Founder of high-end retail destination Mode Sportif, Deborah Symond O’Neil knows a thing or two when it comes to fashion. Her Mode Sportif online boutique now leads the Sydney fash-pack with a signature blend of luxe fashion and athleisure, stocking renowned international labels like Alexander Wang, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Kenzo.
Business owner, fashion powerhouse and Sydney socialite, Deborah has elevated Mode Sportif to cult-status with the arrival of her Paddington concept store and Double Bay flagship boutique. We were lucky enough to sit down with her to get the lowdown on work, fashion and her go-to style tips.
How does the Mode Sportif story begin?
My combined love for fashion and wellness is what first drove me to launch my business MODESPORTIF.COM in 2014. I’d been in the fashion industry for 13 years, working across retail, buying and e-Commerce. I decided to channel my experience into my true passion and launch a destination delivering a 24/7 wardrobe, curating a unique edit of relaxed fashion and elevated sportswear. I started the online boutique four years ago and have since opened two retail boutiques in Sydney – our first concept boutique in Paddington and our Flagship boutique in Double Bay. It’s a combination of hard work and passion that has led to me this exciting point in my career.
What first attracted you the world of fashion?
Being able to express my personality through style is what first attracted to me to fashion. I love everything about it - finding new and different brands, mixing high fashion with high-street fashion, and experimenting with colour and prints.
Describe your style in three words
"Being able to express my personality through style is what first attracted to me to fashion."
Favourite piece in your store and why?The wrap dress. There are so many ways to style it – layered with a t-shirt, open as a Kimono, or over denim. The wrap dress is the perfect piece that allows you to transition from day to night. It’s a must-have in any wardrobe. My favourite wrap dress in store now is this one.
Your most indulgent purchase?
My Hermes Kelly Bag. It’s black, classic, gorgeous and an investment!
Where do you go for inspiration?
I look all around me for inspiration. I am fortunate to travel frequently, which is a constant source of inspiration for me. I also turn to interiors, books, magazines, street-style, restaurants and movies to provide ideas for work, style and life.
Top three tips for adding style to your wardrobe
1. Invest in a chic and classic handbag, a great pair of heels (kitten heels are my favourite and on high rotation) and a killer sneaker. This is your staple set of accessories and can be worn with any look- day or night.
2. Have fun with your clothes. Embrace colour and trends that reflect your personality.
3. Layer – don’t be afraid to wear a wrap dress and a knit, or to wear a dress open over pants with a t-shirt underneath. A unique styling twist adds an individual touch to any outfit or look.
What’s new for summer 2018?
Yellow and blush are the trend colours for this coming summer. Think floaty dresses and floral prints. The style is fresh and fun.