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Transform Your Life with 'Revitalise + Conquer': Discover the Proven Path to Vitality and Beauty!

FRIEND OF THE HOUSE: KARLA CLARKE

FRIEND OF THE HOUSE: KARLA CLARKE

Karla Clarke​ is a woman of many talents; stylist, brand consultant, creative director, and co-founder of editorial platform ​SIDE-NOTE​. She was also integral in bringing the By Beth vision into fruition, applying her expert eye for aesthetics to our brand imagery and identity. To launch our interview series, we sat down with the eminent Australian creative to find out about her approach to image-making and current inspirations.

How did you start out in the industry?
I studied Media & Communications before moving to New York to intern full-time at American Vogue​ . I thought I was going to be a writer, but during my time in New York I was exposed to the work of some pretty incredible creatives and when I returned to Sydney I knew I wanted to be a fashion editor. There was a lot of formality and ‘best practice’ associated with working at a magazine. Now I feel like anyone with nice taste can be a stylist, but I so appreciated learning about all of the different markets, identifying trends, building a story and connecting it to the outside world. My first job was at ​InStyle​ and I then moved to ​Harper’s BAZAAR​ . I left three years ago to focus on my consulting and own project, ​SIDE-NOTE​ .

What was your vision for By Beth and how did you execute it?
Beth expressed a very clear vision for her brand: clean living and a stripped back, minimal aesthetic that celebrated a natural beauty. We discussed imagery she liked, then I developed a moodboard that included a combination of beauty and body shots, still life pictures, environmental landscapes and product shots. Using our photographer Peter Van Alphen, the images we created from the very first shoot dictated the evolution of the brand — and that felt really nice.

By Beth offers a very Australian take on beauty. What do you love most about the place we call home?
I think the last year has afforded us all the opportunity for a renewed sense of gratitude for living in Australia. I love the natural environment, our beaches and national parks. I love that you can drive to a lot of places in a few hours and have an entirely new experience. I also love the freedom to live a life of my own desire. I like being able to shoot close to home. I like that the Australian government managed COVID-19 so well and I love that nearly everyone I know has good health and we can continue to work.

Can you tell us a little about your beauty routine? What does it involve, what are your personal cult products?
I am constantly chasing eternal youth. When I was more of an experimental skincare junkie I was doing all sorts of whack things. I would use an oil cleanser then strip it back with some abrasive overly acidic exfoliant, then use whatever the latest most active serum was, then finish with a night cream that had way too much retinol. Now I use Rationale and I am completely addicted. In terms of makeup I use Chanel Les Beiges, a water-based foundation which comes with a little brush. It is game changing, as is the Baume Essentiel glow stick. I am very into illumination. I also use an RMS lip/cheek stain. I have genuinely loved incorporating By Beth into my routine! I am not great at drinking water and am impressed by the subtle flavours.

Where do you go for inspiration?
Whatever the project is, I always seek inspiration outside of that industry. I think all creative fields speak back to each other but I think taking reference from, say, film for a fashion story or a sculptor’s work for a beauty shot is important. I think that’s how you create something new. While we are inspired by other people’s work, it’s important that we always strive to present a unique point of view and that we aren’t derivative.  

What about to relax?
I like hot showers. And going for swims.

Who is someone you look up to creatively?
This is hard! I just listened to the Joe Rogan podcast with Michael Pollan, an author who writes about psychedelics. I feel like people who can plough through our understanding of the world and present new ways of accounting for our experiences in fields that are dominated by more traditional knowledge structures are creative. I love Bill Henson’s pictures. Nan Goldin too. I regularly show people Alfred Stieglitz’s pictures. He was Georgia O’Keefe’s partner and took these incredible pictures of her hands. I am really into houses at the moment, so I like Vincent Van Duysen and I just bought two Mies van der Rohe chairs that I couldn’t afford so the whole interior space makes me excited. As a stylist though, my work is only as good as the photographer who captures the picture, so it would be incredibly remiss of me not to acknowledge the people who I work with and the way they see the world.
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Image credits (clockwise): ‘You Used to Call Me On My Shell Phone’ styled by Karla Clarke and photographed by Jake Terrey for SIDE-NOTE; By Beth styled by Karla Clarke; Bondi Born Resort 2021 styled/creative directed by Karla Clarke; interior of the Graanmarkt 13 concept store in Antwerp designed by Vincent Van Duysen; Chanel Beauty styled by Karla Clarke and photographed by Pierre Toussaint for Harper’s BAZAAR; Victoria Lee styled by Karla Clarke and photographed by Darren McDonald for SIDE-NOTE; ‘Georgia O'Keeffe - Hands’ (1919) photographed by Alfred Stieglitz; Chanel Baume Essential courtesy of Chanel

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