WE'RE SUPER EXCITED TO WELCOME YOU TO OUR FIRST ISSUE OF 'EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN'.
EVERY MONTH WE'LL BE BRINGING YOU CONVERSATIONS WITH EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN AND DELVE INTO PHENOMENAL CAREERS, PERSONAL STYLE, MOMENTS AND EVENTS THAT SHAPE THEIR LIVES, PASSIONS AND SUCCESSES, CHALLENGES AND LESSONS THEY'VE LEARNT.
FOR OUR FIRST ISSUE WE CHAT WITH THE EFFORTLESSLY STYLISH LAUREN DILENA, WE HOPE YOU ENJOY OUR CONVERSATION AS MUCH AS WE DID.
Fashion stylist and event host, Lauren Dilena is well known in South Australian fashion circles for her vivacity, approachability and effortless style. Based in Adelaide, Lauren is also the founder & curator of laurendilena.com a stylish hub of fashion and fun that celebrates her philosophy, her clients and industry leading knowledge.
Lauren grew up immersed in the world of fashion, her mum, a fashion designer and lecturer is still her style icon today. From an early age she realised that she had a unique ability to coordinate all sorts of wardrobe pieces, mixing and matching her way to a perpetually chic, creative-meets-classic style that has become her signature point of difference.
In 2011, Lauren entered a competition with Westfield South Australia and took home first prize, a win that kickstarted her stylist career , enabling her to work alongside well known local, national and international clients and stylists on spectacular campaigns, workshops, fashion parades, editorial and commercial photo shoots.
In a pinch me moment this also landed her the very coveted role of senior stylist with Westfield for almost 10 years. In recent years she has also become a Fashion at the Races Ambassador and during the past 12 months has branched out to work on her own, styling Adelaide's best dressed women from all walks of life.
Known for her warm, down-to-earth nature and authentic approach to her work, we were so excited to sit down with Lauren as our inaugural 'Extraordinary Woman' and chat with her about all things fashion, her authentic style, being a woman in the fashion industry, things she's coveting this coming season and 'what's in her Lanamara bag'.
Lauren! Welcome and we'd like to thank you for being our very first 'Extraordinary Woman'. Like you we grew up with a very stylish and creative mum who was also a dressmaker, your mum nurtured your love of fashion and unique style. Can you tell us a little about how your passion for style and fashion has evolved?
It’s a pleasure, thank you for having me ladies! Oh yes, I’ve read all about your story on how your mother was a dressmaker too; how wonderful, special and lucky are we to have grown up with creative & inspirational mothers!
As the years pass on, I feel that my style has always been consistent, obviously it’s grown and developed but I’ve always been true to my creative-yet-classic roots. Fashion is a fantastic tool to express your personality and individuality, wearing something you love can literally be written all over your face, and for me that joy is infectious. I love to be creative with my style, however now that I’m a little older / wiser I now know that beauty doesn’t need to be painful, as the old phrase once said – for me it needs to be extremely comfortable or it’s not coming home with me.
Yesterday was International Women's Day and the theme is #BreakTheBias. Have you had negative experiences as a woman in the fashion industry, and also as a business woman, and what are your hopes for the future to #BreakTheBias?
I’ve been very fortunate and grateful in the fashion industry within Adelaide, I haven’t encountered any negative or damaging experiences – obviously I’ve made difficult decisions and the pandemic hasn’t been kind to our industry so I won’t pretend that life is all rainbows and unicorns.
I would love to see a world where our younger generation can express themselves freely, a world that will acknowledge diversity and that will proudly encourage & support all our future children. I feel the IWD message this year is stronger than ever, and I’m proud of the solidarity that we are witnessing – we still have a long way to go but this is the start of a conversation and awareness for many.
We feel grateful everyday that we do something that we love, and we don't take it for granted that this is something everyone gets to experience. You're pursuing a really diverse and creative career that you're incredibly passionate about, and you did so from a young age. What advice do you have for young ambitious women who may be just starting out, or like us pursued their fashion career a bit later in life, who feel excited yet uncertain and not sure if they'll ever be able to get where they want?
One piece of advice that I swear by is not to be afraid of failure, even if it doesn’t always go your way (and you might not see it at the time), but eventually your path will allow you to learn, grow and succeed!
When I first started this career 11+ years ago I wasn’t entirely sure this was the right path for me, but I’m such a strong believer that you should follow the signs in front of you as some things happen for a reason.
Make sure you surround yourselves with positive like-minded people with similar qualities who will challenge and support you. I’m not going to lie, it is a tough industry and what you see on Instagram is just a highlight of the many wonderful perks that come with the business, however if you’re dedicated, driven and keep a positive mind set then these are some great personal qualities to help you build your foundation.
We love this quote from Fashion At the Races 'The most extraordinary thing about Lauren Dilena is that before you’ve even seen her, you can feel her presence in the room'. Although we haven't met in person you project such an aura of confidence. Where do you get that kind of confidence and has this always been the case for you?
Oh I wish, the confidence that you see today has taken a great deal of time to grow over the years. Confidence didn’t come naturally for me as a young girl and I most definitely didn’t have the confidence of what I do have today. That’s not to say I don’t get nervous when I present or host events now, because somehow I always get that silly rush of butterflies before talking in front of people (as do most), but then once you get into it that all goes away and that’s because I believe in what I’m talking about and knowing this gives me the confidence.
We're transitioning to a new fashion season, which is always exciting, what are you coveting this autumn/winter?
Autumn fashion has to be my favourite season of all, I love to layer and I also love to guide my clients on how to do this effortlessly. On the wish-list this A/W I’ve been dreaming about a few items, firstly a Trench Coat, it’s a classic fall piece which can be worn dressed up or down - I’ve also been eying off some Bottega chucky boots, Leather straight leg trousers and a long-line black blazer with epic 80’s shoulder pads – I do love myself some shoulder pads!
Lastly, but most importantly! What's in your Lanamara bag?
A quote from my husband, "everything but the kitchen sink", I love my Matteau basket bag, the quality is sublime and I love that it fits literally all my neccessities and much more. Right now, I have an umbrella, face mask, purse, makeup bag, diary, water bottle, phone charger and of course snacks (I always bring snacks wherever I go) thank you Lanamara girls for designing a bag that's so accomodating for my many snacks.
THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOINING US FOR OUR FIRST ISSUE OF EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN.
WE CAN'T WAIT TO BRING YOU MORE CONVERSATIONS WITH INSPIRING AND EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN IN OUR NEXT ISSUE.
MARIKA & ILANA XX