But then, conversely, when it comes to high fashion, her signature look has more of a sleek and chic aesthetic: power blazers, elegant designer handbags, classic pencil skirts and killer heels.
The only pieces that span both sides of her split style personality are her statement jeans, typically fitted, flattering and sometimes frayed – making them equal parts sexy and street cool. That’s what made the German-born twentysomething the ideal subject for our fashion shoot collaboration with David Jones’ exclusive denim label, RE: Denim.
We spoke to Muehlenbeck who – along with long-time photographer and design wiz partner Kane Vato, now calls Sydney home – about her style influences, wardrobe go-to pieces and the life in the high-glam fash lane.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST MEMORY OF FASHION? DID YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE PIECES YOU LOVED WHEN YOU WERE VERY YOUNG? As a child in Germany, I was actually quite the little tomboy. There isn’t a single photo of me in anything pink. I basically lived in little red jeans and T-shirts.
DID THE WOMEN AROUND YOU AS YOU GREW UP INFLUENCE THE WAY YOU DRESS TODAY? Absolutely. My mother was, and still is, always immaculate. In fact, almost every piece of designer clothing I own is because of her. I have a few vintage jackets that she gave me a couple of years ago and still love them to bits.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE NOW? It has evolved a lot over the last few years. I feel like I have become a lot more playful and am really enjoying wearing things that are little out of the box. I’m a big fan of sleek minimalist styling teamed with statement hardware like a huge chunky choker or enormous gold earrings.
YOU TRAVEL A LOT. DOES YOUR STYLE CHANGE DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU ARE? Absolutely, because I travel to warmer climates so frequently, I’d have to say that my wardrobe certainly leans towards sunny days. In the heat, I love tropical-luxe styling with some tribal elements whereas in the winter I lean more towards tailored power-blazers and minimalism.
RE: BOOTS IN NATURAL, $99.95. SHOP IN STORE AT DAVID JONES
RE: SADDLE BAG IN TAN, $99.95. SHOP IN STORE AT DAVID JONES
RE: AZTEC ACRYLIC BLANK, $44.95. SHOP NOW
ON THAT, DO YOU HAVE ANY PACKING TIPS? SCRUNCH, ROLL OR FOLD? I feel like I have my packing routine down these days. All my nicest pieces go at the bottom of my suitcase laid flat. Then tee shirts, and things which can be easily ironed, I roll and pack tightly.
“My suitcase looks like a plate of sushi by the time I’m ready to go.”
WHO INSPIRES YOU WHEN IT COMES TO FASHION? ARE YOU MORE INFLUENCED BY THE STREETS OR THE CATWALK? I get inspiration from so many places. Of course, there are the obvious fashion icons like Kate Moss who somehow looked effortlessly cool at all times, but these days I’m really inspired by finding unique artisan designers like Chantelle from Haut Boheme or Krystel from Ixiah who are just incredibly talented creators. I’m so in awe that they can envision something completely unique and fashion it into existence. And I love the feeling of wearing something that was handcrafted and one of a kind.
WHAT ARE THE THREE PIECES YOU HAVE ON ROTATION? If I’m being honest, my SLINKII activewear (which I wear pretty much daily), black skinny jeans and my khaki Bulgari Serpenti bag.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT PAIR OF JEANS. There’s that perfect moment in time, where the denim has just gotten soft enough so they feel just like home, but they are still rigid enough to make your bum look good. That’s my perfect pair.
HOW DO YOU TYPICALLY STYLE YOUR DENIM? I always wear jeans with heels, a casual tee and a structured blazer.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE TREND AT THE MOMENT, AND CONVERSELY, ONE YOU LOVE BUT WOULD NEVER WEAR? My favourite trend at the moment is gold. I’m completely obsessed with all the textured gold styles and embroidery that I saw coming out of Fashion Week. Seriously, what’s more fun than wearing head to toe gold?
“I don’t think there is a trend I love but would never wear. If I love it then I’ll try it and hope I can pull it off.”
WHO ARE YOUR CURRENT FASHION MUSES? Olivia Culpo, Aimee Song and Erica Hoida.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF FASHION ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? AND FROM WHOM? Invest in nice accessories like bags, sunglasses and shoes and you can team them with almost any outfit.
WHAT IS THE MOST PRECIOUS THING YOU OWN? Life. Being alive in a city I love is rare for many people. I always try to remind myself, that whilst money is handy, life is the most precious thing to cherish.
COMPLETE THIS SENTENCE: TO ME, FASHION IS… A beautiful opportunity for frivolity and expressionism.
YOU AND YOUR PARTNER KANE WORK COLLABORATIVELY. DO YOU FIND THIS CHALLENGING AT TIMES, AND IF SO, HOW DO YOU OVERCOME SUCH HURDLES?All relationships will have their ups and downs, but we have a rule that we switch off our computers and phones at 8pm and just chill. It ensures that we focus on our ‘out of the office’ relationship, otherwise we’d end up talking shop until we fall asleep. It’s really helped us keep a healthy relationship and friendship.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR THOSE IN WORKING RELATIONSHIPS? Remember where you are. If you are ‘at work’, even if that’s at home in your kitchen with your partner, treat your partner (co-worker) as though you were at a job in an office with a hundred other people. When you have that in mind, it becomes very easy to work with your significant other and separate home life from work life. Once you have that down, it’s really rewarding.
WHO WEARS THE PANTS (OR THE JEANS)? I’m going to say me! (He won’t read this will he?) Haha.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF LIFE ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? It’s this: just start. So many people talk about doing great things, be it a new business, or working on an idea or project, but generally, people don’t have the gumption to actually do it.
“As soon as I have an idea that I want to pursue, I start, I don’t let time or doubt get in the way. It’s a really rewarding way to live.”
YOU’RE THROWING A MASSIVE SLUMBER PARTY. WHICH FIVE PEOPLE DO YOU INVITE AND WHY? OK, that’s easy…
GAL GADOT I really liked her in Keeping up with the Joneses, and now she’s Wonder Woman, she has to be there.
KANYE WEST I just want to listen to one of his rants first hand.
JAMES CORDEN Let’s hope he instigates a sing-a-long.
CHRISSY TEIGEN Do you really need a reason?
KARLIE KLOSS She’s the ultimate female entrepreneur.