This is the first in our new series of Style Icon interviews, where we ask some absolutely fabulous Australian trend setters, style makers and fashion forward thinkers about their relationship to style.
First up, we have Elizabeth Kingston, (timeless_styling on Instagram)! We've been following Elizabeth on Instagram for yeeears, and her everyday style posts have been a constant source of joy and inspiration for us! We love the way she accessorises and has been known to sport a few RO pieces every now and then!
Ruby Olive: Heya, can you tell us your name, and what you do?
Elizabeth Kingston: My name is Elizabeth Kingston... I currently have 2 part-time jobs…Retail Sales Assistant in a Designer women’s wear boutique…and Relief Teaching as a Visual Arts teacher.
RO: We wanna know what was your first fashion moment, the moment you realised you had a passion for style?
EK: That’s an interesting moment to pinpoint! My mother tells me that when I was very young (8/9 years of age), I used to create clothes for my doll, by wrapping pieces of her remnant fabrics around its body and crudely hand-stitching them together. I started sewing my own clothes from the age of 13, in part due to my parents being unable to afford the latest trends, but mostly because the thrill of wearing something different to anyone else was exciting.
Over the years I continued to develop upon this passion, establishing my own fashion label (Tpinjii Designs) which I ran for about 10 years (mid 1980s to 1990s) – designing both the garments and fabric print.
RO: Ah, how cool! So, how do you get dressed in the morning? Is there one piece that you build an outfit around or do you just start throwing things on?
EK: The starting point for my 'Outfit of the Day' will vary. It can be a hat, something new I’ve sewn, thrifted or bought in a sale or even a theme I have set myself (such as metallic/texture/a specific culture). I can start with a single item or a small collection of like pieces, and build upon that until I have achieved 'the look' I’m happy with. Every piece I wear has a purpose for being there. Rarely do I totally plan an outfit unless it’s for a special occasion or a specific photo-shoot. I rely mostly on my mood to guide my direction to the finished product.
RO: Well, whatever you're doing is working! Do you have colours you would never wear together, or alternatively, colours you find yourself always drawn to?
EK: I am always experimenting with colour…at this stage I don’t think I’ve ever consciously decided not to combine certain colours together. Since allowing my hair to grey naturally, I’ve been greatly drawn to fuchsia and magenta, as well as various tones of grey (to which I then add a pop of colour). My colour palette is definitely in the brights……though I do occasionally wear pastels or black (which I treat as a canvas for other colours to be showcased).
RO: Do you have any favourite Australian labels to wear?
EK: I don’t own very many designer pieces…though, of what I do have, the pieces I have acquired by Akira Isogawa are my favourite. With my background in textiles, I am drawn to the amazing fabrics he creates and the instinctive Japanese sensibility which filters through the silhouettes of his garments. My other favourite, is design duo Easton Pearson – whose bright decorative surfaces are incredibly appealing.
RO: What is your favourite piece in your wardrobe, whether it be clothing, jewels or shoes?
EK: I would have to say, that I can narrow down my choices to two pieces. The first is an antique shawl which I understand was brought back to Australia by one of our Diggers at the end of WW1. Made of cotton tulle, it is encrusted with pieces of silver which wrap through the mesh to create an intricate pattern.
The other, being my silver, handmade Georgio Armani shoes which I found on sale at 80% off their original price! Gotta love a bargain!
RO: Noice one! Everyone loves a good bargain! What is your top styling tip? And your 'no-no' - something you don’t like or would never do?
EK: I think it’s very important to know your body shape and the silhouette/s which work best with this. From this point, you can develop, extend and modify this form to create unique statements to grab attention. Remember, we are 3 dimensional – so being viewed from all angles, it’s also great to create a point of interest at the back as well as the front.
Whilst I’m not averse to tattoos on others, I have never felt the desire or need to investigate this option as a method of making a statement with my styling.
RO: Fair enough! So, where do you get your style inspiration from? Magazines, movies, the world around you?
EK: For me, inspiration is everywhere! I have a large collection of art and fashion books which I am often referencing as starting points for ideas, as well as fashion magazines and film. In the past 18 months, one of my greatest inspirational sources has been The Advanced Style Movement, created by Ari Seth Cohen in New York.
Through Instagram I have been able to follow many of his muses who have become my Style Icons – each fulfilling a different element of my interest and passion (colour, pattern, vintage dressing, and the avant-garde).
Instagram has been a fabulous vehicle for me to extend my styling as I’m always setting new boundaries. I aim to create a 'complete story' with my posts…trying whenever possible, to have my background/setting enhance my ensemble. Often, it is the finding of a particular wall, door or space which will trigger off ideas for my next outfit or collection of coordinating accessories.
RO: And every post you make looks stunning, we are totally into the story of each outfit! What are your rules for accessorising? Are you in the school of 'less is more' or 'always take one thing off before you leave the house'?
EK: I don’t have any set rules or formulae for accessorising, though for my daytime look I am mostly of the opinion that 'more is always better'. One should always be guided by what statement you intend to achieve? Is your look on any given day all about the garment/s….or the accessories? If it’s both, then one needs to create a visual balance so that the viewer takes in the whole package. Each component should support the other; and for this, I reflect on the elements of design – namely colour, line, shape and texture… all enhancing the form… you!
Interestingly, my evening look is often more subdued with regards to layers or boldness of accessories.
RO: Finally, do you have a style motto?
EK: Having fun and being comfortable is vital to feeling confident and carrying off any look. People have often said – "That looks really good on you….I could never carry that off.” My reply is: “Style is a matter of perception. Believe in yourself and those around you will be drawn into your energy!”
Style has no age boundary…dare to be noticed!
RO: Thanks so much Elizabeth, you're truly a Style Icon!
Follow Elizabeth on Instagram to keep up with style journey!