Tara Lamont-Djite and Paul-Simon Djite are my spirit animals. I have never vibed so well with a couple before in my life. Sure you may get along great with one of the two, but very rarely, both. The thing about these two is that they are the perfect counterparts. Tara, a fashion director, is elegant, minimal, and down to business while maintaining the gentlest of demeanors. Paul, a fashion editor, is eccentric, a little rebellious, and outspoken, in all the best ways. Together they make up this little creative, happy bubble that I must be a part of – as a collaborator and as a friend. So if it isn’t clear by now, I am very happy to introduce you to this lovely couple.
Describe your style in 3 words.
Tara: Chic, minimal, classic.
Paul: Some Assembly Required
Most valued thing in your closet?
Paul: My Richardson A4 Sasha Grey T-shirt.
Tara: My Chanel 2.55. It has a lot of sentimentality and has traveled the world with me.
Do you have a fashion muse?
Tara: Giorgia Tordini, hands down. There are other women whose style I LOVE and also look to (Lee Radziwill, Audrey Hepburn, Lauren Santo Domingo, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy), but it’s Giorgia for the day to day.
Are there things you don’t wear?
Tara: I never wear off the shoulder or anything exposing midriff, and I rarely wear bright colors. Oh, and puffer coats! I refuse to buy one.
Paul: Nipple Tassels
How did you two meet?
Tara: We met whilst working at a retail store in Sydney and immediately bonded over fashion.
Paul: It was a once in a lifetime experience. The moment we met, something special happened. For sure. Our eyes locked and it was like one of those scenes in a movie where you go into the viewers soul and can see the flow of time and the events in that flow. It was the same feeling. The flow of time told me Tara would be a special part of my life.
Do you feel that your bond over fashion and the creative arts plays an integral role on the success of your life together? If so, how?
Paul: Our shared love of fashion helped to solidify our union. Like ocean water on molten lava. Our love was set in stone courtesy of Carine Roitfeld’s French Vogue of the late aughts. Success? I mean, she taught me who Christian Louboutin was and showed me why Nicholas Ghesquiere’s work at Balenciaga was so important. Integral? Yes!
Tara: The funny thing was he quickly surpassed my knowledge and now probably knows more than me. I think fashion helped to bring us together and it remains a shared interest, but what plays an integral role is the respect we have for each other—both professionally and personally—and the communication skills we’ve cultivated over the years. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to work with your partner, and I think that factor is what’s special to me.
What do you admire most about your partner’s style and how has it influenced your own wardrobe?
Tara: I love Paul’s ability to mix things together that I would never think of (and never suggest), and then make them look amazing. It’s how I imagine Miuccia Prada styles a show: everyone stands around saying, “mmm, maybe not.” And then when it all comes together they’re like, “THIS IS INCREDIBLE. THIS IS STYLE.” He has definitely helped me take more risks and try things I wouldn’t normally try, but now of course I’m in love with.
Paul: I love that Tara’s style is very clean and sophisticated, uber chic lady. It allows me to a be a little more outlandish cause I have this counter-weight with me kinda bringing my look back from the edge a bit.
As creatives, specifically fashion editors, involved in the fast-growing digital media landscape, as well as budding entrepreneurs, what do you think has been the key to your success? What excites you the most about the industry currently, and are there things that you miss about it from 10 years ago?
Tara: I don’t know if I could say we’re ‘successful’ yet, and I think that’s a major key to how we approach things. The idea that you can always do more—work harder, think smarter, be more creative—is what pushes you to continue to improve and grow. We’ve always had the mindset that you can’t take no for an answer and you have to keep working at it. What do I miss? I miss the appreciation for a slower paced approach to fashion, and for craftsmanship and artisanal practices that took a little longer to complete but were much more special. What excites me now is technology. The fashion industry is VERY slow at adopting new things, and there is still so much more innovation that could happen. I don’t mean things like smart watches or handbags that measure your steps, but ways we can integrate tech and digital practices into other areas of the fashion world, like media and design.
Paul: The key to my success is to be both steadfast and malleable. Not an oak, more a palm. Palms can survive hurricanes, oaks won’t.
The industry’s lack of digital talent excites me. I’m interested to see how I can help to change that and surf a new wave of digital innovation in fashion.
The thing I miss is my naivety and belief that the fashion industry is infinitely creative. Don’t you also miss picking up a magazine, believing the shoots are pure magic. Think back to mid 2010, Karl Templer at Interview. Carine at French Vogue. Peter Lindbergh in Vogue Italia. I loved it all so much. Perhaps creativity has become stagnant and commoditized? You tell me.. I mean, I love him but how long can Peter Lindbergh be celebrated as a “creative” when he takes the same picture for 30 years in a row? Is that creative I find myself asking? Wouldn’t true creativity be the ability to reinvent your aesthetic over and over again? Like Madonna. Isn’t creativity the ability to use skill AND imagination in unison to produce something new? Peter has skill no doubt about it. But imagination? I mean, come now… You see, originally I never asked these questions and there it is, that childlike naivety and mystical wonder for this industry as truly creative is the magical feeling I miss.
Tara: Toteme t-shirt, Winden earrings, Aritzia skirt, Rouland Mouret heels
Paul: Vintage jumpsuit, Azlee earring (worn throughout), Maria Tash earring (worn throughout), Annelise Michelson earring (worn throughout).
Tara: Aritzia shirt, vintage pants, Lulu Frost earring, vintage earring, Rouland Mourt heels, Gant cropped trench.
Paul: Bally leather jacket, Christopher Fisher turtleneck, Lemaire trousers, Reebok sneakers.
Tara: Merlette dress, Martiniano sandals, vintage bag, vintage earrings
Paul: KTZ leather jacket, Fred Perry polo, Belstaff pants, Alex Wang shoes