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Substance Over Style

May 10, 2013

Published in Style Seekers, November 2012 

Sibella Court’s endlessly inspiring interiors are a perfect blend of imagination, detail and story.

Sometimes, our obsession with the perfect is precisely what holds us back. Too often, we cast aside flaws and rough surfaces in favour of a glossy reality that’s best left to the pages of a magazine. Sibella Court may have started her career at Vogue, but her approach to interiors couldn’t be less interested in high-end luxury or material aspirations. Instead, Court focuses on creating warm, tactile spaces that are shaped by our personal stories – an aesthetic that has seen her become one of the world’s most sought-after stylists and carve out a career spanning New York, Sydney and everywhere in between.

“I completed a history degree at the University of Sydney and then started styling at Vogue,” offers Court. “I then moved to New York and worked in the US for ten years.” During her time in New York, Court contributed to publications such as Gourmet, Marie Claire and Town and Country and collaborated with the likes of Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and lifestyle brand Anthropologie, for whom she recently designed a line of homeware.

She also refined her signature styling language, a way of layering found objects, interesting textures and historical and cultural references that’s so masterful you can’t help but be transported somewhere else – whether you’re flipping through the pages of Bowerbird, her new book on decorating with the things you love or stepping inside Mr Wong, a restaurant that powerfully re-imagines 1930s Hong Kong, thank to details such as hand-dyed beaded curtains, a mirror edged with gold leaf and a mural of Chinese movie star Zhou Xuan.

The Society Inc, the Paddington haberdashery and hardware store that saw Court swap the New York skyline for Sydney sunshine, stands testament to her imagination and attention to detail. Court describes the store as “more installation than retail,” and it’s hard to deny its magic. Stocking everything from apothecary jars, rope and elements of nautica to miniature felt animals, zinc tubs and wire baskets, The Society Inc celebrates the extraordinary in the everyday – while offering us a backstage pass into Court’s chimerical and transfixing world.

Posted on May 10, 2013

Tags: design, profile