Silvia Colloca fashion Q&A; the cookbook author on style, Australian designers, and workwear


What would you wear …
… on a first date? The flowery summer dress with wedges.
… on a plane? Jeans, T-shirt, trainers and a soft top I can put on or take off depending on whether I’m hot or cold.
… to the Oscars? You can never go wrong with Giorgio Armani.


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What’s your favourite fashion era?
I grew up in the ’80s so I have a soft spot for that time, especially for the bushy eyebrows. I used to have a monobrow and then I plucked my eyebrows into oblivion in the ’90s. I’m so lucky they grew back.

Who are your favourite designers?
I’m mad for Zimmermann. I adore Dion Lee, his geometric designs and the construction, it fits so beautifully. And Rachel Gilbert for her incredible gowns.

Do you have a favourite fragrance?
No. I slather myself in coconut oil but that’s it.

What are three essential items in your wardrobe?
A leather jacket, ankle boots and G-Star skinny jeans.

Can you remember a favourite outfit you wore as a child?
I was the last of three, so it was mainly hand-me-downs – there was no such thing as “just mine”. I wasn’t a tomboy, I loved pretty dresses. On special occasions my grandma would make each of the grandchildren a special outfit. My first communion dress was definitely the princess outfit.

And your worst fashion mistake?
Leather on leather was a bit of a shocker. In the early 2000s I’d do the full Matrix look – leather hat, long leather coat and leather pants.

What was your first fashion moment?
I don’t like fashion moments because I don’t think I can pull them off. I’m really good at the natural
look – not much make-up, messy hair. When I am over-styled I always look overdone and older. Even at my wedding my hair was too busy. I went for an up-do and it took four hours – it was crazy.

What’s at the top of your wish list?
An incredible Zimmermann dress. It’s the kind of dress you just have to dream of because you can only wear it once – it’s too much of a statement.

Is there a current trend you like?
I don’t follow fashion trends.


Is there something you would never wear?
A G-string at the beach. But never say never!

What shoes do you wear the most?
Sandals in summer, boots in winter.

Who’s your favourite fashion icon?
Monica Bellucci. She has exported Italian style and culture everywhere in the world with her talent and natural beauty. She’s now in her late 50s and she’s phenomenally beautiful, which I find truly inspiring.

What do you wear on a typical workday?
My work is so varied. If I’m on a shoot it’s whatever I need to wear for that. But if I’m working from home, which I have a lot in the last 12 months, it’s a non-look, maybe jeans and a singlet. I’ve got three kids and I have to do school runs, so there’s not much of a fashion statement in those moments.

What’s your favourite casual Sunday look?
A maxi dress in winter or summer – I can always layer it up with a leather jacket and boots if need be. Sunday is basically a prolonged breakfast – coffee and little snacks. It’s a family day, often a lazy day.

Silvia’s new book Simple Italian: The Essentials of Italian Home Cooking (Plum) is in stores on Tuesday.

This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale February 21. To read more from Sunday Life, visit The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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