Fashion Q&A with Heart of Bone jewellery designer Emma Abrahams


Emma loved to put together outfits from offcuts as a child.

Emma loved to put together outfits from offcuts as a child.Credit:Courtesy of Emma Abrahams

My great-grandmother’s wedding dress. It was hand sewn by her from the most beautiful cream silk with fine gold threads. It’s a real treasure.

And the latest addition?

A YSL intarsia skeleton sweater. It sold out immediately in my size but I finally found one on eBay.

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What would you wear …

… on a first date? It totally depends on who it’s with!

… on a plane? Usually jeans, a T-shirt, cashmere sweater, cashmere scarf and my black velvet McQueen slippers.

… to the Oscars? I’d prefer to go to the Met Gala if we’re talking serious red-carpet moments. It would definitely be Rick Owens. I can’t imagine even thinking about another designer for a couture gown.

Do you have a favourite designer?

Azzedine Alaïa. He was a genius; I named my daughter after him. I met him on a few occasions, and I was just in awe of him, he was so graceful and humble. I’ve been collecting Alaïa, both vintage and current, since I got my first job. Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Rick Owens are high up the list, too.

Favourite fragrance?

Alaïa Paris, of course.

What is your favourite period for fashion?

Late 1990s through to 2010. I loved the entire Alexander McQueen era. And Galliano for Dior, too.

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What are three essential items in your wardrobe?

Black leather pants, platform boots, and my vintage Chanel fitted black bouclé jacket.

Can you remember a favourite outfit you had as a child?

My earliest memory is wearing my grandmother’s pink satin ostrich-feather slippers.

And your first fashion moment?

I was obsessed with fashion as a child. My paternal grandparents were tailors and my other grandparents were textile designers. From as young as three, I was cutting up old fabric rolls and making myself lavish gowns with safety pins and knotted-together offcuts.

What’s your worst fashion mistake?

Probably in the ’80s as a tween, doing the whole Boy George look with a side ponytail. That was a standout disaster.

What would you buy if money were no object?

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I always dreamt of commissioning a couture Chanel black jacket with Karl Lagerfeld, but sadly that’s no longer possible. I’d love to own a McQueen runway piece; I’m always on the lookout on vintage sites and auctions.

Who is your style muse?

Morticia Addams, Scarlett O’Hara, Elvira, Daphne Guinness and a bit of Lou Doillon thrown in.

Is there something you’d never wear?

Slingbacks. I find them totally boring and impossible to walk in. Also, purple.

What shoes do you wear most often?

Belstaff biker boots.

Favourite casual Sunday look?

Cashmere sweater, jeans, bare feet.

Is there a current trend you like?

I love how Billie Eilish, who’s a very special client of ours, has taken a dark mix of mad street style, high fashion and logo culture to a whole new level. She’s also a great role model when it comes to mental health, environmental issues and authenticity. That’s the kind of trend that speaks to me.

This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale March 8.

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