Friday, 4 January 2013

Interview: Giselle Farhat, My Chameleon

I've said it before but My Chameleon is one of my absolute favourite online shops. From Dieppa Restrepo loafers to Thomsen Paris's much coveted shirts, they stock a lot of cult classics and have introduced me to some new favourites such as Swedish label Hope. Director and buyer Giselle has a sharp instinct for buying cool yet timeless pieces as well as a great personal style. It's my pleasure to introduce her to you in my first interview of the new year.

Hi Giselle. Where are you and what are you doing right now? I’m laying on our studio couch, writing this.

Tell us about your past jobs. What lead you to your current position? For seven years I worked at a large Australian telco company as a commercial finance manager. Towards the end I knew that it wasn’t what I wanted to do long term and after spending a year preparing, I decided to launch ‘My Chameleon’.

Tell us a little bit about the concept for My Chameleon. I grew up with a mother who to this day is impeccably dressed. From a young age she was putting me in denims, silks – fabrics that would last, in designs she sewed herself. She instilled the importance of quality and cut, as opposed to looking at what other people were wearing. From that I was comfortable wearing what I liked and what suited me, regardless of what was “in fashion”. I think that’s what customers appreciate and expect of My Chameleon – quality, individuality and taste.

What makes My Chameleon unique? Indepenant and contemporary designers we have handpicked on the fundamentals of design, quality and cut. Many of the international labels are introduced to the Australian market by us and have been relatively unheard of in Australia - Dieppo Restrepo, Altewai Saome, Co|te, Line & Jo for instance. Our selection is well considered and presented to our audience in a way that reflects our level of care.
Our customer services stays personable and timely as our online presence continues to expand.

What do you look for in the designers you showcase? What first interests me about a designer is their perspective on themselves - this is reflective in the consistency of their campaigns /lookbooks, the models they use.. Mostly the overall aesthetic and taste that appeals to us. Then we research more deeply into the history, the importance of craftsmanship, fit and price point.

Who is the My Chameleon girl? The my chameleon woman is very much aware of her style, trends are not important to her. She simply admires things that are beautifully made.

Does your personal style influence what you buy for the shop? Definitely, I feel most confident when our selection is too my taste. Having said that there is a degree of movement and my assistant buyer challenges me.

What is your one piece of fashion or beauty advice? Be confident in your own style and make sure that your clothing’s aren’t wearing you. Invest in pieces that you truly love.

What does the typical work day look like for you? Start my day off with a run along the beach then into work to debrief on what will happen for the day and what we need to achieved. I love every aspect of the online process so whether it be working with our web developer, discussing press strategy with our digital media manager, researching potential designers or finalising product styling for the next shoot. Once I get home in the evening, I prepare for skype meetings with our internationals or get back to emails liaising with agents overseas for orders and the next season.

What are your 5 essentials? Blackberry, Laptop, Kevin Acouin Mascara, Sans lip balm, Narciso Rodriguez perfume.

If you could steal anyone's wardrobe - past or present - whose would it be and why? Carine Roitfeld, her style is ageless and she wears a lot of black which I love.

What are your top three pieces available in the shop right now? 
Magyar Sleeve Dress by Christopher Esber, Diamond Ear Cuff from Line & Jo and a lace lingerie set from Yasmine Eslami.

Any beauty rituals? I apply Rosehip oil with a few drops of vitamin C serum to my neck and declotege every night and use eye cream morning and night. Never is there a day I don’t apply sunscreen, I find Keihls Oil free 50+ the best, it is weightless. And one of my secrets (obviously no longer) is to have an eyelash tint, in blue black, once a month.

Describe your perfect day. Morning paddle at Bondi, coffee with my husband and check in with My Chameleon for the rest of the day.

What’s coming up next?  We are launching editorial extension to the store - it will feature shoots with guest photographers showcasing our designer pieces for the season.
New designers are coming on board from next January - Ostwald Helgason, Araks, Base Range, Dion Lee and Prism Sunglasses. 

See more of Giselle's work on her website


  1. You feature the best people and always ask the best questions. Love her shop and that she will be featuring Araks and Prism.