cheese platter at our favourite wine bar and restaurant, Vini.
Liam McKessar is on a mission to improve the fashions of Australian men. The former stock broker divides his time fairly evenly between being unreasonably handsome and writing menswear blog Front Row Suit. We caught up with him during fashion week to talk men's style amidst the lady shows.
TPD: Who’s doing it best in menswear these days?
LM: I think ready to wear has an increasing presence in men’s fashion - with more and more traditional suiting brands pushing into this territory. Right now I’m a fan of Valentino, Burberry, Prada and Bassike.
TPD: How does Australian men’s fashion compare to the rest of the world? What are our boys doing better/worse?
LM: Being honest, I think a lot of Australian men do not give a rats about fashion - culturally that’s just how it goes. On the flip side, I think our rural heritage (and our surf / skate culture) are pretty cool. Brands like RM Williams and Ksubi totally convey Australian style.
TPD: The international AW13 Menswear shows recently wrapped. Which collections are you coveting most?
LM: I am loving Valentino - they have recently launched a men’s ready to wear business which is now in its second season. It was all super luxe and retro.
TPD: Did you always want to work in fashion?
LM: No…I studied Economics at the University of Sydney (and majored in corporate finance) and then I wound up working in institutional stock broking at Macquarie Bank. After almost 5 years - I hated it - I left for more creative pastures.
TPD: Who are your personal style icons?
LM: I have many (both fictional and real) depending on how I am feeling - Eddie Redmanye is my latest addition. Gordon Gekko. Nick Wooster. Milan Vukmirovic. Dickie Greenleaf.
TPD: What are your favourite style sites/blogs/tumblrs?
LM: Apart from my own of course. I like WWD, Fucking Young, The Fashionisto and Models.com.
TPD: Can you share some of your favourite shoots?
LM: A few years ago Christine Centenera styled a shoot at North Bondi for Harpers BAZAAR. It was a sports / swimwear story where the model was accessorised with a toddler and stroller. Totally my fave.
TPD: Do you have any predictions for big menswear trends this year?
LM: I think AW13 will see a move to a more conservative look, versus some of the street wear and sports apparel that has dominated trends the previous few seasons. Suiting was back in a strong way for AW13, and outwear was also a focus - woollen 3/4 length coats everywhere!
TPD: What are the five items every man needs in his wardrobe?
LM: A well cut blazer, a classic watch, a good quality white shirt, a pair of well made leather shoes, and perfectly fitting jeans!
TPD: What has been your worst fashion faux pas to date?
LM: In recent years, I think I may have over done it on that androgynous black Rick Owens look. It’s not sexy.
Liam now works at Vogue as Senior Manager, Integrated Marketing.
Just returned to Sydney after spending three years in New York working with über photographers Alexei Hay, Emma Summerton, Laurie Bartley, Sebastian Mader and stylists Giovanna Battaglia, Patti Wilson, Edward Enninful and Karl Templer - we’re predicting BIG things for photographer Hannah Scott-Stevenson.
Flaunter: Hey Hannah! Welcome home. You’ve just come back from a stint in NYC – how was that?
HSS: New York’s a funny place. There’s nothing like it. It’ll kick you when you’re down and just as you think you’re ready to throw in the towel you’re asked to hop on a plane somewhere to shoot someone or something incredible with a photographer you’ve admired you’re whole life and a team of people who inspire you. The city is constantly astounding you with possibilities and opportunities.
F: Tell us about some of the amazing people you worked with?
HSS: I was Alexei Hay’s 1st assistant for three years which afforded me some incredible/insane experiences. I worked with so many talented people on set with him and with other photographers like Emma Summerton, Laurie Bartley, Sebastian Mader to name a few.
Shooting with these guys always meant working with the most amazing teams. Stylists like Giovanna Battaglia, Patti Wilson, Edward Enninful and Karl Templar are a few names ill dine out on for years to come. We shot a lot of celebrities, from Angelina Jolie to Willem Dafoe. But I prefer working with models. Celebrity shoots are always catered to that subject, and they can become clouded by publicists and agents agendas. With models you can focus on lighting and concept and the image as a whole.
F: Any big label shoots?
HSS: I mostly worked on editorial shoots with the odd campaign here and there. The photographers I worked with shot for W Magazine, Italian Vogue, American Vogue, Interview, Grey Magazine, Flair, Elle etc etc. so I was very spoiled with the kind of editorial I got to be a part of. It was always creative and fairly lavish. It never ceased to amaze me what kind of set I’d be on each day. We shot underwater, on mountain tops, in sound studios and movie sets. A year ago I found myself at Fellinis studios in Rome where they filmed La Dolce Vita. I must have had bruises from pinching myself.
F: Favourite models?
HSS: My favourite person to shoot was my best friend in New York, Hannah Cooper, a stylist and all around creative soul. But if we’re talking professional models than Id happily make do with Aymeline Valade or Lindsey Wixon.
F: How did you get started as a photographer?
HSS: I started taking disposables out with my friends in high school until I could afford an SLR. I loved them and I was obsessed at recording everything we did together. The whole thing just stuck. After high school I got accepted to study photography at the VCA so I moved to Melbourne for three years and that was that.
F: Who are some of your all time favourite photographers?
HSS: Sally Moon, Miroslav Tichy, Robert Frank, Paolo Roversi, William Eggleston, Helmut Newton the list goes on.
F: Spill the beans on the worst fashion purchase you’ve ever made? Do you have photographic evidence??!
HSS: I had a pair of blue suede platform Sketchers. No photos, just fond memories of feeling like a spice girl.
F: Best spot in NYC to get snapped by a street style photographer?
HSS: Williamsburg or Soho are always ripe for good people watching. A sunny weekend at the Brooklyn Flea would be ideal hunting ground for a street snapper.