Today, I happen to be doing a lot of counting to ten under my breath with my fists clenched behind my back. Let’s head back to the mountains.



During a week in which I am effectively asleep on my feet between meetings, classes, writing, and family across four different time zones, I find it appropriate to pretend I’m back in the Blue Mountains with Alex, waiting for my hair to dry as I always seem to be (it’s true – washing ones hair increases creative inclinations – you should try it), and enjoying breakfast and tea in our backyard overlooking the most incredibly expansive valley you’ll ever have the pleasure of sighing at.

Did my Instagram captions do the job?

On this particular morning, I had spent a half hour running around the grounds of the hotel trying to find more than a bar of reception and even a little 3G to feed my technology addiction. Because that’s what it is – I won’t leave the house without at least four devices, all of their chargers and an assortment of those really excellent chewy candies that come in round tins with misleadingly bright fruit painted on the top, to ease my anxiety when there are no powerpoints around to revive battery life or no WiFi solution to be seen.

I digress.

Having exhausted almost every corner of the premises, my last resort was at the edge of the valley but ten metres from the back door of our room. At such early hours of the morning, the clouds and fog had yet to burn off, and the kind silence that I had been missing for the past month in New York and London punched me square in the face and told me yes, I was a giant bitch for tainting its serenity with my 3G touch screen and 85mm lens. And indeed I felt like an idiot, like I often do when I explain my work to people who a) have spent thirty years getting to where they are in the fashion/creative field OR b) are not in the industry at all and think that I make a living out of taking selfies. Only this time, the rolling hills did not give a damn – even less of a damn than Suzy Menkes.

Not one damn.

Needless to say, I ate my yoghurt in respectful silence. Who was there to shoot me if the horizon on my photo was crooked? Nobody. Whether or not I captured the scene perfectly was not important. I was copping a view, ignoring my goosebumps, inhaling litres of tea with the man who means everything to me, and it was ok that I hadn’t blogged in a week. All of the horror. Everybody calm down.

And for that reason, the only proper photos I have of myself from my brief break in the mountains are these sleepy snaps in my favourite pseudo-nightie that is only acceptable beyond my bed by means of its ironic thigh-high split, that I seem to be drawn to as of late. But who cares, right? This webspace is an honest extension of what I happen to be doing. If I want to dangle my (awesome) new flats off the edge of a precarious drop into a beautiful blanket of green that makes your heart sing Von Trapp and forget that Steve Jobs ever changed the world, then I want you to know. I don’t create content to fit any particular template – my content follows me. As it should do.

So today, I happen to be doing a lot of counting to ten under my breath with my fists clenched behind my back, so I couldn’t reach my phone to Instagram (though I still somehow managed to put a grand dent in the top right corner), nor my computer to get on top of the two thousand strong emails having a warehouse rave in there, nor my chargers to revive either of them when they went into comas like Apple products seem to by three in the afternoon (and yet we still buy them – I call that hashtag burning life questions). But here you have something to consider – next time you see a series of Instagrams from what is allegedly ‘paradise’, a ‘welcome break’, and ‘so relaxing’, pity their technology addiction and lack of grounding in the real world.


Staple the Label Dress – ZARA Loafers

photos by Alexei Dawes


Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese filmmaker, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Zhang has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Zhang’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NOWNESS, and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for four consecutive years. CNN has identified Zhang as a leading fashion photographer in Asia and ELLE named her the region’s most influential digital voice. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim. In 2018, co-curated the first annual FOREFRONT Summit focused on inter-industry problem-solving at all scales of business. From this king summit, Zhang developed FOREFRONT+ – a round table series of candid conversations covering subject matters of universal concern. In 2019, THE FACE Magazine engaged Zhang as Creative-Director-at-Large for Asia for its relaunch. Zhang is currently working on her first feature film.


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