THE ART OF GETTING DRESSE: COCO.
"To embrace the day with individuality and confidence." Coco Piesse.
Getting dressed is part of our morning ritual and we bet it’s part of yours too. It’s the clothes that we choose to wear and the way we choose to look, that extends our individuality. As documenters of Australian style we are always hoping to explore and collect the idea of personal style. Our new series, The Art of Getting Dressed, in partnership with Uniqlo, is a long awaited opportunity to sit down with people we have met on the streets of Melbourne and discuss their own approach to dressing.
Early last year, while photographing a style focused story for Vogue, I met Coco Piesse who is now the subject of the fourth instalment in this series. As she crossed the road on High St, Armadale in a vintage yellow dress, she captured my attention immediately. Running after her in my usual non graceful approach I stopped to ask who she was, what she did and most importantly what she was wearing and why. After a longer then usual conversation I fell in love with her personal approach and aesthetic. This first impression is the reason she’s now also included in this series.
Coco is a Melbourne model who has worked for the likes of Shifting Worlds and Maryam Nassir Zadeh. When growing up,her mother owned a vintage store and their house was always full of clothes, an ever evolving wardrobe of sorts. It was this upbringing that influenced her style from a young age and now, while still having a great love for vintage, she is also conscious of having an excessive amount of clothing. The sheer abundance of clothing in her childhood has evolved into a unique approach in adulthood and Coco now chooses to buy the best pieces she can - keeping the amount of clothing she owns in check.
How do you approach choosing something to wear each day?
It’s usually dependent on two things which share a complicated interrelationship – mood and weather. I usually listen to music when I am getting dressed too and that often inspires my choices.
Do you make conscious style choices or is dressing an innate part of your morning routine?
I try and keep my dressing on a bit more of the sub-conscious, intuitive level. When I start thinking about my outfit too much I end up trying on 10 different things, hating them all and running in inexcusably late. ‘First thought, best thought’ is my motto!
Is clothing a practical tool for survival or is it more a form of daily self expression?
Daily self expression for sure. I don’t think the way you dress can ever not be. Even if you think you don’t care about clothes and never think about what you wear, that in itself is the sentiment that you are choosing to express and is a conscious process.
Tell me about the looks we've just photographed and why you chose them.
I live in jeans and often build outfits from there, so today I’m showcasing my two favourite pairs and how I like to work with them. I wanted looks that captured my usual approach to dressing - which I would describe as simple and fun with a generous serving of sass. I like putting together pieces that also reflect my different influences - my french heritage, vintage loving mum, obsession with horses and spaghetti westerns, and love for 70's babes and music.
Tell me more about one of the pieces you are wearing…
These boots (brown cowboy) make me feel like I should be cruising down a Texan highway in a red Cadillac listening to Chris Isaak. Speeding away from my sins whilst drinking a flask of whiskey and shedding cowboy’s tears.
Do you have a long term relationship with the clothing you wear or are you constantly shedding and updating? Has your relationship to clothing evolved over time?
I think both. I’ve done a lot of experimenting over the years and gone through so many different phases of dressing as I’ve tried to figure out who I am. The end of each phase usually ends in some sort of petty existential life crisis - a new Instagram account and a big exorcism-like market stall, with only a few precious pieces being salvaged each time.
I’ve come to realise that there isn’t really any ‘figuring it out’ and that dressing and expressing myself through my clothing choices is a lifelong process of being influenced and inspired and I hope I’m always like that. I never want to be set in my ways.
Tell me about fabric choice. Is this important to you?
Yes for sure. Growing up my mum ran a vintage store which overflowed into our house - I lived in a house cluttered like it was the costume and prop storage for a 50’s Hollywood blockbuster - but she taught me a lot about how to shop. She would go into opportunity shops, thrift stores, markets etc and I noticed she would never do the whole manic rack checking thing, but would rather wander around, getting in the ‘zone’ and waiting for the right thing to find her. All of a sudden she would just pluck this remarkable piece out of a pile of junk and I thought it was just magic. Later she explained it was always just a fabric that took her eye.
Are you an intentional shopper, who looks for a particular style or piece, or are you just looking more broadly for something that resonates with your personal style?
Usually the latter, however occasionally I find myself manically hunting down something very specific that often doesn’t even exist. It’s just some magical garment that came to me in some sort of an epiphany.
In a digital age are you an online shopper or do you prefer to walk into a store, touch and trying on for the first time in person?
I definitely prefer to shop in person. Shopping online gives me anxiety because I can’t see and touch the garments. But, I still end up doing it, just with 30 tabs open and much deliberation, hesitation and short, heavy breathing into a paper bag. This usually ends with me staring at my computer at 2am with my mouse hovering over the checkout button and Shia Labeouf’s voice in my head yelling ‘JUST DO IT.’
Do we dress to be comfortable or confident?
Do we dress for nine to five or five to nine?
I aim to dress in ways that accommodate all hours. The ability to express myself through dressing is so important to my sense of self and wellbeing that I genuinely don’t think I could work in an environment which suppressed that.
Does dressing warm make us happy?
Yes! I feel the cold so intensely and I love decking myself out in a billion layers and high tech materials and then just getting out there and being like ‘aw yeh winter come at me’ *insert ninja hand chopping gestures with big mittens on.
Continue the conversation in the comment section below...
Why do you get dressed? Or ask Coco anything?? xxx