Interview with Dena Danis
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Dena Danis and I am 44 years of age. I was born and raised in the inner west of SYD, Marrickville by Greek parents.
I am married, 14 years now, and have 3 beautiful children: Rianna 13, Tia 11 and Ellis 8.
From a young girl I strived to surround myself with beautiful things and extraordinary people. People with essence and passion , creativity are born from such surroundings.
I now design and own a fashion label, Constantina&Louise that draws that essence and is reflected in the clothes and the people that wear them.
How did you become a designer?
I guess I was born a creative. From birth it seems, I dressed people up and beautified homes. I just adored the transformation I think.
I pursued my desire at 16, leaving school and studying at one of Sydney’s Leading Design Schools for fashion.
What do you enjoy about your work?
Again, it’s the ability to transform. I can never get enough of the evolution from which an idea is birthed and through a process of design and construct, that idea is animated into something beautiful.
Do your kids like your designs and do you design for them?
My daughters especially love the fact that I design. They are so proud, particularly when I dress and style celebrities.
I don’t really design for them, as they are little designers themselves but I do offer style tips.
What are your wardrobe staples?
I guess no matter what you want to wear, be it casual, resort or evening, for me, a woman’s wardrobe is not complete without the underlay, the perfect slip, nude boy leg or bra. As a designer of luxe resort, it’s the unveiling of the garment that is most precious thus, what lies beneath is crucial.
And of course, that perfect little black dress!
What is your favourite piece in your wardrobe?
My favourite piece in my wardrobe is a dress my mother gave me circa 1997.
A jade green gown, with balloon sleeves, floor length silk georgette and a plunging neck line. Very Gucci meets Halston. I guess it stared from there!!!
What do you value most in life?
My kids!!! Oh there is no question. And LOVE in all its forms.
What do you indulge in?
I am as simple creature really.
Indulgence for me is to spend some time alone, and delve deeply into my own thoughts and spend some quality time with my amazing friends. This indulgence I take seriously as it comes around less and less.
Do you find time to nurture yourself?
I try to. As the core of the family unit, I need to prioritize my well-being and do attempt to nurture myself with good food, music and meditation.
If I am complete, all is complete around me.
You have a child on the spectrum. What is the importance of a healthy diet for him?
Yes, my son Ellis is on the spectrum PDD.
A healthy diet is crucial to his balance and ability to process faster and clearer. I stumbled across an amazing doctor early on who basically advised me “pretend you lived a hundred years ago, feed you son anything available then.” His words resonated with me , and I keep it simple enough without too many dos and don’t and codes and ingredients. NOTHING processed, gluten free, red dye free, casein free and green veg…all organic of course!
What are some of your favourite ingredients?
Sterilized water is my first. The biggest factor is the high levels of copper collated in tap water, so drinking water free from alien invaders is a must for me.
Fish and seafood in all its forms. Yummy and healthy!
Any form of greenery. I trust the great creator and that what he/she has provides us with is good enough.
What are your tips to staying happy and healthy?
Finding the light in dim corners and love in everything. To exercise ones soul and mind and body, all in unison, and free from pre-programmed thoughts and fears.
Making a note to smile as often as possible and never ever let go of your most surreal dreams.
Walk, walk and walk everywhere.
What do you like to do on the weekend with your family?
Anything and everything and sometimes nothing.
5 days a week we are strict with a set regime so on the weekend I try to allow ourselves to just be!
Would you like to share your favourite healthy recipe?
Greek cooking at its best and I believe responsible for the long life span that exists deep in the remote villages of Greece.
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 large lemons, juiced
30 grape leaves, drained and rinsed
1 litre vegetable stock
125 ml olive oil
Prep: 20 minutes | Cook: 50 minutes
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, saute the rice, onion, dill, mint and salt for about 5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Pour in half the stock, reduce heat to low and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until rice is almost cooked. Do not overcook the rice at this point. Stir in 1/2 the lemon juice and remove from heat.
Take one leaf, shiny side down, and place 1 teaspoon of the rice mixture at the bottom (stem) end of the leaf. Fold both sides of the leaf towards the center, roll up from the broad bottom to the top, and place into a large pot. Repeat with all leaves, leaving no gaps as leaves are placed in pot to prevent them from opening while cooking. Sprinkle with remaining lemon juice and with olive oil.
Pour the stock in the pot just to cover the Dolmades. Place a weight – like a flat plate – on top of the vine leaves, cover the pot and simmer for about 50 mins making sure it does not boil, because this will make the stuffing burst out of the leaves. Remove from heat, remove cover and let cool for 1/2 hour.
Transfer to serving dish and serve.
( ALL ORGANIC )
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