Heidi Carter, Fashion and Interior Designer

When nothing tickled her fashion fancy, Heidi Carter decided to launch her own fashion line, Paddo to Palmy, just two years ago. Since that sweet serendipitous moment, the brand has boasted great success, in no small part due to Heidi understanding the modern Australian woman’s style: laid back, but chic. A devotee to the dress and lover of Parisian style, the brand centres on flouncy, feminine sundresses with a distinctly French flavour. Lace, linen, polka dots and print feature, as does a definite touch of wanderlust. Heidi herself is similar to the dresses she designs; cheerful, relaxed and delightfully down-to-earth. 

 

Beauticate recently stepped inside one of the fabulously furnished homes she shares with husband, Michael, their two daughters Ella (8) and Gisele (6), and Isabel, a rascally but beautiful sausage dog. On an undulating road in Sydney’s picturesque Vaucluse, with peeps of the Harbour Bridge in the background, we chatted to Heidi about how she curbs her love of carbs, her desire for design and her thrifty approach to managing makeup.

 
never fully dressed without a dress.... Heidi wears maxi from her own collection

never fully dressed without a dress.... Heidi wears maxi from her own collection

"From a young age, I have always been obsessed with interiors...

...redecorating my room, going through vintage stores with my mum, buying furniture and rubbing it back.  I started the brand as a blog while we were doing our Paddington renovation and I wanted a Moroccan theme, but the items I found were daggy. So I went to Morocco to buy rugs and came back with 40… then I designed some pompom rugs and ceramics to tie in with them. My interiors reflect my fashion line - classic and eclectic – I don’t like anything that’s cookie-cutter. 

 
her first true love: interiors, with  moroccan flair

her first true love: interiors, with  moroccan flair

I first started the fashion range because I couldn’t find easy day dresses and maxis to fit me. 

I describe [Paddo to Palmy] as Parisian boho chic. I combed vintage stores in Paris to find flattering patterns to work with. I like colour, my first collection was a lot of pastels and then I wove some navy blues and blacks through the collection. My inspiration for interiors is a bit of a mixed bag. I am attracted to colour and try to inject it wherever I can via art, textiles, paint and custom upholstery. Now, fashion has completely taken over interiors but I still do the Moroccan blankets and they’re on the site. 

 
beauty starts at the base: Her beauty REPERTOIRE focuses on keeping clean and hydrated skin

beauty starts at the base: Her beauty REPERTOIRE focuses on keeping clean and hydrated skin

I’ve got combination skin and a lot of stuff can make me breakout...

...but if there was one product I couldn’t live without, it’s the Jurlique Herbal Recovery Advanced Serum - it's really amazing and light for any time of the day. If I don’t have time to exfoliate, this L’Oreal Micellar Water with cotton wool does the trick. It’s also a good toner, so I’ll sometimes use that after a wash. 

 

 
 
she prefers to spend time working on a clear complexion than on heavy makeup

she prefers to spend time working on a clear complexion than on heavy makeup

I’m starting to get wrinkles, a lot of them!

I went to Mecca and said, ‘OK, I need some stuff, sort me out!’ So [I bought] the Sunday Riley Active Eye Cream. Sometimes I also put Rodan + Fields Retinol and Vitamin C on for brightening - to get my glow on. I use the Rodan and Fields Deep Exfoliating Wash as my cleanser. It’s two doctors in LA and they worked on Procativ but did a line for more mature skin, it's got a lot of active ingredients for wrinkles.

I also love the Clarisonic...

...and keep it in the shower and I use Sukin Hydrating Mist Toner if I’m feeling a bit dry. It was a Mother’s Day present – you know how they have a gift store at school and they have to choose one – everyday [my daughter] asks if I’m using it.

 
when she does wear makeup, it's kept simple for a barely-there finish

when she does wear makeup, it's kept simple for a barely-there finish

I’m very minimalist with makeup.

I went to Mecca and bought this By Terry water based foundation, and because of my combination skin I don’t like anything too heavy. This is light enough to wear if I need to cover a blemish or something.  I have really dodgy eyebrows. I pencil this L’Oreal Brow Artist, and then for eyeliner I normally use the MAC or Maybelline gel one. I run it on the inside of my lids.

 
the day's essentials spill from Her gorgeous chanel shoulder bag

the day's essentials spill from Her gorgeous chanel shoulder bag

My trick is to close my eyes and run the eyeliner through the middle…

…so it goes on the bottom and top. I saw Bobbi Brown do it on Oprah like ten years ago. You know when you get your eyelashes tinted and they go black at the deep roots, it kind of gives that effect, without being too full on for school pick up.

 

I normally go heavier for night.

I use MAC Lady Danger lipstick, but it’s always sold out! MAC Speed Dial is also a good one; it’s a lighter [variation] because Lady Danger is very pop-py. I use one of the Maybelline Quad Eye Shadow palettes, and then for mascara I normally use Max Factor or Maybelline.

night's out call for a touch of bronzer and a good eyeshadow palette

night's out call for a touch of bronzer and a good eyeshadow palette

 
keeping it fresh: natio balm and sukin toner keep her skin soft and hydrated

keeping it fresh: natio balm and sukin toner keep her skin soft and hydrated

I’m a bit of a [makeup] high street girl.

I did use the Shisedo too, but every time I go for those [higher-end] brands I always end up going back to [cheaper brands]. I just find for that much money it’s probably actually the same stuff - it’s the marketing. I do find BB creams a really good product too. The Maybelline [Dream Lumi Concealer] is actually really good and I put Natio Glow Face Balm underneath foundation. I always end up using the makeup gifts you get with magazines so I end up not having to actually buy anything.

 

 
on special occasions, heidi opts for a faux tan glow

on special occasions, heidi opts for a faux tan glow

My mum spends hours at the beauty counter. 

She is someone who, if there is a new product out, she has it. When I went to Morocco I brought home Argan oil and she likes to mix them with aromatherapy oils. I like natural products like that, too. I find if I have a special occasion, I use coconut scrub from About Life. But, I do use St. Tropez tan when I go out.  

 
fishing for compliments: teapot by shanghai tang

fishing for compliments: teapot by shanghai tang

I love supplements for overall health.

If ever I feel a sore throat coming on I take this glandular tonic and the next day I’m good to go, and I take tissue salts for general health. I also take spirulina and fish oil. 

 

Heidi wears Paddo To Palmy ponza off shoulder dress and van cleef & Arpels necklace

Heidi wears Paddo To Palmy ponza off shoulder dress and van cleef & Arpels necklace

For my hair I always go to Wildlife Hair in Milson’s Point. 

My best friend Lou manages it. I don’t do nail polish. I don’t like the feel of it on my fingernails, when it cracks it just gives me the shits.I do paint my toenails though.

 I recently got a personal trainer…

 …after many years of doing not much. I do two sessions a week and he’s given me a food journal, its called Transform Health. They also have this great service where they deliver the meals, but they’re really beautiful and fresh, not like Lean Cuisine. I do Pilates once a week and I swim most days – I love the water. I go down to Nielsen Park, go for swim, and when I’m all gross and sandy, I put all my clothes back onto the wet swimmers and then run back – a bit of exfoliation!

 

hanging out with her adorable dachshund, Isabel

hanging out with her adorable dachshund, Isabel

I love carbs.

Pasta, pizza, all that. I’m a huge foodie – I love to cook and bake. But, now we’re going to Italy and Croatia in July. In an attempt [to lose weight], I do no carbs after 12pm. I try and have lots of leafy greens and fish and protein. I haven’t lost any weight, but I feel a lot better, more energy. I think I’ve actually built more muscle, so my PT says I can’t weigh myself. 

 
heidi ensures paddo to palmy clothes are  comfortable, chic and affordable.

heidi ensures paddo to palmy clothes are  comfortable, chic and affordable.

I really only do dresses now. 

In winter I wear jeans but pretty much, most of the time I’m in a dress. Other than my own brand, I love to wear French designers. I love Paul and Joe… I can’t afford Chloe, but I would wear it! I also love Zimmerman. Isabel Marant is also a favourite."

 

 

Story by Chrisanthi Kaliviotis. Photography by Titus Pengelly. Assistant Claudia De Berardinis.