In this edition of our In Conversation with NATALIJA Women we speak to Lauren Hung, wordsmith, calligrapher and Creative Director behind boutique design studio The Blackline Bottega.
Inspired by Lauren’s sojourns in Southern Italy and her deep love of the Italian way of life, the studio has adopted values that reflect the culture’s heart for relationships, story telling, celebrating luxury and beauty in a warm, simple manner and infusing love and passion into every outcome.
She's worked with a curated collective of leading Australian and international brands such as La Prairie, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels, and The Strand Arcade; as well as design servicing for wedding clients.
We met over Instagram in 2018, and from then on, it has always been a caring and supportive friendship. It was such a pleasure to speak with Lauren about her sense of style and self love rituals, and we hope you enjoy reading it.
Three words that best describe your personal style?
Monotone, Textural, Architectural
What is the oldest, most treasured piece in your wardrobe? Where did you get it from and what special meaning does it have for you?
I think the most treasured pieces in my wardrobe at the moment are my two RUUSK rings - they’re not currently old but I know they’ll age with me.
I commissioned one ring for my 27th birthday and was gifted the other for my 30th. They hold such a special place in my heart - they’re a celebration of who I was and what I had achieved by those birthdays. I see them as modern heirlooms - to be passed down to my children (if that is in my future) or nieces. I’m also very close friends with Tania, the jeweller behind RUUSK, so the rings hold extra special relevance for me.
What is the item in your wardrobe worn on the highest rotation?
I don’t know if I could narrow it down to a single item so much as a look. Neuw Black Jeans, a ribbed white or black t-shirt with my Anna Lui chain and birkenstocks is the outfit that I reach for on high rotation. Or a NATALIJA slip skirt to make it feel more femme.
Where or who did you get your sense of style from?
I think I got my sense of style from architecture and art more so than any person, or fashion influence. While studying fashion, I turned to photographers like Erwin Blumenfeld, architect Rob Mills, artists like Cai-Guo Qiang and found that I was repeatedly drawn to the same thing in different forms; monochromatic & neutral palettes with lots of texture or a single feature that added volume or interest. And that fed into my style.
I feel the most confident when…
I’m sleeping well, staying hydrated, out in the sunshine, doing regular exercise and eating well. I feel unstoppable when my basics are all in order.
What are your daily practises to connect to self? Do you have any special rituals or moments that you make time for?
Yoga. It’s become more than exercise for me. It can shift my mood and calm me down by making me aware of my breathing - which is very necessary some days in my job. I also make time for a walk. Being outdoors in the sunshine helps me be more productive and focussed for the rest of the day. And Pukka Night Time tea before bed - because it slows me down.
What book do you think every woman needs to read and why?
Dolly Alderton’s “Everything I know about love”. As a disclaimer, I found it extremely frustrating for the first 3 chapters. But by the end, I felt it was the coming of age story I wished had been around in my teens/ 20’s.
Also, “I’m a Bad Ass at Making Money” by Jen Sincero. I wouldn’t normally reach for a finance book, but when I realised I was probably costing the business & myself money because of wilful ignorance, I reached for this one. And I couldn’t put it down; it’s changed a lot about my awareness and mentality to money, how I approach my personal and business finances and the open conversations I now feel comfortable having with my partner about our finances. It’s very empowering!
What is your favourite beauty ritual to indulge in when you need some self care?
A weekly home facial. I double-wash my skin, steam my face for 10 minutes, jump in the shower and apply serums, eye creams and a night mask. It might not be as luxe as a beauty salon, but it feels just as wonderful when you get to slip straight into bed with a tea afterwards.
What does having a conscious wardrobe mean to you?
I try to be really considered in my purchases. I used to work in fashion buying, so the cost of a garment - in terms of its footprint, supply chain & the people making my clothes - weighs on my mind. I also try to support local; even if it is just supporting a local boutique over a global chain.
My buying habits really changed after fashion buying; I don’t actually buy much anymore. I believe in having a small wardrobe with versatility, caring for each piece and wearing things over and over that bring me joy. And when items have been outgrown, letting them go to a second home instead of waste via a market stall or gifting.