Q & A with Brigita Paje

SUPREME STYLING IS HER BUSINESS. WE TALKED WITH AUSSIE FASHION QUEEN BRIGITA PAJE (SYDNEY/ HONG KONG) ABOUT TRICKS HOW TO DRESS BETTER.

 

 

LvO: Hello gorgeous lady! Tell us, how do you keep your stylish mojo when working from home?

BP:  I love a pared-back simple style at home. In the cooler months my home wear uniform is a pair of comfortable boyfriend jeans, with a lightweight cashmere sweater (fine cashmere sweaters are my winter home wear staple, it feels like wearing a hug all day!)  For the Summer months it will usually be a simple dress. I have a tendency to lean towards a fitted tank style dress in a jersey that holds its shape, and I can't go past black most of the time, comfortable presentable and chic. And, I always wear mascara, do my eyebrows and smear tinted lip gloss on my lips!

 

 

LvO: Sounds like a very convincing formula! How did you end up in fashion in the first place? 

BP: Now this is a long story, how much time do you have? My mother was my first inspiration, she always looked beautiful and was always very stylish, but the real game-changer was when I received a sewing basket & book on how to sew for my fifth birthday from my Grandma.  And that was it, I was hooked, and started reading the book and teaching myself, I was a big reader as a kid.  My mother saw my interest & taught me more! So I started sewing for my dolls and my first major clients were my Barbie dolls! I also spent hours playing in the garden with flowers upside down dreaming them into imaginary ball gowns. As a teenager I was constantly sketching and designing, I simply couldn' stop! But my professional career started when I became a model. The rest is history, I have worked in many different areas of the industry. Fashion was my destiny.

LvO: How would you describe your signature style in three words? 

BP: Classic, Dramatic, Rock & Roll.

LvO: Let’s take a closer look at your daily work. How do you approach the wardrobe of a new client? 

BP: Most importantly, I find out what her needs are first and what she wants to achieve out of our time together, this is usually done in an email and followed with a chat on the phone, before we meet in person. As no two clients are alike it's really important to listen carefully and take note of everything they say. If I'm engaging in a “Wardrobe Revival / Edit”, it's a woman's sacred space most of the time, so being kind with a sense of humour can help. A woman's closet will tell you so much about important periods in her life! Most often our wardrobe edits are about letting go of some of the past to make way for the future. Last but not least, I always check my ego and leave it at the door.

 

 

LvO: What are your top 3 tricks to make dressing in the morning easy and fun? 

BP:  1) Try to prepare your outfit the night before, but always have a backup outfit in mind, just in case.

      2) Jazz up simple plain outfits with show-stopping accessories, but don't go overboard.

      3) When wearing colour try not to exceed three or four colours at once.

     and one more: If you know you have a tough day ahead, dress for it. Never underestimate the power of a great outfit on a bad day.

     

LvO: How can peeps dress stylishly when on a budget? What’s your million dollar advice here?

BP: Invest in a quality handbag and great shoes. If you can't afford new ones, there are so many amazing pre-loved boutiques that sell amazing goods at up to 80% the original price, check out some of my absolute favorites: www.thehula.com (Hong Kong based), www.therealreal.comwww.vestairecollective.com

Know your size and make sure you buy clothes that fit, never buy anything too tight, go up a size if you have to, & have it tailored to fit, by a tailor you trust.

Shop at fashion outlets, there are a plethora of them out there!

Buy on sale if you can with the next season in mind, but don't buy just because it's on sale.  Make sure what you buy goes back with at least two other items in your closet, if you do this every time you shop, you will create a more wearable & stylish wardrobe. Neutral tones always look more expensive than bright colours. If in doubt, don't buy it. Smarten up cheaper jackets with more expensive buttons! Wrinkled clothes look cheap, so always make sure your clothes are nicely ironed. I think I will do a segment on this in on my IG TV as I know I have so many pearls of wisdom on this topic.

 

 

LvO: Perfect! I know that you also enjoy working on editorials for major and small media companies as well. How do you prepare yourself for these elaborate shoots? 

BP:  It's quite a process! Themed storyboards come first, followed by contacting designers and stockists to borrow for shoots, this is done way in advance. I like to have everything prepared the night before, so the next day on set goes as smoothly as possible, and I always have my " Stylists Kit'" with me! This includes everything from safety pins, lint removers, tape… the list goes on. It's very physical and unglamorous work on set but I just love the outcome. As I just love working with like-minded creative people.

 

LvO: With most major fashion shows cancelled, how do you think the fashion industry will change after this very unprecedented period? 

BP: Online digital fashion shows are now becoming the norm especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Carine Roitfeld brought us RUNWAY with amfAR against Covid-19 Fashion Unites on 1st May 2020, and Chanel brought us the biggest digital fashion show so far for the season.  As a result the level of elitism that has been High Fashion for such a long time is now becoming more accessible than it previously was.

Another big change we witnessed was Gucci's recent decision to go season-less & is cutting back to present only two shows a year & is also hinting on the fact that they may go digital, as they feel that fashion has been going too fast & it has repercussions on the planet.

This particular year has really made a lot of people look at the reality of what destruction we have been doing to the earth, especially with the overproduction & consumption of fashion.  Not only is it totally unsustainable, it has turned into the biggest modern day slave trade, and this needs to stop! Consumers in general are more aware now especially the younger generation, & brands need to be more sustainable now as a result not only for ethical reasons but also if they want to stay in business.

 

 

LvO: So true, I’m glad that you raise that point! Last but not least, what’s next for you, Brigita Paje?

 A: I’ve just revamped my website www.style-phoenix.com. Check it out – I'm planning more IG TV posts and regular blogs there.

 

LvO: Let’s finish off with some short questions:

Fav designers and why?

Alexander McQueen, because of the impeccable beauty of his tailoring and how he was always inspired by the ugly and beautiful all in one, the way he mixes feminine and masculine elements into his womenswear collections is divine. He referenced so much history in his collections and his fashion shows were extraordinary.  

Yves Saint Laurent especially during the 60's, 70's and early 80's. He put women in men's clothes – made especially for them! His trouser suit was radical at the time, women weren't allowed to dine in restaurants unless they wore a dress. He pushed the boundaries back then and took inspiration from so many different things. His famous Mondrian Dress is the perfect example. I love the certain rebellious spirit that was & still is Saint Laurent.

Azzedine Alaia, because his clothes are so beautiful I want to wear everything!

Iris Vanherpen, because her clothes are seriously innovative sculptural wearable art. 

I could go on and on with this topic so will just stop here!

Favourite websites or Instagram accounts?  @therealpeterlindberg @irisvanherpen @dialnfornoir

Your secret style icon? Sorry I have to make it four icons! Audrey Hepburn, Gabrielle Chanel, Isabelle Blow & Daphne Guinness

The most inspiring movie or series in terms of fashion?  The first movie Blade Runner by Ridley Scott, not only is the fashion inspiring, the soundtrack by Vangelis is sublime.

The Cook The Thief His Wife And Her Lover by Peter Greenaway, it's a visual feast for the eyes & I love the costumes by Jean Paul Gaultier.

Last but not least I love Versailles, on Netflix, the fashion is sumptuous and the dialogue intriguing, it inspired a photoshoot I styled a little while ago.

The thing in your closet you are most proud of? This is the hardest question!!  90% of my wardrobe is in Australia.  I normally only buy clothes I absolutely love, & having owned an important fashion boutique I have amassed quite a special collection! I love all of my clothes, so for now i'm going to say my antique mink top hat (it's 150 years old!) & my Christian Dior wedding gown!

The garment you’ve worn over and over again? My black leather jacket.

A pleasure you can never forgo? Shoes! I am a self, confessed shoe-aholic.

The coolest fashion city on the planet? Paris, especially during Fashion Week!

If you could be anywhere else right now - where would that be?  Sydney, because it's my hometown and one of the most beautiful places in the world!  Can't go past Sydney Harbour, the pristine beaches and the Blue Mountains.

“If you know you have a tough day ahead, dress for it. Never underestimate the power of a great outfit on a bad day”

— BRIGITA PAJE
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