I am a Costumier – which is a collector, maker and lover of costumes.

I run a business called Kamikaze Couture – I bring my costume collection and put them onto people at their party or events. I choose the costume for them.
How do you choose the costume for each person?
I used to think there was something psychic coming through the glitter and diamonds, but I think actually it’s about the measurements and what fits the body perfectly. Which is an art in itself. But then… something does come in where it’s a sort of unconsciousness. There’s an actual body and a soul and spirit. It’s quite a quick evaluation for me and I would never send anyone away looking crap, they need to own it. Often people buck back at me if they don’t like it. My other stylist is also a counselor really, because putting someone in an outfit can be quite an intimate and confronting for a lot of people. My makeup artist is like sugar and cream, she is so sweet and makes people feel comfortable. But this is my art so I feel it’s my license, I put people in the outfit that is the perfect fit for them.

What else do you do outside of Kamikaze Couture
I make costumes for my kids when they have stage shows and I am going on an exhibition tour. I love researching past fashion and learning patterns. It’s so daunting to start a new pattern, but I love it when it works!

I also love camping with my kids, hanging out with them, seeing them embrace learning and becoming independent. My son is just starting to read and that’s giving him such independence.

Just before I came here to the shoot I was painting my race car. I have paint all over my hands.

What kind of car is it and where do you drive it?!
I drive it off-track, it’s a 1982 Celica, lift-back. I rescued it from rotting in the paddock. It has a roll cage and lock diff. I also retrieved the donor car that had the engine. It’s taken about 3 years to restore it and now it’s nearly ready. My girlfriends and I are going down to race it. We won the cup one year!

What is the race called?
The race is called Wastelands and it’s on a friends property. It’s been going for about 7 years now and I’ve been to 6 of those. Now there’s about 14 cars that race. There are guidelines for the cars – no glass and not registered. My car is called Evel Knievel. That’s my escapism. Mutate. Create. This is just with metal. Not body amour – well, extended body armour.

Why did you bring gum leaves with you to the shoot?
I also teach Bush Regeneration. I’m currently teaching at Wilkins Green. It’s the biggest patch of bush in Marrickville and there’s remnant bushland from before industrialization. They have really old species of tiny grass. It’s run by Upunga Natural Area Management.

Create or Die?
It means everything! Life or death! That’s been something that I have struggled with actually, especially becoming a mum because your time gets swallowed up. It reminds me of this massive lesson I’ve learnt –  is that everyday I’m creating, even if I’m not creating my costumes – I’m creating something in my kids.

 

8/32 – Portraits and Conversations.
Photos by Chrissie Hall, Interviews by Deb Morgan

The Series will be exhibited as part of “Show me Someone who Says it’s easy” – A group show by the Create or Die Breakfast Club, opens Friday 30th October at Create or Die Gallery.