There are some people who can’t help but reveal their personality within the first few minutes of talking to you. Meg Gray – the immaculately clad Sydney-based stylist with candy pink hair, who you have probably seen in the odd fashion week street snap – is one of them. Gray is vivacious, smart and a lover of beautiful clothes and images. She also has a tendency to call such things (and anything she likes, really) “delicious”.
Putting aside her vocabulary and hair, Gray’s work is the kind that sways your attention. It is cleanly sophisticated yet full of passion via colour, silhouette and print upon print. Her opinion of what classifies editorial that speaks to a reader is simple: “I always say I want to eat it!” she says.
“It’s hard to explain, but a well-constructed image is like anything that gets your heart going faster, it gives you a physical reaction,” she explains. “It’s the same when you see a person being so smart in their design, like Miuccia Prada, who is so deliciously, amazingly clever.”
And on an Australian design level? “Christopher Esber is a disgustingly intelligent human being and I’m so excited about what he will do. You don’t see him referencing other work, he pushes himself very hard creatively and that’s really special.”
Gray’s most recent project, Gray Gardens, brings such creativity to life online. A wondrous feast for the eyes, the platform is a fusion of blog and styling folio, combining collaged art with editorial and short interviews with individuals Gray respects. Blush pink Miu Miu parcels feverishly unwrap themselves, neon painted eyes blink and fresh styling is a feast for the eyes.
Gray Gardens plays host to a small handful of stylists, photographers and make-up artists’ work, its curator saying she hopes it will be an ongoing collaboration. For the moment, the most impressive characteristic of Gray Gardens is that its content is entirely original. In a saturated online world of blogs and replicated materials, this is a digital nugget. Gray says she simply wanted a space to go a little crazy.
“It started because I wanted to do more colourful stuff, playing with animation and have more fun not having to worry about commercial constraints. This gives me the opportunity to play without boundaries. It’s a representation of myself of a different kind,” she says.
Gray grew up in New South Wales, journeying to London for an intended gap year at the age of 18. She didn’t come back until she was 25, falling in love with the whimsical English countryside and lifestyle. “It’s so green there and just dreamy,” she says. “You can imagine Moley and Ratty hanging out under the weeping willows and you can see all this from a train.”
She took a job assisting a garden photographer, becoming immersed in the “ravishingly anglophile aesthetic” of London’s sweeping rural grounds. An odd start for a fashion stylist? Not for Gray. “I’m equally committed to a big bunch of flowers as I am to a delicious pile of Prada!” For her, a stomping ground of roses and grass, teacups, napkins and lavish bouquets seems just right.
A course in fashion styling and photography at the London College of Fashion soon snared Gray’s attention. Upon her return to Australia two years later, she worked at Belinda, where she would increasingly assist stylists who borrowed clothing from the store for shoots.
Next up was Vogue, for seven years, no less. Gray loves nothing more than to work as part of a team, explaining that her time at Vogue was most uplifting in the opportunities it gave her to learn from others. “The information and knowledge people collect throughout their careers is remarkable – those like Kirsty and Naomi,” she says.
“More than anything I learnt the importance of being in a team and taking on other people’s thoughts and inspirations. Being in a room full of deliciously talented, creative people is quite amazing, especially when you’re all working together to produce content that has intelligence and humour to it.”
Gray has a refreshing sense of humour of her own, something that becomes apparent as soon as you cross the digital threshold into Gray Gardens. “I’ve always loved magic lanterns, I find it so exciting when you have a still image and then one little thing moves! To be able to create that yourself on a screen is so brilliant. Stop motion is wonderful too…like Gumby!”
Gray Gardens seems to be Gray’s subtle way of suggesting fashion should lighten up. “Why shouldn’t fashion be a little more fun? Especially in Australia; it is such a sunny place that it’s the perfect casual environment to be light-hearted and wry with fashion.”
For the moment, Gray says she is just focussing on settling into life as a freelance stylist, working on various projects and the occasional Vogue shoot. And, of course, growing Gray Gardens.
All these exciting developments aside, it’s still the smallest and most colourful things that keep Gray happy. “Right now, I’m just getting a huge amount of joy over the pile of mostly floral fabrics sitting on my couch,” she laughs.