In Her Shoes: Kristen & Claire

Claire de Luca and Kristen Lindesay are dear friends and the Co-Directors of auór. Illuminating classic and simplistic style with their timeless designs handcrafted in Italy with European materials, they genuinely honour slow fashion and fair practice as a means to realise their creative kinship. Known for their beautiful eyewear, auór extends to a curation of everything Claire and Kristen love, reflecting a harmony and serenity imbued in the deeper, day-to-day lives of the two comrades. 
Guided by passion and an honouring for the innate creative light within, it is no surprise their hero sunglass style this season was named the ‘Paloma’. Not only is this title a cherished female name of Latin origin across Italy, Croatia and Spain, it holds the meaning of ‘dove’ and ‘peace’. A perfectly suggestive title for a lens we could all afford to view the world and ourselves through more frequently. As this new year takes flight, may you do like the auór women do and find a higher perspective for yourself and your own creative light too. Here’s what we learned from Claire and Kristen about leading peacefully creative life 
Please describe yourself for us in three words...
Claire: Intuitive, creative and empathetic. Kristen: Calm, optimistic, open. 
What's your earliest memory of feeling pure, unbridled job? 
I danced a lot as a little girl. I have vivid memories of performing on stage and feeling an incredible force in my body moving to music. I’ve always loved to dance, and performing has always been such an integral part of who I am. I think the truest expression of a person is in dance. Kristen: Laughing hysterically with my best friend at about age 13. Laughing was our main gig back then. 

How many places have you lived and where is home for you now?
I’ve lived in many places throughout my life but my favourites include London, Mexico, Melbourne and Byron Bay. My home is now is by the sea in Clovelly, Sydney. This area holds great significance for me, as its where my Italian family immigrated to from the Aeolian Islands. By fate, I now live in the apartment block my Italian Grandfather once owned for his children, which was sold in the 1970’s. Clovelly is my little Italy. Kristen: At the moment I live near Manly and have lived in Sydney my whole life except for a two year stint in London. My heart is spread out all of the world though and I have a deep love for Italy and New Zealand. 

In your owns words, please tell us what you do for a living? 
By day I am the Co-Director of auór and by night you’ll find me working at The Opera House and Carriageworks. I’m also currently completing my Masters in Fine Art at UNSW Art & Design so I guess you could call me a practicing artist. I like to describe my career as being ‘a creative’. I’ve worked hard to forge a career that puts creativity before everything else and I wouldn’t have it any other way.   Kristen: I work as a product designer in textile design and I am the Co-Director of auór. I’m also raising my little boy Remy. 
Which element of work do you thrive off the most?
Claire: I love photographing for auór on my film camera. There is so much spontaneity involved in this process and a lack of control, which I like. I never know what the outcome might be and there are always pleasant surprises. I like when things are over or under exposed, out of focus or the strange marks that can present themselves on film. My own creative process is much the same. I like to pull apart structure to look for new, interesting or abstract visual outcomes. Kristen: Research and creative no-expectation play.

“I love photographing for auór on my film camera. There is so much spontaneity involved in this process and a lack of control, which I like. I never know what the outcome might be and there are always pleasant surprises.” 

- Claire

How else do you spend your time?
I stay true to my Italian roots. I’m a sun worshipper, I love the water, a fine wine and spending all my savings on pizza and pasta. I also work in the arts, so you’ll always find me at an exhibition, watching a show or a foreign film. I’ve recently seen the Tamara Dean exhibition at Martin Browne Contemporary, Nick Cave in conversation at The Opera House and the Polish film Cold War, which I adored. I can also be quite the introvert, so I spend a lot of quiet time at home pottering around the house or making my own creative work in solace. The down time for me always provides a space for creativity to happen.
Kristen: Beyond caring for and soaking up my little family, my favourite things to do are reading a good book, going on photography adventures, swimming in clear deep water, pottering at home listening to music, watching beautiful films, and catching up with friends and every once in a while I also love to dance. 

Do you have a morning ritual? 
Claire: I wake up slowly and live for my first cup of coffee and Brookfarm muesli. I have to plug that muesli because it’s just that good! I also go through the slow process of grinding my coffee beans by hand each day. A ritual I can’t escape because it’s so satisfying. I then tend to my plants like children, checking in to see what each of them needs before a quick dip at Clovelly to start the day. 

Kristen: On a good day it starts with meditation and some yoga, but usually I choose sleep and wake up to my son calling for me, followed by his sweet smile, a snuggle and family breaky if we have time. 
What does beauty look like to you?
It’s something that’s unique to everyone. I always look at people photographically and think about which part of them I’d like to photograph. I’ve failed to see a person without seeing something interesting about them. I believe beauty operates on many levels, both physically and emotionally. I’ve always thought that the mind of a person far outweighs their physicality. 
Kristen: For me it comes in so many forms and it’s everywhere. I see it in delicate shadows swaying, a full sky of stars or sparkling eyes. I see it in graceful movement, interesting compositions, quirky or subtle details, or simple gestures of kindness. 

What are three things that are inspiring you right now? 

1. My partner Luke. He works so hard to help disadvantaged people in his job, and he does this with such positivity and humility. I admire his strength and determination so much. 
2. Brett Whiteley and the emotional intensity of his paintings. I particularly loved the recent exhibition Parallel Visions at the NGV with work from both Brett and George Baldessin. Huge fan! 
3. The New Yorker magazine. My uncle just gave me all of his old 2018 copies which I’m working my way through. Such a good read. 
Kristen: The process of shooting film photography, expansive conversation and connecting with like-minded creatives. 
Who, or what are you listening to right now?
Claire: I recently saw Icelandic Olafur Arnalds on his Australian tour which blew my socks off. For Christmas, Kristen and I went to see the beautiful Julia Jacklin perform her last show with Phantastic Ferniture at the Metro. I had so much appreciation for the chintzy Christmas dress her mother made her for the show. I’ve also got a few other lady musicians on high rotation at my place including Aldous HardingJenny LewisCourtney Marie Andrews and Nadia ReidKristen: Lately for music I’ve been listening to Valerie JuneKevin MorbyLaura Marling and Antony and the Johnsons. And for podcasts, On Being with Krista Tippett forever and ever. 
If you could give your younger self any advice based on everything you knoe now, what would it be? 
Claire: I think I’d tell myself four things. That everything you go through is only temporary. To spend more time with those who you love being around. To look outwards instead of inwards. To be more mindful. Kristen: Listen to your creative longings. Be brave in your experimentation and experiences. Trust that you have a voice worth listening to. 

“Listen to your creative longings. Be brave in your experimentation and experiences. Trust that you have a voice worth listening to.”

- Kristen

What is happiness to you?
Claire: It’s knowing that I’m loved and that I love those around me. Happiness is also something that grows out of hardship. You can’t enjoy the full extent of it unless you’ve felt sadness. I think its something you feel in high doses when you spend time giving back to others. 
Kristen: Good company and peaceful solitude in equal measures. 
Words by Ellen Watts @_theatelier_
Photography by Alex Lindesay @Alex.lindesay