Isabel Sasse is a photographer, regular collaborator, and continual inspiration to us at Emme Parsons. Based in Myocum, New South Wales, Australia, she began shooting and developing her own film after inheriting a few cameras from her grandfather as a teenager.
Here, she’s captured a series of self-portraits with her favorite styles from our collection, worn with pieces from her own closet.
How would you describe your style?
Minimal. Androgynous. Practical. Casual, yet refined. You will mostly find me in tailored pants, white singlets, oversized shirts, re-tailored menswear or my Japanese Workwear jacket. The neutral tones of my wardrobe are very intentional; white, mustard, navy, black. Too many patterns and colours visually overwhelm me. I always gravitate towards quality and the feel of materials on the skin, over quantity. I own few pieces, but what I do own is of high quality and cherished until it falls apart. I know what I like and I find comfort in knowing that no matter what I style out for the day, the pieces will all work well together so I never have to think about it too much. I often move between the masculine and the feminine, in most aspects of my life but predominantly in how I dress.
What is your current favourite shoe from Emme Parsons and how would you style it for a day on the go?
Danielle in Black Snake Print — I love a classic, well designed loafer. I’d keep it clean and simple to accentuate the style and detail of the shoe. My favourite black tailored suit-pants and a white singlet. Maybe a white shirt thrown over, left unbuttoned. Or a tailored blazer. I love that a pair of shoes can tie the simplest outfit together. There’s a certain elegance hidden amongst effortless ease. An unspoken power in subtlety.
What inspires you the most about living in Myocum, Australia?
My studio is built on land, and I just love the stillness out here. Most mornings I watch the sun rise over the trees and I sit in silence for an hour. I recently read a line by Asher Ross “The love we set out from will be waiting for us on our return, to be felt anew.” The time I allow for myself, gives me a moment to decompress my thoughts and lean into self-preservation, both emotionally and mentally — Which in turn reflects how I treat the people around me and how I react (gently & non-reactively) to situations. Time spent alone in silence is just as important as the air we breathe. Most of my concepts arrive around dawn, so I often wake at five in the morning and just sit with it all. Silence brings a lot of comfort to me — I don’t like anything loud, visually and physically. Which is also how I’ve curated my home. The walls and floors are concrete and white stone and the interiors are very similar; I’ve intentionally kept the materials raw and minimal. A home should be a space you can find ease in. What we surround ourselves with has an effect on our mental state and well-being whether we are aware of it or not; the feel of the space, the light, the scent that fills the air, the mug you drink your coffee from and the more metaphysical things. Everything influences the energy held within a space, and in turn what we hold in ourselves.
From a fashion perspective do you find it difficult to transition into summer when the Northern Hemisphere is transitioning into winter?
Northern NSW has a very tropical climate for most of the year. It’s sort of like living in a constant Spring, aside from colder evenings mid-year. I’ve definitely had moments shooting for clients over summer where the model has been styled in layers, suits and wool pants when the heat outside in unbearable. I’ve never given too much thought to it, I suppose I’m use to shooting at least one season ahead and if it’s on location I’m just prepared for all the elements and I take the difference in climate and seasons into account. 5. Can you tell us about how you became a photographer and what do you find yourself shooting the most? My Grandpa gave me a few of his film cameras when I was 14. He use to photograph my Grandma over the decades of building a life together and travelling between Europe and South Africa with my mother as a young girl. They were gathering dust in his garage but were in the most perfect condition. I think he felt I’d make more use out of them so he handed them down to me and I became obsessed with shooting and developing my own film. I only bring out those cameras to document personal moments in my life now, as most of my time these days is spent shooting digital for labels. Though I mostly find myself shooting commercial/fashion, I always come back to the form of a woman. Which still remains evident even in my more commercial work. There’s something so timeless and elegant in the shapes and lines of a woman. Even when there is no time, time can always be made for the things that really have a place in your heart. I’m very romantic and sentimental about these things.
How has the pandemic affected the way you work?
It hasn’t affected the way I work too much. I suppose domestic travel slowed down as did production from a few international labels I work with. Which just meant working within Australia more. It also meant holding patience, understanding and having a certain expectation that pieces weren’t/are no longer being produced at the rate they were previously (thankfully.) Strangely enough, these last couple months have been some of the busiest times of my life. So, when there has been a delay I’ve cherished my moments of moving slower, in absolute silence, more than ever before. And being intentional with my time, and present with those I love. I’ve come to appreciate the simple pleasures. Some of the best things are right in front of you.
Are you planning on traveling anywhere this summer? If so, where and what are you most excited about the trip?
I was meant to be in Japan and Los Angeles around this time actually, but given the global issue of Covid-19 those plans have been put on a hold. Just for a little while. My family live in Melbourne, so I think as soon as I am able to visit them and hold them in my arms that city will be my first stop. Shortly followed by Japan. Until then, summer will be spent at home by the sea, under the sun, eating lots of olives, sourdough and oysters. Cherishing those simple pleasures.