An interior decorator mother, a stint as an assistant and a first break from Neale Whitaker have all contributed to Steve Cordony’s successful career as a stylist.“From a young age I was always interested in making things look good,” he says. “My mother was an interior decorator and owned a homewares store so I was always surrounded by decorative things. Once I started my interior design course (at Enmore Design Centre) and became more aware of the industry, I knew being a stylist was what I wanted to do. I was heavily into performing and creative arts growing up so either way it was going to be something artistic, but I feel like being a stylist combines all my passions and I get to create theatrical sets and events that I can relive by flicking through the pages of a magazine.”
Steve, 27, is the interior design editor at belle. Back in 2006, he was a runner up in the magazine’s young interior designer of the year award. He submitted his final project; a proposal for the redevelopment of Carriageworks in Sydney. “I flew down to Melbourne for the awards where I met Neale Whitaker (belle editor in chief) who gave me a foot in the door to the world of styling and publishing.”
He did his time as an assistant though, and encourages any aspiring stylist to do the same. He was assisting Imogen Naylor, previous interior design editor at belle, the job he now calls his own.“I had no idea how much was involved in creating these beautiful pages. I remember the very first time I assisted I turned up in flashy shoes, a blazer and jeans – now when I shoot it’s joggers, a t-shirt and shorts! Conceptualising, sourcing and propping is one thing but logistics and production is another. I definitely think starting out assisting to observe and learn is the best way, even if it is packing and unpacking boxes.” While Steve says Imogen was the best mentor anyone could have asked for, he also admires Sibella Court, Megan Morton and many other Aussie stylists.
Steve describes his signature style as bold, theatrical and emotive. “It definitely has changed and I hope it continues to change as I grow and experience new things. Every now and then you move with trends and try new things and but I like to think the foundation stays the same.”
Steve’s styling career saw him start out assisting, progressing into a freelance contributing design editor role producing design news, events and topical focus pages for belle. In 2010, he acted as interior design editor while Imogen was on maternity leave and this year took up the position permanently. “As the interior design editor, I style the interior trend pages, source the latest products, produce events and style homes featured in the magazine,” he says. “Being able to come up with an idea and then source amazing furniture and accessories from any shop, find props and then see it come to life in studio is the best part.
“The hardest part would be logistics. When things don’t turn up on time, or not at all, or when you can’t physically fit the four-seater Poltrona Frau sofa in the goods lift and you have to completely redesign the shoot, that’s not fun.”
Steve’s freelance clients are many, varied and impressive. “Working with Myer producing the home pages for Emporium magazine is great fun. I also work closely with L’Oreal Luxe who have some major brands including Maison Martin Margiela, Ralph Lauren and Yves Saint Laurent who I style events for, a standout being the winter makeup launch for YSL earlier this year. Styling the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant of the Year awards at Guillaume at Benelong was also a highlight. I’m looking forward to working with the fabulous team at Waterford Wedgwood on some exciting projects next year.”
It’s clear Steve is passionate about his work at belle, where the small team put a lot of time and effort into every shoot. “We work really hard to showcase the latest and greatest design, new stores, upcoming trends and travel. It is definitely aspirational but full of practical information.”
Steve lives in the St Margaret’s complex in Surry Hills, a beautiful art deco building. “The interior is quite contemporary with mirrored panelling, grey walls and travertine finishes but with original oversize timber doors and windows, which lead out to a great terrace with city views. The furniture is pretty neutral, which allows me to change the accessories and soft furnishings which I am constantly doing as I get bored quiet easily! I think that is the best way to keep interiors interesting, unless you have an open cheque book, by moving and changing small items or even adding great floral installations using succulents and beautiful greenery which last longer than fresh cut flowers.”
Tomorrow, read more about Steve’s favourite things.