Ministry of Style

This and that about the kind of languid, sleepy-eyed, roll-around-naked humid heat that I wanted to capture in this Ministry of Style campaign I shot when Sydney was still sweating.


Stepping out of the airport in New York this evening, the soupy heat was comparable to, say, a hug from a second aunt at a family reunion – a little uncomfortable in its unavoidable invasion of personal space, but soothing in the knowledge that the greatest Matcha 抹茶 green tea roll cake on the planet is to follow.

Promising dessert fads aside, I must say that New York in the height of Summer is not my favourite bodily sensation. And it is a sensation – of constant sweat dripping down your back on the Subway, and dirt climbing into your pores, and the rude shock of Arctic air conditioning in every establishment of refuge. What do you guys do when it gets this hot? I’d asked incredulously when I was here last July. Take a shower, New Yorkers had so helpfully offered. Or go to the Hamptons.


But today, the heat was quite welcome. Sydney is currently a cold-fronted mess and a rude shock after wilting considerably in that European heatwave – why the French have yet to embrace air con remains a mystery to me. So, as far as sanity goes, it’s ideal that work has brought me back over to this side of the world for what remains of my Uni break, albeit last minute.

In any case, this is the kind of languid, sleepy-eyed, roll-around-naked humid heat that I’d wanted to capture in this Ministry of Style campaign I shot when Sydney was still sweating. The easy, undone, uncensored, and classically beautiful of a girl in the sun – not even quintessentially Australian – just casual heat personified. I think I probably half mumbled those words (plus “dewy” and “bitten”) as a beauty reference in the general direction of our hair and makeup maestro Charlie Kielty at our 4AM call time.

Charlie, you’re a god damn magician.

Of course, the story could not have been shot of anyone but homeslice Zoe Cross. No doubt, the lot of you already spend your Sunday mornings swooning









over her effortlessness and impossible degree of realness on Instagram. Z-C is one of those. A perfectly imperfect balance of iconic, classic beauty, tomboyish charm, wicked humour, and quiet ambition, confidently shifting between raw, sandblasted indifference, and Renaissance glamour. Although, I don’t suppose it matters what stylistic context you find her in. This kind of woman exudes a self-assurance, accentuated by a ruthless sun or steamy room. You’ll surely admit that no human could be so captivating in the cold.

Except perhaps Tilda Swinton.

Cate Blanchett at a stretch.

Now excuse me while I go and figure out how to turn off this hotel room air conditioning, so I can fall asleep to the buzz of some of that heat.

PHOTOGRAPHY // Margaret Zhang

ASSISTING // Nicole Cooper

STYLING // Margaret Zhang

HAIR & MAKE UP // Charlie Kielty

MODEL // Zoe Cross @ IMG Models

Shot for MINISTRY OF STYLE ‘Macro’ Collection

Styled with VALÉRE (moonstone earrings, pearl necklace, sun earrings, pearl drop earrings, large bangle, small bangle), FORD + HARRIS,  and HOUSE OF EMMANUELLE jewellery








Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese director, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Margaret has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, UNIQLO, 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. Margaret’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NYLON, Marie Claire, GRAZIA 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 the past four consecutive years. 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.

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