by Viva Bianca
Polish-born fashion photographer and stylist Rita Zimmermann has partnered up with vintage clothing collector and fashion designer Liz Rosenberg to spawn Love Story Rosenberg&Zimmermann. And they’re a force to be reckoned with. While I was in Sydney promoting The Reckoning, a film I star in, this spunky fashion duo styled and photographed me for SheRa Mag’s fashion editorial in the “Sex Issue.” I was so excited by their confluence of retro cool and cutting-edge contemporary know-how that I decided to sit the girls down after the shoot and pick their creative brains.
Viva: When and how did you two meet?
Liz: Rita came into my pop-up shop and was admiring all the vintage labels, and we got chatting about the designers we both like and her work as a fashion photographer and stylist.
Viva: Fashion/style is so personal. How do you make it work as a team?
Rita: We love different things. Liz is very colorful, whereas I prefer a safe but sophisticated monochrome palette. We came on board with different styles, but that’s what makes us different and flexible in working with clients.
Liz: We both have a love for the same vintage labels, so it just flows really easily when we are doing a styling job.
Viva: What is elegance to each of you?
Rita: Elegance is inherent. It’s a mix of style and confidence.
Liz: Elegance is classic, understated timeless pieces that never date, and do not try too hard.
Viva: What is your most beloved garment in each of your respective wardrobes?
Rita: There is one piece I never get tired of and it will be in my wardrobe forever. It is my vintage cream Valentino blazer. I purchased it from a private collector in Milan.
Liz: My most beloved garment at the moment is my vintage YSL multicolored jacket.
Viva: What do you wear to bed?
Rita: Sometimes nothing, sometimes something playful from my favorite Sydney lingerie store, babylikestopony.
Liz: A silk slip.
Viva: If you had the choice to be overdressed or underdressed to a function, which would you choose?
Rita: Less is more. As a stylist and photographer, I don’t usually have time to change outfits before the evening. I always have a pair of Mavi earrings in my bag just in case.
Liz: I love to be underdressed to a function and overdressed for everyday. That way it is more of a surprise.
Viva: What are the different qualities and skills each of you bring to your collaboration?
Rita: I have an artistic background. I finished painting and multimedia at the Academy of Fine Arts. At the same time, I started to develop an interest in fashion styling and began working at Elle.
Since then, I have worked as a fashion photographer and a personal stylist. I handle all the visual-design aspects of the business. Liz is the brains and eyes for collecting amazing pieces.
Liz: Rita is an amazing fashion photographer and stylist and is great with all the IT and creative artwork. I deal more with the business side of things and the collections, in particular, sourcing the vintage designer pieces. Many of the modern pieces are my own designs.
Viva: Rita, as a photographer and stylist, you’ve worked in Europe and New York. How does the Australian fashion scene and industry compare? Do you notice a different aesthetic in Australia?
Rita: Of course there are a lot of differences. Australian fashion is very “black and white,” and there is not much color. Designers place more emphasis on structure and texture, and fashion isn’t as playful as on the streets of NYC, Milan, or London.
Viva: Liz, your collection of designer vintage clothing is more than impressive. When did you start collecting?
Liz: My love of clothing was inspired by growing up around the fabrics that my parents imported for their clothing boutique in Double Bay (Sydney). They were both tailors and crafted beautiful handmade suits for women.
Fashion is in my bloodline; my great aunt dressed the queen in her corsetry. She had a shop opposite Harrods in London where she hand made her beautiful lingerie.
I started collecting many years ago. As both I and the business have matured, I have refined the collection toward more high-end pieces from designers such as YSL, Pucci, Escada, Leonard, Chanel, Mugler, and Moschino.
Viva: Why did you choose to work in fashion?
Liz: For me it is a lifestyle. I live and breathe fashion and could not see myself doing anything else.
Rita: I was growing up in a post-Communist, grey reality, and my parents were bringing me Vogue, Elle, and Biba magazines from their travels. This opened up my imagination to a whole new world of fashion, and by the early 90’s, I was hooked on Chanel, YSL, and the whole supermodel phenomena of the times. The rise of powerful woman on the catwalk such as Linda Evangelista and Helena Christensen resonated with how I thought women should be portrayed in fashion, and I wanted to express that through my work as a stylist and photographer.
Viva: In what ways can fashion and the work you guys do be an instrument for female empowerment?
Rita/Liz: Love Story embodies clothing which allows women to express their individuality and creativity. When a woman wears beautifully crafted clothes that reveal her own style and taste, people see a strong, confident woman who is in charge of her own life.
Viva: There are many theories on this—do you think fashion and feminism can be friends?
Rita: Of course! Coco Chanel is a classic example. In the last couple of seasons, fashion and feminism have become very good friends. There are a lot of pieces from men’s wardrobes like “boyfriend” jeans, for example. Fashion is who you are rather than what you wear. As Diana Vreeland said, “It’s not about the dress you wear, it’s about the life you lead in the dress.”
Liz: Absolutely. I think modern feminism is searching for a practical relevance to a broader audience. More than wage equality, away from academic feminist theory, and more mature than Grrl Power. The feminism I’d like my fashion to promote is one in which women feel strong and confident as individuals.
Viva: Best style advice?
Liz: Be brave, bold, and don’t be afraid to be glamorous and have fun because you can.
Rita: You need to feel comfortable otherwise you will never look good. Invest in high-quality basics, have a couple of timeless designer pieces, and the rest depends of your daily mood.
Viva: What can clients expect from you? Describe a day spent with Love Story Rosenberg&Zimmermann.
Rita/Liz: We start with a client meeting and talk about personal style, work out the client’s needs and expectations, and find out what she likes. We begin with colors, textures, and fabrics. We never push anybody further than they want to change or feel comfortable with. Our collaboration depends upon the client’s expectations and we do our best to meet their goals and needs. The end result is a unique look that reflects their individual style.
Viva: What can the world expect from your collaboration?
Rita: Australia is our priority and our new website is coming soon. Currently, we are working on a show in Poland for the opening of the rabbithole art room; preparing an exclusive private viewing of the Love Story collection. Our aim is to introduce designer vintage into women’s wardrobes.
Liz: More classic pieces from the best women’s designer vintage collection in Australia made more accessible with an upgraded website.