In an age where being a woman is beginning to transcend a traditional understanding of gender, the idea of International Women’s Day can be quite perplexing for some.
I was curious to find out what it means to be a woman from a generational perspective different to that of my own.
Enter Catherine Barrett and Evie Ferrier; two fabulously stylish and strong women whom I have greatly admired for sometime...
Diana: Catherine, you and your sister Margaret have become like family to all of us here at DILETTANTE, it is always such a pleasure to see you both! Have you and Margaret always had such a close bond?
Catherine: Yes, Margaret and I have always been close – we were the two youngest of a very large family growing up. Being my older sister, she has always been someone who has helped me throughout my life, whether it be during our school years or later in life throughout motherhood.
I don’t think I’ve told you yet, but I am pregnant with my first child, due in June. If you could offer me any advice on how to be a good mother, what would that be?
C: When I first became a Mother with my eldest son Andrew – someone told me that having a family is all about being able to accept others and love them flaws and all. As a Mother, I believe that true perfection is being able to include imperfection. Generally, just giving plenty of love and support.
Evie, Last we spoke you mentioned your newly found penchant for kayaking, and now I hear you went paddling through the canals of Venice during the Biennale last year! How did this all begin?
Evie: (Laughing) Oh yes, very much so! My foray into the world of kayaking began with the G.O.L.D. group at UWA - G.O.L.D. being Growing Old and Living Dangerously! (laughs)
You can do ongoing courses there, and I've been a part of it couple of years now. One day we ventured down to the Swan Canoe Club where they have the equipment and everything and you can go off for a paddle 24 hours a day.
I absolutely love it, it's equal parts exciting and relaxing; an adventure where you can dictate your own pace.
Catherine, out of all of our incredible friends at Dilettante, you are one of my favourite style icons. You always look immaculately refined and chic yet still manage to keep things comfortable and relaxed. How has your style evolved over the years?
C: I believe that the key to any outfit is the basics you pair with it – whether it be a Rick Owens singlet, or a Jonetsu shirt.
Over the years, my personal tastes have definitely shifted from when I was younger, when I used to wear more fitted clothing. Today, I tend to favour more loose fitting and formal garments.
And Evie, How would you describe your style? What does the word style mean to you?
E: Style is about individuality. It can be present in almost anything you do.
It’s about having your own look. In my opinion, that look can and should be timeless.
Having said that, I’m very conscious that when you’re old like me - and don’t get me wrong, I love being old - it becomes very easy to look sad when you’re in older clothes. (laughs)
Older clothes being retro pieces, or even things that might just be a bit old and worn. Younger people look great in them, but for someone like me, they can make you look so sad.
As I have gotten older myself, I've only just begun to understand how important it is to have new things (laughs).
Tell me a little about your involvement with the arts?
E: I’ve always been a big doer and maker. More hands than head so to speak. I've produced a few commercial pieces of public art, and was artist in residence many moons ago at the State Gallery. Up until that time however, I had never really considered myself to be an artist, but rather more of a craftsperson.
Are you still creating today?
E: Well, I am still doing my house, that’s a work in progress! (laughs)
What do you believe to be life’s greatest pleasure?
C: I believe that one of life’s greatest pleasures is spending time with my family. Words cannot express the love I have for my family, my children and my grandchildren. I have enjoyed watching them all grow up and turn into such beautiful young people. I would have to say that I've particularly enjoyed watching the style of my two eldest grandchildren evolve over time too! (laughs)
E: Motherhood is truly the single most rewarding experience that we all make it out to be. For me however, it proved to be an incredibly empowering thing far beyond what I imagined it would be.
Call me old fashioned, but I could never understand anyone who would say “JUST a housewife.” It afforded me the opportunity to raise and spend valuable time with my children - doing what I wanted, all day and everyday.
What do you think is the best part about being a woman today?
C: The best thing about being a Woman today is that we are informed, we have passion and we aren’t afraid to stand up for what we believe in.
Lastly, what is your favourite place in the world and why?
C: My favourite place in the world would have to be Paris, it is such a spectacular city with such a robust cultural scene. The city truly stands at a crossroads where the fast-paced and cutting-edge world of fashion meet with more traditional art forms. The people, the food, the architecture, and of course the style never fail to take my breath away. It is truly one of the most eclectic places I have ever visited.
E: Any place where I can be on the water - wherever that may be! (laughs)