You Won’t Be Able to Unsee These 5 Fashion Tricks MaterChef’s Stylist Uses on the Judges

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We tune into MasterChef Australia to watch a bunch of culinary hopefuls cook for their lives to dramatic orchestral accompaniment, but we stay for the fashion looks, and in particular, judge Melissa Leong’s collection of mesmerising statement earrings.

We know the food writer, editor, critic and host to be a fashion icon in her own right, but curious about the impossibly chic looks she’s donned so far this season, we reached out to the show’s stylist, Charmaine De Pasquale.

In a candid chat, De Pasquale let us in on her styling secrets for all three MasterChef Australia judges, including how she ensures the looks are cohesive across the board and TV-ready.

Here’s what we learned when we sat down with Charmaine De Pasquale, MasterChef Australia‘s stylist.

It All Starts With Melissa

Somewhat unsurprisingly, it’s Melissa who gets styled first. The other two judges will then be dressed, taking cues from the subtle colours or patterns in her finished look.

“I normally start with Melissa’s wardrobe. I do all of her looks first because I like to pull colours from her dresses or use her prints to inform the boys’ styling. It’s my way of ensuring the trio looks cohesive on set.”

Each Judge Has an On-Screen Style

De Pasquale has seen the judges’ on-screen styles evolve throughout the years, but from the start, she knew exactly how to dress the team to ensure they were represented in a way that was true to their personalities.

“I knew from the moment I met Jock that he would be the dapper Scot on set. He loves the darker tones but is very clean-cut, and he just wants to look sharp, so that was quite easy to get him off the bat.”

Andy, on the other hand, had a different, more playful vibe for the stylist to work with. “I wanted Andy the Bondi boy to be this ‘hot young chef’, to play with his look and be a little bit more adventurous with colours. He loves pushing the boundaries because it takes him well out of his comfort zone. So that’s been fun; watching him evolve.”

De Pasquale wanted her styling to complement Melissa Leong’s already strong persona as a fashion authority. “She lives and breathes fashion. So I always wanted to focus on her femininity and to just have fun with it. She looks fantastic in colours and prints and bold accessories. I just wanted to highlight this and compliment her wardrobe.”

The Judges Get a Say, But They Have Full Trust in the Styling

De Pasquale explains that she sits down with the judges at the start of the season to discuss any styling elements they’d like to highlight. They have a say in the final looks, but there’s rarely any feedback.

“They have complete trust in me. I know their styles. I know what they like and what they don’t like. If there’s anything that they didn’t like, then yeah, I would know about it!”

Melissa’s Looks are Designed to Be Shoppable

“My main focus, especially with Melissa’s wardrobe, is that we wanted to appeal to the broad public; that her looks were approachable and affordable so anyone out there could buy whatever she was wearing and not be out a ridiculous amount of money. So that’s why I mix a lot of the brands. I go both high-end and low-end,” she tells us.

She likes to make the most of Australian designer labels to showcase our homegrown talent while simultaneously splicing the outfit with pieces from Zara, Lovisa, Sportsgirl, and H&M. “I want people to be able to go, ‘Oh, I love that. I want to buy that’. That’s something that’s important to me.”

Ultimately, De Pasquale wanted to show viewers that we can have more than one defined ‘style’ for ourselves ā€” that we can change and adapt our fashion personas to be fluid and flexible.

“She’s a beautiful chameleon that can adapt to different styles. And that’s the good thing that I’ve been able to showcase on the show ā€” that you can wear all different styles and still look great.”

Melissa’s Earrings are No Accident

It’s a hot topic every year, and the upcoming season of MasterChef Australia 2022 will be no different. Melissa’s earring selection, much like her lipsticks, continues to be a talked-about element of the show. While De Pasquale plays a key role in sourcing the bling, designers have started to take matters into their own hands.

“A lot of emerging designers have approached me on Instagram, reaching out to share their new range and express an interest in being featured on the show. Other brands I have approached myself.”

And the Melissa effect is real too, because often after a label is featured on the show, their earrings will sell out. Speaking of the designers’ reactions, she says: “They’re so ecstatic, and they sell out! The beautiful feedback that I’ve been receiving from the designers is that they’re so grateful and thankful because as soon as Melissa wears their pieces, they sell out the next day.

“They just can’t keep up with the amount of earrings that they sell. It’s fantastic and I feel very happy that I’m able to help them in their career in some way.”

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