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The Elegance and Style of Julie “Jewels” Gibbs

Playing dress up with Julie " Jewels" Gibbs was always going to be a lot of fun ... but first ... a cuppa and Flour and Stone lamington. Jewels lives in a light filled apartment that over looks Clark Island, surrounded by treasures. Not just her fabulous frocks and shoes with their stories but her books yards and yards of books, Tulips from Grandiflora, Mirka Mora paintings
Candlesticks 'Sirenuse' from Positano ... her great loves are all here.

I have known Jewels for over thirty years, we met when she started in Publishing at Allen and Unwin. Jewels was a publisher at Penguin Australia for 21 years, and had her own imprint called Lantern. She now works as a publishing consultant and is an expert advisor to the Australian Culinary Archive at the Powerhouse Museum - a project to preserve Australian food heritage from 1968 onwards

WHO ARE THE DESIGNERS YOU LIKE?

Issy Miyake, Acne, Dries van Noten, Lee Mathews, Bassike, Zimmerman, Good Day Girl

WHAT SORT OF CLOTHES APPEAL TO YOU?

Clothes with some tailoring and finish. I like garments made of good fabric and they need to be well made: I’m an investment dresser. I keep my clothes and wear and wear them. I worked in a corporate publishing house for 21 years and always dressed smartly to go to work (never jeans). Now freelance, my style has relaxed a lot and daily wear is very casual. But I love an excuse to dress up.

I’ve always enjoyed clothes shopping when travelling and many pieces tell stories from trips to London, NY, Paris and Rome.

DO YOU HAVE ANY STYLE ICONS ?

Diane Keaton.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GETTING OLDER

It’s a privilege to get older and to have wisdom and experience to draw on. Though I don’t appreciate the way the kilos creep! It’s important to take care of oneself. Working with Maggie Beer and Professor Ralph Martins on their important book Maggie’s Recipes for Life – a book of recipes to help reduce chances of Alzheimers and other lifestyle disease – made me realise that it’s especially important to take oneself in hand right now to minimise health issues in the future.

DO MAGAZINES OR AD CAMPAIGNS TALK TO YOUR GENERATION?

I bought Vogue Australia religiously for several decades. Now all my fashion input comes from Instagram.

WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT ARE MOST IMPORTANT IN YOUR LIFE AS YOU GET OLDER?

Family, friends and shared experiences matter the most. This Covid time has been a chance to reflect on what really matters – so much has fallen away. For me it’s been about engaging with loved ones and supporting them. And also about enjoying my home - reading, cooking, stitching and walking are favourite past times.

WHERE ARE THE CLOTHES IN THE SHOTS FROM?

The spangly dress was a gift from Collette Dinnigan. I was lucky to be the publisher of her book Obsessive Creative. She wore this dress for a literary event one day and I admired it greatly. Later in the week a courier arrived with a big white box containing my very own dress – one of 6 that were made of French fabric. It’s delicious to wear, all soft and shimmery and I treasure it. The silver and gold strappy sandals came from the Prada store in Collins St Melbourne – a most beautiful old store with a traditional interior.

The black Issey Miyake dress was a major purchase about 20 years ago in the Place des Vosges, Paris. It’s one of my favourite dresses ever. The skirt section is made from the trademark Issey pleated polyester and the bodice is constructed from fine strips of the skirt knotted together by macramé with the ends left as a fringed ‘collar’. It fits forgivingly and is very comfortable. I can roll it up into a ball and tuck it into an overnight bag for a special occasion anywhere. The black beaded sandals came from the Prada store in the Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong.

The silk dress printed with magnolia grandiflora was another gift from Collette Dinnigan and has been worn countless times. It makes me feel ready for a beautiful, fun time and as soon as I slip it over my head, champagne feels in order! The Gucci loafers were purchased 4 years ago at the urging of my fashion stylist friend Michelle Jank. She was right – I have never regretted buying them and they are my default shoe.

The grey Acne dress was found last year on a trip to Brisbane. After lunch with dear friend Judy at Hellenika in The Carlile Hotel we fell into the chic boutique Camargue and the dress just found its way over my head! I had to have it. Judy was too classy to tell me she had already bought it for herself! The spots in the photographic print become tiny people when you look closely. The Robert Clergerie sandals were also purchased that afternoon from what I consider one of the best shoe shops I’ve ever been in – Maryons shoes in Fortitude Valley. Well, perhaps the shoe department in Bergdorf Goodman might be number one!

The pink printed dress is a silk treasure from Akira Isogawa three years ago. Every time I wear it people exclaim how lovely it is and ask where it came from. Tods sandals, also from Maryons.

The red Minnie Mouse kitten heeled shoes are Lanvin from ‘Hiver 2010’, bought at Christine in Melbourne - one of the most inspiring clothes shops in the world. Worn with a black Lee Mathews silk dress from summer 2020.

The Alexander McQueen skull necklace was a 50th birthday gift from a fashion-loving soul sister In London. We have spent many hours, well, days (!) together in Liberty of London.

The Jamin Peuch evening purses were collected in the Marais on annual trips to Paris (those were the days!), when I went every year to the London Book Fair and then caught Eurostar to Paris to see my author Carla Coulson. The black and gold necklace is Missoni, from Liberty.

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Comments 3

  1. Indeed what a girl..Have been So lucky to have many happy times doing exciting projects with Julie
    She is one out of the box…super article as usual .

  2. As always a wonderful post about a wonderful woman. What on earth has Jules NOT achieved in publishing during her amazing career ?

  3. What terrific fun!
    Julie certainly has a wonderful, stylish eye- so generous of her to share. Loved this profile!

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