Sunday, April 29, 2007

'I've done Dior!': Fish-out-of-water fashionisto Ian Thorpe dives into the Fashion Week swim

We have touchdown. Well, celeb touchdown at least. Having now clocked two full OS show seasons and notably, two celeb-infested New York fashion weeks, and after last May's very disappointing "VIP" turnout at AFW, I have to admit I was a tad apprehensive about the prospect of only having the clothes to review next week. I mean, perish the thought of anyone talking about the clothes at a fashion show these days.

But some bona fide celebs are now in our midst - thanks to tonight's MTV Awards and the Fantastic Four premiere, (and if there isn't already an appropriate collective noun, Fashion Season would like to nominate the following to denote same - a paparazzi of celebs, or perhaps even a Fawcett of celebs). Should any of these wind up popping into the fashion tents, we could be in for some fun and games.

Dita Von Teese of course is a shoe-in. Here to promote her involvement with (AFW sponsor) MAC, notably the brand's Viva Glam lipstick - with a fat $100,000 cheque handed to Sydney's Bobby Goldmsith Foundation yesterday - Von Teese will be on deck at at least some shows as the VIP guest editor of Australian Harper's Bazaar. Just as Cate Blanchett, Sarah Wynter and Elle Macpherson etc... have done in years past.

Anyone present at Myer Sydney City yesterday for the cheque presentation couldn't have missed the celeb buzz in the air, with a score of fans turning up for signings and photo ops with the petite, porcelain-complexioned DVT. Judging by the number of Goths I spotted, the Marilyn Manson factor obviously has not rubbed off either, in spite of the fact that DVT and Manson are now estranged.

No major sightings at the Willow presentation at Carthona last night. But the 'show' itself was nevertheless a sight to behold. Quite apart from the rare glimpse inside this harbourside Gothic mansion - and its superb, wild garden - the Helmut Newton-inspired tableaux of Willow lingerie-bedecked models inside a couple of the rooms provided a sumptuous visual feast. I trust the poor girl who had to lie with her back arched against one brocade sofa for an hour's duration won't require the services of a chiropractor today. We shot a preview video of this retro-look luxury lingerie range last week which will go live tomorrow.

Some pieces - notably the black tulle-swathed, white silk high-waisted knickers and bra - seem far too pretty to cover up. With DVT and her old-worlde Hollywood froufrou style thrown into the mix this season, Fashion Week seems, for the moment at least, to be having a bit of a burlesque-nosed moment.

About an hour later, back downtown in Ultimo, I turned up to the Nicholas X Morley show and was intrigued to spot Ian Thorpe. Thorpe has of course had more than his fair share of fashion moments so I was interested to get his take on the subject.

Here's what he said just before and straight after the show:

So, what are you doing here at the Nicholas X Morley launch?
Ian Thorpe: I was invited by a friend who is a model here tonight [Cheyenne Tozzi, apparently]. So I was asked to come along, which I'm more than happy to do. From what I've heard and from what she's told me I think it's going to be great.

You have been involved with a few different fashion projects. Are you still involved with Autore pearls?
Yeah... I'm not designing jewellery at the moment. Still designing underwear and I'm doing a few more things in the future but that's about it at the moment.

Any new fashion projects?
Nothing I can talk about.

Top secret?
Not top secret, because that means it's coming up soon. But something that's definitely on the radar.

[With the recent doping allegations] You have been going through some difficult issues recently.
I'm still going through all of those things. It's all playing out its due course at the moment. I start filming a documentary tomorrow. So things are all on track.

What do you think about fashion in general? I mean obviously you have always had very close fashion ties.
Yeah.... Fashion for me is kind of you know, it comes and it goes, but it always is a great reflection on kind of social issues and what's going on. At that kind of moment in time. The same as what music does and what art does at that particular time. That's what I love about it. It's seasonal and it's cyclical as well. It's great. All of us love some good clothes, it's as simple as that.

You have also had some special 'fashion moments'. A case in point one highly-publicised leather outfit with boots.
Yeah, I was in Paris.

And you copped a lot of flack over that.
Well you know, I wear what I want to wear and I don't care what people think.

The show wrapped. If you haven't seen the video we shot last week, it's a bright, print-heavy streetwear range of T-shirts, jeans, shorts, longline singlets and babydoll dresses, with a small swimwear component. I'm not too crash hot on a couple of the dresses, which seem a bit fiddly with sheer overpanels, but the prints are very strong and the skinny, cropped, lowrider women's jeans with exposed silver zips and microskirts in the signature crossbone print - either white on black or vice versa - as well as some of the fluoro babydoll smock dresses, tops and leggings looked great.

Ditto some of the menswear, a case in point the baggy pants, T-shirt and matching blazer in the white-on-black crossbone print. Although you probably wouldn't want to wear the latter three together, or risk looking like you had just stepped out of a prison scene from Pirates of The Caribbean.

And the Thorpedo's post-show verdict?

"The rave's back" he said.

Will we see you at any other shows this week?
Thorpe: No, I film a documentary starting tomorrow.

So no Fashion Week for Ian Thorpe?
This is it.

Shame, because Fashion Week induced one of your most spectacular fashion moments: the famous pearl mask you wore to one event.
Yeah, it was a masked ball.

It was very dramatic.
Oh OK, yeah.

So we won't be seeing any more moments like that this week - not even in the documentary?
No definitely not.

But you could do a documentary with Ian Thorpe's greatest fashion moments.

Maybe not yet.

I thanked him for being such a good sport and noted that it was great to see him front-and-centre at a fashion show.

"Hey" he quipped, without missing a beat. "I've done Dior shows!".

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