Thursday, August 28, 2008

Front-of-house Myer

While David Jones looks to be hoping for a trapeze-led recovery for spring/summer 0809, Myer is banking on maxi dresses, marigolds and Maximus. As in Gladiator (sandals). Oh, and a bit of feng shui. Centre stage at last night's show was a giant, revolving "sun disc", as Myer dubbed it. It reminded frockwriter of a gargantuan gold coin - and the Chinese penchant for taping good luck coins to cash registers. With Australian consumer confidence recently dropping to a 16 year-low, hell, you can't blame Myer for trying every trick in the book, can you?

I liked Myer's last spring/summer show, with its state-of-the-art staircase backdrop. Of the two department store presentations that season, Myer's earned my vote for best show.

But in my personal opinion, for what it's worth, the staging of this Myer show was daft. And the lack of good quality photos of the show seems to be testament to that.

A giant, revolving disc covered in metallic strips which reflect spotlights back into camera lenses as the disc turns, obviously seemed like a brilliant idea to someone for a show backdrop [Alistair Thomson and Amanda Henderson, according to the show credits - from memory, the same team responsible for the SS0708 show].

The worst aspect was however the choreography.

Instead of walking down a traditional runway, or a version thereof [even Versace is using a circular runway these days], models were constantly battling Myer's spinning sun disc for runway visibility.

There was no clear "end" of runway in front of the photographer's pit - just a patch facing the pit, on which models seemed to be left to their own posing devices.

The pros - like Alexandra Agoston - knew exactly what they were doing. The others, did as best as they could.

Sometimes the models stopped, but more often than not they just kept on walking. Kate Sylvester and Yeojin Bae are two of the labels whose clothes were almost impossible to photograph for this reason.

And it wasn't just amateur photographers such as yours truly who were complaining.

"Don't get me started" fumed the photo editor of one of Australia's biggest media outlets immediately after the show.

"It was like trying to shoot an Olympic event" lamented another snapper.

As for the clothes, the dress still reigns supreme. Some of the prettiest were from Rosemary Masic's folkloric-nosed Nevenka label:

There were a lot of maxidresses, the best from Mad Cortes, Yeojin Bae, Charlie Brown and Leona Edmiston, the latter two labels bursting with vivid colour and florals, another big SS0809 trend.

Whether the maxi dress trend completely maxed out last summer remains to be seen. Maxi dresses were all over the streets of Australian cities over summer, offered at highend boutiques right down to Supre, which had scores of cheap floral jersey versions.

Myer also had some smock and trapeze dresses, although not nearly as many as David Jones (at least on the runway). Karen Walker is still apparently offering them, both in her signature line and the Hi There diffusion line she is doing with Myer. Wayne Cooper had some pretty versions.

Some of the eveningwear looked drab, which is bizarre given the calibre of the designers, three cases in point Nicola Finetti, Maticevski and Jayson Brunsdon. I can't help thinking that this had more to do with the Tony Bartuccio staging (and styling - sunglasses with eveningwear?), than the clothes themselves.


Hugo Boss did look good however. As did Carla Zampatti:

Notable first-timers to Myer's show included Armani Jeans ("As of today it's in Myer - tell me what you think after the show" noted Giorgio Armani Australia general manager Mary Chiew, en route into the venue).

Also, Little Joe by Gail Elliott - who has just migrated from what Elliott described to me last night as a nondescript "rack" of her clothes at David Jones, to a Little Joe by Gail Elliott concept boutique within Myer.

Not to mention Melbourne It girl Arabella Ramsay. It was great to see Ramsay's collection on Myer's runway last night:

Ramsay is one of my favourite new Australian labels and I was disappointed to see her miss Australian Fashion Week's SS0809 season earlier this year.

Ramsay's summer offerings include sweet floral shorts, blouses and dresses, worked back with sultry leather vests and gilets.

Kate Moss would probably love this label if she knew about it.


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