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Hey Pippa, how’s your day going so far?
Good, I just finished a piece from my latest exhibition
so I’m kicking back. It’s a collaboration between Caitlin
Worthington, the photographer, and Emma Bergmeier,
the stylist and hair and makeup artist.
Are you freelancing full-time at the moment?
I’m sort of walking the tightrope between having
exhibitions and creating collections and then doing
commercial work. I do illustrations every month for
Girlfriend magazine for their star sign section too, it’s
really fun. I’m a Pisces girl. What are you?
I’m a Libran.
Ah, a Libran. Very balanced.
(Snorts) That’s what they say! Do you feel like you
match yours? Pisces are creative, right?
Yeah, definitely typical Pisces. We see the world through
If you’re freelancing all the time, do you get to wear
your pyjamas to work?
Well, I used to. And I found that wasn’t working for me.
I read this thing about people that do work from home
that get dressed up and put shoes on – that’s my main
thing, if I wear shoes at home, even if I just wear scrappy
Cons or something, I tend to work. If I’m barefoot then
I kind of kick around.
I’d be so tempted to wear trackies all the time.
Well, I kind of do. In winter, I just wear leggings and big
woolly old jumpers. But I usually have a pair of jeans and
a denim shirt to work in; that’s what I’m wearing now,
and I’ve just been painting so it’s covered in paint. You can
hardly see denim (laughs).
She’s one of the most in-demand fashion illustrators in the country, lending her whimsical drawings to a Linneys
campaign, the Perth Fashion Festival, exhibitions around the country, and even the Scoop cover a few editions
back. But that doesn’t stop Pippa McManus from getting charcoal in her hair and spilling drinks in people’s bags.
We talk to the most down-to-earth girl in fashion about her klutzy moments, sharing an outfit with Paris Hilton, and
what the Perth fashion scene is really like.
So that’s the uniform, paint-splattered denim? Maybe
not as glamorous as someone might think.
Not at all. I’m really unglamorous. My hair’s always filthy and
filled with charcoal, it’s not a good look! That’s why I love
going out to events and getting dressed up, it’s the absolute
opposite of what I wear all day.
Have you always been interested in fashion?
Yeah, forever. My mum used to drag me along to Aherns
fashion parades and things like that. Then I started reading
her magazines and buying my own. I’m definitely more
fashion-based than art-based, I think. I find the art world
a little bit scary and a bit hard to break into.
I reckon the fashion industry seems a little intimidating
too. Although my friend Renee was just telling me before –
No! No! Don’t bring that up!
– that you accidentally spilled your drink in her bag
at an event! And I thought, ‘That sounds exactly like
something I’d do.’
I’m still bright red right now, it was mortifying to me.
Especially in a small place in an intimate gig – oh, I just
feel so awful!
I would’ve pegged a fashion illustrator as having delicate
motor skills! Are klutzy moments usual for you?
I’m pretty much known for it, like having a pint on the dance
floor slip out of my hand and everyone looks down because
their shoes are wet. Actually I did spill a drink on the Box
magazine girls as well; I had something around my neck and
it swung and hit a bottle. It went all over their suede shoes.
Maybe I should stop drinking...
Do you find that it’s hard to keep it real in the
There is a lot of talk that goes on, a lot of bitchiness. But
they’re kind of like my family, which is good for an only child.
Is there anything you can tell us about the Perth
fashion world that people might not know?
There is but I’d probably get into a lot of trouble! That’s
when I would make the enemies.
“There is a lot of talk that goes on, a lot
of bitchiness. But they’re kind of like my
family, which is good for an only child.”
Interview by Anna Christensen
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