sarah-jane clarke and heidi middleton/vogue.com.au
Last week frockwriter revealed that just three Australians would be showing at New York Fashion Week’s Spring Summer 2009 season, which kicks off on September 4: NYFW rookie Alice McCall, Aurelio Costarella and sass & bide. That’s compared to six Australian brands in NY two years ago. The sass & bide show news, I also mentioned, came as a surprise, given that I had previously heard they might not be showing at all. Overnight on The Daily – whose parent company IMG operates the NYFW schedule shows – comes word that sass & bide has pulled out of the event altogether.
Although sass & bide's name was certainly listed on New York's Fashion Calendar a week ago, yesterday Heidi Middleton told The Daily:
"After such an exciting year, we've decided to take a break from New York's Fashion Week this season, and focus our energies on a couple of new projects happening over the coming months. We look forward to the next".
In spite of the fact that Perth-based Aurelio Costarella will not only be showing for the third time in New York next month, but he will be showing on the official IMG schedule for the first time – with his show time now listed on the updated NY Fashion Calendar – that news does not appear to have trickled through to The Daily, which also reports:
“Sass and Bide's absence leaves Alice McCall, who is showing for the first time in New York, as the only Australian designer at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week”.
One assumes The Daily has confused McCall with Costarella.
According to McCall, she is not showing on schedule at all - ie in the IMG-operated "Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week" component of NYFW - but off-schedule at the Altman building.
Costarella is the only Australian now confirmed to show on-schedule in New York. And given that he has apparently already paid monies to IMG for the privilege of so doing, it's a bit of an awkward slipup really.
Times are tough at the moment - but particularly in the US.
The sass & bide news comes one day after my story in WWD about the new diffusion label from another stellar Australian jeans brand - 18th Amendment.
Called The Beautiful and Damned, the line launched exclusively in Sportsgirl in Australia this week – and WWD revealed that 18th Amendment owners Rachel and James Rose are currently in negotiations with Topshop for a similar deal in the UK.
There has been plenty of positive press on The Beautiful and Damned launch in Australia.
But as the Roses have found over the past eight months - along with many other fashion players - the US retail climate has been anything but positive.
Rachel Rose told WWD that her company recently pulled out of over 100 US stores and is now attempting to claw back a half million dollar debt out of that market.
Rose told WWD:
“Retail is dire [in the U.S.]. We’re spread across 20 markets, but a lot of Australian labels who may only export to the U.S., I’d hate to think what situation they’re in”.
In a July 18 story about his Singapore store launch, Jayson Brunsdon told WWD that his US store numbers have halved from 60 to 30.
Noted Brundson, of the US retail climate:
"It's pretty bad".