Monday, April 30, 2007

Paul Keating and the Veronicas - Fashion Week kicks off

I'm en route to the first show of Fashion Week: camilla and marc down at the Sydney Theatre Company. It's a beautiful day, with still not much sign of winter - except save no doubt for the winter clothes in which I am expecting most will be clad today. Wear current season's winter, watch next season's summer.... yes the crazy fashion locomotive charges forward.

This time last year I was new to blogging - and indeed blogging was relatively new to the event. This is my fourth blog in twelve months and I've noticed that the blogging ranks have started to swell, not just in Sydney but overseas as well. By February we saw The New York Times add a fashion blog to the runway review duties of its chief critic (Cathy Horyn), the latest in a long list of mainstream newspaper and also indie blogs to enter the tents. As with every other sphere that the blogging phenomenon touches, blogging provides a unique viewpoint at fashion shows.

Bloggers have no space limits, usually no sub editors and few rules. We also provide a backbone for dialogue with our readers and this is one aspect of the medium that I am finding fascinating at the moment - the reactions by some designers to the (relatively) unfettered commentaries of the public.

Some, like Alex Perry, say they are "thick-skinned" - and the frequent flack is like water off a duck's back. Others, I can tell you, aren't quite so bolshie. All I can say to them is, deal with it. The public are the end users of what you are showing on these runways, they have a right to their point of view.

Now sitting down inside the venue - one very long, snaking front row that runs from the front to the back of the STC. Too bad Cate Blanchett isn't on deck yet here. It's little consolation I suppose, but I've just brushed past a couple of Oz popettes.

"We could sit you over there next to them - you could be the third Veronica" quipped Lorraine Lock, the wife of Fashion Week supremo Simon Lock.

[Former Australian prime minister] Paul Keating is supposed to be somewhere in the distance. He could be the fourth Veronica.

The show itself is a pretty, and very short ode to the major influences of the northern hemisphere's current spring/summer season, with a soupcon of the new winter's tough chic thrown in for good measure: a suite of A-line, waistless shift dresses with exposed silver and brass zippers, some of them boasting sportif racerbacks.

I liked the cropped, hooded boleros in barely-there flesh tones, the vermillion micro knit dress and the series of cobalt shift dresses, which should provide plenty of party dresses for the Pretty Young Thing customers of this up-and-coming brand.

But while everyone has a trench coat on offer these days, camilla and marc's baggy-sleeved versions looked far too Stella McCartney-esque for my money and the lab coat dresses with grommets, like (very) poor man's Lanvin. Please leave the complete ripoffs to the high street.

Walking out, I spot Keating and manage to grab a few comments:

What did you think about the collection?
Paul Keating: Oh I liked the collection. I liked #1, #3 and #5 for a start. And a number of other single items in there.

What did you particularly like about them?
Well, their chic casualness.

Does it compare to Zegna?
Well that's formal. We don't get around in suits all day, do we?

No that's very true. What do you think about fashion in Australia in general?
Well I think fashion is one of the great arts, one of the great creative arts. One of the places where the endless combinations and permutations of fantasy all mix.

Do you think it gets enough support from the Australian government?
Oh well, I don't know what support it gets, to be honest.

On Saturday night at another show I spoke to Ian Thorpe, who volunteered that he had seen some Dior shows. Have you done Dior - or any other international fashion shows?
I haven't been to any.

I'm interested in the international fashion shows of the 30s and 40s and 50s when clothing was at its peak.

But that was a bit before your time wasn't it?
Well no style is before one's time.

I meant you couldn't possibly have been at those shows.
Oh I couldn't have been at the shows. But the gear is still around - the great A-line of the 50s, Balenciaga and all those people.

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