At The Bar with Fashion Designer Estelle Michaelides

Melbourne fashion designer Estelle Michaelides is best known for her independent brands Micky in the Van and Saint Stella M; the latter worn most recently by MasterChef’s new host and judge Poh Ling Yeow.

From showing off-schedule at Paris Fashion Week last year, to embarking on capsule sunglass collections and known for her fabulous fashion illustrations too, there’s no stopping the creative output that is Michaelides – who is 100% DIY and trusts her business-minded instinct.

Next on her list is a range of lipsticks and silk scarves.

Often asked what shade she wears when attending her son’s Sunday football matches, it gave her the idea to make her own. What’s more, the beauty path route is a natural extension of  both her fashion brands as they evolve and tell stories beyond their known sartorial pick-me-up.

“I figured it would be a clever business move to create and promote my own lipstick rather than selling off someone else’s when everyone asked me what brand and I wearing,” says Estelle Michaelides.

In action pre-fashion showings in Paris

“The lipsticks and scarves are an extension of my evolving brands Saint Stella M and Micky In The Van which are more than just clothing labels,” she says.

She’s the quintessential creative, always in pursuit of excellence at everything she sets out to do. From filmic fashion shows in old Melbourne theatres, where performance art and music always find their way in her fashion showcases.

“Both labels have a distinctive style that encourages boldness and bravery in self-expression, so I need to be able to offer a service and products as tools to help my clients achieve this,” says Michaelides.

And as for Poh Ling Yeow wearing Saint Stella M on MasterChef this season, it’s a pinch me moment for Michaelides who says its a thrill to be acknowledged by a fellow creative artist and small business owner.

Poh Ling Yeow wears Saint Stella M on MasterChef Australia 2024. Image courtesy of Network 10.

“I have admired – and girl crushed – Poh from the moment she was a contestant on MasterChef,” says Michaelides.

“I reached out to her agent five years ago, and sent him my look book letting him know that if Poh wanted to wear any of my pieces, I’m his gal,” she says.

“When I returned to Melbourne after showing Saint Stella M in Paris last October, I received an email from the MasterChef stylist saying Poh had requested to wear my pieces on the show,” she says.

“Poh came to my studio for fittings and wore five of my pieces for the first week this year. I may have wept when I saw her wearing my Candy dress on the opening night.”

We personally can’t wait for the new lipsticks to go on sale – she’s named one of her cherry red shades after yours truly – Jane Loves Rock n Roll lipstick.

Estelle Michaelides talks to The Write Drop for our At The Bar Series.

MY CITY 

Melbourne – for its culture, food and the arts that converge to make it the best city in the world.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY 

I love revisiting this food memory of my husband Adam and son Ace surprising me with dinner at Cecconi’s on Flinders Lane for my birthday. It was the first time Ace had dined at a white tablecloth, fine dining restaurant and we all were in culinary utopia. I ate the pumpkin gnocchi with gorgonzola cream; sweet, cushioned gnocchi with a rich, velvety sauce. Yum.

FAVOURITE BAR 

The Night Cat Fitzroy. It was the first place that became my regular hangout, and introduced me to so many bands and alcoholic beverages. It’s still as relevant to our current culture as it was way back then.

DRINK THAT DESCRIBES YOU

Definitely a spicy margarita – it undoubtedly suits my fiery and zesty edge.

BEST HANGOVER CURE 

Ask your family to leave you alone for the day and sleep with sunglasses on and if you can muster up the energy, go through a KFC drive thru and order a family bucket.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR

Mayfair Lane in West Perth (it’s a gastronomic pub and dining room). The owner is a trained sommelier and when we visited, she took the time to sit with us and educate us on wines – they had the best selection too.

FAVOURITE WINE 

At Mayfair Lane we were given a glass of Domaine des Malandes Chablis. It was a special moment, sipping on this wine and being educated on things like its acid tension (I know, who would have thought).

FAVOURITE WINERY

Hands down Dominique Portet Winery in Coldstream. A family run winery set amongst the most extraordinary landscape. The family are French and it truly feels they have brought a piece of their cultural heritage into the vineyard and cellar door.

WHAT’S NEXT

Ha, you know me, if I don’t have 10 projects on the go simultaneously then there’s something wrong. I’m thinking more international visits (Middle East), perhaps another short film, plus the best project; a performance where music, dance and my work come together (bringing together all the things that make Melbourne so fabulous.

Saint Stella M

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