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Stephanie Downey ― Home Visit

This week we visited Stephanie Downey of Dress Up in her East Melbourne apartment where the tunes are sweet, food is simple and delicious and there is a democratic approach to shoe etiquette… 

Downey’s new Autumn/Winter collection titled ‘On A Clear Day’ is, as always, a beautiful evolution from previous seasons shapes. This seasons pieces have length and structure but also moments of dreamy reflection and a languid state. They are delicate and really well thought through. Much like the American abstract painter Agnes Martin’s works, who Downey references with this text written by the artist herself;

We cannot even imagine how to be humble.
I can see humility
Delicate and white It is satisfying
Just by itself
~ Agnes Martin

The fabrics Downey has used are tactile and keep to a soft, minimal colour palette with piques of navy, deep green, pink and cream. Here at Monk House we are most excited about the Jeans Femme and Overalls Femme - from the past, we know to expect a very high level from Downey in this regard, having always nailed the perfect pant/overall. This time is no exception. These gems dropped in stores last week in a black 12oz cotton denim.

Included in the new collection is the welcome return of the Wool Capri Pant - in a finer black, wool fabric making for a sleeker, more dynamic silhouette. Also dropping soon is the new long long sleeve Breton top, a striped boatneck style organic cotton top, and a sweet semi-sheer polo shirt in navy and marble. Also exciting for the coming chill is the Cable Knit sweater, available in Cream and Walnut. A flecked cable knit fabric, the sweater is a tube neck style with long sleeves and cropped length, loose and slouchy in fit.

Overall another stellar season of pieces that make you think, feel and move through the world…inspiring indeed!

Scroll for our Q&A - 


What are your top 5 most treasured possessions in your home and why? 
A Mason Pearson hairbrush, a photograph from my childhood, the bath (rented) because we are always laughing in it, a spotted begonia plant (I think that its happiness reflects my happiness), Arlo’s paintings.

What do you wear at home... when you're not wearing your label?

What is your go-to dish to make when you get home from a long day at Dress Up HQ?
I am not as ambitious with cooking as I used to be, usually, it’s something simple like fish with roast vegetables or a simple pasta that Arlo will enjoy. And currently trying to master homemade pizza. 

What's your favourite artwork/ artefact you own?
Too hard to choose one - artworks by friends Seth Searle, Allie Webb and my boyfriend Simon Zoric. 

In your opinion, what makes a living space/house a home?
The people in it.

Shoes on or off in the house?
Whatever feels comfortable.

In an ideal world, if you could choose anywhere to be/live where would it be?
I dream about living in Paris often.

What are you reading at the moment?
The 4th book in the Neapolitan series by Elena Ferrante: ‘The story of the lost child’. 

Coffee first thing in the morning?

What's your favourite soundtrack when you have people over?
My friend Laila made this playlist for our popup store last year which I’m still listening to.

Are you a city or country gal at heart?
I grew up in the country, but now I love living in the city. 

 Photography: Gina Diggle
Words: Gussie Vinall Richardson