Simple Elegant style of Tory Read – Read and Bell

Tory Read of Read and Bell style shoot

I met Tory Read when she and her partner Anne Bell opened their little store Read and Bell on South King Street. The brand is now entirely on-line but I remember the drop ins and conversation with Tory with great fondness. Tory's background is in film.

Read & Bell creates small trans-seasonal capsule collections focussing on handmade, fair trade and slow fashion. Designed in Sydney and made in Jaipur their hand block printed garments use a palette shaped by the Australian landscape and the bazaars of Rajasthan.

1. Who are the designers you like?

I’m very lucky, I have some very talented colleagues/friends Milk & Thistle, POL and APT, who I love shopping from. Also Lee Matthews, Bassike, Karen Walker, Kowtow and Dinosaur Designs. I’m also adoring what the girls at Saloon Design House in Braidwood are doing.

2. What sort of clothes appeal to you?

Comfortable ones! My body shape isn’t very curvaceous, so I like to play with proportions, shapes and layers. Natural fibres, good cuts and sustainability are all important.

3. Do you have any style icons?

Not really but I do love, Lucinda Chambers, Cate Blanchett and Joan Didion’s style.

4. How do you feel about getting older?

It’s ok, pro’s and cons. I have a few health issues which means I can’t do as much as I would like to but at the same time feel incredibly lucky to be here. I value the smaller and probably more important things and I think am a lot more empathetic than I used to be.

5. Do magazines or add campaigns talk to your generation?

I used to love magazines, but don’t really buy as many anymore. Most of my inspiration now is from Instagram, blogs and pod casts. I really miss the amazing photo shoots and superbly written articles. Having said that there are now a few lovely, not sure what you call them, print journals? e.g. Kinfolk, Lindsay, Gala - They are more expensive than magazines, subscription only and released quarterly. I hope they stick around.

6. How do you approach fashion compared to your mother’s generation?

Obviously we have way more choice than our mum’s generation, maybe too much! I sometimes feel totally overwhelmed, where as I think they had to think more originally about how they could achieve a look. My mum was an amazing sewer, most of her clothes she made herself and could basically create whatever she wanted. There were many hours spent in fabric stores, rather than clothing stores. Like my mum, my lifestyle is relaxed so my clothing is usually pretty utilitarian and casual, having said that we both love an excuse to pull together an outfit.

7. Where are the clothes from in the shots?

Read&Bell - of course

Milk&Thistle - I adore Danielle’s designs and really miss her and her shop.

APT and POL - Sam, the designer lives around the corner and is a friend, so I often score fabulous samples from her.

Lee Matthews RM Williams Dinosaur Designs.

8. What are the things that are most important in your life as you get older?

Family, friends, community, the beach and the bush. Endeavouring to make my footprint as light as possible. My home and garden, good food, conversation and wine. Travel, my work takes me to India, which I miss terribly and am desperate to get back there. Iyengar yoga - have been practising at the same Newtown yoga school for 22 years!

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