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Turning The Page
Publishing powerhouse Justine Cullen talks through her style evolution after family, life on the fashion show circuit and her new role as Editor-In-Chief at David Jones’ magazine, all the while raising four boys.
Photography by Caroline MCCREDIE
Congratulations on now becoming a mum to four beautiful boys. How has your style evolved over the course of having children?
It’s lucky timing for me that my becoming a mother coincided with a pretty revolutionary time in women’s fashion. The rise of athleisure, of flat shoes and sneakers, cross body bags – they’re all clothes designed for women who have places to go and things to do, just like mothers. I’m actually not a big leggings person but the rest of it I have embraced wholeheartedly. I definitely know what cuts suit my body now and for my everyday uniform I tend to stick to long or midi dresses teamed back with a sneaker, loafer or sandal. That tends to work for me everywhere I need to be.
With such an amazing CV under your belt, what has been your career highlight thus far?
Launching a magazine from scratch was a wonderful experience that not many people are lucky enough to experience, and while it was so incredibly stressful, putting that team together – who were like family to me – and some of the incredible projects we worked on, such as the cover of Nicole Trunfio breastfeeding, will always hold a very special place in my heart.
What has been the key to balancing a career and motherhood?
Having a lot of help! With my first three children I had my mum around all the time to care for them while I worked, but there came a point when I had to let her go back to being a Nanna who could tap in and out instead of dedicating all her time to raising my kids for me, and it’s made me realise this time around how much I was able to achieve and throw myself into my work because of her. Thanks, Mum! The other key, for me anyway, is that I’m quite disciplined about family time. I take work home with me and do it after dinner, rather than staying in the office crazy hours. I don’t go to every event I’m invited to. It’s the ‘work smarter, not harder’ philosophy that is possible now because of technology. Thanks, iPhone!
After being surrounded by fashion for almost your entire career, what has been your biggest fashion influence?
Going to the international fashion shows is a real eye-opener and endlessly inspiring. Just being in Paris is enough, but then to also be part of that circus (it’s a bit like a giant, very glamorous school camp) and witnessing the extreme spectacle that is a Chanel, Saint Laurent, Valentino, a Dries or a Dior show is such a privilege and makes you understand the machinations of this industry on a much deeper level.
What are the wardrobe pieces you cannot live without?
What spring season trends are you most looking forward to and why?
I’m very into a neutral palette. I travel a lot and I need my clothes to work together as a capsule wardrobe as much as possible. Plus I’m just very drawn to those colours (as my house will tell you!).
What’s next for Justine Cullen?
No more babies. I’m excited by the work I’m doing now for David Jones. It’s challenging and has proved to me that you never stop learning and growing. And I also have a book coming out next year and have four beautiful boys to mould into good men. I’m a bit busy.