Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Are you being Serged? Patrizio di Renzo's hands-down Lutens homage

patrizio di renzo via fashion copious

Interesting to see all the blog gushing over a new set of heavily-styled images authored by Italian photographer Patrizio di Renzo for Swiss jeweller Majo Fruithof and starring Dutch supermod Iekeliene Stange, herself a photographer as it happens. Frockwriter was up until this point unfamiliar with di Renzo's work. We are however extremely well acquainted with the oeuvre of the award-winning French photographer Serge Lutens, the erstwhile creative director of Christian Dior Beauté and latterly, Shiseido, who created some of the most memorable beauty images of the late 20th century. And to whose work the Majo Fruithof images bear an alarming resemblance. But please, don't take frockwriter's word for it.

Compare and contrast for yourself the above Majo Fruithof image with this Serge Lutens image, created some time during the 1980s for Shiseido:

serge lutens via lumière

Here is yet another Majo Fruithof image:

patrizio di renzo via fashion copious

And voilà a Serge Lutens original, also for Shiseido:

serge lutens via lumière

Yet more Majo Fruithof:

patrizio di renzo via fashion copious

And more Lutens:

serge lutens via

Frockwriter is not sure what possible explanation there could be for the striking similarities between the model poses, black clown leotards and heavily stylised makeup that feature in both Lutens' work and that of di Renzo for Maja Fruithof. It's uncanny, really it is.

Much of Lutens' work is easily sourced online and via the 1998 Editions Assouline monograph Serge Lutens. Here is the cover:

serge lutens via

And here is a little more Patrizio di Renzo/Majo Fruithof for the road:

patrizio di renzo via fashion copious

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And so this is Christmas

A quick Christmas thank-you to everyone who has checked in to this blog since it first went live on July 4. And particularly, to those who continue to check back into it on a regular basis and who have left comments, loved, hated, followed, talked about, talked up, tipped – and of course, linked. Mr Google Analytics says you hail from 136 countries and that in five months, you generated some 140,000 clicks. The bulk of it in the last couple of months, as the blog started to gather (a fraction of) momentum. It is still veeeeery early days of course. However I just wanted to thank you and say that your interest, comments, feedback, support – and even ripoffs – keep me motivated. Beyond regular readers, a couple of special shoutouts.

Firstly, to those who have singled out the blog, and/or this blogger, for mention on their blogs and interviews - in some cases time and time again. Your camaraderie and generosity really do restore my faith in the fashion media.

First and foremost, blogstar Bryanboy and the great unsung heroine of Oz fashion blogging, Helen Lee of Sassybella. Also Julie Fredrickson, Sonny Vandevelde, Matt ‘Imelda’ Jordan, Isaac Hindin Miller, Mike Hyunh, Erica Bartle, Paul Hayes and the peeps at PedestrianTV.

Secondly, to those on whose blogrolls frockwriter is nestled – and in several cases, alongside some very fast blog company.

They include Danny Roberts/Igor + Andre, Sophie Ward/Paper Castle Press, onehundredfiftytwo, 212 Dressing Room, I Am Not Expensive, Nicole Kidman's Forehead, Fashion Doohickey, Seventh Avenue Australia, Karen Magazine, Cantilevered Style, Tropic Girl, Fashion Herald, Wee Birdy, Clarence, Kara Craig, The Likkle Girl Who Wurves Pretty Things, 123 BAM!, Cirol and The Happy Laboratory. I know I have left one or two out.

And lastly, the big-hitters who are not already mentioned above. Thanks for the link love - and traffic.

From Fashionologie to, New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, BlackBook, The UK Telegraph, Computerworld, The National Business Review – and Grazia (UK), which just picked up last week's Jessica Clarke story.

Have a wonderful Christmas guys, wherever you may be. And a very happy, healthy, safe and peaceful New Year.

I leave you with some Christmas cheer from vinylista Blythe.

Picture: Screengrab/BlytheTheatre.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Year of Living Bryanously

style magazine via bryanboy

If you build it... they will cast? That could turn out to be the motto of Filipino net sensation (and frockwriter buddy) Bryanboy, as he caps what in his own words has been a “surreal” 2008. Last week he made WWD’s 'Year In Fashion' supplement, as one of the ‘fashion moments’ of 2008. Overnight, he's been dubbed one of the Top 25 Faces of 2008 by high-profile model industry blog Confessions of a Casting Director, alongside some of the hottest new model names, including Australia's Abbey Lee Kershaw. Oh and Carla Bruni.

Bryanboy has been blogging for four years and was already on the media ascendant prior to 2008, not to mention the radar of the luxury industry – after model poses in a series of Fendi ads in 2006 bore a striking resemblance to his trademark Infamous Bryanboy Pose.

However his star rose in 2008 thanks to Marc Jacobs.

Bryanboy created an amusing video homage to Jacobs, following a spate of late 2007 media attacks on the designer over the tardiness of his fashion shows.

In appreciation, Jacobs thanked Bryanboy via email – and then in February this year, was photographed backstage at one of his Fall/Winter 08/09 shows in New York holding up an “I love Bryanboy” poster.

Then an email from Jacobs to Bryanboy, promising to call an ostrich skin handbag from the main collection after the blogger, was leaked via a Bryanboy friend and found itself all over the net.

After months of speculation, Jacobs made good on the promise, sending Bryanboy the actual handbag prototype from the show.

Confirmation that Jacobs had named the bag after Bryanboy resulted in a veritable avalanche of publicity.

Bryanboy made his first international Fashion Week foray at Australian Fashion Week - contrary to reports at the time, flying himself down (although, along with other international VIPs, he was put up at The Westin by organisers).

And while some of the event’s other international VIPs, notably reps from The Financial Times and Nylon, have complained about being accorded bad seats at AFW shows, Bryanboy found himself front row at almost every show.

Next off the bat was Hong Kong Luxury Week, followed by New Zealand and KL Fashion Weeks, all apparently attended as an invited media guest.

style magazine via bryanboy

Of the plethora of interviews done by Bryanboy in the wake of the Marc Jacobs story, the December 2008 edition of Singaporean fashion magazine Style represented a turning point.

Not only was Bryanboy interviewed for the magazine, but also styled and photographed, as a model would be, for a series of accompanying images – whilst wearing a mélange of mens' and womens' clothes.

It must have killed him to take off his trademark sunglasses – he usually never likes being photographed without them.

What emerged - to those who don't know him - was a beautiful face.

Put it down to the emerging power of the blogosphere, the Asian fashion explosion – not forgetting fashion’s androgynous moment - is a scathingly brilliant idea whose time has come.

Was the Marc Jacobs bag story a fortuitous happenstance, motivated by nothing more than genuine mutual admiration?

Or was Bryanboy the unwitting star of a very clever viral marketing campaign?

Either way, he is the only person on COACD’s list who is not a professional model.

Let’s see what 2009 brings...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Abbey Lee's Gucci x 3

Such as been the meteoric modelling rise of Abbey Lee Kershaw in 2008, it is proving tricky trying to keep tabs on her gigs. Two weeks ago this blog corrected a post which originally reported that Kershaw had been booked for three Gucci campaigns in 2008: Fall/Winter 0809, Resort 09 and the new Gucci Flora fragrance campaign. At the time, Kershaw's Sydney mother agency, Chic Management, did not let on that Kershaw was in the midst of shooting a new Gucci campaign - and in fact there was some genuine confusion over her Gucci work. So we changed Kershaw's Gucci ad tally back to two. We should have left the post intact. Because behold Kershaw, on Gucci’s website, in Cruise 09 campaign/catalogue images, alongside Brit star Lily Donaldson.

Now it remains to be seen if the Gucci shoot that took place a fortnight ago was for Cruise 09, or something else...

UPDATE 01/01/09: ABBEY LEE'S GUCCI x 4 via TFS

"Sydney Fashion Week" video a mystery to Sydney Fashion Week

Anyone scratching their head about this "Sydney Fashion Week" video that has just started doing a net whiparound, purportedly authored by UK-based creative director James Warfield, rest assured, you are not alone. Although picked up by Kanye West and a swag of other bloggers, the film did not ring any bells to frockwriter – or, for that matter, Australian Fashion Week founder Simon Lock who, you’d figure, would have a clue. “Maybe he’s got his fashion timings and his Fashion Weeks mixed up” said Lock. As it turns out, the film was created by a Sydney-based film production company called Engine for a February 2005 fashion show staged by Australian department store Myer - at a time when Warfield was working for Engine as an animator. The extent of Warfield's involvement in the film remains to be seen.

UPDATE 21/12 @ 9.30AM The video has since been removed by Warfield from his Vimeo and other accounts, but obviously not quickly enough to avoid reproduction on other online video services, such as the one used by Kanye West (linked above). Although the comments have now also been removed, in two separate web forums yesterday Warfield mentioned that he worked on the video at Engine for two weeks, including weekends.

Warfield describes himself as a creative director of the Leicester, UK-based creative agency Un.Titled.

On his personal website, Warfield lists the video under the banner of “Sydney Fashion Week”, with accompanying graphics describing it as:

“Fashion Week Launch Film Sydney”

A quick glance at what appears to be Warfield’s Vimeo video account provides the following additional information about the video:
Open the Sydney Autumn/Winter fashion show.

Blizzards, glass trees and people dressed in snow geese outfits. This film created to open the catwalk extravaganza fitted right in. After presenting initial concepts to the client, I pulled together eclectic footage, abstract elements and music in a restrictive time frame.

The film set the scene for one of the most glamorous events in the Sydney couture calendar.

In fact, the video was initially created as a backdrop for Myer’s autumn/winter 05 fashion show in February 2005, to coincide with the release of the new winter merchandise in-store.

The event had nothing to do with Australian Fashion Week, the high profile wholesale collections showcase, whose spring/summer edition takes place at Sydney's Overseas Passenger Terminal each May.

The video production was sub-contracted to Engine by the Myer show's production team, helmed by creative director Tony Assness, in collaboration with Victoria and Robert Fisher.

According to Victoria Fisher, Tony Assness sourced the music and directed the clip, which was produced by Engine executive producer Alastair Stephen and creative director Finnegan Spencer. The video is included on Engine's website, as well as that of the Fishers' company, Production Stuff.

Warfield was part a team that worked on the video and may have used footage from his own showreel, said Fisher, who added that Warfield did not liaise with Myer.

Warfield was uncontactable at time of filing.

On Warfield's above-linked Vimeo account, a poster who goes by the name of "Robert Fisher" has just left the following comment:

"Nice animation James to bad it's not for Fashion Week, it was for Myer, I'd love to know which client you spoke to. What about all the other people who worked on this job from Engine they made you look good".

Meanwhile, although this Myer video and AFW might not be connected, there is as it happens a connection between Myer, the Assness/Fisher amalgam and AFW – the bitter history of which makes the mistaken attribution of the video to "Sydney Fashion Week" all the more amusing.

Assness and the Fishers mounted a series of on-schedule, off-site AFW fashion shows from 2002-2005.

Although amongst the most spectacular shows ever witnessed at the event, the trio's off-site show schedule, eventually staged at the Wharf 3 container terminal, became mired in controversy over sponsorship issues.

In 2003, advertising collateral for Volkswagon proved problematic with the main event's naming rights sponsor Mercedes.

In one hilarious incident, Lock was accused of diverting a busload of delegates who were en route between the two venues, until the Volkswagon signage was removed.

Champagne sponsor Moet later jumped ship to the off-site event.

After calling crisis talks with the industry in early 2004 over the future of his eight year-old - and by that stage, cash-strapped - main event (which was acquired by IMG in October 2005), Lock eventually forced Assness and the Fishers off-schedule that year.

Initially proposed as the principle sponsor of the 2004 Wharf 3 shows, Myer got cold feet and plans for a full-scale off-site show schedule collapsed.

The trio continued to work on Myer's season launch shows.

Their last AFW show was Michelle Jank's off-schedule, off-site show in May 2005 - they did not work on Jank's AFW homecoming show in May this year, which coincidentally, had its own spectacular video backdrop, produced by Daniel Askill:

But Jank recently talked about her efforts to hook Assness up in Europe...

Coco pops down

Oh So Coco

Frockwriter mentioned that the world number three moddle Coco Rocha was en route to Australia for a two month summer sojourn. Well OK, she's here. And judging by this shot just posted on her blog, she looks to be staying somewhere near the Toaster. Rocha reveals that she's travelling with her mum and slept for the first day. Which means, what... she didn't travel first class?

Two of our partners in crime - Bryanboy and Sonny Vandevelde - left comments, with Sunster offering to give Rocha a mini tour of Sydney. And BB describing Sydney as a "clean" city.

There's also a comment from one "Clover Moore" which says:

"Welcome to Sydney Coco! Make sure you visit Redleaf beach, go out on Oxford St, eat breakfast at Cafe Julia and dinner at Icebergs at least once before you leave".

No idea if it's the real Moore.

In the remote event it is, does that mean Sydney's Lord Mayor reads frockwriter??

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tiah Eckhardt bares it all (again) for French Playboy

playboy france via 89 celebrities

In October frockwriter mentioned that Perth expat Tiah Eckhardt may be about to clock up yet another nude editorial – this time in the prestigious French edition of Playboy. Et voilà Eckhardt in all her glory, as no less than Playboy's December/January Playmate. Complete with bunny ears.

playboy france via 89 celebrities

The editorial, ahem, spread, is entitled Russian Doll and comes with the following blurb (translated from the French):

"At once retro and modern, 50s and 80s, Tiah mixes genres and mocks eras. She is a veritable pinup who knows how to play with her body and look. This is one living doll".

An attached Playmate questionnaire includes the following info from Eckhardt:

Next to the question "Women I admire", the 22 year-old has noted:

"My mother for her kindness, Dita von Teese for her style and Bette Davis for her attitude".

And next to "Ambition", comes the response:

"Dominate the world"

playboy france via 89 celebrities

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Coco Rocha: Ready for her Oz closeup

screen grab/

Now that Abbie Cornish and Ryan Phillippe have buggered off to, frockwriter hopes for their sakes, some pastoral bolthole that’s light years from any public thoroughfares and prying long-range lenses, Sydney’s stalkerazzi must be making lists of potential summer targets. Although a current face of YSL fragrance, Christian Dior and Chanel, Canadian Coco Rocha, the world number three ranked working model - and new redhead - is no household name in Australia. But like so many other models these days, who can’t seem to get enough face time during their working hours that they’re posting yet more kerr-azy shots of themselves and their – in some cases incoherent – ramblings on Facebook and their own blogs, one might assume that Rocha would be up for whatever Fawcett and co can dish out. Rocha told WWD last week, "I'm going to Australia for two months where no one can find me”. That’s what she thinks.

On Saturday, Rocha told readers of her new blog Oh So Coco!, “I'm not going to leave the beach until I return to New York”.

That should narrow things down.

In case of any ID problems, here’s Rocha’s official website.

And an amusing video, a kind of hybrid Cobrasnake/Sonnyphotos video/photoblog, in which she attention whores it with South African mate Behati Prinsloo and other sundry supes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Bryan" Phillippe gets yet another taste of Sydney's pap frenzy via gossip girls

It was difficult trying to talk to Abbie Cornish's beau Ryan Phillippe at last night's Calvin Klein bash. Or should we say "Bryan" Phillippe? After one photographer on the red carpet kept calling out "Bryan" each time he requested Phillippe turn his way. But frockwriter snuck in a couple of Qs. Was Phillippe surprised by Sydney's gung-ho snappers, who, earlier in the day, we had witnessed stake out the hotel? Phillippe laughed it off, replying, "Not really - to tell you the truth nothing would surprise me anymore". A few hours later, as it emerges, as Phillippe and Cornish arrived back at the Park Hyatt, Phillippe was involved in an altercation with a pap contingent. Jamie Fawcett's name has been mentioned, and certainly in some of the ensuing shots, that looks to be Fawcett in the blue T-shirt. Police reportedly were called - and while a shot of a police car is visible in some shots, NSW Police says that it has no record of any such callout, or indeed incident, in the vicinity that night. Phillippe also reportedly called out, "We're tired and I'm drunk", however the exact source is unclear. This has not made much difference to the raft of celebrity gossip blogs that have picked up the story, painting the incident as an unprovoked attack.

Calvin Klein might want to reconsider its accommodation options for the next VIP visits the company organises in Sydney.

The Park Hyatt, whilst offering breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour, seems far too exposed on multiple sides for high profile guests who are likely to be bothered in this way.

Today, the hotel was said to be still crawling with photographers, with one photographer's four-strong posse reportedly carefully vetting all cars as they exited the hotel's underground carpark, looking for Cornish/Phillippe getaway clues.

What is this, the Gestapo?

"It's like shooting wildlife" lamented one frustrated rival. "Wildlife photographers don't walk up to their subjects waving their arms and cameras. You keep your distance, using long-range lenses, if you're good at it noone would even know you are there".

On the red carpet last night, nearly every interviewer asked Cornish whether she was, as widely speculated, taking Phillippe back to her parents' Hunter Valley farm for Christmas.

The nanosecond the question was asked, a PR cut the interviewer off and shunted Cornish to the next person on the line.

Cornish and Phillippe are now said to have departed Sydney.

Let's hope that wherever they have gone, it's a long way from any public access thoroughfares and that they get to enjoy some downtime in peace and quiet.

I wouldn't count on it however.


Calvin Klein's latest obsession?


Meet Jessica Clarke. She’s a 15 year-old Kiwi, has been modelling for a mere month and says she already has an upcoming cover of Australia’s Frankie magazine in the bag (UPDATE 17/12 3.20pm: the Jan/Feb 09 issue, which came out today, funnily enough). Well it seems there's a chance Clarke might find herself with something a little bigger than Frankie on her agenda. Like, say, Calvin. That’s if rave reviews by Kevin Carrigan, the creative director of Calvin Klein, ck Calvin Klein and Calvin Klein Jeans, are anything to go by.

clyne models

New York-based, Carrigan was in town for last night’s Calvin Klein party on Cockatoo Island, on Sydney Harbour.

After a two-day casting session, Carrigan flew Clarke to Sydney, booking her as one of 40 Australian and NZ models to take part in a static presentation within the party venue.

Wearing CK Calvin Klein collection, jeans, lingerie and eyewear, the models – who included Australians Stephanie Carta and Tallulah Morton - were positioned in and around three quite spectacular ‘lightscapes’, created by Australian Aboriginal artist Jonathan Jones.

Frockwriter had a quick chat with Clarke at the party afterwards.

clyne models

But here is what Carrigan had to say about her in an interview I did with him earlier in the afternoon.

Carrigan was talking about the casting session and what the company was specifically looking for.

“I was looking for more fresh faces. I think that’s what we’re about as a house as well. I think that we’re always about trying to discover somebody. And there’s one girl in particular... I feel we might have. I hadn’t seen her before we flew her in and there was this little video [made by her agency, Clyne Models] and she was literally walking in a backyard. It was so cool. To see like a runway showreel. She’s only been modelling a month, this was kind of like her second job. Because I liked the reel and I thought also, you get fresh, beautiful, just really... lots of energy too she has, which is really nice. It’s also about personality, especially with jeans - it’s denim”.

The CK Calvin Klein womens collection is due to be showcased in Milan in March.

Let's wait and see what transpires...


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Pap Hyatt

paparazzo guy finlay/sonny vandevelde

Hilarious scenes at the harbour-hugging Park Hyatt Hotel this afternoon, as Sonny Vandevelde and I trekked down to chat to Calvin Klein pres/ceo Tom Murry and ck Calvin Klein and Calvin Klein Jeans creative director Kevin Carrigan. Walked through the front door and smack bang into Abbie Cornish and Ryan Phillippe - who is quite surprisingly petite in person. They were being briefed by the company's head PR Malcolm Carfrae as to where to best slot in a quick bit of sight-seeing. Carfrae, a New York-based Australian, evidently had not counted on Sydney's resourceful pap posse and directed them to the boardwalk outside the hotel. Five minutes later, as we were seated inside one of the restaurants, Cornish and Phillippe were back in the bosom of the CK entourage, looking for safe haven. Their problem? The boardwalk was crawling with paps.

Too busy talking to Murry and Carrigan to notice where the high profile duo headed after that. Somehow frockwriter doubts it was outside.

As Sonny and I later emerged from the hotel, yet more paparazzi were staking out the front of the hotel.

Included among them, Guy Finlay (^), on a large motorbike - and the infamous Jamie Fawcett in a silver SUV.

Fawcett was the chief protagonist in a high profile defamation suit last year against the Fairfax newspaper group.

Nicole Kidman was the star witness, claiming Fawcett planted a listening device outside her Darling Point home in January 2005 and basically made her life hell, recklessly pursuing her by car on repeated occasions across Sydney.

Although a court initially found Fawcett had been defamed by The Sun Herald newspaper - which described him as "Sydney's most disliked freelance photographer" - earlier this year the NSW Supreme Court dismissed Fawcett's bid for compensation, ordering that Fairfax had proven the claims and that the coverage had been in the public interest. Fawcett was ordered to pay Fairfax's substantial legal costs.

Apparently it's not only Nicole Kidman who has issues with Fawcett.

"We call him The Dark Side" quipped one rival outside The Hyatt.

Promises to be interesting tonight.

Access to Cockatoo Island may be exclusively by water, however Calvin Klein doesn't own the harbour.


Tallulah takes the veil

marcus ohlsson/velvet via TFS

And not before time. In July, Tallulah Morton’s mother agency in Sydney told frockwriter the then 16 year-old had a good shot at the August/September cover of indie Italian fashion magazine Velvet. That cover did not eventuate - and nor did Morton’s Spring/Summer 2009 runway season, which came to an abrupt halt after the New York leg. Four months later, after consecutive editorials in the magazine’s September and October editions, Morton has finally made Velvet’s January 2009 cover. Not yet out on the stands, this represents her first international magazine cover.

Thanks to The Fashion Spot for the scan – and Guillaume at the Marilyn agency in Paris for double-confirming that the Marcus Ohlsson shot is in fact Morton.

Given that her face is covered by a veil, it’s a little hard to tell.

Marilyn reports that Morton shot 15-18 pages of editorial with Ohlsson for this issue.

How much appears in the published edition remains to be seen, however the cover shot looks to have come from this lingerie editorial, which is similarly styled with a scarf wrapped around Morton’s face (somewhat reminiscent of the Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb fragrance ad campaign).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ryan Phillippe gets a taste of Sydney’s pap frenzy girls

Boy, is he in for a fun time. Here is Phillippe arriving at Sydney airport yesterday and being hurried off to a waiting car by gf Abbie Cornish. Pending the stature of the celeb, and the mode of arrival, it is possible to be whisked through discreetly. But then, with airport contacts on Sydney pap payrolls, it’s hard to be invisible in this town. More than one highprofiler – from Heath Ledger to Nicole Kidman - has railed against the Oz paparazzi contingent. Phillippe is in town for tomorrow night’s Calvin Klein party, which Cornish is hosting.

It's a massive do for 400 on Cockatoo Island, an erstwhile convict prison - and access to which is exclusively by water.

A fleet of CK execs are in town. And while the guest list might so far be light on big international names beyond Phillippe and Cornish, fashion-centric Australian-ites who are due to touch down include Brana Wolf, models Alexandra Agoston-O’Connor, Elyse Taylor, Gail Elliott and Australia’s Next Top Model 2009 host Sarah Murdoch.

Oh and Mark Ronson.

Gemma Ward was one name initially mooted as a potential host for this gig – given her CK perfume connections. Which would have been interesting.

Either way, it promises to be a big night. I’ll be there with Sonny Vandevelde, covering for WWD.

We'll keep you posted.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Josh Goot on-schedule again at LFW - with Sienna Miller


Oh my, the countdown to the Fall/Winter 09/10 season has already begun. Just how many designers will be swapping regular runway shows for more cost-effective, scaled-down "presentations", remains to be seen. In a demonstration, however, that not everyone in the fashion business is in dire financial straits at the moment - or that there's still a surprising volume of sponsor cash still floating around - London Fashion Week released its provisional schedule a few hours ago. And it's one of the busiest London schedules that frockwriter can in fact recall. Australia's Josh Goot is back again on-schedule for the second consecutive season at 12.15pm on Tuesday 24th February. One of the more interesting additions to join Goot and London's regular ready-to-wear retinue will be the international runway debut of Twenty8Twelve: the hybrid label from style-savvy British actor Sienna Miller and her fashion designer sister Savannah.

Here's the draft schedule:

Friday 20th February
10.00 Paul Costelloe BFC Tent
11.30 Caroline Charles BFC Tent
13.30 Jenny Packham BFC Tent
15.00 Eun Jeong * BFC Tent
17.00 Ashish TBC
19.30 Central Saint Martins BFC Tent

Saturday 21st February
9.00 Kinder Aggugini W1
10.00 Graeme Black W1
11.15 Margaret Howell W1
12.15 John Rocha BFC Tent
13.30 Charles Anastase WC1
14.30 Unique TS/NW1
15.45 PPQ BFC Tent
16.45 Nathan Jenden TBC
18.00 Armand Basi One SW3
19.15 Peter Jensen TS/NW1
19.15 Ann Sofie-Back TS/NW1
20.30 Vivienne Westwood Red Label TBC

Sunday 22nd February
9.15 Betty Jackson TBC
10.15 Todd Lynn TS/NW1
11.15 Nicole Farhi WC2
12.30 Sinha Stanic TBC
13.30 Christopher Kane*** TS/NW1
14.45 Aquascutum SW3
15.45 Eley Kishimoto BFC Tent
16.45 Richard Nicoll TS/NW1
17.45 Danielle Scutt** TS/NW1
19.00 Jaeger LondonBFC Tent
21.00 Twenty8Twelve TBC
TBC Amanda Wakeley TBC
TBC Modernist TBC

Monday 23rd February
9.00 Ossie Clark BFC Tent
10.00 Luella W1 TBC
11.00 Erdem*** TBC
12.15 Julien Macdonald W1
13.15 Marios Schwab*** TS/NW1
14.30 Jasper Conran SW7
15.30 Roksanda Ilincic TBC
16.45 Louise Goldin** TS/NW1
17.45 Giles WC1
19.00 Paul Smith W1
20.00 Issa BFC Tent
11-17.00 Mulberry W1

Tuesday 24th February
9.00 Mark Fast** BFC Tent
9.00 Mary Katrantzou** BFC Tent
10.00 Duro Olowu SW7
11.15 Fashion East BFC Tent
12.15 Josh Goot TBC
13.30 Peter Pilotto** BFC Tent
14.30 Meadham Kirchhoff** BFC Tent
15.45 Osman Yousefzada TBC
16.45 Nasir Mazhar** BFC Tent
18.00 Bora Aksu SW7
19.00 House of Holland** TBC
20.00 Kisa London BFC Tent

Wednesday 25th February
11.00 MAN TBC

Show date & timing TBC:
Basso & Brooke

Presentation date & timing TBC:
Aminaka Wilmont
Antoni & Alison

*** BFC Fashion Forward supported by LDA
** BFC New Gen sponsored by TOPSHOP
* Fashion Fringe at Covent Garden winner 2008


Friday, December 12, 2008

Runway to reality: Runway Reporter shutdown blogger vindicated, fired – after being retrenched

Isaac Hindin Miller [L], Jordan Rondel and Bryanboy @ NZ Fashion Week, Sep 16/bryanboy

Three days after word leaked from within ACP Media that the Auckland-based company was about to shutter websites, starting with the high profile fashion site Runway Reporter, the online home of Fashion Quarterly magazine, The New Zealand Herald reports today that the company has retrenched “8-10” staff and is shuttering three sites, Runway Reporter, and - with and to be outsourced to JV partner, The websites of the “Trader” division, which includes the titles Auto Trader, Deals on Wheels, Motorcyle Trader and News, Trade-a-Boat and Buy, Sell & Exchange remain unaffected. The report comes two days after Dykzeul told Fairfax NZ news portal that the claims, as reported on NZ blog Isaac Likes, were “defamatory and incorrect”. In an interesting twist to the saga, 24 year-old Isaac Likes blogger Isaac Hindin Miller now finds himself out of a job. That is, out of a day job. Hindin Miller, who has been working as market editor for the AGM Publishing-owned Urbis magazine, was summarily dismissed yesterday with zero benefits and marched to the door by publisher Parul Sheopuri. Coincidentally, yesterday’s incident - which sounds like the kind of treatment that is usually meted out to high powered execs privy to sensitive company data - unfolded a matter of hours before Hindin Miller’s own redundancy consultation was due to take place.

On Monday, Hindin Miller was informed that his own position was being made redundant.

Frockwriter contacted AGM Publishing and was told by Parul Sheopuri that Hindin Miller's contractual arrangement with the company came to an end yesterday because he "posted comments about a competitor of AGM, during business hours".

Convenient, of course, that AGM Publishing does now not have to give Hindin Miller severance pay.

Unfortunately, just as frockwriter was attempting to ask one last question - specifically about the redundancy - Sheopuri hung up.

It should be noted that AGM Publishing was well aware of Hindin Miller’s blog, as it has been active for eight months.

The blog has covered several other media stories in recent months, including a discussion of media ethics.

As for the NZ Herald’s coverage today, it is interesting to note that the ACP Media story was neither a news story, nor even the lead story of the paper's ‘Tsars in their eyes’ media column penned by John Drinnan.

The ACP Media story is placed towards the end of the column, with the reference to ACP Media having “pulled the red carpet from under its fashion website" buried at the very end of the piece, almost as an afterthought.

Frockwriter can’t help thinking that it might have been a different matter had the NZ Herald had the story first.

Three mainstream New Zealand media outlets picked this story up the minute it broke:, Computerworld and The National Business Review.

It is not clear whether, at time of filing, the NZ Herald had a copy of today's ACP Media press release.

Beyond choosing to run the Runway Reporter information towards the end of the article, the newspaper also quotes Paul Dykzeul as saying that Runway Reporter is being "largely disassembled".

And yet the lead paragraph of the NZ Herald story stated:

"ACP New Zealand has pulled back from its digital strategy, scrapping and from next month".

In the ACP Media press release, Paul Dykzeul is quoted as saying:

"The websites, and would not continue in their present format beyond mid January".

The press release also states that:

"[Sydney-based] ACP Magazines and MSN New Zealand will jointly develop new opportunities in the Fashion and Home and Garden areas, to be delivered as part of MSN's expanding Lifestyle channel".

Frockwriter understands that at least one NZ media outlet is interested in Hindin Miller's story.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ACP Media: Denies websites are shutting, but confirms consultations with staff

An update on yesterday’s Runway Reporter story. ACP Media ceo Paul Dykzeul has just told Fairfax New Zealand’s news portal that claims by an unnamed ACP Media source that the company is to shutter its websites, starting with Runway Reporter, and make eight staff redundant, are “defamatory and incorrect”. Dykzeul did not clarify precisely which information was incorrect, but said the company would release a statement tomorrow. Up until midday today, Dykzeul was not returning anyone’s calls – including frockwriter’s. ACP Media group publisher Debra Millar has however proven more helpful in communicating with, confirming that the company is in consultations with staff, adding that “It’s premature to be making any announcements”.

Debra Millar described claims that 12 staff were to be made redundant as “incorrect”.

As readers may recall however, the figure cited by the original source was eight staff, not 12.

ACP Media’s head of digital Lee Williams tells Computerworld that the company is “always reviewing operations” and is in fact planning expansion, with work in development for ACP Australia.

Computerworld nevertheless cites two additional sources who claim that redundancies are occurring at ACP Media and that websites are to be closed.

River Phoenix lookalike model dies. Eight weeks later, now we know why

A sad – and some might say inevitable – conclusion to the story of 20 year-old American fashion model Randy Johnston, a former Dior Homme advertising star, who died in mysterious circumstances on October 11. Beyond web gossip - which included numerous anonymous comments left on this blog, which I was unable to put up at the time - no official cause of death has hitherto been provided. And there was good reason for that: the Medical Examiner in Hartford, Connecticut, which was Johnston’s home state and the location of his death, took some time to release its findings. Eight weeks later, frockwriter can reveal the Hartford Medical Examiner’s verdict: accidental heroin toxicity. Yes, aspiring musician Randy Johnston died from a heroin OD, just like his hero Sid Vicious - the person he told he would most like to meet. Contrary to the rife net speculation that Johnston overdosed at a “Ford party” however – which, needless to say, would have been extremely awkward for Ford Models, the agency which repped Johnston at the time of his death – according to the New London Police Department, Johnston was found at “a friend’s house” at Bank Street, New London. Although the case is now officially closed, it does beg a few questions.

According to Captain William Dittman, the head of investigations at the New London Police Department, Johnston died at 5.47pm on Saturday 11 October.

Johnston was found on a couch. It is possible, said Dittman, that Johnston and friends were at another location beforehand.

However Dittman’s department believes that Johnston is most likely to have overdosed at the Bank Street house, then fell asleep and simply never woke up.

The New London Police Department has ruled that there are no suspicious circumstances.

Two other parties were present and a small amount of heroin was found on the premises. Neither Johnston nor the other parties, were known to the New London Police.

According to postings by web forum users claiming to be Johnston’s friends, the 20 year-old had been struggling with a heroin problem for some time.

At the time of Johnston's death, a LiveJournal poster who goes by the handle “amandar057” noted:

“he had stopped modeling spring 2007 and came home, did not work, and just spent all of his money on heroin”.

According to “Chump”, who claims to have been one of Johnston’s best friends while growing up:

“Randy was a great person...that succumbed to drugs, to those who want to know. It isn't slander, he really had a problem that everyone that knew him tried to help him with....

“PS: Fuck the modeling industry for introducing him to the nice little coke parties held up in modeling houses. You fucking assholes need to keep in check what your EMPLOYEES are doing to keep themselves looking that slender”.

Drug-related deaths are of course not uncommon – and occur in all walks of life.

What seems odd in this case, is that Johnston appeared to be continuing to enjoy a high profile modelling career at the time of his death, with a fresh editorial in Britain’s i-D magazine, starring opposite top Dutch model Lara Stone, along with other work.

If Johnston had a heroin problem, it seems strange that one of the world’s biggest model agencies continued to trot him out for work.

Did the agency know?

Did it not know?

Did it care?

Frockwriter has sought comment from Ford Models on several occasions, to no avail.

However earlier this morning, we did finally manage to get through to a spokesperson by the name of Lauren Harris, who noted:

“Ford is not commenting on anything”.

It's little wonder that Ford won't be drawn on the subject. A heroin overdose is not great for business - particularly anyone involved in the image-conscious fashion business.

But that’s a business, curiously, which glamourises drug use.

From junkie Amy Winehouse, a recent muse of Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel and Guess? Jeans, to junkie Pete Doherty, the erstwhile inspirational muse of former Dior Homme designer Hedi Slimane - who revolutionised the menswear market with his über skinny silhouette, which many have dubbed “heroin chic”.

And not forgetting Kate Moss, whose earnings doubled after the so-called Cocaine Kate scandal, in which Moss was photographed snorting cocaine with her then boyfriend Doherty.

Yes, drugs are fashionable.

Tell that to Randy Johnston’s parents.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Runway Reporter to shutter as the axe falls at ACP Media?

According to a source within the Auckland-headquartered ACP Media, ACP Media is about to shutter some, if not all, of its websites, starting with Runway Reporter. The company's other websites include Cleo, Metro and Taste. Eight staff are said to have been made redundant. Launched by NZ fashion writer Stacey Gregg in 2006, Runway Reporter was acquired by ACP Media later that year and has since evolved into one of the region's more high profile fashion sites. Frockwriter has sought comment from both ACP Media and ACP Magazines in Sydney, with as yet no response.[Isaac Likes]

Abbey Lee's Gucci x 2

gucci via wwd

A fortnight after she appeared as a Victoria’s Secret Angel in the US lingerie company’s blockbuster runway show, Abbey Lee Kershaw has notched up her latest advertising coup, her second Gucci campaign for 2008, as the face of Gucci’s new fragrance, Flora.


Aimed at a younger customer, and to be launched in April, Gucci’s latest perfume was named after Gucci’s iconic Flora print.

First used on a scarf made for Princess Grace in 1966, the print was hauled from the company’s archives in 2005 by new creative director Frida Giannini, to create a series of best-selling canvas bags.

On Friday, industry sources told WWD the fragrance could generate US$220million in sales in its first year, in spite of the difficult economic climate.

The tvc has been shot by Chris Cunningham, with Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin shooting the print campaign.

Such has been the extraordinary success of the 21 year old Melbourne native this year – not to mention that of her even younger Chic/Next stablemate, Myf Shepherd – that it is easy to overlook the fact that Kershaw was a complete unknown in the northern hemisphere one year ago.

Before Kershaw had even set foot on an international runway, she had already shot the D&G spring/summer 2008 ad campaign with high profile fashion snapper Mario Testino, with whom she would also shoot the D&G pre Fall 2008 campaign.

In February in New York, Kershaw hit the ground running in her first international runway show season, eventually walking in an impressive 44 Fall/Winter 2008/2009 shows – a number that would have been higher had she not been snaffled by Gucci for a Milan runway exclusive. Which was swiftly followed by the Gucci FW0809 ad campaign (Inez & Vinoodh). Natch.

Here’s the official FW0809 campaign vid:

For Spring/Summer 2009, Kershaw walked in 48 shows. This included another Gucci runway exclusive, at the immediate conclusion of which Kershaw appeared in five high profile Italian shows in 24 hours: Alessandro dell 'Acqua, Max Mara, Pucci, Fendi and Versace.

Kershaw also became infamous for two SS09 runway spills, even though neither incident occurred within range of the photographer’s gallery: in falling off her vertiginous Nicholas Kirkwood shoes at Rodarte in New York and then fainting in Alexander McQueen’s corset in Paris three weeks later.

This just-published Mario Sorrenti shoot of Kershaw in Vogue Italia reveals why the corset may have been a bit too, well, small for Kershaw.

Kershaw has also appeared in the FW0809 campaigns for both CK Jeans and Express Jeans, as well as a Lord & Taylor advertisement - alongside Lauren Hutton.

The Gucci Flora campaign is one of two new ad campaigns nabbed by Kershaw, after the See by Chloe SS09 campaign - which Kershaw shot last weekend according to her Sydney agency.

Since September, Kershaw has also scored four international fashion magazine covers: one of multiple September covers of V magazine, one of multiple covers of the FW0809 edition of the French Revue des Modes, the October cover of Dazed & Confused and the December cover of Numéro Korea.

What a year.

both covers:

Monday, December 8, 2008

The (3D) World is their Oyster

Behold the 79th cover of Oyster – Australia’s longest-surviving indie fashion/lifestyle magazine. The issue is out next week, but here’s a sneak peek at the contents: profiles on Alber Elbaz, Gaspard Yurkievich, Peaches, Gang Gang Dance, Diane Pernet and the founders of Sixties counterculture bible OZ, Richard Neville, Albie Thoms and Louise Ferrier. Also, diary entries by Catherine Holstein, Michael Angel, Jason Wu and Ohne Titel and images/shoots by Karen Inderbitzen-Waller, Petrovsky & Ramone, Ben Sullivan, Frederic Bastin, Sonny Vandevelde and Jonas Bresnan. The latter’s images include this cover shot of Czech model Jana Knauerova.

And just in case there is any confusion here – because, by all accounts, it has been a stressful coupla weeks for all concerned - Oyster is most definitely still standing.

On November 20, Oyster’s parent company, 3D World Publishing, was reacquired by founder Jonathon Morris and Monika Nakata – seven days after the digital media and entertainment company to which it was sold 12 months ago, Destra Corporation, went into receivership.

All 15 3D World Publishing staff have been retained.

Not a bad outcome, at a time when even mainstream publishers are handing out redundancy letters with alarming frequency.

After hooking up with deputy ed Paul Bui at New Zealand Fashion Week in September, and after a very long hiatus from Oyster’s pages, I have a feature in the new issue – the Alber Elbaz profile.

The last time I wrote for Oyster was at least a decade ago.

That last Oyster profile, as it happens, was on Martin Margiela and it did include a one-on-one - contrary to what you may have read elsewhere about Margiela having never done any interviews.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ksubi, or not Ksubi: Will Renzo Rosso give a rat’s?

gorrow (L) and single @ ksubi bondi, november 27/the cobrasnake

“Ksubi goes pop” was the headline of a story on November 24, referring to the hipster Sydney denim label’s plans to transplant its 'Lest We Regret' pop-up store to London in early 2009. The pop-up store recently debuted within the Little Collins Street boutique of Melbourne streetwear label Schwipe - which installation, incidentally, was reported elsewhere to have been decorated with jars containing Ksubi’s shredded financial records. In the wake of a spate of recent reports – which follow at least six months of ragtrade buzz that Ksubi has, once again, been unable to pay its bills – some may well be wondering if the headline might have been a self-fulfilling prophecy. Especially if Diesel founder Renzo Rosso, or some other party, does not come to the rescue.

Picking up earlier reports in The Age, The Herald Sun and The Sunday Telegraph, on December 1st Runway Reporter reported that 15 Ksubi staff had been made redundant and that an urgent director’s meeting was scheduled for last week.

A debt burden of A$8million has been bandied about by several media outlets, including The Sydney Morning Herald, whose Private Sydney column on Saturday revealed that the company may be in talks with Rosso – even if rumours of both discussions with Rosso and “crippling debt” were hosed down by directors Dan Single, George Gorrow and “executive consultant” Harry Hodge.

In a statement, Single and Gorrow told the SMH:

"It's absolutely not true that Ksubi has been bought by Diesel or any other party. We have never even met with them before. We are, however, heading to Asia and Europe next week to talk business with our manufacturers and distributors."

Hodge told The Herald’s Andrew Hornery:

"Sure, we have had redundancies and trading is difficult at the moment, but it's difficult for everyone. We have had to raise capital in the past and we may well do that again in the future".

Yes, times are tough. And whichever way it swings, Ksubi is by no means the only fashion company to fall victim to the global economic crisis. Two young high-profile Danish labels, Jens Laugesen and Camilla Staerk, recently shuttered.

The US retail market, which would have accounted for an important chunk of Ksubi’s estimated A$24million sales turnover, is in very, very bad shape. It is rumoured that Ksubi has now closed its US office.

Sydney eveningwear specialist Jayson Brunsdon recently described the impact on his US Fall/Winter 0809 sales as “a disaster” - and, like sass & bide, did not show at the SS09 New York shows in September.

Another Sydney denim brand, 18th Amendment, revealed to WWD earlier this year that the company had pulled out of more than 100 US stockists and was attempting to claw back a A$500,000 debt out of the US, from stockists who were not paying. 18th Amendment director Rachel Rose conceded that the brand, which launched in 2006, had been sold too widely in the US market.

But with Zimmermann reporting growth in the US, evidently, success – nay survival – depend on a company’s business model. Zimmermann is of course not in the denim market. The company has moreover spent a decade building up its brand equity in the US swimwear and resortwear market, which may well have partially insulated it from the recent downturn.

But while Ksubi may be able to apportion some blame to the current economic crisis, this is not the first time the company has experienced problems.

Ksubi launched at Australian Fashion Week in May 2001, originally under the Tsubi brand name, with a runway show that was famously infested with 169 rats.

By November 2005 the Australian and New Zealand ragtrade was rife with rumours that Tsubi owed money to suppliers.

Although Single flatly denied the company was experiencing cashflow problems, one supplier told this journalist at the time that his company was owed several hundred thousand dollars – part of what was understood to be a much wider debt to other suppliers that could have been as high as A$1million.

Then in April 2006, Single and Gorrow found themselves embroiled in a trademark dispute with Californian footwear brand Tsubo.

When asked about the dispute, Gorrow told the SMH:

"I haven't heard that. I don't even know these guys. I don't even know who they are. Have you ever seen one of their shoes? Maybe I've been drunk for the past 12 months."

According to Tsubo’s lawyer, Jack Douglas, however, Tsubo’s communications with Tsubi had dated back several years but were ignored by Tsubi, prompting Tsubo to commence legal proceedings in the Federal Court in New York.

The parties settled out of court, with Tsubi permitted to retain its original name within Australia, but obliged to adopt the new brand name of Ksubi in the rest of the world.

Although dubbed by Dan Single as "a great result for Tsubi", the two-brand scenario was described by Sam Osborn, the Australian ceo of Interbrand, the world’s best-known branding consultancy, as a potential “branding nightmare” for Tsubi.

Shortly thereafter, a decision was made to adopt the universal brand name of Ksubi.

According to Interbrand's Osborn, the rebranding process alone could have cost A$1million.

In May last year, much ado was made of the arrival of Quiksilver Europe co-founder Hodge as a minority shareholder.

Hodge’s private investment company Kauai may have already been a Ksubi creditor – having reportedly loaned Ksubi A$550,000 in November 2006.

In a statement, Single and Gorrow said:

“As Ksubi aspires to grow its international reputation to become one of the leading fashion and lifestyle brands, we knew we had to bring in people who could guide the growth of our brand as we expand across many different product areas and grow our global business.”

According to sources, Single and Gorrow had planned to take the brand to A$100million sales.

But could Renzo Rosso be seriously interested in helping them do it?

The 53 year-old Italian, who is rapidly turning into one of the new titans of the global fashion business, is already busy with his own blockbuster denim/streetwear brand Diesel, which reportedly accounted for 90percent of the 1.3billion euro 2007 revenues of Rosso’s Only The Brave parent company.

Then there is the burgeoning brand portfolio of Only The Brave’s Staff International subsidiary, whose latest addition, a five-year licensing agreement with Marc Jacobs menswear, joins a stable that already includes either controlling interests in, or global manufacturing/distribution licensing rights for, names such as Maison Martin Margiela, Viktor & Rolf, Vivienne Westwood, Dsquared and Sophia Kokosalaki.

Sure, Dsquared and co boast a denim component, however Rosso’s impresario penchant would appear to be tickled more by high profile, niche luxury brand names in need of a financial legup – than denim/streetwear rivals seeking to cannibalise Diesel’s market share.

But let’s wait and see.

It sounds as if Ksubi may have to take a number in the growing line of other Rosso hopefuls, which reportedly include London-based denim brand Superfine, which was co-founded by Australian Lucy Pinter.

In the meantime, if Ksubi does indeed owe anywhere near A$8million, then presumably there are a lot of nervous 'little' people out there.

Unlike Single and Gorrow, the latter don’t lead 'rock star' lifestyles, DJ on the Euro dance party circuit or get their faces on the photoblog of great Ksubi mate Mark 'The Cobrasnake' Hunter.

But Ksubi could not have made its garments without them.

No doubt they are concerned that they may face the prospect of never being paid.

Six AFIs for The Black Balloon

It made a modest A$2.3million at the Australian box office, but won a Crystal Bear when it debuted at the Berlin Film Festival in February and led the nominations field at last night's 2008 Australian Film Institute Awards with 11 nods. The Black Balloon has just won six of those awards, including Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and the most prestigious Oz film award of all, Best Film.

Gemma Ward was overlooked in the AFI acting categories - and the film itself sidelined from the winner's podium at the recent IF Awards - but congrats to writer-director Elissa Down and her cast and crew, who also won AFIs for Best Supporting Actress (Toni Collette), Best Supporting Actor (Luke Ford) and Best Editing.

The awards certainly won't hurt the film's chances in the US, where it opened on Friday night - and is already garnering some impressive reviews.

Click here to read the full list of the 2008 AFI Awards winners.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Carine to cross the pond?

new york magazine

Is life about to imitate art for Anna Wintour? According to Gawker, the world’s most powerful fashion magazine editor is to be replaced by her Paris Vogue counterpart Carine Roitfeld (^). Fans of The Devil Wears Prada may recall the book’s subplot to replace Runway editor Miranda Priestley – who is loosely based on Wintour herself – with Jacqueline Follet, the editor of Runway’s French edition.

Speculation has been raging since November 18 that Wintour, 59, may be about to depart Vogue after 20 years at its helm.

Although the claims were refuted by Conde Nast, sources told The New York Post that Wintour’s contract is due to expire and that she feels she has “done it all and had enough”.

Recent coverage of Russian Vogue editor Aliona Doletskaya prompted chatter that Doletskaya might one day be a suitable Wintour replacement.

But could Roitfeld, whose English, by her own admission “is not perfect”, realistically helm Condé Nast’s high-profile flagship fashion title, which was launched in the US in 1892?

Roitfeld also came to the editor’s chair of Paris Vogue via a styling background, as distinct from journalism, as was the case with Wintour and Diana Vreeland. That said, in between the latter two US Vogue editors, Grace Mirabella boasted a retail background.

And is Roitfeld's edgy personal and editorial style, moreover, the most obvious fit with the ultimately conservative US marketplace?

UPDATE: Since flatly denied by Conde Nast chairman Si Newhouse Jr, Roitfeld's daughter, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld - and now, Roitfeld herself.

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