inside the costumer designer’s wardrobe

What are three essential items in your wardrobe?
Long-sleeve tees by American label Wilt, skirts – it might be a stretchy pencil skirt with a period frill at the back – and handmade leather boots by Australian label 124 Shoes.

Who’s your favorite fashion icon?
I’m inspired by Björk’s interesting fashion choices.

Can you remember a favorite piece of clothing from your childhood?
My sister is a year Younger than me and our mum used to dress us as Twins. It was communist in Czechoslovakia, there was limited fashion and not much to buy, so she had to be creative. She made us these red-and-white polka-dot dresses with tiered skirts. I loved that dress.

Julia deVille’s Sapphire and diamond “Blueberry” ring is at the top of Gabriela’s wish list.

And your worst fashion mistake?
A turquoise boned corset and tiny matching shorts I wore on a trip to Romania as a teenager in the ’80s.

What’s at the top of your fashion wish list?
I’ve been buying jewelry from Melbourne designer Julia deVille for 20 years: rings, necklaces, earrings, brooches. I have my eye on this triple-cluster “Blueberry” ring; it has Ceylon Sapphires and Cognac Diamonds set in 18-Carat white gold.

Is there something you would never wear?
A white wedding dress. I’ve been married a couple of times, but never in a white dress.


Is there a current trend you like?
Tie-dye. We used to do it when I was a girl and when I saw it I thought, “That’s terrible, and out of fashion!” But labels are doing it in an interesting way. Also, I love painted clothing. It’s going mainstream now but Yohji Yamamoto and Forme d’Expression have been doing it for a long time.

What shoes do you wear now often?
Black Ann Demeulemeester lace-up ankle sneakers.

What do you wear on a typical working day?
My days are quite hectic. I’m running through departments, from construction to the welding bay and the costume department, where I usually end up on the floor putting trims on garments. Anything other than a T-shirt, baggy pants and sneakers becomes unbearable.

What’s your favorite casual Sunday look?
I love picking mushrooms in the forest. For that, I wear old tracksuit pants, a tie-dye top and red hunter gumboots.

The Handa Opera on Sydney Harbor, The Phantom of the Operais running until April 24.

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