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Fashion Week: Exclusive With Sartorial Sister Sandra Semburg

A fashion and portrait photographer who is based between Paris and Berlin, she shoots editorial and ‘street style’ from around the world; capturing the refined, the architectural, the moody, the sane, the insane and the downright kooky with a most discerning eye.

Between the hustle and bustle of Australian Fashion Week, we were able to steal her between snaps to learn a lesson of style. From the one who catches fashion’s urbanity with flair and imaginative exuberance, here is our interview with the inimitable Sandra Semburg.

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Photo by Sandra Semburg

Describe your style?

Minimal, comfortable with a few chic details.  I would love to dress up a bit more often, but when I’m traveling and on shoots, I can’t think too much about my clothes, they have to be easy. I stick mostly to a neutral color palette and wear flats. My way of dressing up in the day, is a cool bag, a blouse and good shoes, I always like a feminine contrast to a comfortable look.

Are you more inspired by the streets or the catwalk?

Streets for sure – I guess that’s the obvious answer of someone who shoots streetstyle! I’m very inspired by runway too and by the expectation and excitement of a show, but when I see those collections on the streets, I connect to them in a different way. Ultimately streets and catwalk are feeding off each other.

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Photo by Sandra Semburg

What are your three essential pieces for Fashion Week?

A Dion Lee shirt, it’s striped with buttons on the front and back, the coolest piece and really versatile.

A Loewe puzzle bag.

Black palazzo trousers by Joseph.

If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?

High waisted denim with a silk blouse and chic loafers. For colder seasons my Stella McCartney coat over that.

Paris Fashionweek, Fw 2016, day 1
Paris Fashionweek, Fw 2016, day 1 – Photo by Sandra Semburg

Who is your current fashion muse? Who inspired you initially?

I don’t have one specific muse, I get inspired by women all the time when I travel that I see on the streets. If I would pick some muses it would be Phoebe Philo and Emmanuelle Alt, I never get tired of her very simple denim and blazer looks. There is also stylist Megan Gray that I admire for a very unique point of view.

When I grew up I was inspired by the women in Peter Lindbergh’s photographs, Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen, so it was maybe more about the strong women in very classic clothes.

Paris Fashionweek SS 2016, day 4
Paris Fashion Week 2016, day 4 – Photo by Sandra Semburg

Does your style change depending on where you are? (and which Fashion Week you are at?)

It does slightly, but it also has to do with the seasons and weather conditions. But generally I would say, in Paris I wear more blacks and blues, in London I bring out more color, in Sydney I’m inspired to play with wider shapes and black and whites.

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Photo by Sandra Semburg

What is the best piece of fashion advice you’ve ever received?

To follow your own taste and style instead of trends.

What irks you about people’s perceptions of fashion?

That it’s superficial and not necessary. I’ve met the kindest and most interesting people in this business. There might be exceptions, but the people I know that are into fashion, are interested in much broader themes of life.

Paris Fashionweek day 8, Valentino, Veronika Heilbrunner for heywoman - Photo by Sandra Semburg
Paris Fashionweek day 8, Valentino, Veronika Heilbrunner for heywoman- Credit Sandra Semburg

What is your take on Australian fashion?

I love the sunny and sporty vibe here. Clothes feel very relaxed, I love the play with wider shapes and layering here, yet it’s always sexy. I was surprised to see a lot of monochrome when I first visited, it looks so elegant and works well with the summer tan.

Your favourite spot for a bargain? And your favourite spot for a luxury?

Yoox for a bargain, Net-a-Porter for luxury.

Complete this sentence: Fashion is….

about fun and feeling good in your skin. Enjoy it, experiment with it but don’t’ take it too serious.

Sydney Fashionweek day 1
Sydney Fashion Week day 1. Photo by Sandra Semburg

Written by Chrisanthi Kaliviotis

With her lyrical turn of phrase and penchant for uber-glamour, Chrisanthi Kaliviotis is in her element writing about beauty for The Carousel, while weaving in fun fashion and pop culture references. She also loves a road test, so we send many of the new hair tools that arrive her way (she actually knows how to use them). Have you seen that hair?

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