Kathy Bail – Editor with a unique Style

Kathy Bail - Editor with Style

I met Kath Bail when she started working with Max Suich on the Independent Monthly we have danced through various Magazines since….. Rolling Stone, HQ mag The Bulletin where she editored . She is now the Chief Executive of UNSW Press.

I love her style, the suits she has worn for years, gamin meets Androgynous. She has a great deal of respect and interest in the sources of her wardrobe.

Who are the designers you like?
I like wearing suits and shirts. Partly because I don’t have to think about an ‘outfit’ for the day and into the night. I have a few suits and a range of shirts from Agnes B’s main store in Paris and I’ve worn Paul Smith suits over the years too.

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Babouches from Fes medina, Morocco. These ones have light blue padding inside.

The purple beaded tie is Yohji Yamamoto. I still have some black pants and white shirt by Yohji that I bought in the eighties when the label was first available in Melbourne.

What sort of clothes appeal to you?
It makes all the difference if I’ve met the maker or designer, when I know how a piece is made and where it’s from. That’s not always possible or practical of course but the clothes I love wearing and keep are often linked to a personal relationship or encounter.

Do you have any style icons?
Jean Seberg, Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, 99 in Get Smart, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto – anyone playing with androgynous style really.

How do you feel about getting older?
I can’t believe how much moisturiser I go through these days! Would be nice to be back in my younger skin sometimes. It’s OK…as long as I’m mobile, connected, engaged with what’s going on.

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The scarf is woven by a woman I met in a neighbourhood of Tokyo. She and her husband run Tsubame Kobo, “Swallows Workshop”, from a small shopfront in a street known as Side-dish Alley.

Do Magazines or Ad Campaigns talk to your generation?
I have way too much to say on this given the time I’ve spent editing and reading magazines and newspapers. Perhaps I’ll leave it and say I get what I need from books and literary magazines these days.

How do you approach fashion compared to your mother’s generation?
My mother had some great outfits in the sixties and seventies and wore some memorable suits: a pale blue leather jacket and skirt; a leather pants suit with black and white checked jacket. It inspired me to get into suits when I could afford them.

What are the most important things in your life as you get older?
Health, being with people I love and respect, reading, work that’s stimulating.

I bought these Y3 leather sneakers from a men’s store in Tokyo years ago and can’t let them go. They used to be pristine white with black soles. You can see they’ve done thousands of kilometres!

The scarf is woven by a woman I met in a neighbourhood of Tokyo. She and her husband run Tsubame Kobo, “Swallows Workshop”, from a small shopfront in a street known as Side-dish Alley.


Monpe are traditional Japanese work pants and these ones were made for me (I needed longer legs!) by a tailor at Aizenkobo, an indigo-dyeing workshop in Kyoto. They are a deep rich blue due to the natural fermentation process and, while the fabric softens and fades, they’ll never wear out in my life-time at least.
The babouche are from the medina in Fes, where my sister Sue used to live. Like the monpe, they’re a classic shape and wear in beautifully.
The painting is by Gunter Christmann, who lived and painted in Darlinghurst.

To the Left
Sumo tie…one of the op shop discoveries. Goes well with a skinny black suit!


Ties go with suits…I’ve ended up with quite a collection thanks to Simon Barney and Sandra Ferman who find them in op shops for me. I’ve bought a few on my travels too.


Suit by Agnes B. I love the large check pattern and the fine cut of the pants, which draw in at the ankles like harem pants.


This is my first tailor-made suit. There’s no going back now! It was fitted and made this year [2017] by the highly-skilled Tran Do Thien, who has a small workshop in Darlinghurst, which she set up in 2013. Tran came to Australia as a refugee after the war in Vietnam. Her father was a tailor in Saigon. She did a course at Bankstown Tech and worked for many years at Charles Parsons.

She made the pattern for this suit — which is loosely based on a cotton suit I bought at Barneys, NYC, twenty years ago — and she did all the sewing. The suit is a light wool from Tessuti in Surry Hills and Tran has lined it beautifully in a dark blue fabric. It feels great!

Since I was a teenager I’ve had a black dress in the wardrobe, 20s/60s style. I bought this MiuMiu black dress when I turned 50. I always feel like drinking Champagne when I put it on.
APC shoes. Good for dancing.

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Comments 5

  1. You are the most beautiful icon of style Kathy, always looking amazing in a relaxed effortless way, it keeps you ageless. You also have an incredible gift for packing cabin luggage with lots of gorgeous mix and match outfits that most people would need a jumbo suitcase for.

  2. I was going to ask the same thing about Tran !Loved this profile .I ‘ve got a few things from the indigo shop in Kyoto

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