In Conversation With Stylist Kim Ellmer

Kim was one of the first stylists to collaborate with Husk when it opened back in the mid 90’s. After an incredibly successful modelling career, she became a successful stylist and recently experienced somewhat of a renaissance, returning to modelling again. Responsible for some of Australia’s favourite looks on television and on the red carpet,  Kim is fascinated by the psychology behind a powerful outfit and is known for her belief that a look should always best suit the subject rather than follow a trend. Kim’s beauty and sensibility are timeless. She is as involved in her industry now, as she was when she was in her twenties.

You’ve been involved in the fashion industry for many years, what led you to your career in styling? From a very young age people would ask me to dress them. I was always very interested in fashion and design and it just gradually snowballed from there. As I was transitioning from modelling, my styling took over in a very organic way.

How old were you when you started modelling and what was the industry like then? I was 15 when scouted to be a model. I was out shopping with my Mother and honestly had no idea that it could ever be a career for me. All of a sudden I had an agent, had left school and was travelling interstate and overseas for work. It was such an amazing and fun time in the 1970’s and 80’s. Film was used, there was no retouching and no tattoos! We really needed to look after ourselves.

Your career as a model has gone through a renaissance, how did that come about and are you enjoying it as much the second time around? I did a few campaigns for clients that I styled for and then people started to ask me to do more and more work in front of the camera and it just went on from there. But my agent, Silverfox really made it happen, starting something here that was missing in this country and pushing the market to a place where it should be - where older people are represented in mainstream.

What inspires you creatively and how do you bring that to your work? I think anyone that loves what they’re doing can bring creativity to their work. I love what clothing, colour and cut can do for people, most importantly how they feel, for both men and women. That first initial appearance is so important. Doors can open or close sometimes just based on how one holds themselves and the psychology behind that. Working with that gives me great enjoyment and inspires me.

What is your philosophy on personal style? Keep it simple and keep it clean. If you go to Paris and have a walk around, that ethos is everywhere!

What extension of your personal style is in your home? My personal style is really quite eclectic I think and that definitely carries through into my home.

Do you have any other creative pursuits? I love to paint and have painted since I was very young. I also love designing clothes and have been fortunate enough to do some capsule designs for some of my favourite Australian labels. Interior decorating is a big passion of mine too. I’m always changing my house around.

In 2016, you became a grandmother. Was it a signficant moment for you and has it changed the relationship you have with your son? Love, love, love it! It means such a great deal to me and it is quite a surreal feeling becoming a grandparent for the first time. My relationship with my son hasn’t really changed since becoming a grandparent though, as we’ve always been close, but seeing him be the wonderful father that he is to his son, has made me respect him more than I could ever describe. I have always been a very proud Mum, but that definitely is special for me to see.

If you weren’t living in Melbourne where would you live and why? I love travelling and have so many wonderful friends around the globe that I miss so, that’s a tough one! So, I’d have to say either along the Mediterranean or the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

Do you have a favourite dish to make when entertaining friends? Entertaining is one of my favourite things to do; especially in Summer. I guess my favourite dishes would be a selection of fresh salads, caprese, rocket and pear and Moroccan lentil with some fresh seafood on the barbeque.

If you could have anyone to dinner, who would it be? Nelson Mandela, Frida Kahlo, John Lennon and my best friend Katrina Herschell.

What are you reading? Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt’s ‘The Rainbow Comes and Goes’ and ‘Fear’ by Bob Woodward.

What encapsulates Summer for you? I love Summer! The sun shining and long warm days. Family time, lazing around in the garden, swimming, lots of fresh food and good wine, of course.

Tell us your favourite haunt in Melbourne? So many to mention - Bar Lourinha, Siglo, Cicciolina, Florentino and The European.