Longtime fashion & beauty writer and editor Tara Lamont-Djite returned to her native Australia recently—but to the new-to-her city of Melbourne, where she has found all the charming spots you could want to explore. Find out more about her local favorites, from gardens to galleries, along with her signature style in our latest City Guide.
Q: Tell us more about your career. What do you do now and what is your background?
A: I’m the Acting Head of Content at MECCA (Australia’s biggest beauty retailer), and I love it. I moved for the job, and I’m so glad I did. I also wanted to check out Melbourne and now have the perfect excuse.
I started out in magazines in Australia—at InStyle actually—then moved to NYC. I worked at Harper’s Bazaar, WSJ Magazine and Violet Grey as a fashion and beauty writer for many years, and then as the Fashion Director in Hearst’s Branded Content Studio.
Q: How would you describe your neighborhood?
A: It’s a really quaint, quiet, and cute area! We’ve only lived here about 4 months so we are still discovering it, but I love uncovering cute streets and cafes. I love books and I love flowers, and I was thrilled to discover Glasshaus and Avenue Bookstore. After traveling the world and seeing many iterations of both stores, these are world class. Finally, who doesn’t love a cute cafe?
Q: What attracts you to the Botanical Gardens?
A: I love beautiful gardens and Australian botanical gardens are just incredible. So much amazing flora and fauna, it’s a true oasis. There’s something magical about stepping into the gardens and walking underneath all of the huge, beautiful trees. I instantly feel at ease and can take a big deep breath.
Q: What appeals to you about Merlette's clothing for wearing out in Melbourne?
A: The beauty of Merlette pieces is that they’re understated and chic enough that they feel easy to slip on, but there are enough special elements that I always feel dressed up. The hand smocking, voluminous skirts, stitching detail and the mid-maxi length of everything is just so me.
Q: How did your style change when you moved from NYC to Melbourne?
A: It didn’t! Melbournians love an all-black look (the classic NY signature), and I’m confident and comfortable enough in my style now that it doesn’t change much according to my locale.
Q: What's your go-to at Rowena's?
A: I can’t say everything, so I’ll definitely take one of their in-house, special brew chai lattes and the crab and prawn linguine.
Q: What is your favorite book you've gotten at Avenue Bookstore?
A: I discovered the Australian artist Cressida Campbell via a gorgeous book I saw in the window shortly after moving to Melbourne (and back to Australia), which felt really special. They also have an incredible selection of art, photography, fashion and home books, and there’s nothing I love more than a good coffee table book.
Q: Any additional must-visit spots in Melbourne?
A: I love a gallery, so the NGV is high on my list. Also a few other restaurants I love to visit - Hazel, Gimlet and Marion Wine Bar, and Fitzroy and Carlton gardens are super lovely.
Q: How would you describe the styling of each outfit you put together for the shoot?
A: I have quite a specific style and don’t vary much - I have my signatures and I like to stick to them! Each look is simple, chic, and timeless. Dresses with striking silhouettes (a Merlette classic), a black and white color palette, and a bit of neutral thrown in. I like to accessorize with gold jewelry but not much else.
Photographed by Dean Podmore