She’s one of Sydney’s most stylish women, but Susie Stenmark doesn’t care much for those kind of things
SHE’S one of Sydney’s most stylish women, but Susie Stenmark has always yearned to create.
The former Chanel communications manager is the epitome of grace and humility. She has an innate sense of calm and confidence – skills, clearly, that have served her well in her pursuit of excellence.
From fronting the camera as a TV host and model to running her own restaurant, from the glossy pages of a luxury magazine to the world of luxury, Susie has continued to take the road less travelled as her enduring career attests.
She is a quiet achiever; like many women who just get on with the job without much fuss or fanfare but always with great panache and style.
But three years ago she stepped down from the fabulous world of luxury to the luxury of creating her own fabulous jewellery brand.
As creative director, Stenmark brings a strong interest in design to the world of fine jewellery. She studied gemmology, carefully selecting stones such as diamonds, rubies and sapphires, but also pearls, turquoise and opals featuring them in bold settings.
But why jewellery?
“Fashion is a beautiful world and it’s fun to be part of, but to quote Coco Chanel, “fashion passes, style remains” and I wanted to make something that would last and would mean something to women, something of intrinsic value that would be enduring in their lives,” Stenmark says on her website.
“Colour thrills me and I always marvel how colour in fashion can affect mood and attitude. Similarly in jewellery; colour and form convey so much, and although I adore white diamonds, I could never deny myself the joy of coloured stones.
“I wanted to use gems that were perhaps a little less-often used than the big four gems – diamonds, ruby, emeralds and sapphires. I’m crazy about tourmaline, topaz and garnet as they each come in many different colours.
“It would be great if a woman could build a jewellery wardrobe that gives her pleasure, so it is my aim for the collections to evolve to include jewels for every occasion in a woman’s life.”
A woman after my own heart.
“I don’t really want to be anyone else, my life is pretty great,
but I sort of have a touch of hero worship for Tory Burch.”
Where are you right now?
At my desk, with an inspiring/tantalising view of the ocean.
Where do you feel most at home?
I’m always happy when I’m at the beach. I feel strongly that it’s my natural environment.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Persistence pays off.
You are most proud of …?
My kind, good-humoured and intelligent son.
What makes you laugh?
My husband’s great knack for re-quoting movie dialogue at the perfect moment and making it hilarious.
You have an irrational fear of …?
Snakes. It’s not irrational: I was chased by one on the banks of the Murray River once.
What are you reading right now?
A Person of Interest by Susan Choi, which I’m loving, but I can’t stop thinking about May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Holmes (won the Women’s Prize for Fiction this year). I think it’s the best thing I have read in some time, along with Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Plus Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour is genius. Don’t get me started on the books I want my friends to read.
What was the last film you watched?
I recently re-watched Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. It’s a feast.
Over-analysis of one’s life
What online sites do you visit every day?
The New York Times, Business of Fashion, The Huffington Post, Refinery 29, Nowness, style.com, WWD
Your dream lunch date?
A.A. Gill, surely is one of the best looking, cleverest and funniest people known to enjoy a good lunch.
Which six people would you invite to dinner?
I like talky people who have a lot of opinions and a lot to say, so neuroscientist Dr Paul Howard-Jones, Salman Rushdie, Tom Ford, Joel & Ethan Coen, and my friend Elizabeth who could keep up with them all.
Your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate. I really do have a problem.
Your favourite tipple?
Champagne. There’s nothing like pouring lots of it for setting a mood.
Your favourite destination/holiday?
India, for its beauty, food, rich culture, incredible design legacy and its divine, funny, interesting people. And Hawaii, because it is the most lush and gorgeous landscape on earth, has amazing surf, restaurants, hotels and shopping.
Your style icon?
Nowadays, I like Gwyneth Paltrow’s style.
If you could be anyone, who would you be?
I don’t really want to be anyone else, my life is pretty great, but I sort of have a touch of hero worship for Tory Burch. Her life is pretty great too!
What is your go-to outfit/your signature style?
A little sporty, a little masculine, slim leg pant or jean, crisp, navy blue and white.
What does every woman need?
A propensity for honest self-appraisal.
What was the last thing you bought?
Some outstanding mandarin garnets in what’s known as the Fanta orange colour, which I’ll use in my new Latin Motto ring.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I spend money on costly skin cream and costly food – neither of which I really consider an extravagance.
If money was no object, what would your dream purchase be?
A very large yacht, no contest.
Three things you can’t live without?
Books, Chanel fragrances and jewellery porn, which I access through publications such as Vogue Italia Gioiello … sigh!
What 10 things are in your handbag?
Five lipsticks, iPhone, a jeweller’s loupe, a large bottle of Chanel Sycomore fragrance, L’Occitane hand cream and my lucky charm which is a large synthetic diamond which I found in a taxi in India when I sat on it.
Success is …?
The feeling that you’ve played hard and done good.
Beauty is …?
No doubt it is a kind heart expressed through a genuine smile … and great skin.
Style is …?
I like to follow the French playbook: always make an effort – with your grooming, your clothes, and then once you get dressed, forget what you’re wearing.
Read more about Susie Stenmark here and see her wonderful collection of jewels.
Do you know a stylish woman with a stylish life? Maybe a leader in her field you would love to read about? Why don’t you let me know so I can schedule an interview?