Beyond Wellmania: Celeste Barber’s Foray into Australian Fashion With ‘The Way We Wore’

Celeste is hosting a three-part documentary about Australia’s fashion industry.
Loading the player...

She’s normally a ray of sunshine on Instagram, her preferred method of communicating with her millions of fans. But it was a decidedly downbeat Celeste Barber that logged on to announce that the series Wellmania, in which she held the starring role, would not be renewed by Netflix.

Watch Below: ‘Wellmania’ Starring Celeste Barber | Official Trailer

“We found out yesterday that it’s not going to be renewed,” she said on October 31. “Netflix said it’s something about numbers. Sure. I thought it smashed it, but I don’t understand how it works … This industry is kind of bulls–t.”

But you can’t keep a good woman down. This month, Barber is shooting a movie adaptation of Craig Silvey’s book Runt in Western Australia and is back on our small screens hosting a three-part documentary about Australia’s fashion industry, The Way We Wore. It explores the cultural and historical significance of fashion in Australia and reveals how the clothes we wear shaped the evolution of our country.

celeste barber
(Credit: Getty)

“I’ve always loved fashion, I’ve always been really excited by the whole thing,” Barber tells WHO in a chat about the project, which she jokes is the first in her David Attenborough/narrating phase. “My mum was a bit of a stylish lady and kind of instilled that in my sister and I. I’ve always found the fantasy part of it really fun and look at it as art.”

Fashion has played a crucial role throughout Barber’s life, from dressing up as a child with her sister, to creating her own scrapbooks of images and trends from the torn-out pages of magazines, and then to parodying it in her Instagram posts which saw her followers grow to a staggering 9.6 million.

Celeste Barber
(Credit: Getty)

But it’s not always as easy as she makes it look and she admits to having a love-hate relationship with her wardrobe and the industry surrounding it. “Fashion is totally elite. I think my love of it and curiosity and interest in it is one of the things that led me to do what I do on Instagram, which is calling 
it out. [Fashion] could be really fun and inclusive for everyone – but it’s not. So stop it!”

Barber, 41, says in her teens and twenties she was “awkward and weird and uncomfortable”, but feels able now to enjoy revisiting the trends of the ’90s and 2000s and the relaxed approach to what’s trending.

“We live in a time now where there’s trends and styles but it’s also ‘wear what you want’. Everyone wears whatever they want.”

Watch Below: Celeste Barber channels Emily In Paris

Loading the player...

As for her own fashion wins, Barber says they come from the inside out. “I think for me, I look brilliant … I know I look banging, when I’m really comfortable,” she explains. “A massive fashion success is looking how you feel and you have to feel good.”

Related stories