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Monday
Oct242011

Australian stylist Sibella Court’s eclectic personal style seems to have taken the States by storm. Though she’s based outside of Sydney, hip American stores like Anthropologie can’t get enough of her - they recently collaborated together on a very cool line of hardware (and I, for one, don’t believe that they’ll stop there!). When she’s not scouring the globe for one-of-a-kind finds, you can find Sibella at her Paddington, Australia boutique, The Society, Inc. - it’s the sort of fabled establishment that makes you want to travel thousands of miles just so you can pay a visit. For those of us who don’t have an Aussie vacay in our immediate future, there’s always her style books: Etcetera, The Stylist’s Guide to NYC, and most recently, Nomad (available October 31). I was lucky enough to ask Ms. Sibella a few questions about her life + style for A Lovely Being - I do hope that you'll enjoy learning more about this remarkable woman! I certainly did ;)
 

Fallon: I’m excited to read your newest title, Macau trực tuyến BaccaratNomad, which is to be published later this month. Could you talk a bit about this book? What can we look forward to? 

Sibella Court: Nomad is all about bringing your travels home without theming your space. I wanted to show people that they can draw inspiration from every tiny detail of their trip: street signs, people, colour, light, words. Once home, your experiences can be translated into the home in unique and beautiful ways that trigger those special memories. Whether its a rug in the colour of the spices at a Syrian market or a gin & tonic on your blue & white striped deck chair looking over the backyard (but pretending it’s the Amalfi Coast). It is all about bringing a moment into your home so that when you pass through your space, you stop and smile and remember your adventures.

F: So, what’s next? 

SC: My hardware range with Anthropologie is coming out at the same time that Nomad is to be published in the States! My shop, The Society Inc., in Sydney, Australia (and online) is a hardware & haberdashery shop, so this range fulfills one of my great passions. All the old hardware I collect & love most - plus an inspiration trip to India with Anthropologie - came together to create this first range. It’s time your toolbox was a masterpiece. 
Most recently with Justin Hemmes of the Merivale Group, we’ve finished and launched El Loco, a crazy Mexican pop-up bar that’s permanent; York 75, an old-school sportsbar; Upstairs, a glamorous live music venue; Ms. G’s, NY-inspired, uber-cool restaurant/bar; and 30 Knots, an old Sailor’s Haunt. In addition to researching for my next two books, more product ranges are in the works.
The best thing about my job is that I don’t know what’s next. Fun, super cool projects present themselves all the time and then it's time to collaborate and try things I’ve never done before.

F: Oh my! With so much going on, how on earth do you keep yourself organized? 

SC: I always make sure my iPhone calendar is up-to-date. My assistants keep me in check as well. When I returned from my last overseas trip to Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia with Anthropologie, my office has just been sectioned into lots of manilla folders and filing cabinets each with their own little labels telling me what’s what. I don’t know how long it will stay like this but my assistants were very proud of themselves. Mainly, I’ve just got a good memory and can generally locate most things when I really need them.

F: I have to ask: how do you spend your free time? 

SC: My work and free time are constantly crossing over. I love going to art exhibitions, museums (can’t go past a natural history museum without popping in) and things like tours through the Army Barracks that are near my shop. Sometimes you can hear a Marching Band practicing in the grounds - I love that! Hanging out with my nephews and nieces is the best and I can’t say no to a cheeky champagne or three in the evenings with events and friends.

F: I understand that you’re an avid collector of sorts. What do you love most to collect? 

SC: I collect absolutely anything that I’m attracted to! My definition of a collection is one or more of something: knots, shells, bones, vessels, scientific apparatus, books, hardware, ribbon, glass-headed pins, skulls, paper ephemera, stones (that are just right), words... the list will never stop growing. I irregularly hold flea markets at my shop, but I think the next one will be “A People's Show” where people get up to show their own amateur collections. As my shop is a museum of sorts, I think it is most appropriate to bring back these shows!

F: How did your family and your childhood in Australia affect and inspire you? 

SC: I had a super fun childhood! Australia is beachside and I started my first collection scouring for shells near my Grandparents’ property and going on hunting adventures with my brothers and sisters. Australia is so laid-back and I think it embedded a sense of optimism in me. Imperfection is beautiful and if something isn’t working the way you imagined, run with it! It will probably turn out more lovely than your plan.

F: What did you dream you would be when you grew up? 

SC: I dreamt of being Charles Darwin. As Darwin, I would arm myself with a butterfly net, a magnifying glass, dissection tools & apothecary vessels, board a boat into the unknown and bon voyage into a life of discovery and adventure! Which is sort of how my life is now anyway.

F: What is currently in your purse? 

SC: Not my keys. Tape measure, hooks (left over from a bar I opened last night called 30 Knots), lists, lists & more lists!

F: What are your favorite daily digital reads? 

SC: I am not really a “daily” kinda person as each day is so very different from the next (although always hectic!). I do like Saipua, Hollister Hovey, Design*Sponge and the New York Times on a Thursday, but I'm a big fan of twitter & instagram for instant, sitting-at-the traffic-lights gratification.

 F: Do you have a daily uniform? 

SC: I only wear pieces that fit into my personal colour palette: warm caramels, browns, and creams. I call it “foundation” - I have a paint palette of the same name. "Foundation" was my first colour palette in my 11-palette paint range (available from my online store). I wouldn’t call it a uniform, but during the day you will probably find me in cream jodhpurs, a lovely caramel cashmere shawl, leather amulets, a panama hat and Golden Goose boots. That is, of course, if I’m not in my painting gear armed with a brush and a tape measure.
At night, there are always a lot of functions, so leather dresses or full-length flow-y numbers paired with a wide belt, fur capes & sky high YSL tributes!

F: I read on Design*Sponge that you purchase at least one book a week. What was the most recent addition to your library? 

SC: One might have been an understatement. I am eagerly awaiting the catalogue book of The Ballet Russes exhibition I attended earlier this year at the National Gallery of Australia. I have long been influenced and entranced by Diaghilev’s collaborations with modern Artists of that time to create ground-breaking costumes and set design: never-seen-before paint driven, oversized graphics and colour, both in the use of fabrics paper and paint. It was overwhelming to see history in front of my eyes and I can’t believe I forgot to buy the catalogue. Actually, I feel like I’m waiting on an entire library at the moment! I am researching my next two books, so reads on museum collections, the Deyrolle fire, Buddhism, and rituals in Laos are all on their way to me!

F: Who makes your bed linens?

SC: I sleep in Area linen sheets from NYC. They are called Simone, but Anki [Spets] almost renamed them Sibella as I own so many sets! Other favorites are Society, an Italian brand, and Matteo, a brand based in Los Angeles. In my shop, I sell Fog Linen linen pillowcases & old fashioned cotton cellular blankets as well as Coral and Tusk machine embroidered cushions. For patterns, it’s all about John Robshaw & Sally Campbell Textiles.

F: How about your favorite scent? 

SC: I adore rose. It all started when my Mum gave me a clear glass vial with corked top & an old worn label “Attar of Rose”. It had belonged to my great-grandmother and still smells so beautifully of roses - I don’t believe it has aged a day! I look for this intoxicating essential oil (distilled from the petals of Rosa Damascena) everywhere.

F: I'm dying to know your favorite films, books and magazines. Would you be so kind as to name a few? 

 SC: As for flims, I love Macau trực tuyến BaccaratThe Philadelphia Story, The English Patient, Delicatessen, Some Like It Hot, and In the Mood for Love. For books, It would be a travesty to pick one! Books in my reference library (that lives in floor-to-ceiling shelves accessible by a maybe-not-so-trusty ladder upstairs and a beautiful, old sliding library ladder downstairs) that I am constantly pulling out: Travels Through the Paint Box by Victoria Finlay; Lartigue by Centre Pompidou; Forgotten Arts & Crafts by John Seymour; Shoes for the Moscow Circus by Leta Keens; Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald; Home Is Where the Heart Is by Ilse Crawford (an absolute inspiration) and, of course, my own: Etcetera, The Stylist’s Guide to NYC and Nomad. My favorite magazine is World of Interiors.

F: If you could own any piece of art in the world, which would you choose? 

SC: So hard! A Cy Twombley scribble, sculptures by Noguchi, Barbara Hepworth, Brancuzi and a Calder mobile.

F: The spaces you create are so fresh and wonderful. What advice would you give to someone who would like to liven up a dull living space? 

SC: Use the things you love! Don’t hide them away. Hang your favourite dress on the door, tack your ripped out pictures & photos or drawings on the wall, drop something from the ceiling instead of sitting on a bench. Your space is yours. It should be a reflection of you, your lifestyle, friends, family, the things you love and the places you’ve been. My first book, Etcetera, is all about creating beautiful interiors with the things you love and that is what I swear by.

(photos 4 + 6 courtesy of Design*Sponge)