AFTER EIGHT CONVERSATIONS: Elliot Garnaut, Celebrity Stylist and Co-Founder of SELECTED.
As one of Australia’s most in-demand stylists, Elliot Garnaut has the industry’s biggest names on speed dial. Loved as much for his charm, magnetism and wit as he is for his extensive fashion know-how, he’s one of our favourite style insiders to follow.
But while he’s worked with top names, he’s passionate that everyone should have the access to the feeling of being dressed by a professional stylist, red carpet or not. Enter: SELECTED, a business collaboration with fellow stylist Jess Pecoraro founded in 2020 that brings the celebrity styling experience to your fingertips.
Leading a non-stop life (pre-pandemic!), you get the sense that for Elliot, after eight is when the fun really begins.
Wine in hand, we sat down with Elliot to discuss how SELECTED is changing the game, how to invest in a more sustainable wardrobe, why everyone should own “sunglasses that make you feel like ‘that bitch’” and embracing a slower way of life - for now.
Us: We would love to hear the story of how your styling career kicked off?
Elliot: My career has had more changes than my clients let me tell you. I’d always seen myself working in the fashion industry and after graduating from university with a Bachelor of Design, I moved straight to Hong Kong to work as a buying assistant at Lane Crawford. This job set me up for the rest of my life and I was immediately bitten by the bug. Surrounded by beautiful people and beautiful things I threw hard work, determination and a refusal to hear the word no into everything I did. I worked in buying, PR, talent management taking a lesson from each experience and ensuring I could apply this to eventual self employment.
Us: How did you come to work with Rozalia? She has become such a style icon to so many, including us! Can you share with us the styling work you do with her (ie, seasonal wardrobe updates, or events, or both?)
Elliot: I moved home to Melbourne in 2016 to work for the family business in finance whilst my Dad was undergoing treatment for throat cancer. It was whilst in this role that I approached by Rozalia Russian. We had mutual friends and had heard of each other. Her opener was “I love your style and think you’re really funny” segueing into asking me to style her. 48hrs later, we were in our first meeting for her Derby Day look (below) for 2017. I thought to myself I’ll give it a crack, who knows where it’ll end. The rest is history!
Us: SELECTED… We are BIG fans. What’s your elevator pitch for our readers?
Elliot: SELECTED is a first-to-market fashion experience of exclusive styling classes and SELECTED only discounts. Through completely shop-able fashion edits, SELECTED saves its members time and money whilst helping them put their chicest foot forward.
For $5pw, members gain access to in-depth video tutorials, exclusive SELECTED only brand discounts and insider industry knowledge. Alternatively, non-members can shop our free edits. Either way, our users never feel lost for what to wear. SELECTED is the the celebrity styling experience at your fingertips. Your one stop to inspire new outfits and shop directly from the brands you love.
Us: How did the idea of SELECTED come about?
Elliot: 2020 provided a rapidly changing landscape and allowed time for reflection.
Through a mutual understanding and respect of each other’s work, Jess and I forged a friendship that allowed us to work together across different talent and clients. In collaborating, we recognised that each and every person should have the ability to look and feel the best version of themselves, not just celebrities attending red carpets or events. Instilling confidence in all is the backbone of our work. We wanted to create a platform in where everyone could access this feeling.
Us: A day in the life of Elliot Garnaut? (and how do you fit so much in !?)
Elliot: God, life is so different now! Pre-covid I’m up early and working out with my trainer. Home, shower and some pretty uninspiring toast and before I know it I’m at my office with my assistant, Kate. We go through our client charts and determine the plan of attack. Meetings. Shoots. Interviews. Trend forecasts. Running looks from one side of town to the other. Talent fittings. Events. Flying. SO MUCH FLYING.
Now? Zoom Zoom. I’m practically a Mazda ad. I spend my day in front of a computer screen (after an epic Peloton class obvs). SELECTED has grown exponentially in the past 6 months and at any given time we’ll have three separate teams working on the platform. From editorial planning, creative production or consumer forecasting. We're always trying to be one step ahead of the game.
Us: Remote working is the new norm. With your business partner, Jess, living in a different city, what has been the biggest challenge? And, what has surprised you the most?
Elliot: We’ve been really lucky that we have yet to confront any serious struggles from the perspective of logistics. As the business was born in lockdown, she’s no stranger to being run in lockdown either!
The biggest challenge we face is curating relevant content. Obviously we’re not talking about the best mini dresses to wear to your best friend’s 30th birthday. There’s no fucking parties to attend! As such we’ve had to pivot to adhere to the current climate… for now.
Us: When it comes to Fashion inspiration do you have a style icon or what influences your purchases and how you dress?
Elliot: It’s no lie I follow Maeve Riley’s work like a hawk. I truly think what she’s done with her clients is brilliant. She’s managed to make luxury fashion accessible whilst still maintaining its aspirational roots.
Us: Top 5 pieces in your wardrobe you cannot live without?
- Jeans of any sort. I’ve worn denim since my christening.
- A cracking black blazer or coat. Must be phenomenal quality so it lasts the test of time: At least a five year tenure.
- A cracking pair of black trousers that can be taken from day to night.
- Sunglasses that make you feel like that bitch.
- One pair of iconic sneakers.
Us: Sustainable Fashion: what does this mean to you and what is your advice to people on how they can start to make an impact?
Elliot: I am still learning about sustainable fashion myself and I’ll be the first to say I’ve got a long way to go. For me, I’ve started with making conscious purchases. Looking at the origin, the manufacturing methods and the fabrication is a brilliant place to start. Investing in quality over quantity with a focus on reducing the footprint we leave behind is an extremely simple way to start making a small but steady impact.
Us: When the clock strikes After Eight, what are the things you gravitate towards?
Elliot: Omg. Mon-Thurs a really good book or cracking TV series. At the moment it’s Nine Perfect Stranger or rereading the Harry Potter series at age 30 lols. Fri-Sun it’s bulk wine. Tequila or Pinot Noir on hard rotation.
Us: What are you reading/listening to/watching?
Elliot: Shit! I just answered this above. Whoopsie. In addition to my old mate HP, I’m also reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius and Dare to Lead by Brene Brown.
Us: Finally, asking for a friend. Do you take on new styling clients? If yes, how do they get in touch?
Elliot: At the moment, unfortunately not! My whole focus is on SELECTED and growing it to it’s full potential. We have brilliant team that I am putting full focus into fostering a great culture and delivering results for our members.