Stylist, designer, author, shop keeper and world traveler Sibella Court continues to inspire with her latest book Gypsy. This book is once again shot by her talented brother, photographer Chris Court, and is filled with gorgeous images styled by Sibella. I recently got the chance to interview Sibella about her life, design inspirations and travels.
Sibella's mother was a huge influence in her design life and she often references her and the work she did...
After bringing up four kids, mum found a tiny article in the Sydney Morning Herald, asking for volunteers to travel to Thailand to help on an archaeological dig for ancient kilns. This was the start of my mothers love affair for textiles, mainly specializing in Islamic textiles from Central Asia. She traveled the world to find out all she could about textiles and instilled a similar passion in me when I traveled with her on one of her Decorative Arts tours to Uzbekistan. My Father was a builder, with an absolute obsession with bricks, and gave me my hands on attitude to life.
After studying a History degree, I fell into styling when my best friend helped me get a styling job at Vogue. I quickly realized that I was much more interested in styling interiors & still-life than fashion, and worked with Donna Hay on Marie Claire Lifestyle when it was first launching. With all the demand in the States for styling, I eventually found myself in New York permanently, and everything went from there.
After moving back to Australia from the States Sibella opened a shop, The Society and has been taking on various design projects in addition to her books.
I don’t do any styling for clients anymore. After 16 years of styling and concepting for Bergdorf Goodman, Jo Malone, Donna Karan, Bloomingdale’s, West Elm, and magazines such as Conde Nast Traveller, Vogue Living and Domino, I shifted everything I knew about styling, into building permanent spaces. I have designed many bars and restaurants, including The Pines, Mr Wong, Palmer & Co., El Loco and The Beresford. I have worked on five books with my photographer brother, Chris Court, and have a 110- colour paint range, a soap and hardware range, and a surfboard range with McTavish Surfboards.
Sibella is a constant traveler for both work and pleasure. Follow her on instagram and it would seem she is rarely in the same place for long. Each place more exotic then the next.
My favorite destination is always the last place I visited. However, I always have a ‘top 5’ list on the go, and research and collect information from books, social media and friends. At the moment, the top five include a Felucca trip down the Nile, Portugal, South Africa and horseback riding into Petra at sunset. My love for history gives me a unique foundation on which to combine research, travel, and inspiration into all of my projects, which helps them to be unique, unexampled and fantastical. Travel is an enormous part of my inspiration into designing products and spaces.
And of course when talking with a stylist there is always a list of the top shopping spots...
Merci in Paris, John Derian in New York, Tail of the Yak in San Francisco, The Society inc. in Sydney, and Paula Reubenstein in New York.
As well as the other creatives that inspire them...
Mark Dion, Martyn Thomspon, Faye Toogood, This list could go on and on, I am constantly inspired by designers and artists. I celebrate a lot of designers in my books, and collaborate with artists frequently on my product ranges and designs. I include and reference designers and artist’s in the back of all of my books.
images Chris Court