Audrey Kouzoumis style has an ease and comfort I'm constantly searching for ... here she wears some Jac and Jack designs that are about to hit the store.
Who are the designers you like?
In the sixties I would watch film of my idol Jacqueline Kennedy on TV and even as a little girl I appreciated the style she debuted to the world through Oleg Cassini. As colour TV came into existence to Australia in the seventies I could see the brilliance of the fabrics he used. Linen shantung and heavy satins. Dior through the fifties, Valentino through all of his time. Current designers Erdem for a touch of nostalgia, structure in the tradition of a Saville Row jacket by Alexander McQueen and again the structure and colour used by Victoria Beckham.
What sort of clothes appeal to you?
As my body has changed and I can’t wear the styles and shapes that emphasize what was once a size 6/8, I now prefer soft floaty fabrics in dresses and skirts or a structured form with a relaxed twist. The skirts are pulled together with a Jac and Jack shirt that satisfies the tidiness of my personality.
The soft floaty fabrics are the liberation on emphasis on my shape but celebration of my more relaxed self. The non opulence of Jac and Jack suits my love of minimalism, quality and beautiful colours and am fortunate to wear it everyday.
Do you have any style icons?
I have lots… a lot of New York society women prominent in the sixties. C Z Guest, Carolina Herrera, Marellae Agnelli and Babe Paley, the last two not for traditional beauty but for elegance and style. There are the classics … Audrey, Grace, Jackie and her daughter in law Carolyn. Most people quote these but what I love about these women is not just their beauty and the clothes they wore but dignity and grace they displayed throughout their lives. Audrey for what she gave back, Grace for what she gave up even though most would think she gained more in her role of a princess and Jackie for the dignity she displayed, the mystique she surrounded herself in and the way she brought her children up. Carolyn for qualities that Jackie would have appreciated and the fact she kept JFK jnr waiting three weeks to give him a yes to his proposal of marriage. How confident is that!
Modern day style and inspiration icons. People that inspire me in daily life are not anyone that you can google. They are anyone that is a hardworking and disciplined person, anyone that works to the best of their ability. They are my husband, sisters, colleagues and most definitely my recently passed mother for sticking to her beliefs, her selflessness without giving up of her own needs and her love of natural therapies and recycling before it was fashionable. Anyone that works to the best of their ability.
Modern day inspiration …I love the style of Kelly Wearstler the interior designer. Kelly is a more polished Carrie Bradshaw who mixes random colours, prints and bold shapes. Her interiors reflect the same. And not to mention her love of shoes! Olivia Palermo for what she puts together for herself. Although I don’t wear jeans I like Linda Rodin for her, I will never stop wearing my jeans look, her love for her poodle and fabulous face oil. Gloria Vanderbilt for her relevance through the decades and rocking her Bob hairstyle and bright lipstick at 94. Phillip Starck for his minimalism, scale and quirky interiors.
How do you feel about getting older?
I think it is a privilege as not everyone gets there. Getting older has hit me more recently by losing my mum and a sibling. Its the realisation that I am now the next generation to enter Gods waiting room. Like everyone I don’t like the physical changes inevitable with ageing but I embrace what are the remnants of youth. I have moments of bumbling most likely due to hormones. You know, when you see older women having mini anxiety attacks, usually when paying for a purchase. Where is my wallet? oh I have just put it back in my bag before paying, where are my glasses? the glasses that I don’t want to wear but now need to, oh they are sitting on top of my head, where are my car keys? Madly rummaging through the handbag and then finding them in the side pocket where a previously organized Audrey would have put them.
I do dread bumping into people that haven’t seen me for 10 years as I know they are thinking the same thing I am thinking about them … gee whiz…she looks older. I am always trying to take a nice photo that my children might be proud of one day. I never like the photos but I always say. put it away for five years and when you pull it out you will think how good you looked back then. I am quite outspoken and I can imagine I will be one of those older women that myself have mistaken for being nuts. In reality they have just become comfortable in their own skin and not afraid to say what they think. I can feel it already ….
Do magazines or ad campaigns talk to your generation
They don’t to me. I know what I like and don’t like and as fashion moves so fast it doesn’t have time to brainwash me into a particular look. I appreciate the creativity of beautiful photography but don’t appreciate the overload of information telling me the latest and greatest. It is like the restaurant flavour of the moment. I don’t buy the hype till it has well and truly earned the credit.
How do you approach fashion compared to your mother’s generation?
I couldn’t compare considering the age difference and our individual life opportunities we have and haven’t had. But I know if my mum had her younger life again and the means, she would be the Channel suit lover. Her wardrobe would also consist of pleated skirts with silk blouses and a McQueen jacket. Her favourite shoes were the Audrey shoe by Ferragamo. . Only recently have I realized our tastes were not too different.
Where are the clothes in the shots from?
Jac and Jack of course! As is 95% of my wardrobe. Shoes, Sergio Rossi and Mansur Gabriel . Hat Jane Lambert and bracelet Dinosaur Designs
What are the things that are most important in your life as you get older?
The expected answer would be to spend more time with family but in reality while still working, excess time is a luxury. What is important is to have the other cliché, more quality time together. Most nights we indulge in talking at the dinner table, long after the meal is finished. I want to have the time to instil in my children to be hard working and do the right thing by all people. Spending time with our little poodle Rigby and more holidays. I realise that to able to get through the rest of my life in some semblance of good health I need to go for that walk in the morning…. maybe tomorrow. Through my work I want to not just sell sweaters but make my customers feel good about themselves and the choices they have made. Having their thanks is the drug that keeps me going back.
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