"THERE IS SOMETHING SO EXTREMELY SEXY ABOUT A SIMPLE CAMISOLE DRESS."
exdreamist - Maybe it’s how the soft, light fabric feels against your skin, or the consciousness of wearing a piece of clothing in public that so closely resembles an intimate nighty or lingerie.
We go to extreme lengths these days to feel sexy – spending hundreds on dresses that accentuate curves, lengthen our limbs and barely cover our bodies. Gone is the vogue of an elegant sex appeal. Sex appeal is embraced, not acquired, and comes from a feeling within yourself.
Right now I’m on Sumbawa, an Indonesian island East of Lombok.
Undeveloped and raw, but full of character, charm and possibility. If ever there was a place to get back to yourself, this is it.
Here, there is no need for sparkles or body-contouring dresses. No need for make up or hairspray or even shoes. You roam barefooted, drink coconuts straight form the tree and swim at ungroomed cobblestone covered beaches. There is no sugar coating here –
it’s simple, raw and beautiful.
Just like this dress.
Was having a fashion brand always the plan?
I was extremely fortunate to enjoy a long and successful career as a fashion model based in New York for twenty four years in the late ‘80s and ‘90s and had begun to feel a need to express my learnings and fashion thoughts and feelings creatively. Having worked with so many fashion designers – Azzedine Alaia, Versace, Calvin Klein, Donna Karen, Ralph Lauren, Oscar De La Renta, John Galliano, YSL, Valentino, Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld and everyone else you can think of – as a model I became to appreciate quality, luxury and how beautiful clothing makes a woman feel. My first designs were very simple slip dresses and camisoles, pieces that I needed for myself and couldn’t find in stores at the time, that worked with my hectic travel schedule. They were easy to pack, made me feel good and great to wear. I started out with six silk slips and six silk camisoles and six colours.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t doing this I may have taken up portrait photography. I love black and white photography and have collected many beautiful prints from various photographers over the years – Sam Haskins, Mary Ellen Mark, Peter Lindberg, Max Vadukal, J.H Lartigue, Salgado, August Sander, Helmet Newton and many others. I also have a collection of black & white photography coffee table books that I treasure. I enjoy interior design so could have gone in that direction as well!
Who is your brands muse?
I guess in the back of my mind Kate Moss is someone I think of when putting together collections for Little Joe Woman but I mainly design for myself. I’m not a trend driven person but am always obsessed with leopard print, fringe, leather and lace. I like slick and cool black & white and I also like gypsy, haute-hippy style.
What separates you from the crowd?
For me the Little Joe Woman appreciates luxury, she’s a little Rock-chic, she’s subtly sexy, is a busy person, enjoys travel and loves life…just like me! I feel so honoured when I see people on the street, people on Instagram, our customers and celebrities wearing our brand or carrying one of our shipping bags – I don’t know if I’ll ever get over that thrill. Everyone has a choice of what they wear so when I see someone in something that I’ve designed, it’s exciting to know they’ve chosen Little Joe Woman. I have a lot of friends and celebrities that wear our brand, a few are – Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Yasmin Le Bon, Elle Macpherson, Eva Hertigova, Cheyenne Tozzi and Miranda Kerr.
If you could choose any other designer in the world to collaborate with, who would it be?
Azzedine Alaia – it would be amazing to learn from someone who is so revered in this profession and who I also worked with when we both first started in the fashion business.
What is your connection to Bali?
Joe Coffey, who is my husband and business partner and I, moved our operations to Bali just over a year ago and opened our first Little Joe Woman boutique in Asia on Petitenget, Seminyak in Bali nine months ago so we’re spending as much time as possible here and travelling to Sydney as business and pleasure requires. Our boutique carries our ‘Endless Summer’ collection of all my favourite Resort pieces our new accessories line of handbags, beach bags, beach towels, sandals, wide brimmed panama hats, swimwear and jewellery – which are perfect for every vacation. We also carry our current ‘Collection’ pieces that are available in Australian stores and online at www.LittleJoeWoman.com I find Bali alluring because for me it’s rugged and luxurious at the same time and every trip is special. I love it for the people, the kindness, the culture, the smells, the sense of community, the climate, the food, the warm air, the beautiful scenery of the rice paddy fields and the freedom that permeates the air here. The restaurant, hotel, resort and beach club scene is amazing, there are so many world class places to eat and chill at with Sardine, Petitenget, La Lpichiols, Barbacoa, Metis, Ku De Ta, and Potatohead being some of our favourites. I also love the style of interiors in Bali with their use of modern dark wood, concrete, metal, marble, woven and bamboo. My favourite interior designer is Christian Liaigre and so much of what I see at various restaurants and hotels in Bali, remind me of his stunning work. In particular I love the interiors of the Ailia Hotel, Nihiwatu Resort and Suaga Resort.
What is the most played song in the design room right now?
Hello – Adele.
(click here for YouTube video)
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
Everyday is an important lesson but what I’ve learned in the fashion business is that it’s so important to know about every aspect of the business. It’s not enough to be across the design, you need to know everything there is to know about retail sales, wholesale, margins, profits, accounting, shipping, leases, rents, deliveries, sales staff and so much more. It sounds very glamorous to be a ‘fashion designer’ but it doesn’t stop there, there is so much more to be involved with to make a business successful.
At the moment we’ve just finished dropping Resort 2015 and we’re in production of our next collection. Bali is the epicentre of Asia and we love the opportunity of showing our brand here.People travel from all over the world to come to Bali so we have so many new and interesting customers. I look forward to continuing to grow our brand and designing beautiful pieces for stylish women all over the world.