By Hollie Harris
When we think about style and fashion, we think Melbourne, we think Italy, we think designers.
Here on the Coast, we have a thongs-on-the-weekend rule and work days rarely mean a tie or heels – we are just more casual here.
That is, unless you’re local mum and fashionista Lucia Cimino, who has Melbourne, Italy and designers in her blood.
Recently winning the title of the Most Stylish on the Sunshine Coast at the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival, Italian born Lucia’s flirtation with fashion began as a young child growing up in Melbourne.
“My mumma and l loved fabrics! Occasionally, she would buy a copy of Vogue Child and we would flick through the pages together ‘ooohing’ and ‘ahhhing’ over the images of beautiful kids clothing,” Lucia says.
“One of my most memorable and absolutely favourite dresses was off the front cover of Vogue Child. A royal blue velvet shift dress with white lace collar and cuffs.
“I loved it so much that mum went out and found the royal blue velvet and the beautiful white lace and she made me that dress. It made me feel magical and it was just like the one on the cover,” she says.
And a life-long love of fashion was born. Having a garment made specifically for her body, made to measure, and being involved in the designing and making process ignited a passion she would experiment with in the years to come.
“Mum was such a creative soul that we get to play around with making stuff and experimenting. Sometimes things worked out and sometimes they didn’t, but we just kept going and finding ways to make things work.”
Experimenting with as many different looks and styles as she could, this Noosa stylist was influenced by the music she was listening to. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Cocteau Twins and The Cure in those early alternative punk days, inspired a gothic/hippy look that she expressed her creative side with.
Huntingdale Tech in Melbourne was a perfect uniform-free place for this budding fashionista to rock out her creations.
“I would walk to classes in my long black slip dress with stilettos on. I felt utterly inspired. There were lots of punks and alternative kids at that school so it really didn’t cause a stir.”
Growing in confidence with some travel behind her, Lucia’s career in fashion was about to begin in Fitzroy. With Brunswick Street being a mecca for alternative fashion and live music, she came across a position at Melbourne’s iconic and most glamorous bridal boutique, Mariana Hardwick.
“Could l really work there? Me a Hippie/goth/gypsy girl from the suburbs? I decided l would give it my best shot. I dressed up and got classy!”
Lucia convinced the boutique to hire her and she immersed in the dreamy world of Bridal Couture for a while.
“Mariana was a massive inspiration and influenced me greatly. She encouraged me to keep dressing in my now classic vintage style and had little lipstick cases delivered to all my fellow stylists so that would have red lippy on hand, just like me. That was a huge compliment,” Lucia says.
Over the years, Lucia worked for several other Australian Fashion Designers and further added to her skills with layering techniques, really focusing on dressing for body shape as well as learning the craft of Yoga, becoming a certified instructor.
“I found that the sense of calm and well-being l developed as a Yoga practitioner, helped me to connect with the women l was styling on a deeper level. Yoga has been an invaluable asset on my life path.”
So how does she manage to look so glamorous while raising her gorgeous little ones Cinzia and Alessandro behind the scenes?
“Being a single Mum who loves to dress up is not always easy. I do many different things throughout the day with my four-year-old, but l always try to take time in the morning to dress in what makes me feel good. If l’m going to be running after him whilst he scoots the streets l will just throw on some converse or supportive slides and off we go. Later popping heels back on.”
“I understand how the easy option can be the way we choose to go because well let’s face it – it’s quicker! And if there is one thing that all parents need it’s time. I have a few ideas that might help you look and feel great and still have plenty of time to get your little cherubs ready for the day also.”
Lucia’s tips for busy mums
– Pick your outfit the night before. Before you crash on that comfy bed of yours have a little moment thinking about what you might like to wear in the morning. Look at the weather forecast and choose accordingly.
– You could base your outfit on a pair of earrings, a necklace and work around the colours or style of your accessories.
– Think about what you want to portray – summery boho or classic retro, rock chic or pretty vintage.
– Not a styling tip but one that will certainly improve how you look and feel – do a little face ritual every night. Cleanse and moisturise lovingly, using positive affirmations and smile at yourself in the mirror.
“Believe me, this is one of the nicest gifts that you can give yourself after looking after everything and everyone else’s needs throughout the day. Try it please – it will make a big difference to how you feel in the morning.”
Lucia’s children have adopted their own cool sense of style too.
“I love seeing my kids express themselves through their dress. My son has just started dressing himself and is quite a cool cat. I choose little collared shirts and funky t-shirts for him, paired with dark denim or shorts. I then let him choose what he feels like wearing.
“My daughter has moved out of the tu-tu and crocheted singlets phase and becoming a little more grown up she sketches outfits regularly. David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust comes to mind! Her more casual look is denim overall shorts and dresses with funky stripes or spots underneath. Contrasting leggings, lover of converse runners and big high pony tail or braids. I definitely think she will be a fashion designer.”
And Lucia’s style?
“I love vintage glamour and dressing up as often as possible. Sometimes l love rock ‘n’ roll, which is a casual look that l feel best in. Big jewels and headpieces are my go-to for going out.
“l may be seen at school drop off, occasionally with fascinator flapping in the wind! I love the idea of a ballgown and bare feet, whilst walking through a field, which is how l see myself in 10 years time.”
I get the idea Lucia may be a bit of a romantic. She talks about how Dolce and Gabana make her feel so happy. The authenticity of their classic Italian style mixed with modern components inspire her style today.
“Dita Von Teese always looks incredible in her vintage glamour style. There is a simplicity in the cut of the dress or skirt she chooses that is always fresh, yet alluring.”
This mum of two truly is a dreamer, a lover of life and fashion. She lives to express the internal feelings of joy and passion that she feels inside, to the world.
“I truly believe that this is what the art of dress is ultimately about. An internal feeling expressed externally. ‘Dress up for life’ is my motto.”
It takes a lot to hold the fort for a young family while juggling a career, but Lucia has learnt to balance it all and that if mum feels good, then the rest will fall into place.
“The juggle is real. I do my best to fit in a night a week where l get to do things l love; a cuppa with friends, some live music somewhere, catching up on writing or reading. It makes a big difference to my week if l get to enjoy a me night. I do my exercise at night too. Once my kids are tucked in, l put on a show and jump on my exercise bike and then do some yoga.
“I make things happen even if l am really tired! Which of course is often, as a parent of two. I know that if l speak positively to myself and get my head into a good place l can achieve anything.
“My son may have to play with Duplo beside me or watch an episode or two of Paw Patrol whilst l work so l can get the job done, but if will indeed get done.”
Recently nominated for the Sunshine Coast style awards in the Most Stylish on the Coast category, Lucia was grounded and humbled.
“l knew it would not alter how I was feeling about myself, but boost me further into my quest to be the best l can be. I have worked a lot on my relationship with myself this year.”
Lucia was announced as the winner at the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival.
“In loving my eccentric and passionate self whole-heartedly, l believe that the wonderful gift of Most Stylish on the Sunshine Coast came with a wink of encouragement and acknowledgement from the universe telling me ‘you are all that you believe yourself to be. Shine and keep going girl!’
“l don’t think fashion is as important to me as dressing – dressing for life.
“I wish to bring joy to others through my expression and through the art of dress. l wish to inspire others to find their way of expressing who they are.”
Lucia will be conducting fun and fabulous Styling Workshops in the new year. Connect with her via Instagram – luciacimino27