Everyone of note in Sydney’s social scene has heard the name “Shiralee Coleman”.
Envied for her wardrobe, admired for her business savvy and adored for her affable personality, the unreservedly sophisticated Sydney-based model, blogger and director of PR agency "Kitten Ink", is a style icon in her own right.
Having worked for numerous luxury fashion brands (think Calvin Klein, Armani and Guess) and with an impressive list of fashion clientele of her own, Coleman has spent over 14 years living and breathing the fashion industry.
In recent months, Coleman has gained a cult following via social media, effortlessly earning herself the title of “Sydney’s darling”.
Editor, Michelle Larin, found some time in the stunning brunette’s hectic schedule to talk work, fashion and style.
Q: Shiralee, I want to know about you! Where are you from originally and what are your interests?
A: Well, I grew up in pretty Newcastle and, after travelling the world, I now live in Sydney. I absolutely love living here! My most obvious interest is fashion; it’s my life!
Q: What is it about fashion you are so passionate about?
A: The creative expression. You own your style and it sends a message without using words.
Q: You’ve been in the industry for 14 years; what’s your impression of the Australian fashion scene?
A: After living overseas, I grew to have a real appreciation for the fashion scene in Sydney. I think there are some incredible and talented designers living here in Australia.
Q: Name some of your favourite fashion labels.
A: Top end designers I adore include Balmain, Chanel, Calvin Klein, Roberto Cavalli and Jimmy Choo. From Australia, I love Aje, Bronx & Banco, Dion Lee, Sass & Bide and Zimmerman. But I don’t always go expensive when I shop – I love my Wittner high heels too!
Q: Tell me about your PR Company Kitten Ink.
A: Kitten Ink was originally born from my fashion blog of the same name, which I started last year. Due to the amazing response I received, I figured it was a sign to branch out and form my own business.
I have been working in the fashion industry for years and finally felt ready to do something which offered the industry the benefit of the skills I have developed. I now specialise in PR, styling and events.
Q: Are you able to describe a couple of
projects you are currently working on?
A: At present, I am working closely with Hugos Lounge [a venue in Kings Cross, Sydney] on some exciting fashion events leading into summer. We just finished hosting the Mercedes-Benz Sydney Fashion Festival Wrap Party last week. I am also working on campaigns for Cactus Skincare, Jewellery by Elin Hammerstrom and Rich & Mor Diamonds
Q: What does style mean to you? How would you describe your personal style?
A: It’s so hard to describe this about yourself; especially as style is an element that continuously evolves! Style to me means expressing yourself effortlessly and knowing what works; that is, emphasising your best attributes in an elegant fashion. For me, a MUST, is wearing a beautiful but simple dress with gorgeous hair to match. Luckily, hairdresser Steven Hanna makes sure my lioness mane is kept pristinely in-tact!
Q: Who is your ultimate style icon?
A: My ultimate style icon would have to be Victoria Beckham. Her class and understated sophistication is unsurpassed by anyone! I just love her. Also, I find the love she has for her family to be as equally appealing as what she wears and designs for her collections. She’s the whole package.
Q: Name some of your favourite fashion designers.
A: I cannot go past Karl Lagerfeld. I love his boldness and how he lives such an incredible life around his art form. The campaigns of Roberto Cavalli have also inspired me since I was very young. I’m obsessed with how he photographs his collections!
Q: I know you’ve been a professional model for some time. Tell me about that.
A: I have been modelling since I turned 17. Modelling both locally and internationally has given me a solid basis for understanding how to create images for my clients from a production perspective. I have modelled in various publications, including FHM, and in campaigns for Nick Scali, Coco Riche Swimwear and Jewellery by Elin.
Q: What is it you love most about modelling?
A: I love it when we get the shot and it works! A lot of effort goes on behind the scenes in order to create the perfect shot. I have a real appreciation for the hours spent by the designer making a piece, the time put into finessing the model’s hair and makeup and, most of all, the work that goes into establishing a connection between the model and the photographer. It’s a culmination and collaboration of energy and, if it it’s right, it’s like magic.
Q: Describe your quintessential go-to outfit on an average day.
A: That would be black and white chic for work. For weekends, I can be seen wearing anything from my active wear to dolling myself up completely for dinner in the evening.
Q: What are your three favourite items in your wardrobe?
This is a hard question! My number one fav is my white Calvin Klein dress, followed by my Wittner cuff high heels and Bronx & Banco striped dress.
Q: You said earlier that you have travelled the world. Where are some of your favourite travel destinations?
A: I love travelling. My favourite destinations in the world have to be Boracay in the Philippines, Paris in France, Marbella in Spain and Santorini in Greece. Interestingly enough, I have never been to the snow and it’s unlikely I will go anytime soon. I am drawn to hot climates and amazing beaches; to me that’s paradise.
Q: What’s your opinion on ‘Sydney style’?
A: I think Sydney is quite relaxed about style. It’s nice when there is an occasion and you see everyone dressed up! Melbourne people make a bit more effort when it comes to styling, but I love that Sydney Fashion Blogger inspires with her daily updates.
Q: What do you think of when you hear the words ‘street-style’?
A: One name: Christine Centenera. Need I say more! She is a genius when it comes to perfecting street-style. I could look at her photos for hours.
Q: And, finally, end the following sentences:
My favourite fashion publications are... VOGUE, Harper’s BAZAAR and Elle.
My creativity is fuelled by... Creating something beautiful.
The best style advice I give my friends is... ALWAYS BE A LADY.
I’m currently reading… Chanel’s life story.
My life mantra is... Remember wherever your heart is, that’s where you will find your treasure (by Paulo Coelho).
To find out what’s next for Shiralee Coleman, check out her website: www.kittenink.com
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