Myer AW13 Fashion Launch

Getting to Know Stylist Thelma McQuillan

There are very few people in the Australian fashion industry who are as well respected as stylist Thelma McQuillan, which is why we’re absolutely thrilled to have her on board once again to style our Autumn Winter Fashion Launch. It’s been two years since Thelma has styled one of our shows so we can’t wait to see what she has in store for us this year.

As the Fashion Editor at Harper’s Bazaar Australia, Thelma is a seasoned regular in the front row of both local and international fashion shows and over an extensive career in fashion editorial roles has produced some of Australia’s most iconic covers and editorial spreads for a host of fashion publications including Cleo, Grazia and Harper’s Bazaar Australia.

Currently styling and preparing for our Autumn Winter Fashion Launch on Thursday 12th January, we managed to sit down with Thelma to find out more about her incredible career and get her take on the season ahead.

Myer: How did you begin your career and get into styling?
Thelma McQuillan:
Well I always loved fashion and when I came to Australia I wanted to get into magazines, so I phoned up Mode magazine – it was a popular magazine back then – and said I wanted to come and work for free and they let me so I did. I worked really hard there and eventually I was noticed by Lisa Wilkinson at Cleo and she gave me a job as a fashion assistant and my career pretty much grew from there – from fashion assistant to fashion editor to fashion director. I moved across various publications and that’s pretty much how I wound up where I am today; hard work, determination and a willingness to work for free.

M: Was there a particular magazine that was your favourite to work for?
TM: I was working Cleo and Mode magazine back in the days of Kerry Packer when it was somewhat of golden age. We always had massive budgets and we were always traveling, it was great! It’s very different now.

M: What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
TM: I’d say the cover and editorial we shot with Nicole Kidman for Harper’s last year. I was flown to Milan to meet with Giorgio Armani to go through their recent Prive collection, and then they flew the entire custom collection (made just for Nicole) out to Los Angeles for us where we were shooting. I was in L.A for sixteen hours – I landed, went straight to the studio, shot it, then flew straight back to Paris as it was show season. It was a great shoot and quite an experience!

M: How do you interpret and translate the trends you see on the runway into the magazine for readers?
TM: When you’re looking at the shows, there will always be a trend you’ll see coming through. You’ll see things that will trigger something in your mind or you’ll see things you love, that appeal to you. Often an idea will just come to me for a fabulous story and then I’ll just start thinking about it – it’s such a creative process and you can really just make it whatever you want, it’s really exciting.

M: How do you feel social media and the digital space in the fashion industry?
TM: I think it’s hugely important. It’s about getting information now, you’ve just got to be all over it. I think it’s brilliant and I use it everyday as a tool for myself and when I’m styling. Instagram is great for little snippets and then it all comes together in the magazines at the end of every month. While social media is powerful, a magazine will really give you the whole story or the whole article and that still has a very important place.

M: We know you’re busy working on the final touches for the Myer Autumn Winter Fashion Launch, but when you start working on a show of this size, how and where do you start?
TM: The first thing is to go and see all the designers to see what the product looks like. I also think it’s really important that the product shown is the product that is available in the store. Once I’ve seen everything, there’s always a trend I can see – this year we’ve picked up on the seventies trend, so that comes across quite a lot in hair and makeup and little styling tricks right throughout the show.

M: Trend-wise, what will be seeing for winter?
TM: The Seventies! Prints, flares or bell-bottoms and lots of deep colours like ruby, mustard, purple and rust.

M: What are your three must have pieces for the coming season?
TM: Definitely the pant – the new flare or wideleg style is a must-have. I also really love a print blouse in a fabulous seventies print, and you can’t go past a really well cut blazer. Then you’ve got an instant outfit!

M: What’s your number one non-negotiable styling rule?
TM: Presentation! Take pride in your appearance and always always press your clothes. There’s no point having a beautiful suit if it’s crushed or creased so put money into your dry cleaning. Spend time on your shoes and accessories and never wear scuffed or tatty shoes. It’s just all about presentation; it’s number one no matter what your style!

Be sure to go to to watch our 2015 Autumn Winter Fashion Launch Live Stream from 7:30pm on Thursday 12th February 2015.

Myer AW13 Fashion Launch images courtesy of Lucas Dawson

2 thoughts on “Getting to Know Stylist Thelma McQuillan

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