March 27th, 2012

Steve Cordony at Coco Design School

I was so excited to attend Steve Cordony’s session at Coco Republic Design School last week and he didn’t disappoint.

Steve is interior design editor at belle magazine and responsible for the styling behind those incredible, dramatic, often fantastical photos we devour on its pages each issue. He’s also in great demand as an event stylist, working with glamorous fashion brands, on private parties and more. It’s hard to believe someone so young (28) has such a stunning portfolio of work already. He’s also an incredibly nice guy (don’t you hate it when someone you admire turns out to be well, less than nice?!)

I learned a few interesting things about Steve last week. First, when he was a kid, he used to play a game (on his own!) which he called Renovation Rescue. He’d empty a room, taking all his parents’ furniture outside, then put it all back again and rearrange it. Cue often confused parents when they got home. One two three—Naaaaaw! These days the more sophisticated grown-up Steve is very influenced by fashion and I think it’s fair to say a little bit obsessed with Tom Ford. And candles!

His session was great because not only did he share tips, tricks and shopping destinations, he also gave hands-on demos, like bringing everything from his coffee table at home and arranging it in front of us to show us how it’s done. If you’re interested the contents of a super stylist’s coffee table include a Tom Ford candle, Becker Minty bowl, framed butterfly, Tom Ford (I did warn you!) book and, interestingly, a bonsai! I reckon he’s one of the only people who could make bonsais cool, but there we go. What I liked most was how down to earth Steve was. He gave realistic, affordable suggestions of things to buy and do in our own homes.

We were also let loose (ever heard the expression kid in a candy store?) in the Coco Republic showroom where he showed us a few different ways to make a bed. I do love that practical stuff!

He also told us something about bringing out our inner stylists, starting with the stylist’s toolkit:

  • Staple gun
  •  Tape
  •  Pins
  •  Sharpies
  •  Camera
  •  Sketchbook
  •  Laptop.

Then he advises building up your database. Where to start?

  • Break it up into categories (linen, floral, events, surfaces etc)
  • Go through the address books/stockists pages of homes magazines and start Googling
  •   Jump online and search websites and design blogs
  •  Visit shops, pick the product up and really get to know it.

Some of Steve’s favourite stores are:

  • Coco Republic
  •  Becker Minty
  • The Country Trader
  • Seasonal concepts
  • Drawing Room Theory
  • Your Display Gallery
  • Mitchell Road Auction House
  • Les Interieurs
  • Rust
  • MCM House
  • Ici et La
  • Orson & Blake
  • PAD Interiors
  • Quintessential DuckeggBLUE
  • Nicholas and Alistair
  • Scout House
  • Izzi and Popo

That’s enough to whet your styling appetite for one day. I’ll be back with more tomorrow…

Find out more about Coco Republic Design School and its courses here.

March 22nd, 2012

Belle’s Steve Cordony at Coco Republic Design School last night

I had the best time at Steve’s session at Coco Republic Design School last night. I’ve got so much to share with you over the new few days but for now, here’s a photo of us in the Coco showroom. For those of you who don’t know, Steve is the uber talented interior design editor for belle

Here’s Steve’s top ten styling essentials:

  • flowers
  • ornaments
  • found objects
  • throws
  • cushions
  • books
  • rugs
  • candles
  • vases/bowls/ceramics.

And you can read my interview with Steve from last year here.

March 10th, 2012

An afternoon of Danish silver style

What a delight to be invited by Corporate Culture and Georg Jensen to the first ever showing of the Silver Ambassador Collection in Sydney yesterday. It was quite magical to be surrounded by countless bowls, goblets, trays and pieces of cutlery, all made of solid silver and paintakingly made by hand in Copenhagen. Set against a backdrop of Corporate Culture’s wonderful furniture, flowers by Grandiflora and styling by the brilliant Steve Cordony and sparkling in the sunlight, it was a really beautiful experience!

If, like me, you’ve known Georg Jensen mainly for its stunning modern jewellery, it is well worth discovering the history behind a company which has been around since 1904. Head of Silver Anne Mette Muller-Krogstrup, brought that history to life as she spoke passionately about the craftmanship of a brand where only exceptional quality is good enough. Tableware like these are where it all started for Georg Jensen and it’s a huge part of their business today. You can see why Jensen brought her over from Denmark for the occasion as I’m sure not many people could tell the story better.

The most expensive piece on show is worth over $200,000 but when you consider it takes almost six months to make by hand, then it doesn’t seem so overpriced. I’ll take two!

Seriously though, while many of the bigger pieces are out of the price range of many, Anne Mette says we should all treat ourselves to a little something so beautiful, even if it’s just two wine goblets for you and your loved one or one incredible spoon you use every day because, after all, life is too short. And the late great Georg Jensen himself came from very humble beginnings. I’ve already started saving…

This Art Deco style teapot was one of my favourite pieces.

This silversmith gave a demonstration of hammering the silver by hand. It’s a highly skilled job requiring a steady hand, a lot of passion and 100 times more patience than I’ll ever have!

Anne Mette Muller-Krogstrup tells the Georg Jensen story so well

The beautiful furniture at Corporate Culture complemented the silverware so well. Managing director Richard Munao is known for his love of Danish design.

February 16th, 2012

Sign up for a session with Steve


Following last night’s great design session with Darren Palmer at Coco Republic Design School, I’ve already signed up for the session with Steve Cordony from belle magazine next month. Last night Darren said Steve is one of the most amazing stylists he has ever seen! High praise indeed! Read my interview with Steve here, sign up for his session at Coco Republic Design School here. Read more about last night’s session with Darren later today. I have so much to share with you!

January 14th, 2012

Darren Palmer and Steve Cordony share their knowledge at design school

Interiors Addict interviewees Darren Palmer and Steve Cordony will both be inspiring students at Coco Republic Design School this February and March. Darren rose to fame on HomeMADE and The Block and his work has since been featured in many top interiors magazines. Steve is the chief stylist at belle magazine. At $95 for a three-hour session, I think they’re great value for money. Might see you there! More details and online booking here.

December 20th, 2011

Steve Cordony’s favourite things

Yesterday, I published my interview with the lovely Steve Cordony, stylist and interior design editor at belle magazine. Today, he’s sharing a few of his favourite things with us…

Favourite colour?

I’m going to say black, but at the risk of sounding boring I’ll add peacock blue and yellow.

Favourite homewares store?

That’s like asking me to choose between family members! Can I get away with one each in Sydney and Melbourne? Becker Minty in Sydney and Nicholas and Alistair in Melbourne.

Favourite furniture purchase?

A 19th Century Italian side table with aged mirror top and brass legs from MCM House.

Your biggest indulgence?

Shoes, scented candles and eating out.

If money was no object you’d buy…

A vintage Louis Vuitton trunk (or two) to have at the end of my bed. Oh and maybe the Edwardian terrace at the end of Bourke Street, which I have renovated in my mind a thousand times over.

Replica furniture? Yes/no/sometimes?

I think replica furniture has its place, but personally I think there are some great Australian designers and companies who produce original designs with the same price point as the copied international designs, which for me, is far more unique.

December 19th, 2011

Meet belle magazine stylist Steve Cordony

An interior decorator mother, a stint as an assistant and a first break from Neale Whitaker have all contributed to Steve Cordony’s successful career as a stylist.

“From a young age I was always interested in making things look good,” he says. “My mother was an interior decorator and owned a homewares store so I was always surrounded by decorative things. Once I started my interior design course (at Enmore Design Centre) and became more aware of the industry, I knew being a stylist was what I wanted to do. I was heavily into performing and creative arts growing up so either way it was going to be something artistic, but I feel like being a stylist combines all my passions and I get to create theatrical sets and events that I can relive by flicking through the pages of a magazine.”

Steve, 27, is the interior design editor at belle. Back in 2006, he was a runner up in the magazine’s young interior designer of the year award. He submitted his final project; a proposal for the redevelopment of Carriageworks in Sydney. “I flew down to Melbourne for the awards where I met Neale Whitaker (belle editor in chief) who gave me a foot in the door to the world of styling and publishing.”

He did his time as an assistant though, and encourages any aspiring stylist to do the same. He was assisting Imogen Naylor, previous interior design editor at belle, the job he now calls his own.“I had no idea how much was involved in creating these beautiful pages. I remember the very first time I assisted I turned up in flashy shoes, a blazer and jeans – now when I shoot it’s joggers, a t-shirt and shorts! Conceptualising, sourcing and propping is one thing but logistics and production is another. I definitely think starting out assisting to observe and learn is the best way, even if it is packing and unpacking boxes.” While Steve says Imogen was the best mentor anyone could have asked for, he also admires Sibella Court, Megan Morton and many other Aussie stylists.

Steve describes his signature style as bold, theatrical and emotive. “It definitely has changed and I hope it continues to change as I grow and experience new things. Every now and then you move with trends and try new things and but I like to think the foundation stays the same.”

Steve’s styling career saw him start out assisting, progressing into a freelance contributing design editor role producing design news, events and topical focus pages for belle. In 2010, he acted as interior design editor while Imogen was on maternity leave and this year took up the position permanently. “As the interior design editor, I style the interior trend pages, source the latest products, produce events and style homes featured in the magazine,” he says. “Being able to come up with an idea and then source amazing furniture and accessories from any shop, find props and then see it come to life in studio is the best part.

“The hardest part would be logistics. When things don’t turn up on time, or not at all, or when you can’t physically fit the four-seater Poltrona Frau sofa in the goods lift and you have to completely redesign the shoot, that’s not fun.”

Steve’s freelance clients are many, varied and impressive. “Working with Myer producing the home pages for Emporium magazine is great fun. I also work closely with L’Oreal Luxe who have some major brands including Maison Martin Margiela, Ralph Lauren and Yves Saint Laurent who I style events for, a standout being the winter makeup launch for YSL earlier this year. Styling the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year awards at Guillaume at Benelong was also a highlight. I’m looking forward to working with the fabulous team at Waterford Wedgwood on some exciting projects next year.”

It’s clear Steve is passionate about his work at belle, where the small team put a lot of time and effort into every shoot. “We work really hard to showcase the latest and greatest design, new stores, upcoming trends and travel. It is definitely aspirational but full of practical information.”

Steve lives in the St Margaret’s complex in Surry Hills, a beautiful art deco building. “The interior is quite contemporary with mirrored panelling, grey walls and travertine finishes but with original oversize timber doors and windows, which lead out to a great terrace with city views. The furniture is pretty neutral, which allows me to change the accessories and soft furnishings which I am constantly doing as I get bored quiet easily! I think that is the best way to keep interiors interesting, unless you have an open cheque book, by moving and changing small items or even adding great floral installations using succulents and beautiful greenery which last longer than fresh cut flowers.”

Tomorrow, read more about Steve’s favourite things.