Monday, May 28, 2007

Graduate Fashion Designers at PHM

If you haven’t done already then you should go and visit The Powerhouse Museum’s annual Student Fashion exhibition. Well, so we're told anyway.

While promising an interesting feature display, we're assuming that the 3D-geek glasses aren't really part of the installation.
Three of the top graduating students from fashion design schools in Sydney will show case their work: Kim Deters from The Fashion Design Studio at the Sydney Institute of Technology, Amy Yong from The Whitehouse Institute of Design, and Sophie McGinn from UTS. The exhibition runs until 3 June.

The six outfits vary in style and technique with inspiration drawn from a diverse range of sources, from classic children’s books and French perfume bottles to the theory that we are all connected through ‘six degrees of separation’.

Accompanying each student’s outfits is a display that reveals the creative process behind the designs from concept to fruition, including design drawings, methods of fabrication and fashion photographs.”


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sydney Italian Festival

Hidden in "fashion PR City", is where the likes of Spin Communications, and The Arc Factory are located. This is the rim of the entertainment crater for next weekend. Primo Italiano 07 is held on Sunday 3 June.

Fast becoming known as Sydney’s “Little Italy”, the area is rich in 1800’s architecture, epicurean delights, and of course, fashion abounds – though you don’t have to be one of the “beautiful people” to be there.

Around the city fashion wise: Bulgari has opened a new store at 64-68 Castlereagh Street, and the Italian Trade Commission were recently invited to the Sydney Italian Festival, via an evening of iconic Italian brands including Ferragamo, Zegna, and Cavalli. So expect to see again some of these wealthy, dark, tall handsome types.

Like the parks around Firenze, this tiny complex of streets is scented by herbs and car fumes in the day time, and by garlic, jasmine and cigarette smoke in the evening. We recently visited both Trovata and Giardinetto, on Stanley Street. For superb quality, our favourite is Trovata, but for big gargantuan portions and cute atmosphere, go for Giardinetto.

Take your time here next Sunday, and between 11.00am and 5.00pm (& probably later) you’ll find al fresco dining, fresh food markets, music, dancing, street performers, and wine tasting. Be patient – you’ll be one of many.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Immacolata and Her Friends

Talking about Swedes... Stina Persson (lovely name, great artist!), is holding an exhibition at the Gallery Hanahou, New York, named Immacolata and Her Friends. The exhibition, which is held between 24 May until 6 July, will feature works of Sicilian women Persson chose to feature for the German magazine Squint. Apart from her brillinat water colour paintings, there's also a separate section of fashion - check it out.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Swede-st Thing

Well, a picture says more than a thousand words, so we’ll shut up for once, and let you all enjoy The Sartorialist’s shots of these uber-cool guys in Stockholm. His images, as always, capture ordinary folks off and about on the streets. Fantastico! Not that we're getting home sick or anything, but don't you think that these guys totally rock? Check out more about Scott Schuman's musings at


Monday, May 14, 2007

Turning Back Time at Dolce & Gabbana

Normally you wouldn’t expect to find much in the way of quirky retro-design at Dolce & Gabbana, but it's actually the animal-print-loving designer duo, who are behind this weirdly wonderful Test Card watch. Inspired by the first ever BBC “electronically generated test card” (test card G, to be really geeky), it’s certain to get people talking - probably about their childhood. As if a cool design wasn’t enough, this watch has a quartz movement, one-touch backlight, and is water-resistant to 50m - expect flashbacks of Sesame Street on your scuba dive.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Oyster Magazine

We’ve said before and we’ll say it again – the guys over at Oyster Magazine are continuously making the fashion-music-&-arts-genre a more and more innovative space to dwell in. If you can avoid a seizure at the home page, it's worth delving further into the site.

The Renaissance issue 69 covers the adventures of pop indie band New Young Pony Club, who’ve recently completed a tour in Australia. Their excellent tunes are on myspace too - very Siouxsie and the Banshees meets Shampoo if you'd ask us. There’s also an interview with the founder and curators from All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, and a couple of interesting designer features - Balmain’s Christophe Decarnin, and E’s lauded designer Sadaharu Hoshino, and a list of New York’s best vintage hotspots.

Check out the stunning shoots from Sam Borich, Renya Xydis, and Izabella Demavlys. To top things off, they’ve got a nice added feature on the website – a few guest blogs where you can read musings from Alice McCall and Romance was Born.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Nautica Jeans Co.

So we finally got him some Nautica Jeans. The Nautica Jeans Co. started up in 1999, just about the time when the other big names in jeans were cutting back and worried that desires for denim were dying. And now we know why. Difficult to say anything about jeans which hasn’t already been said. But thanks to Nautica, “him indoors” now looks like Brad Pitt (well, OK, from the waist down anyway). You really have to see these jeans to appreciate the quality. Fantastic denim fabric which feels like it was made for your body. Extreme comfort, awesome looks, perfect stitching, and retro-style buttons and rivets. The belt quality leather label on the back adds the final touch. NJC’s innovative website shows off the brilliant range of glacier cool styles and colours. The advertising is really fun too. We went for the Easy Fit Pacific Blue – smart enough for casual Friday at the office – casual enough for blowing froth off the amber nectar at the local bar. We don’t rave about men’s fashion very often, but these jeans are so sexy, we want to grind our rivets together, flashing sparks into the night. Go get your guy a pair right now and he’ll adore you forever.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Designer Rugs

Feeling particularly generous and want something unusual in your house? Then Designer Rugs might have exactly what you’re looking for.

Twelve of Australia’s leading fashion designers have been asked to design an original and exclusive rug, in a unique single edition. Each designer has chosen a charity they feel passionate about - the different choices include anything from Greenpeace to Amnesty, and Unicef to Meals on Wheels. All money raised by the silent auction will go to the charities.

The auction is in full swing already but will continue until Thursday 10th May 2007, so join now to be part of the bidding.
6 of the designs are displayed here, but our favourite is Akira's design, at the top left corner.


Monday, May 07, 2007

The Fashion Week Has Now Left The Building

Oh the chutzpah of fashion! The number of Zoolander expressions, poker faces, and larger-than-life attitudes involved at an event such as RAFW is over powering. Despite a fantastic week, we’re quite happy to have it all over and done with. So, finally back to a normal life...


Friday, May 04, 2007

RAFW - Alice McCall

Zips are the new buttons. We’re jumping to the conclusion here simply by looking at Camilla and Marc, Jessie Hill and Dhini to name but a few. So when zips are the new buttons, then neon is undoubtedly the new black.

Yesterday afternoon in the Cargo Hall, Alice McCall included both zips and neon to balance the grey and timid tones in her “Welcome to the Dollhouse” collection. McCall’s show was a tight, smart display of fresh and youthful looks. Acid lime appeared on dresses, shoes and accessories in a variety of different ways – as inserted stitched patchworks, as zig-zagged lines on high heels, as bold giant plastic waist belts.

But as ‘cool’ and streetwise as this collection was, there was also a refreshing playful side to McCall’s show - geeky sunglasses, stripy hooded dresses, and dungarees. How could you not love this woman?


RAFW - Jessie Hill

While launching her first RTW show at New York Fashion Week 2005, Jessie Hill’s debut in the home-arena took place yesterday at RAFW 2007.

Fuelled by the 1982 film classic “Blade Runner”, Hill’s work presented an eclectic mix of Ready-To-Wear meets couture in a European style. True to the inspirational theme the pieces were daring and feminine, but always with a dark twist, which provoked the feeling of a Sin City woman. Dresses were tailored with tight pleats, and fabrics such as Japanese micro-fibre cotton and satin, dominated the show. Hill had mostly worked with solid colours in cream, white, silver-grey and black, but some
pale aztec prints were used to create a worn-out, rebellious effect.

More spectacular pieces had complex designs such as a lizard-collar, very cool. Hill's pocket dress in silver-grey – literally covered in zipped, round pockets across the lower part of the body – was quite exquisite.

The whole collection felt new and avant-garde, some pieces you’d expect to see in Japan. To complement the fabulous film-noir look, the make-up artist had done a fantastic job with sharp dark eyes and black glossy nails. We absolutely loved the show and we're sure that Rick Deckard would have loved it too.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

RAFW - Matthew Eager

Matthew Eager's show presented clean lines with no accessories, to make a feature of the minimalistic approach that Eager had in mind. Super-wide linen trousers looked quite elegant on the tall models. High-waisted ra-ra skirts, and dresses in knee lengths came in silver- embellished thick fabric. The boxy coats and bolero jackets were striking, but felt quite demure rather than young and edgy. Colours were in sections white, silver and grey, and with splashes of deep turquoise, and acid green. With the many sleek dresses, this collection presented the most sophisticated range throughout the week. Read also Rebekah Van Druten's, (ABC), interview with Matthew Eager before the show.


RAFW - Josh Goot

For a designer that’s been described as the most successful [Australian] fashion exports since Colette Dinnigan, it’s hard to imagine that Josh Goot only has 3 years of runway experience since debuting at MAFW 2004. At that time it was a print-heavy streetwear brand called Platform, which later on evolved into the famous Josh Goot label. His key words of “tailored comfort”, which are wardrobe classics, constructed in cotton/jersey fabrics, have given inspiration to many new emerging local designers. Today, the appreciation of Goot’s design was prevalent across the audience.

The venue, a massive industrial warehouse location in Redfern, was a far cry from last year's CBD-located show. Undoubtedly a more Goot-like location, with its industrial look of giant rusty pipes, that came crawling across the ceiling. From the loudspeakers flowed creepy electronic noise – it might as well have been the film location from Alien, for all we know. What added to the whole ‘space oddity’ experience, were the senior ushers, appropriately dressed in smoky silver uniforms.

This year Goot had worked with strong bright colours to complement the re-occurring futuristic in his work. Dresses with asymmetrical lines in yellow, purple, and pale lilac were presented first. The garments felt sporty, but chic – though with a few surprises in store. Had Goot taken a holiday in Norway for his inspiration? Well, there were certainly elements that suggested a cross-country skiing influence in his bright leg-hugging pants. New features for this year were the contrasting edges in bright orange, that brought the sober metallic dresses to life. The long, flowy capes in cerise gave a nice elf-like effect, but how and when would you wear such a garment?

It was great to see that Goot had kept the loved classics – the ultra-thin trench-coat, the baggy pants, the cigarette skirt, which still hadn’t given way for any raised hemlines this year. While working both with hues in silver and gold in this collection, Goot did a fantastic job that we can’t wait to see close up.



RAFW - Arabella Ramsay

We swapped Nicola Finetti for Arabella Ramsay this evening, but it was a difficult choice as we're big Finetti-lovers and know little of Arabella Ramsay. It's also a big ask to judge a label’s potential, without a prior viewing.

What was on stage was lovely, very sweet and left a more-ish feeling, which is always a good sign. But there were more than a few international references, that were so obviously ‘influenced’ by other designers that it couldn't possibly be just sheer coincidence.

We probably weren't the first in the audience, to reflect on the banana necklace at the opening of the show. After all, didn’t Chloe 2001 do exactly that? But the show went on, and the denim
section covered shorts, waistcoats, and dresses which reminded us of Karen Walker. Outfits in matching petroleum green were followed by a silky section, that brought back Chloe in mind again. We absolutely loved the straw 'riding hats', though we immediately thought of Balenciaga autumn 2006. Still, thumbs-up for this show though.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

RAFW - State of Georgia

Formed by Georgia Hall, a former fashion model, who recently launched the label State of Georgia. The collection featured baby doll dresses, high-waisted mini skirts, ancle-length 'Laura Ashley dresses', solid colours, patterns, pucci-inspired prints, gold, silver, etc, etc... you get the idea.

With such an over-kill it’s difficult to have any opinion about what this was about. Oh, did we mention the leder-hosen? Well at least they played Dolly Parton in the show.


Ksubi and Erin Wasson

While in between fashion shows, Simon Lock, Managing Director of IMG Fashion Asia Pacific (not actually in this picture), had an informal chat with the guys at Tsubi Ksubi and American super-model Erin Wasson. Erin, who will be strutting down the runway late, tomorrow evening at Ksubi, mentioned she looked forward to taking a front-row seat at Josh Goot's show tomorrow morning.


RAFW - Shakuhachi

This morning it was down to Shakuhachi to show off her work for the Australian SS 2007/08. Fashion designer Jessie White has been a key player in the industry for 8 years, and in recent years she’s primarily focused on tailored garments for an age group of 16-25.

The show opened up with hooded baggy jersey dresses in strong colours – neon blue, orange and fluorescent pink. Then came playsuits in stretchy cotton. Berets appeared throughout the show, oddly enough even on the bikini girls no less. An interesting Australian take on the parkas was presented more than once in the show – a short-sleeved version in light nylon. Shakuhachi had jumped on the futuristic hype and featured both skirts, dresses and tops in metallic hues. A glittery casino jacket worn with a t-shirt dress, started off the more tacky part of the show, and the grand finale was a few sequin dresses featuring a mish-mash of weird colourful cubes. While ticking of the recent must-trends – metallic, thigh-baring hemlines and loose, over sized shapes - there’s no doubt this teenage-like collection will sell. As long as it stays Down Under.



RAFW - Frisoni Finetti

Frisoni Finetti was created by Nicola Finetti and Fernando Frisoni. The show was men’s only fashion – pretty refreshing actually (although at coolchiq, we don’t focus so much on men’s fashion). Both men appeared at the end for the usual designer promenade. We’re not sure if Nicola was the driver for Fernando, or vice versa. Either way, there was clearly a cross-pollination of ideas in one direction or the other. All the styles were extremely cool, and well designed in terms of basic (navy, haematite, black and white) masculine colours. Not formal menswear, but rather, smart streetwise threads. Contemporary fabrics – crisp cotton, jersey, metallic nylon – used in cutting edge design. Not the type of stuff the average Sydney surf dude would usually wear, but then, there isn’t much other competition in this niche area of style in Australia. Not every guy wants to wear Quicksilver printed across their exposed arse cleavage (or Rip Curl, Volcom, etc.) for that matter. This will be more expensive than the surf ranges, but wouldn’t it be great if guys start wearing this level of style more commonly? Thumbs up Frisoni Finetti!


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

RAFW - Zambesi

What was the focus for all the snappy cameras pre-show at Zambesi? Well, we think Dita von Teese, on the front row, had something to do with the extravaganza. Though the burlesque Queen was as cute and innocent (looking) as ever, her front row neighbours looked more intrigued to be positioned next to the ex-stripper. It was quite a surprise to see the real slim, prim, doll-like Dita, rather than the MAC make-up advert Dita, which, while still attractive, is curvaceous, with a colossal chest.

The show featured primarily boyish silhouettes, with layering, and shirt-dresses that reminded us of school cleaning ladies, rather than leading edge, hot street fashionistas. Worn in the right way, they could look really cool, but this isn’t something you’d throw on without forward planning. Finally, most of the silky tunics carried graphic design prints - very gothic like an old friend of Dita's.



Little did Bridget and Nicholas know when they first met, that it would be the start of a fashion label, about to be on everyone’s lips in just a short period of time. Since being launched, “LIFEwithBIRD” has been snapped up by Sportsgirl to deliver a limited edition collection due in July 2007. The designer duo, including Alice McCall’s sister Bridget [McCall] and Nicholas Van Messner, co-formed the label that is now stocked at uber-cool Incu.

Early on, the girls sported soft ultra-thin cotton, and designs with side-winged t-shirts, that had “SHOUT” printed across the chest. To follow, were thigh-baring dresses in nude tones, some with gathered hems and asymmetrical pleats. Like a few other shows, there were sporty influences, though here they were much more unique – quite edgy.

Plenty of details on each garment, nicely structured, to add interest to an otherwise ‘simple’ design. Grey leggings weren’t just grey – they had inserts of silver fabric in shiny material, zig-zagged up the legs. Sweatshirts had penguin arms, and chunky bracelets, made of plastic and metal, were jammed half-way up the arm, as though part of a robotic installation. Giant shopping bags appeared throughout the show – perhaps a place for the gym gear to go? What we saw was quite likeable, and if life really is like this with bird, then we wouldn’t mind seeing a little more of it.


RAFW - Bowie

Last year at Bowie we drew parallel lines to the film “Master and Commander”. This year the references were far from nautical, but more “Little Red Riding Hood starring as an extra in an adult movie”. Champagne, black and red dominated on see-through chiffon dresses, that looked like exclusive lingerie in a Louisiana bordello. The girls had been ‘styled’ in red velvet ribbons to complement their big wavy hair.

Apart from strapless cigarette dresses, there were a few flimsy lace dresses. Perhaps the collection had seen the inside of South Fork Ranch back in the seventies? Well, certainly Sue-Ellen and Pam would have loved it all. The very fit-looking boys wore overalls so camp-looking, that only at Camp David could they get away with it. The black & white printed t-shirts were kinda cool though, but all rather
déjà vu.

What else completed the nostalgic vibes? Well how about a little Duran Duran and Prince from the loudspeakers.