Where do you call home?
Inner City Melbourne
Have you always designed shoes?
Yes, I was blessed to be exposed to a functioning shoe factory through a family factory when we were still lucky enough to have manufacturing in Australia. My brother-in-law's family had a beautiful brand ‘Linea Verde’ which was quite prominent in the 80’s and 90’s and I was lucky to be around it before manufacturing came to a grinding halt. It was here I saw first-hand the artistry that is involved and while a lot of attention gets placed on the designers of the shoes, for me the real artists are the shoe makers – the last makers, the pattern cutters, the stitching room is where I really fell in love with shoemaking.
Why is your business called Department of Finery?
In the beginning we wanted to convey a sense of better quality. It really saddened me to see Australia filled with only fast fashion products that I really wanted to build a brand that was about quality, lasting design, and confident styling: fashion-led, but not fashion victim. The word Finery has an old world feel about it when clothes were hand made, and we knew our shoe makers personally. Our styling is quite modern so we liked the juxtaposition of an older term from a time I personally miss, against today's modern world product. We had issues actually trademarking the name simply as Finery, and we decided to go with Department of Finery as we have lots of exciting plans for the brand to go even beyond footwear… hence Department.
What was the last great book you read?
I absolutely LOVE to read, but with the launch of the business the time to read has become a bit of a luxury reserved for vacation time and my favourite thing about long haul flights to Italy! I just read the Tattooist of Auschwitz which is not a light read by any means, but has a beautiful message.
What would we find on your playlist in your studio/office?
I am an absolute mixed bag when it come studio music! I always have music playing and it really will depend on my mood…. I can go anywhere from blues, to house music, to RnB and classic favourites ALWAYS put me in a great mood. Right at this moment I have been having a bit of a lovefest with 70’s style music with Fleetwood Mac on repeat (I love Stevie Nicks)….. however next week I could be back onto 90’s RnB/Hip Hop.
If you weren’t creating shoes what would we find you doing?
I have so many things I dream of doing – I have wanted to be an interior designer, an equestrian rider, and work with kids with disabilities.
Dream holiday destination? No matter how many times I go, I love the south of Italy. It really feels like another home to me. However I LOVE to travel and am constantly inspired by new places and culture. Right now Cuba is high on my bucket list to visit.
If an out of towner was visiting you where would you take them?
Gertrude St Fitzroy for some local artist shopping.
What are you currently coveting?
Furniture pieces from SBW
Describe your style in 3 words.
Feminine meets tomboy
Favourite Instagram feeds?
Do you collect anything and if so what?
My fiancé has a love of vintage Italian cars, so while I don’t collect anything personally I find myself surrounded my vintage Alfa and Fiat memorabilia and cars which I have grown to love and appreciate.
Summer or winter?
SUMMER – every time.
Dell’anima in NY… it's my first nights' stop whenever I visit.
What takes your breath away?
Human Kindness. It's still the most amazing and inspirational thing to witness how selfless and kind we can be to other humans including strangers in times of need.
Favourite Australian product....
Aesop and Tim Tams!
Why shop local?
You will never receive the same amount of service in large multinational doors as you do from your local retailers. As a brand we see that boutiques buy knowing their regular customers well, and tend to buy a far more interesting selection of product that large retailers will steer away from which is why we always know heading to you local boutique is where you can go to find something new and exciting.
Do you have a signature scent?
At the moment I'm rotating between Gucci Bloom and Mecca DS & Durga – Italian Citrus.
My last shoe maker.
A classic Margarita
Use one word to describe Jim & Jane.
Stylistic Mecca (I know that’s 2)... J&J are leading the way at the moment with their sourcing of unique products from around the globe and locally to create a small mecca where you can always be inspired or buy that perfect gift.