I first met Robin Powell when she edited the iconic fashion Magazine Follow Me in the 80’s. Her dinner parties were such an inspiration and bench mark of hosting for me, it would take me decades to get within Cooee of her cool grace and style.
Rob also studied photography in London – this I did not know – but this would account for her great eye. She moved to Hong Kong with her boyfriend at the time, a Reuters financial journalist where she pitched a photo story to a mag about the Academy of Ballet – who were going to Macau on tour – the editor asked her “you can write ?” Her boyfriend bought her a little portable blue olivetti and the rest is history … sort of.
On returning to Australia she was offered the Editorship of Follow Me. The 80’s were a super exciting time to be editing a fashion magazine, no accountants telling her what to do, Rob nurtured an incredible cohort of creative people on the Magazine and it became the place to work. Her early passion for gardens was evident even in these days – this fashion magazine had a garden page.
Rob is now what I would describe as a Garden Guru … she learnt all things horticultural at the feet of great Shirley Stackhouse and has been writing a column for the Herald for 30 years.
When she isn’t completeing a degree in Art History she also takes Garden tours.
WHO ARE THE DESIGNERS YOU LIKE?
From a fashion-as-art perspective I am a huge fan of Issey Miyake. I also love watching how Dior manages the balance between the history of the house and whatever is now, via the expression of whoever happens to be the house designer of the moment. But for dressing myself, the designers that fill my wardrobe more than any others are Australia’s Alistair Trung, the German label Oska, with a sprinkling of Akira.
WHAT SORT OF CLOTHES APPEAL TO YOU?
I am a nut for fabrics, so it has to feel good – I’m a useless online shopper because I just can’t commit to something I can’t feel. And it has to be comfortable – I’m not suffering for style.
DO YOU HAVE ANY STYLE ICONS ?
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GETTING OLDER
It’s great. The only thing I’d swap with my 20-year-old self is the knees.
DO MAGAZINES OR AD CAMPAIGNS TALK TO YOUR GENERATION?
HOW DO YOU APPROACH FASHION COMPARED TO YOUR MOTHERS GENERATION?
I think the big difference between our generations is the rise of comfort. When my mum was my age women still felt that pantyhose and heels were non-negotiable. I don’t own either.
WHERE ARE THE CLOTHES IN THE SHOTS FROM?
White shirt – Alistair Trung, necklace and earrings Linda van Niekerk Mud silk shirt – Alistair Trung Brown outfit – all from Oska, except for the scarf which I made Print top – mine, plus pants from Oska.
I’ve been looking for the info about the glass ring but can’t find the jeweller’s name – i just remember it’s reformed Murano glass, from a boutique in Paris Rose ring – oxidised silver by Doris Betz Redgum and silver earrings – again I can’t find the name of the artist
WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT ARE MOST IMPORTANT IN YOUR LIFE AS YOU GET OLDER?
I think the things that are important to me now always were – spending time with my loved ones, learning new things, the beauty of the natural world – but they do come more to the fore as the need to please other people diminishes.
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