Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tall Puppy Syndrome: What do we do with ambitious children?

Bindi Irwin has been a hot button topic in Australia since Steve Irwin’s death. No surprises then perhaps, that most of yesterday’s flack on this blog about Bindi’s new fashion range focused on her age. But any residual controversy surrounding Steve Irwin notwithstanding, the subject of professional or celebrity children is fascinating – if only because of the fact that our intolerance appears to be somewhat selective.


Under-16 model bans are gaining momentum in fashion, an interesting off-shoot of the ‘skinny model’ debate. London Fashion Week mooted imposing an under-16 ban on its spring/summer 2008 showcase, from September 15-20. The Melbourne Spring Fashion Festival recently dropped a 15-year-old as its advertising face.

Italy has also floated legislation banning under-16s from its runways. In France, an unofficial under-16 ban exists, however that may be circumvented via a children’s work license and lots of paperwork.

Fashion is a fast-paced business whose primary stock-in-trade is images of women. Many of these images advertise sexually provocative clothing. Sexually provocative poses in even standard fashion imagery are also increasingly common.

There is however plenty of other work which does not require under-16s to ‘sex it up’ for the camera. So, if a young girl wants to model, has the opportunity to do age-appropriate work and is chaperoned, should she be prevented from doing so?

An under-16 ban at London Fashion Week would have precluded both Twiggy and Kate Moss from working there. Both started at 15.

In Milan, it would have prevented 15-year-old Australian Gemma Ward from getting her first big break at the September 2003 shows.

Yes, fashion is a fickle business but it is what it is. Ward was in the right place, at the right time, with the right look. And at 19, she is now a multi-millionaire.

Two other Australians, Tallulah Morton (pictured above) and Samantha Harris, started modelling at 13.

Morton’s mother reports having initially been the subject of much tut-tutting about her daughter’s age – from those concerned Tallulah should have been in school (which she was) and that her mother may have pushed her into it. Amber Morton says she resisted sending Tallulah to an agency for a year – but was eventually worn down by approaches from agents and photographers, and eventually, also Tallulah herself.


But are those parents who drive their athletically-endowed children to the track, or pool, at 6am each day for training subject to the same criticism? What about the 160 girls aged 7-12 currently in four Australian Institutes of Sport, being groomed for Gymnastics Australia’s elite squads?

The Institute has an under-16 ban in every sport bar women’s gymnastics. This exception was made, according to the AIS, because the international careers of female gymnasts are generally over by the time they are 19 or 20.


And what about child entertainers like Bindi Irwin? Lindsay Lohan, Drew Barrymore, Macauley Culkin and Michael Jackson all entered the entertainment industry at a very young age – and all subsequently experienced problems.

Nicole Kidman, who started working professionally at 13 and Ron ‘Opie’ Howard, who was younger still, haven’t done too badly for themselves. It’s early days yet for Dakota Fanning.

So is it horses for courses or should all under-16s be banned from every arena for the following ‘sensible’ reasons:

1/ They’re in no position to make an informed choice at that age.
2/ It’s their parents pushing them – and the parents are only interested in the $.
3/ There’s no way minors can handle that type of pressure.

What do we do with ambitious children?

Original post and comments.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mogul the jungle girl: Bindi’s MAGIC fashion carpet ride

Crocs footwear and the Olsen twins eat your hearts out. Steve Irwin’s nine year-old daughter Bindi Irwin is about to stake her claim on the international fashion market, just one week shy of the one-year anniversary of the death of her wildlife warrior father.

US fashion trade paper Womens Wear Daily reports today that Bindi Wear International will have its global launch at MAGIC in Las Vegas from August 27 – the world’s largest fashion trade show which attracts over 5000 brands and 100,000 attendees. Launching in Australia immediately afterwards, Bindi Wear International is a 200-piece extension of a small children’s line that has been sold exclusively at Australia Zoo and its affiliated boutiques for the past seven years, designed under license by Yatala, Queensland-based company 3 Monsters.

According to WWD, 100 per cent of proceeds from the range will go directly to support the Australia Zoo’s conservation programs.

“My daddy was working to change the world, so everyone would love wildlife like he did” Bindi told WWD. “Now it is our turn to help”.

“It’s a full fashion collection” Bindi Wear International co-designer Palmina Martin told Fully Chic.

She added, “It’s got boys, babies, girls, accessories, bags, wallets, socks, a footwear line, hats.... tops, hoodies, jumpers, jackets, pants, skirts, jeans. There are four stories, each centred around a different topic, such as awareness of an animal. One T-shirt slogan says ‘Green is the new black’. There’s also ‘Save me, plant a tree’. There’s a Warrior story, with ‘Go wildlife!’ on the front and bird wings on the back. Or ‘Extinct stinks’”.

Martin was at pains to point out that the slogans are “cute”, not kitsch.

“It’s by no means in your face, and it’s not done to look like tourist T range” she said. “It’s a fashion line. There’s a really cute croc camo – a camo print made out of different crocodiles blended into each other. That’s in the Jungle Safari story”.

And Bindi was apparently hands-on in this design process. Martin told Fully Chic Bindi came up with many of the slogans herself. Her handwriting also features on the T-shirts and she had final approval on the collection.

“She changed a couple of little things – pockets on a dress, that sort of thing” said Martin. “She’s great, very entertaining”.

One thing the Bindi Wear International camp wouldn’t be drawn on however was the awkward proximity of the MAGIC mega launch to the anniversary of Irwin’s death.

“We’re not allowed to talk about it” said Martin.

Little chance of that happening in Vegas we imagine, once Team Irwin touches down and is besieged by the US media.

Original post and comments.

Dressing to the Left: Old Socialists don’t fade away - they spruik luxury goods

For anyone still acclimatising to the recent images of the former Secretary General of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Mikhail Gorbachev, reclining like a pimp in the back of a limo advertising handbags for French luxury goods giant Louis Vuitton, get ready for the September edition of US Men’s Vogue. Who’s the cover boy? Former British PM Tony Blair.

The cover story - “TONY BLAIR: THE MAN WHO MADE BRITANNIA COOL TAKES ON THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST JOB” - is promoted as an “Exit interview exclusive”.

Blair was interviewed by New York Times/International Herald Tribune correspondent Roger Cohen and photographed by Norman Jean Roy in South Africa in May, during his controversial “farewell” world tour.

However it’s not ongoing controversy over that purported “vanity” tour, which was causing tongues to wag in London yesterday - but rather, a mini debate over whether or not the British Labour Party’s longest-serving Prime Minister might have had ............. a little digital ‘work’ done in the cover shot. Stop the press.

Is it just my imagination or is some kind of pattern forming here? And if it doesn’t work out for Kevin Rudd in the election, might we be seeing him trotted out in the menswear section of the next David Jones store wars parade? Mark Latham flogging his own line for Autore Pearls? Who knows? In the interim, we can but reflect on a few memorable Blair-isms.

“I believe that, at its best, socialism corresponds most closely to an existence that is both rational and moral - It stands for cooperation, not confrontation; for fellowship, not fear. It stands for equality” Blair noted in his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 6 July 1983.

And on the occasion of the sharemarket collapse of October 1987: “The City whizz-kids, with salaries only fractionally less than their greed, now seem not only morally dubious, but incompetent”.

No idea if Blair spotted the previous edition’s health feature - “Manual labor can build a stronger, better body than the usual gym routine” - but on the September issue he does share cover billing with three other glossy Men’s Vogue exposes, that are headlined:



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Monday, August 13, 2007

Talking the talk: Sydney and Melbourne gasbag their way into top world fashion rankings

Many maintain that Australians have little interest in fashion. Just last year AC Nielsen purported that we think designer brands are a load of bunkum. But now, as Media Monitors tallies the media impact of last week’s store wars for its clients David Jones and Myer, comes news that Sydney and Melbourne have just both ranked in the top 15 of the inaugural Top Fashion Capitals list.

A San Diego-based not-for-profit, Global Language Monitor tracks and analyses words and phrases across global media. Founded in 2003 by word analyst Paul JJ Payack, it deploys 100s of “Language Police”, as well as a proprietary algorithm called the Predictive Quantities Indicator which trawls print and electronic media, as well as the blogosphere, taking into account long-term trends and short-term changes. Payack, aka the “WordMan”, frequently pops up in the mainstream media as expert buzzword talent.

For the past four years GLM has been monitoring fashion capitals. This is the first year it has published its findings and Sydney is ranked the world number 12 on the Top Fashion Capitals 2007 list behind New York, Rome, Paris, London, Milan, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Singapore and Berlin. Melbourne is ranked 15.

If you’re as perplexed as Fully Chic on, at the very least, the Las Vegas front, it’s worth remembering that Vegas is experiencing a mini fashion retail boom. It’s also a vibrant American trade show hub.

See below for the complete list. One wonders if the line “Gold Coast is golden for fashion” next to Melbourne is a mistake – or whether the PQI is in need of recalibration in favour of Brisbane.

But with the spring/summer showcase of Australian Fashion Week regularly experiencing significant year-on-year media growth according to Media Monitors – and Melbourne boasting not only AFW’s autumn/winter showcase, but the Melbourne Fashion Festival, the Spring Fashion Festival and the fashion-heavy Spring Racing Carnival – clearly all that coverage adds up.

According to GLM New York displaced Paris as the world fashion capital four years ago.

While many might dispute this, in pure media coverage terms, Fully Chic has its suspicions that this has a great deal to do with the 2001 acquisition of 7th on Sixth, New York’s centralized Fashion Week, by the world’s largest sports/lifestyle marketing company, IMG – and the subsequent media explosion that that event has experienced.

Also of note, IMG now operates major fashion events in eight of the 25 cities on the list. Yes, including AFW. Sydney and Melbourne first popped onto GLM’s radar three years ago and have steadily risen. According to Payack, Sydney enjoyed a 150 per cent spike in citations in the past seven months and, Melbourne a 250 per cent spike – although from a much lower base – so they may rise higher still.

Payack is adamant that GLM’s opinion cannot be bought – “It’s all to do with mathematics”, he told Fully Chic.

But can the same be said for the media outlets from which GLM gleans its data? Last month one Australian newspaper ran a large page three story about IMG’s new Berlin Fashion Week, without disclosing the trip was a junket.

“Could they rig it?” mused Payack, of aspiring fashion capitals, before conceding,"If let’s say Budapest wanted to be ranked, they’d have to spend at least $100 million to get there”.

1. New York—Far and away No.1 by every index
2. Rome—Beats out Paris, London and Milan
3. Paris—Heartbeat of the fashion world
4. London—Pulsing with creative energy
5. Milan—Perennial contender for No.1
6. Tokyo—Gaining global influence
7. Los Angeles—Will Posh Spice impact Ranking?
8. Hong Kong—No.1 in South Asia
9. Las Vegas—Emerging as vibrant fashion center
10. Singapore—Strong regional hub
11. Berlin—Big fashion push & its working
12. Sydney—Oz scores two in the Top 20
13. Barcelona—Regional center grows in stature
14. Shanghai—China breaks into the Big Time
15. Melbourne—Gold Coast is golden for fashion
16. Moscow—Lenin would not be amused
17. Bangkok—Realising its dream
18. Mumbai—Indian fashion influences globe
19. Santiago—Major strides for a proud nation
20. Rio de Janeiro—More than Carnivale and Ipanema
21. Sao Paolo—Money and fashion DO mix
22. Buenos Aires—Seat of Classic Beauty returns
23. Johannesburg—A first for Africa
24. Dubai Dubai?—Yes, Dubai,
25. Krakow—Neo-Bohemia thrives

- source: GLM

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Dirty Snakes and ponies: Myer's 16-step program for fashion success

Some of the interesting titbits that one gleans from venturing backstage at fashion shows are the model cue cards that designers so often install there. Yes, models have cue cards, just like newsreaders.

Instead of reading words off auto-cue, these are a little more akin to choreographic instructions - although without dance moves - to put the models into the designated designer mood.

It’s a walk, a look, a vibe, that the designer hopes to clinch for the show.

“Own it” is a common command. Ditto “Strong and sexy”.

I’ve also often seen “DO NOT smile” - the latter very much a reflection of the modern modelling mandate to walk po-faced, ditching the cheesy smiles of previous eras. They could do with more of these particular cue cards backstage at Armani.

But I didn’t have to go backstage at Myer to find out what was going on because the organisers had very kindly provided a pre-show preview.

I had asked for a garment runlist – what you usually see in the programs – however what wound up being sent was in fact a production runlist, complete with model cues for each designer segment.

There was the requisite “STRONG/SEXY” (camilla & marc, Cheetah), but also “FAST/WARM, VICTORIA’S SECRET CUTE SMILE” (Leona Edmiston, Cue), “HEAVY STRUT” (Wayne Cooper, TL Wood, Karen Walker) and “GORGEOUS SENSUAL SOPHISTICATED ROMANTIC” (the clearly terribly demanding Matthew Eager and Stretsis).

Then came the bombshell.

A model cue so exotic I do believe it may have had its world premier last night.

Forget Zoolander’s “Blue Steel”, Myer’s model cue for the Arabella Ramsay section read, I kid you not:


I was intrigued.

And needless to say spent the rest of the evening trying to find out what the hell it meant.

Our snapper Charlie was primed to capture the Dirty Snake the second it appeared.

We couldn’t find out much backstage however beforehand – the Dirty Snake seemed to be complete news to Jennifer Hawkins when we had a quick video chat before the show – and she’s Myer’s six figure spokesperson. Then again Hawko wasn’t due to be in the Ramsay section so perhaps it’s understandable that she wouldn’t have been any the wiser during rehearsals.

Hawkins did nevertheless manage to do a terrific, spontaneous Dirty Snake interpretation however – scrunching up her face in a minx-like scowl. Presumably Hawko has seen more than her fair share of dirty snakes on her Miss Universe travels.

In the actual show show however - unless some modelling union had stepped in to slap a stopstrut on the Ramsay section – there was no face-scrunching or minx-like moves, just Ramsay’s models weaving their way diagonally across the runway, from one side to the other, instead of walking straight down the barrel. Damn!


Dirty Snakes aside, the Myer show was no letdown, in fact it gets my vote for this season’s Store Wars victor.

David Jones had a constellation of high-profile runway names, a stylish and no doubt terribly expensive, French Riviera-inspired set and multimedia presentation and of course some terrific clothes from some of Australia’s best-known fashion brands, from Collette Dinnigan to sass & bide, Zimmermann, Akira, Scanlan & Theodore and Ginger & Smart.

What Myer had over DJs was the ‘wow’ factor. It was slick, it was simple, at the same time boasting state-of-the-art technology imported from London – and previously used in the Athens Olympics opening ceremony.

Far from overshadowing the production with bells and whistles however, it provided a dramatic backdrop to the clothes on show. Sixteen, metre-wide, illuminated white plinths were suspended over the runway like a canopy – only to be magically moved up and down via wires to form the “staircase” motif of Myer’s SS0708 campaign. Far more like a modern theatrical stage production than a fashion show.


While DJs has of course some great Australian fashion names, Myer is starting to collect its own very impressive designer stable.

Adding to its existing lineup that includes New Zealand’s Karen Walker and Kate Sylvester, our own Toni Maticevski, Leona Edmiston, Azzollini, Jets, the recently-defected-from DJs Jayson Brunsdon and hot new Thai brand Stretsis, Myer scored Australia’s top two new fashion scalps this season: Josh Goot and Yeojin Bae.

Goot opened the show with an impressive, abridged lineup from his collection shown three months ago in exactly the same venue (Redfern’s stark, industrial-look CarriageWorks – a decommissioned railway workshop).

These colour-blocked dresses and leggings looked sensational – the leggings shown off to their best advantage on the seemingly endless pins of another hot new Australian modelling star now working the international runways, Alexandra Agoston-O’Connor.

Bae’s sequence, by contrast, unfortunately did not maximise her best assets – even though that tuxedo jacket and microshorts looked sharp. This Melbourne-based Korean Australian, who sold to Barneys New York and London’s Selfridges in her first season last year, is in fact a dress specialist – it’s the only thing she started with last year and the dress remains the fulcrum of her subsequent collections.

Myer’s stylist instead chose a series of figure-hugging Yeojin Bae skirts and bustier tops, and one corset dress – baffling even Bae herself, who later told me that if she had styled it she would have layered the garments. We’ll get a chance to see Bae properly on Tuesday at a presentation inside Belinda Seper’s Corner Shop.


The trends? Yes of course more of the dress, the dress, the dress.

You have to ask, just how long can this trend continue? Well into our approaching summer and, according to northern hemisphere signs at least, through to next summer as well.

Myer has invested heavily in shift dresses, smock dresses and babydoll dresses – most in micro lengths – as well as plenty of maxi dresses.

My personal highlights were Goot’s colour-blocked body dresses (Goot has just picked up Lycra as a sponsor – so we’re going to be seeing a whole lotta Lycra his way very soon), Karen Walker’s ultra fresh shift dresses in poppy red and cobalt blue, Kate Sylvester’s micro-stripe corset dress, Nevenka’s retro-print, lace-trimmed smock dresses and Charlie Brown’s turquoise evening gowns. The brightly-coloured, cute-girl shorts and separates at Gorman and Arabella Ramsay looked hot. Manning Cartel’s futuristic, vinyl-embellished microdresses looked unfortunately like terribly cheap imitations of Burberry’s white-hot SS07 collection - one particular crystal-studded dress from which has appeared in countless editorial spreads internationally and on at least three covers.


Ponies got quite a big airing.

“Both shows had high ponies (read: ponytails) but Myer’s really bobbed around as they walked - DJs’ ponies were kind of sprayed to their heads” noted Sydney restaurateur Toby Osmond in a cab later.

“Look at that pony! That’s old-school!” squealed Sydney Confidential TV/Australia’s Next Top Model co-host, Jonathan Pease, throughout the show – referring quite specifically to Jennifer Hawkins’ highstepping runway style, commonly referred to as the “pony walk”.

“But you know, she’s not a real runway model – she’s a model model” I suggested politely.

“Well OBVIOUSLY” came Pease’s retort.

“What do you call that walk?” I asked Pease, pointing to one girl in the Azzollini swimwear section, who appeared to have major issues with the (clearly in some cases too-generous) shoe size and sauntered along like she had just emerged from some bizarre chiropractic manipulation session - or else was in dire need of same.

“Brokeback model” he replied.

A few other Pease reportage gems included “She’s going to pop a sneaker - shoes are too big!” (Matthew Eager) and “Eboni walks like she’s going to a fight” (Karen Walker).

As at DJs, the platform wedge was everywhere but unlike at the OS shows, which witnessed many a model stumble in these clodhoppers, no one missed a beat on this (or DJs) runway. Great to see that fabulous space-age silver cutout Pucci wedge that drifted right in front of my nose in Milan in September (I managed to sneak into a vacant front-row seat at the last minute). Whether Myer’s customers buy it, well, that’s the fourth piece of the fashion puzzle that we’ve yet to see.


Which brings me to a very interesting point about the differential between what designers show, what fashion writers report, what retailers actually buy – and after retailers have blown their budgets by backing particular trends and items, what the customer actually puts down money for. Or what goes onto the sale racks.

Over the past two nights we saw a lot of metallics, blue, white and black on both DJs and Myer’s runways, with some other vibrant shots of colour – including yellow. What we didn’t see a lot of was acid lime. Although all over Australian Fashion Week’s runways in May, acid lime only appeared once – in the Kirrily Johnston section at DJs.

Retailer reluctance to back this particular “hot” trend may perhaps have been best summed up by Mark Werts in Sydney in May.

Werts, the owner of US fashion chain American Rag, told me at the time:

“After 30 years in retail I can tell you one thing - lime just won’t sell”.

Original post and comments.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Erica factor: fashion to the maxi

So the first SS0708 “store wars” shot has been fired and with the dress continuing to be the biggest fashion story in the world right now, it was perhaps no surprise to see myriad dress styles last night on the David Jones runway at Fox Studios.

My personal faves included Willow’s cobalt blue evening gown with intricately draped bodice – which really did look magnificent when it emerged on another one of the fashion world’s hottest stories at the moment, 18-year-old Australian model Catherine McNeil.

Also of note the knit dresses by New Zealand label Sabatini in their first sortie in DJs’ summer showcase (Sabatini has only ever previously appeared in the winter show – some may recall the label’s silk velours peacock ponchos from a couple of seasons ago, as ripped off pronto by Charlie Brown, among others), Easton Pearson’s fresh white shift dress with bead embellishment and a particularly striking tiered, bugle-beaded, pewter cocktail dress by Collette Dinnigan.

But amongst all the dress styles on DJs’ runway, it was interesting to see just how quickly the ‘maxi’ dress has been so heartily embraced here this season.

Yes of course it has been big news in the northern hemisphere this summer past and I did recently muse that what goes up inevitably comes Downunder so I don’t why I was surprised. And it’s not like there weren’t any of these floor-length neo boho frocks on the Australian Fashion week runways in May. Think Kirrily Johnston’s acid lime versions – one example of which had a star turn last night in Johnston’s section of the show.

The maxi, or ‘patio’, dress has also been on the horizon for several seasons. Leona Edmiston has had them in her dress-dedicated repertoire for quite some time. Some may also recall the Australian Fashion Week solo catwalk debut of up-and-coming Sydney label Milich & Morton in May 2005. That show closed with a fab, finely-striped blue and white maxi dress – which the designers later told me was snapped up in multiples as bridesmaids’ dresses for a wedding. A fortnight later Paris Hilton looked fresh and uncharacteristically demure at the Cannes Film Festival in a fruit print Roberto Cavalli maxi dress.

I guess one of the chief distinguishing factors – and for the less confident, key worries – of this look is that it’s a full-length dress that is really designed to be worn in the middle of the day as, in spite of its full-length hemline, it’s really a bit too casual for eveningwear.

To this end I can’t help feeling that our very own Erica Baxter (pictured above by Edmond Terakopian) may play a significant part in what could well emerge as the SS0708 Australian mainstreaming of the maxi dress. Who didn’t see the images of Baxter in her Kelly green/turquoise/white scarf print Roberto Cavalli maxi, striding along the boardwalk outside the Cote d’Azur’s Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, en route to the Paloma Beach party, the day before her wedding to Australian billionaire James Packer? Let’s call them the “Jerica” nuptials.

In one of those fascinating moments of sartorial synchronicity, the Cote d’Azur just happens to be the theme of DJs spring/summer campaign launch and as Megan Gale told Fully Chic last night backstage before the show, the DJs team was in fact holed up on the Cote d’Azur at exactly the same time as the Jerica wedding – a stone’s throw from the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, apparently, because Gale said she could see Packer’s Arctic P boat moored nearby. A shot of Paloma Beach - sans TomKat generously smiling for the world’s paparazzi at the end of the pier, sadly - also appeared on the DJs show invite.

The average Australian would no doubt prefer to spend six figures on an apartment, as opposed to a Christian Dior haute couture wedding frock, as did Baxter, but look, at least they can have the next best thing – a maxi dress from DJs (although by everyone other than Roberto Cavalli, as that’s a brand DJs doesn’t stock). Although hilariously dubbed a “Gunnedah tablecloth” in The Sunday Tele a few days after the wedding, Baxter really did look a billion dollars in hers.

Original post and comments.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Spring sprung! Fashion gets fully loaded on

Well hello. You’re looking at the first post in the first day of the life of Fully Chic.

Does the world need another fashion blog, I hear you ask? Good question. We’re about to find out, I imagine. To the many of you who don’t know me from a bar of soap, I’m a Sydney-based fashion journalist (and the Australasian correspondent for Women’s Wear Daily in the US) and I was first inducted into the blogging ranks last year. Greetings to all of you, both serious fashion watchers and fashion dabblers.

Everyone’s opinion counts so please, don’t be shy. Feel free to make comments and sink your teeth into the topics. Many of these comments will no doubt inspire future discussions. To those of you who do know me, nice to see you again. I look forward to hearing all of your views and comments. I can’t promise that the fashion industry is going to be thrilled with everything that goes on in here. But I can guarantee they will be checking in - and that we’re going to have fun.

This is a great time, in fact, to be kicking off a new fashion blog. For Australian readers tonight marks the kickoff of a veritable spring/summer odyssey. Yes I know we first saw the Australian/New Zealand spring/summer 07/08 collections at Australian Fashion Week in Sydney in May. But with buyers having picked the eyes out of those and other ranges, from tonight we’re going to see what trends the big retailers actually backed. I’m talking of course about Australian department stores. Thanks to Sydney’s hilarious, and clearly neverending, “store wars”, the David Jones and Myer parades over the next few nights will give us a peek at what’s going to be in store.

Most of which merchandise both stores of course dearly wish you’ll rush in to grab at full price. But some of which realistically - global warming and Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan’s prolific, highly influential wardrobe malfunctions notwithstanding - is going to be marked down on those sale racks faster than you can say: “They weren’t my jeans officer”.

September 4 of course, just four weeks away, sees the launch of the northern hemisphere’s spring/summer 2008 shows. The madness! The egos! The wheeled-out, and occasionally also clapped-out, celebrities! Oh yes, and of course, the fashion. Starting in New York, the season then rolls on to London, Milan and Paris. Will we be there? Just try and keep us away.

Fully Chic has already had two test runs of the unabridged northern hemisphere shows circuit and we’re addicted. Stand by for your ringside seats at the world’s greatest fashion circus.

Then for the first time and in a move that’s going to surely test the mettle of anyone who is covering the Paris shows sur place, our very own fashion week supremo (IMG Asia Pacific managing director) Simon Lock, has decided to repatriate his “Transseasonal” Australian Fashion Week showcase from its five-year base of Melbourne – where, let’s face it, the younger, originally autumn/winter-branded AFW barely had a pulse - to Sydney, the birthplace of the event’s now 11-year-old, bursting-at-the-seams spring/summer showcase.

Yes we all know the real reason is because the Victorian Government decided not to renew its five-year contract with IMG. That’s hardly surprising - Melbourne already has enough fashion events.

But the big questions now of course are, does the industry need a second collections showcase? Will more people participate if this event is held in Sydney? And will those who stayed for the last – and traditionally, biggest – day of the Paris shows, October 7th, be able to keep their eyes open once AFW’s three-day, newly-rebranded “Transseasonal” showcase commences two days later at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal? The good news is of course that for once, Australians will be able to blame any show nod-offs on chronic jet lag.

Gladiators and gladiatrixes of the fashion blogosphere, I welcome and salute you. Let the shenanigans begin…

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