SYDNEY AUSTRALIA: In February 2021, Australian stylists Jess Pecoraro and Elliot Garnaut joined sartorial forces to create something pretty unique. Selected; a one-stop subscription-based online styling platform designed to bridge the gap between the celebrity styling experience and the everyday Australian consumer.
Each week, new styling sessions are released to selectedco.com.au with informative, shoppable edits that digestibly convert what we’re seeing on local and international runways into something the everyday woman can wear – or can take to lunch at Sean’s on Bondi Beach.
“Sean’s is pretty low-key,” Garnaut quips in an interview with GRAZIA. “I feel like the Selected girl could be absolutely dining at Sean’s but she could definitely be dining at Icebergs, but hey, catch her on the right night and she could be dancing at Arq.”
The energy of this duo is palpable. If Pecoraro is the nonchalant one who will stay up til the wee hours pinning sequins on a jacket for Delta Goodrem, then Garnaut – by his own admission – is the “travelling comedy show” whose black-on-black style has probably “worn off” on his counterpart! In all seriousness, however, the stylists’ little black book can be put down to how incredibly hard they have both worked in their respective careers, and now as business partners.
This week, Selected are bringing you nightly breakdowns from the shows at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week; what they liked, the best street style and how the industry is evolving post-pandemic.
On Thursday June 3, Selected will be part of the “In Conversation” series with Shopify at AAFW at 12.30pm. Click here for more.
Below, Pecoraro and Garnaut discuss their new venture by interviewing one another.
JESS PECORARO: Can you give me an elevator pitch of what Selected is about? How does it work?
ELLIOT GARNAUT: Selected is a subscription-based online styling platform that we put together to essentially bridge the gap between the celebrity styling experience and the everyday Australian consumer. We found a gap in the market where every day Australian women wanted to shop but they were inundated with options and they just didn’t know where to start. So, what we have tried to do with Selected is put together edits that contribute to everyday facets of women’s lives whether it be five ways to wear a black blazer, how to dress for a cocktail party or reworking your summer staples.
“Every piece in every edit has shoppable links so as to alleviate time-poor women having to trawl the internet to shop.” – Elliot Garnaut
GARNAUT: Ok Jess, how did Selected come about and how did it ultimately come to fruition?
PECORARO: Selected came about when COVID hit and our world started to change. We both were lucky enough to still be able to work throughout this period but were thinking about a way to pivot and change what we were doing and see what it could look like in the next two to five years. Elliot and I had been friends for a while and we always said we wanted to do something together and we thought this was a great way to join forces and bring an experience to the everyday person.
GARNAUT: How did it come to fruition? A lot of people who haven’t been on the front of the website have been behind the website, coding and resizing imagery and contributing different factors.
PECORARO: It’s been full on.
“I remember ringing Elliot and saying ‘hey, I’ve got an idea I think we should workshop together and the next week Elliot was in Sydney and we were at the Intercontinental mapping out ideas.” – Jess Pecoraro
It’s funny, it started as one idea and it’s changed over time and I think it will change again. But we were both like, ‘Ok let’s do it’.
PECORARO: How does Selected bring the celebrity styling experience to everyone and to the everyday type of woman?
GARNAUT: I think that any styling experience is overall the same. It’s the relationship which you build with your client. So at the end of the day whether we’re styling a private client versus a celebrity, for us the job is the exact same, it’s just that the celebrity ends up on a red carpet whereas a private client may end up at a dinner party. So for us, the styling experience is an overarching package.
“What Selected has allowed us to do is share our knowledge and our expertise of years in the industry and be able to bequeath that information onto these women through the edits.” – Elliot Garnaut
So to be able to give it to every type of woman, I mean, how do we categorise every type of woman? There are no two women that are the same and so the platform will sometimes appeal to X type of woman in one week and Y type of woman in another week. What is really important for us and to appeal to as many women as we possibly can, is to have a real diversification of edits and advice that we can offer whether it be how to shop for jewellery, how to shop for shoes or how to rework your blazer. We want to make sure every woman feels welcome on the platform as well. We’re not having people on the platform and saying, ‘You need to buy a whole new wardrobe’. We’re trying to work in what we would already have as everyday staples to be able to recreate them with our advice and make them feel like they’ve had that styling experience.
GARNAUT: Jess, when we are converting the runway to the realway, what is the main challenge for Australian women? How do they take a trend from the runway, put it together at home and take it to Sean’s for lunch?
“There is no one Selected woman. The Selected woman is every woman.” – Elliot Garnaut
PECORARO: I don’t think that a trend necessarily fits everyone. I think selecting the trend that works for you is the first thing. We’re very big about dressing and feeling comfortable and making sure you pick things that suit you so that you have that confidence. In terms of trends, if it’s something new we say start with a small trend or an accent accessory to pull that trend together.
GARNAUT: What Selected style is, is a platform to build really solid foundations. When we launched the website we did edits that allowed these women to build the cornerstones of their wardrobe. So when buying into the realway and taking the runway into real life, what we’ve always said is to start to accent your uniform. Which is finding what is true to you and how you like to dress and that will never be trend focused because that’s what you feel comfortable in. And then if you want to buy into trends, start to have a look at a key tshirt from a ready-to-wear collection or a cool bag or something like that. Then you can start to layer that on what will be your wardrobe foundations and what you’re comfortable with.
PECORARO: What are some of the Fall 2021 runway trends that you like that you think could you think could transcend here in Australia this winter?
GARNAUT: There are a few key factors that I love for Fall/Winter 2021 and they’re facets in my personal wardrobe that I’ve always encouraged in other people’s wardrobes. I think Fall 2021, especially coming out of COVID, I think the designers have been very conscious of timeless classics. I think that if people are going to invest in pieces this season, they’re going to be pieces that you will actually get some longevity out of.”
So I feel like, as a season, Fall 2021 has actually become quite seasonless in a strange twist of irony. Things that we’ve seen throughout the past which were absolutely carried through Fall 2021 is oversized tailoring, oversized dressing – so things like beautiful big coats with waist belts, dropped shoulders and unisex suiting. There is a real nod to black and white as well, we’re seeing a lot of black and white in the collections and this is obviously a staple that everybody has. I sit here wearing all black at the moment, but mixing your metals – by that I mean mixing your textures and your fabrications – in with the black and white will add a level of diversity to that look rather than being all just blocky and tonal texture. Also, denim. You look at all these designers like Bottega and Fendi – all these designers are dropping denim throughout Fall/Winter. I think people are very conscious of wearing their denim in the summer. I know in Melbourne you just go from your light denim to your dark denim. People in Melbourne just live in denim.
PECORARO: I think in Sydney we’re slowly getting to that.
GARNAUT: Totally. It’s like the Texan Tuxedo used to be frowned upon and now it’s encouraged. And just a nod to very contemporary knitwear. We’ve seen Kim Jones at Fendi doing some really abstract knitwear that’s filtered down to Australian designers such as Viktoria & Woods, so I think they’re the four keys to look out for: Really contemporary chunky, oversized knits, the oversized classics whether it be your coats and your suiting, a nod to that contemporary denim whether it be the denim shirt or the denim pants, and a nod to classic black and white.
GARNAUT: We offer styling advice for a lot of occasion dressing whether it be a first date or first wedding anniversary. What do you think is the occasion that women struggle to dress for the most?
PECORARO: I feel like I get asked a lot about this. It does vary depending on the demographic.
“I get a lot of mums that follow me, and their number one question is ‘how do I look cool but effortless and still run around and play with the kids?’”- Jess Pecoraro
I think it’s that and also now we’re all finally going out again and reworking pieces that we already have in our wardrobe or pieces that we bought pre-COVID and we want to wear them again and make them look new without having to buy new things. So it’s a lot of reworking old pieces into their new environments. Dinner parties as well. I think a lot of people are moving away from those bigger events but still want to get dressed up for those smaller events. I think those are the three people that always ask what to wear.
GARNAUT: What was your first impression when you first met me?
PECORARO: I actually remember meeting you like it was yesterday. You and Jesinta [Franklin] picked me up from my old place and we were running late to a fitting because I was styling Jesinta for an event and you were down from Melbourne for a party I think. You guys picked me up, I sat in the back and it was just kind of like, chatting. I thought you and Jesinta looked like brother and sister. And I still think you’re the same person.
“Elliot is extremely talkative, easy going and makes people feel really, really comfortable.” – Jess Pecoraro
GARNAUT: It’s so weird, I do not remember that.
PECORARO: I remember what I was wearing. I was wearing these KITX pants and you were like, ‘Are they Ellery?’ and I was like, ‘No they’re KITX, actually’.
GARNAUT: Don’t ask me the same question because I don’t remember.
PECORARO: I think I even have a photo of you and JC. We went to Lillian Khallouf for a fitting.
GARNAUT: Oh my God, I do remember that! I had the worst spray tan ever because we were going on that boat the next day.
PECORARO: You were quite orange.
GARNAUT: I do remember that.
PECORARO: When we first met, how would you describe my style and how do you think it’s changed? Well, now I dress like a boy…
GARNAUT: I was going to say you dressed more like a boy when we first met. When I first met you, you’ve got a very distinct sense of style and I think that’s what makes a good stylist as well as somebody that’s very confident in their own look, because obviously people are coming to us for advice. I think as we get older our style changes. We get older and we gravitate towards classics more than trends and we love specific wardrobe staples and that kind of stuff. So I think that you were quite – this is such an oxymoron – but I would say that you were quite a tomboy with feminine touches.
“When I first met Jess, she was always in denim and Vans but then she’d inject bright pink or something that was such a juxtaposition from the foundations of her outfit.” – Elliot Garnaut.
“And as we’ve grown together over the years and since Selected has grown as well (says me tooting my own horn), I feel like you’ve started to dress like me a little bit. You were sending me outfit pictures like, ‘What do you think of this?’ and I was like, ‘Oh my God you look like me’, full black wardrobe, blazer, black tee, black jeans and Nike Air Force 1’s, and I was like, ‘you full on look like a miniature version of me’. So I think because we spend so much time together, we style together now, we do so much together, I speak to you more than I speak to my own mother. I feel like we’ve started to rub off on each other a little bit. And I’ve started wearing more colour because of you. Which is so rare because I never would have thought that would have happened.
“I saw Kate Waterhouse not long ago and she was like, ‘did Elliot dress you?’” – Jess Pecoraro
GARNAUT: Can you remember a time when an outfit made you feel out-of-this-world confident in yourself?
PECORARO: I’m a pants girl. I felt really great in my wedding dress, but in saying that I felt more comfortable in my second outfit.
GARNAUT: I knew you were going to say that, because you were in pants.
PECORARO: Yeah. I just feel comfortable in pants and it’s funny, [my husband] Steve always says to me, ‘Why can’t you wear a short skirt or a short dress like, you dress all your clients in these little short dresses?’ I’m like, ‘Not for me’. I just feel so comfortable and sexy and cool in pants. I feel so uncomfortable and awkward in short dresses. I’ll wear them if I have to but it’s not me at all.
“I’m happy to walk into a room with pants and just be like, ‘Here I am!’ Whereas with a dress I’m like, ‘Hi, I’m a girl!’” – Jess Pecoraro.
PECORARO: We work together a lot, why do you think we complement each other?
GARNAUT: We could ask every single person that has worked with us over the past 12 months that has said to us that we are the best duo ever. I think we’re still trying to figure that out. We’re so different as people in terms of our personalities but we constantly get told that we are the perfect duo.
“We have the exact same values and the exact same work ethic. Even though we are very different in our personalities, we complement each other so well because we both work our f**king asses off and respect one another as individuals, as stylists, and as business partners.” – Elliot Garnaut
I think that’s so important in a partnership that we had so much respect for each other before we came together and that our respect has only grown more so when working together because we play to our strengths, we do very different things in the business. And also our values are exactly the same. We put such emphasis on our close friends and our family and the staff that we have working for us and come into our fold and we treat them like family and at the end of the day, I think that’s what makes our relationship really unique.
PECORARO: It’s funny that everyone keeps saying that. After we’ve done a few styling sessions and events and everyone’s like, ‘you guys complement each other so much you’re so great together!’ Jess is the serious one who knows what’s up and then I’m the travelling comedy show.”
GARNAUT: Who is your favourite client and why?
PECORARO:[My daughter] Harley. She’s two and she just started daycare today so it’s been great. Very sassy, diva-ish, happy to try on anything, loves a stiletto.
GARNAUT: She does love a stiletto, and she walks well in them.
PECORARO: She walks better than I do in them.
PECORARO: Who was the worst client you’ve ever dressed?
GARNAUT: I’ve never had a bad experience ever. I always answer this question saying that I’ve always found men a lot harder to dress than women because men are very headstrong in what they like and women are very receptive to suggestion. I agree from being a male that I would be the exact same to style. Wether men are wearing khakis and a Mambo t-shirt from 1996 or a runway Dior, they know what they like. Whereas women come to stylists because they want to try something different, men come to stylists for convenience. I’ve always found it harder but also equally enjoyable, because I always love a challenge when I style men.