“I have always wondered how much I would have to pay Mrs. Prada in order for me to work for her. Any ideas? Lots to be sure.” This is just one of the fantastic quotes I am getting from Meg Gray, that funny, 31-year old Australian stylist with the pink hair you see on all the street style blogs. To say she’s a colorful person, is an understatement. And to say she’s obsessed with Prada is putting it mildly. She lives it, she breathes it, she dreams about it. “I think I am perpetually mesmerized by the coming together of what I generally think of as often disparate ideas, colors, prints, textures, embellishment or eras,” she ponders when I ask her what the Prada appeal is, “and seeing how she (Miuccia) transforms that into something new, harmonious and covetous.” Meg’s closet is like a mini-retrospective of Prada’s most recognizable prints and shapes of the past couple of years. I wonder how she affords it all…
But I soon find out that’s not all she obsesses about. For one there is the odd fascination with fake food displays. “I have these beautiful old plastic chocolates in their boxes. Some are wrapped in gold foil, others look like they have been half eaten. I am in love with and saving up to buy a set of old salami and cheeses. They look so divine you want to eat them but you can’t!!! That must be why I love them so: food torture!” Less strange but nonetheless excessive is her collection of African print clothing. “Last time I was in New York there was a man selling these African print cotton pants. They were amazing! I bought like ten pairs. Then I started buying these great African print shirts at the Brooklyn flea market. Oh, they look so good together.” There’s also her devotion to Marni’s Consuelo Castiglioni, and paper flowers, and more recently, bejeweled, dangly earrings, a fad she picked up in Palm Springs.
But the one that tops them all is her undying LOVE for vintage, with multiple exclamation marks. “When I lived in London for seven or so years after school I spent every dime I had on Victorian cotton voile blouses, Georgian ribbon, men’s collars, Edwardian corsetry, I mean I went nuts, Natalie, nuts! It’s my greatest obsession. I think I could be tracked by following the trail of vintage accessories and apparel I left in every house I have ever lived in.” The prints and textures she has stuffed in her closet jump at me like fireworks – it’s incredible – though one color seems to stick out: pink. “I think certain colors literally raise my serotonin and/or dopamine levels. I can’t wear black; just can’t. It really does make one feel a little morbid in mood.” And what better way to perpetuate a tinted high than the follicular? “After lots of worrying about it all, I decided on my favorite color, pink and whilst I can’t say I like looking in the mirror and my face brings me much joy, my shades of pastels sure do.”
Meg lives in an area in Sydney called Woollahra. It’s a quiet neighborhood with a demographic of 30-something artists and young professionals. I love the light here. The warm 3 o’clock sun is slowly making its way down the treeline and projects romantic, soft shadows on the walls along the street. Meg’s just finished styling Alice McCall’s show and ready to take a load off. She pours me “a glass of bubbles” and tells me about Rene, her boyfriend of 5 years, her new blog, Gray Gardens, that launched just yesterday, and how she loves legs and waists, “just so long as they’re not mine!” Her go-to outfit is one of her great shift dresses, “always worn with my pearls and a pair of preferably flat silver shoes. Silver shoes are the best I have decided. They go with everything!! It’s my style tip.” She complains about the quality of vintage in Sydney, confides that her favorite animal is a sloth and her favorite food is chicken sandwiches without the crust. I could listen to her quirky stories for hours. And rummage through that fabulous closet for days. But then I have to ask: how DOES she afford it all? The answer is she doesn’t. “I am bankrupt!!! I love eating baked beans in my Prada dress!!”