Wednesday, June 28, 2006

D Factory: The Business of Fashion

D Factory, Powerhouse Museum’s monthly design event, is organising another evening focusing on fashion, from a designer’s point of view. Sydney Fashionistas shouldn’t miss the event tomorrow where we’re promised tons of interesting information. Here’s what’s on the agenda: “Regular host and fashion aficionado Nell Schofield will be joined by three talented Australian designers to discuss the thrills and spills of Fashion Week. Juliana Foong from High Tea with Mrs Woo, Kirrily Johnston and Kate Hurst will give us an insider’s view on what’s involved in putting a show together and the importance of this major event for their business.”

When: 29 June 2006, 6-7.15pm
The Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, Sydney
Cost: Free of charge

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Spring/Summer 2007 Fashion for Men

Baby blue moccasins and zigzag knitted cardigans, teamed up with matching little delicate vests. Off the topic, it really doesn’t sound all that bad. But considering that these items have been featured in Milan's menswear shows recently, the styles leave a very different impression.

It’s difficult to love the ‘public school boy’ look when Missoni are determined to go for full extremity; throughout the entire collection, we should add. The pink shades and gloves, the pastel coloured golf sweaters, the Bermuda shorts worn with shirt, tie and waistcoat... Yes, even a matching uber-cute golf club carrier was thrown in there too. We’re not entirely sure who would look brilliant in this, but perhaps Missoni's demographics know best how to carry this off. Creative Director Angela Missoni wasn’t the only designer who’d dwelled on the ‘queer eye for the straight guy’ theme this season Roberto Cavalli had called in Saturday Night Fever and Huggy Bear pimp clothes for support. At Prada it was a pyjama party with over-sized football shorts on stick insect legs. Burberry Prorsum sent out some nice suits in general – worn together with ladies hats, belts and handbags.

From left: Missoni, Roberto Cavalli, Burberry Prorsum

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Nicole Kidman's Urban Legend

Manly-citizens won’t have missed the spectacle outside the Cardinal Cerretti Chapel in Manly this afternoon. The place where Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban exchanged rings, was filled with 230 of their closest family and friends. Among the guests were actress Naomi Watts, director Baz Luhrmann, Russell Crowe, and Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch, etc.

Nicole Kidman was wearing an ivory gown, designed by Nicolas
Ghesquière for Balenciaga. The couple, who will live in Urban’s Nashville estate in Tennessee, plan to head off on their honeymoon in Fiji in the next few days. Time for Keith to hang up his stetson and spurs now, isn't it?


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Vivienne Westwood : An Ode to Human Rights

Paul Valley at the Independent asked Bono in a May-issued interview if celebrities have the power to change the world. No, is his simple conclusion. Though, adding at the end that “celebrity involvement can make campaigns fashionable, helping to build momentum that NGOs would otherwise struggle to achieve”.

This brings to mind Dame Vivienne Westwood... Who could forget her involvement in movements such as the “Stop the War coalition”, and the co-work with Liberty? Designing t-shirts emblazoned with the message “I’m not a terrorist” projected
the widespread concern about the government’s anti-terror measures. It was her upbringing, plus the influence of a politically passionate schoolteacher that primarily coloured her opinion on Habeas Corpus.

Her highly controversial prêt-a-porter collections have, of course, been full of radical twists too; we’re not just referring to the “bondage suit” created in the seventies for Malcolm MacLaren. Interviewed recently by Dazed and Confused, Westwood talks about the Leonard Peltier case and how that has influenced some of her most recent collections. “
It was shocking, the in-your-face and blatant legal manipulation, the abuse of the law, and to do that to Leonard. He has spent 28 years in jail and there is no proof at all that he committed a crime.”

Westwood, recently honoured Dame, organised a petition for the wrongly imprisoned Peltier, collecting the signatures of Elton John, Giorgio Armani, Marc Jacobs and Madonna, to name but a few. Vogue raved about her a/w 2006 collection (pictured above), and referred to Westwood as a
statement maker” that knew what she was talking about. We couldn’t agree more.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

From Net-a-porter With Love

Alexander McQueen, Anna Sui, Antik Batik, Bottega Veneta, Chloe, Christian Lacroix, Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler... etc, etc. The list just goes on. Shopping online has never been more fun, easy and reliable than by today's standard. Well, perhaps we should add, as long as you stick to Net-a-porter. As well as a terrific designer portfolio, you know you’re in for top-products straight from the runway when you’re logging onto their site. Oh, almost forgot... Shameless plug, and we don't do this often, but up until 30 June, Net-a-porter are offering free shipping straight to your door, guranteed through this link (and you must claim "Free Shipping" in your order). How cool can it get?


Gucci by Gucci

What’s in a name,” Sophie Hardach asks in a recently published article. A buying opportunity, the story continues. The fact is that there have been so many books about Gucci, that you could be forgiven for missing out on yet another release based on the luxury label's name. But as Gucci prepares for the 85th anniversary this year, the new book, “Gucci by Gucci” will come right in place. The launch date is due in September and promises 85 years' worth of famous Gucci-clad red carpet moments. Launched during Milan Fashion Week in September this year, it’ll get a good (free) promotion before going on sale in selected bookshops worldwide from November. An exclusive version, wrapped in the extra-special 'La Pelle Guccissima' slip, will also be sold directly from Gucci stores.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Paris End: Photography, Fashion and Glamour

The Ian Potter Centre, as part of National Gallery of Victoria, has been the subject of many Melbournista’s discussions this month. Not just because of its highbrow design-facade, space-age architecture, and futuristic 'home-show catalogue' appearance... Rather, the attention has been focused around the 7,250 square meters of gallery space that is currently showcasing “The Paris End: Photography, Fashion and Glamour”. Bringing together the work of some of the local photographers from 1900 to the 1950s - Helmut Newton, and Athol Shmith among others - it features photographs from fashion to advertising and celebrity portraits. The exhibition documents the creative hub that was known as ‘the Paris end’ of Melbourne's Collins Street in that period. Looking at the outside of the building, it would come as no surprise if Yoda had personally opened the exhibition.
When: 3 June - 29 October 2006

Where: Ian Potter Centre, Federal Square, Flinders St, Melbourne

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hugh Cornwell - Beyond Elysian Fields

Remember The Stranglers? Really, do you remember what you were doing in 1977? Eh... no didn’t think so. Most people reading this will have no idea. But Hugh Cornwell and The Stanglers were, along with other punk bands of the time, trail blazing a new definition of music and fashion. Dead was the hippy era, gone were the days of the mods and rockers. This blog could become a major thesis on the life-imitates-fashion-imitates-life theme... And it probably deserves to, so we’ll come back to that soon!

Meanwhile, Hugh Cornwell turns up in Melbourne this week in a seedy (Northcote) social club, which smelled of stale beer. You could miss the place altogether if you hadn’t travelled directly from the airport to get there. It was obviously the right place when the front door was opened and plumes of smoke billowed out into the street. And the “security” on the door were far too young to have seen Hugh first time around.

When the lights finally focused on stage, Hugh, despite a very lived in face, carried well toned skin, the manners of a diplomat, and a sense of caring, which forgave the stupidity of some of the audience. What was even cooler was the superb resonance of such a mature voice, which has if anything improved since the seventies. Hugh was unplugged in the finest tradition, just him and his guitar. He took no crap from the audience hecklers – explaining this was “not a request gig”, but kindly responding that he could return with his band to do the other favourite songs if Australia ever made another “serious” attempt to regain the Ashes.

So across the crowd, the black jackets, and jeans were abound, but some of the coolchiqs had dressed up for him, and he kept his suit jacket on despite tangling the cuff buttons in his guitar strings. Beyond Elysian Fields carries some delightful sounds… And they’re carried by someone who’s modest enough not to even realise he has influenced a generation through his music and through changing contemporary fashion. Thanks Hugh.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

London Graduate Fashion Week

Diversity in culture, eclectic people, art, energy, and sparkle. It’s no wonder London, with its central geographic position, is an incubator of many famous names.

Last week as Britain’s Art and Design schools were showing their final works, South London was the gathering of many well- known faces. Fashion editors, professional photographers, and talent scouts were seen in among the crowds at Battersea Park.

Like Christopher Bailey from Burberry, the event attracted a few other big names too. Nathan Jenden, Creative Director at Diane von Furstenberg was also there watching the students’ works. The two top-designers had a good time enjoying the novelty of a front row seat. Perhaps Bailey was seated next to Suzy Menkes? International Herald Tribune’s fashion icon of many years, reports on Christopher Bailey’s comment from the event: “The talent was extraordinary. Everybody had a point of view and the students were so articulate; it was really refreshing.”

The creativity was truly extraordinary, capturing London at its very best. As strong, vibrant colours were the most striking feature of all, complete sets of patterns followed an endless presentation. Intricate cuts and shapes, and hat ornaments brimmed with perfection, were common throughout the entire shows. The strongest collections were from the students of Bournemouth and Salisbury, East London, Leeds, and Manchester.

As the 4-day spectacle came to an end, the winners of the various awards were presented: Emma Mudford from Northampton, Zandra Rhodes Textile Award. James Lawrence from Northumbria University, River Island Gold Award. Liam Jackson from Manchester Metroplitan University, Highly Commended Awards. Masa Hata from Ravensbourne, Highly Commended Awards. Abbie Storey, Winchester School of Art, The Knitwear Award.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fashion on Channel Nine

Catapulted to Paris, students Jessica Dudgeon, Sophie McGinn and Anita Nordin from Sydney's UTS were given the chance of a lifetime a month ago...

Flipping through Channel Nine’sMornings with Kerri-Anne” this morning, it was enchanting seeing the three young fashion design students’ works. Kerri-Anne, in traditional chirpy morning- show manner, seemed particularly interested in the fabrics. Other than the textiles, she gave an insight to the girls’ process of putting the pieces together. From a creative point of view, which was the purpose of the whole tv-appearance, the work on display was in
deed artistic. An interesting addition in the program was also the follow-up on the Aussie-girls experience in Europe.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Lou Reed’s TT Spectacle

From the days of the Velvet Underground, hanging out with David Bowie and Andy Warhol, Lou Reed just seems to draw attention to an artistic crowd in whatever direction he chooses. Following his production in early albums like “Sally Can’t Dance”, etc, Reed was described as an intriguing picture of a man repulsed by his music, audience, and his habit. This is not a description we, as ardent fans would adhere to. Rather, that Reed’s lyrics, symbolism, and justifiable anger, mirror the political world around him with a valuable message wrapped in beautiful music.

Heavily involved in charity events, such as “Artists for Tsunami Relief” and the “PAX Benefit Gala”, etc, he’s now touring Europe with England being the current stop. A concert at the Isle of Man, this last weekend put an extra sparkle on the TT motorcycle races.

For a guy primarily famous for poetry and music, it was an added bonus to Lou Reed’s fans hearing about the New York photo exhibition in January. Held at the Hermès Gallery and Steve Kasher Gallery retrospectively, the two exhibitions featured Reed’s photographic sense of the place he’s been calling his muse since his childhood.

At 64, Lou is now enjoying another business somewhat different from his normal cultural direction. In collaboration with Davide de Blasio's Tramontano, Lou Reed has introduced “Lou’s Views”, his own eyewear collection to add to the ‘spectacle’ at the Isle of Man.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Meet Marvin Joseph

Sydney, 5 June 2006
A wet, windy and cold afternoon we hooked up with a San Fransisco-origined photographer; a gentleman now based in Sydney whose work has been serving the fashion industry over the last 10 years.

Outfitted in a winter coat, leather gloves, and brolly, we jump on the L38 heading west. Destination is Camperdown, a 10-minute bus ride from Sydney’s city-slick centre. Entering the area, rain thickens, and the industrial facades look increasingly unwelcome. A puddle of water, cold and muddy, soaks through our chocolate coloured boots. Swearing at this, we’re thinking “A quick cab ride back to the city would be a helluva lot more sensible”. Committed to our meeting though, and curious of course about Joseph, we abandon all thoughts of a foolish retreat.

Placed at Kilner Lane, not far from the main highway, we find Marvin Joseph in his photography showroom. Named “Mango Studio”, it is obvious that Joseph has put a lot of effort into his funky work place. Stylishly divided into two floor sections, the photography-covered walls and flawless wooden floor differentiates this location from other photographers' work places. “When I took on the studio a year ago,” Joseph says “I wanted to create a functional work place with a lovely atmosphere. People enjoy working here.” A lovely surrounding is eminently correct, as we enjoy the warming cup of green tea during the interview.

Inspiration for his photo shots comes from perfect compositions – art, places, music and faces. Sources he’s been able to enjoy in different parts of the world. “I’ve been travelling round the world taking photos, but still have a long way to go,” Joseph adamantly claims. In this sense, he refers to his photography, which is a very modest way of talking about his work. Joseph has come a long way. With published works in Oyster magazine, he's a highly acclaimed photographer shooting fringe fashion editorials, as well as more commercially related adverts.

Equipment-wise, for a fashion shot, Joseph uses his reliable camera and a single light. Light exposure without much complexity and detail has become a trademark he regards highly. “Working on my own, and finding the right compositions, was challenging when I first went into business,” says Joseph. Luckily, today, this is less of an issue as he’s surrounded by the best players on the market; a stylist and some hair and make up artists, who work with Joseph most of the time. “We’ve been working together for years, and know each other really well,” he says.

Joseph takes pride in knowing that fashion editors often leave their ideas to him. Referring to himself as a Creative Director, he’s putting great pressure on his own work. “I’m very tough on myself and wouldn’t consider the work complete until every aspect of the shot is perfect.” Before leaving we ask Joseph to describe his own niche. His immediate answer is – “Edgy, sexy and with heavy tones of avant-garde.” An accurate summary, we agree. Unfortunately a form of work far from easy to ‘sell’ in the rather conservative Australian fashion industry.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Akira Isogawa on Sale

When he’s not dressing the athletes over at the Sydney Dance Company, he’s sending models down the Parisian runway in his fine-stitched designs. Take a note of next week's activity, where Akira fans in Sydney will all be heading to Surry Hills; on 15-17 June a sale of Akira clothing will be held. Not only a good excuse to see his funky Surry Hills studio, but a perfect way to pick up an ‘Akira piece’ for a fraction of the normal price. Apart from Isogawa’s famous musical notes t-shirts, there are fabulous textiles, and interesting one-off pieces on offer. The most interesting thing sounds like the kimono vintage-inspired print, sourced by Akira from flea markets in his hometown, Kyoto, Japan. See you in Surry Hills!

When: 15-17 June at 9.30-5.30pm daily
Where: Akira Studio, Suite 5 Level 1, 2-12 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Paul Smith’s Fifa Tribute

Fifa this... World Cup that... Surrounded by sports nutters, it’s literally impossible to avoid mentioning the 'football fiesta' in Germany these days. Paul Smith, who’s been quick to jump on the bandwagon, has seriously taken the Fifa fever to his pommy designer heart. True to the World Cup arrangements, he’s brought out a series of extra toys that’ll keep most style savvy football fans happy. The book “Footballers' Haircuts” had us in tears laughing over the poodle perms from the 70s. T-shirts complete with some of the leading team colours are available on his online boutique too. Another 'World Cup special' is the floral football. Made out of leather, the football is covered in unique floral prints. Certainly a beautiful thing to look at, but for £135 you’d want it to be.

World Cup Fashion Fever

With only 3 days to go ‘til football fans round the world go mental, it’s doesn't come as a surprise reading news like this... Off-pitch, The Aussie lads, known as the ‘Roos, will be stylishly dressed in Ted Baker. Approached by Football Federation Australia (FFA ), it was reported that Ted Baker has been appointed the official formalwear partner. “Ted Baker will be suiting and booting the ‘Roos for their first appearance in a World Cup for over 30 years.” English footballers, under the Swedish wings of Sven Goran Eriksson, are predicted to lead the style stakes dressed in Giorgio Armani. The only question is now, as for their high-maintenance wives, what will they wear?

Friday, June 02, 2006

“Like the Queen, She Doesn’t Dirty the Hands With Actual Opinions”

SMH's articleQueen of all she surveys is thoroughly amusing – go and read it!

“... Behind the armour of Wintour's public image, it is impossible to imagine what she is like off-duty. She has no apparent sense of humour - certainly no sense of the ridiculous, although you do wonder when you see pictures of her wearing a big fur coat, out of which her head protrudes, like someone surfacing through a manhole. The last exchange I have with Wintour is the afternoon after the interview, when she is reviewing the exhibition. She stalks through the dimly lit rooms in her shades while I speak to the curator. Suddenly, she charges over. “Do you have everything you need?" she asks, but before I can finish answering, she has turned on her heel and walked briskly away.”

(Emma Brockes, Sydney Morning Herald, 1 June 2006)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Cutting edge in fashion, photography and music are topics we never tire tapping into. The producers of Oyster magazine can certainly be proud of their glossy fringe fashion bible. Oyster’s fresh approach in editorial, combined with breath taking, high- resolution photographs are only a few reasons why we’re addicted to this bi-monthly issued fashion script.

True to their superior work and reputation within the industry, Oyster’s new website was launched today. Apart from a few good teasers reading “What’s inside this issue” etc, they’ve got a few interesting features on the site. When you've finished admiring the works of Marvin Joseph, Steven Chee, and Miko Lim, etc, you may want to start using the 10 per cent discount at (through Oyster). Cheapskates like us will sign up and participate in the draw to win a pair of jeans from Jeans per capita.