Saturday, January 31, 2009

The haunting of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

michel comte/I-management via designboom

Memo to all those who happily pose nude for photographers, whether that be for the glory of art, a paying gig – or even as a favour for a mate for charity. In March last year a nude photograph of France’s First Lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, caused a stir when it came up for auction at Christie’s New York. Following a whirlwind of publicity, the photograph was sold in April for US$91,000 - 20 times the figure that was originally anticipated by Christies. And while some of the proceeds reportedly went to a worthy cause - the Swiss charity Sodis, which organises clean drinking water for developing nations – the Christie’s auction was not the end of the story. Beyond the fact that the image lives on in private hands, in December a French court awarded Bruni-Sarkozy 40,000 euros damages against a fashion chain in the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion. The Pardon chain had cheekily used the unauthorised image on a bag - an action which it was determined had caused Bruni-Sarkozy "moral and economic damage". Well the Bruni brouhaha may be about to crank up again, with the news of yet another nude Bruni-Sarkozy portrait by the same Swiss photographer, Michel Comte. This one is due to be exhibited at Düsseldorf gallery Kultur und Wirtschaft from February 1 to May 10, as part of 30 year retrospective of Comte's work.

The new image depicts Bruni-Sarkozy topless, glancing downwards, with her face partially obscured by her hair.

According to a caption on DesignBoom, the shot was taken as part of a Safe Sex campaign in 1993 (the same year as the Christie's shot) - at a time when of course Bruni-Sarkozy was working as a high fashion model.

No images are for sale and according to a gallery representative with whom frockwriter spoke this afternoon, the Bruni-Sarkozy image is not in the gallery's official press material, which includes a dozen examples of Comte's work.

The spokesman confirmed that there had been no consultation with Bruni-Sarkozy, but added:

"We don’t expect any problems. If she makes any problems, we deinstall it. But we would not take it too seriously. For us it's one image out of 303".

Given however the publicity blitz sparked by the Christie's auction and the La Reunion bag saga, you have to wonder just how the Sarkozys, and notably Sarkozy's political party, might feel about the prospect of having the First Bosoms on display in Germany for three months.

With every new nude Carla story to emerge, the Opposition must of course be clapping its hands. Because Sarkozy's administration is starting to look a little like an issue of RALPH magazine.

At the time of the Christie’s flareup, Comte told Swiss newspaper Le Matin that the original shot was taken during a photo session for Vogue Italia.

Comte added that he had “thousands” of other shots of Bruni, taken in the decade in which they worked together. Comte also claimed that although The Sun newspaper in Britain had offered him more than a million pounds for a photograph of an unspecified celebrity, they are not for sale.

Comte told Le Matin:

"I have other nude photographs of Carla far more explicit, but I would never sell them... I'm not in it for the money. That's my principle."

Given the plethora of topless images - and increasingly, full-frontal nudity - in mainstream fashion imagery, presumably the models involved and their respective agencies must shoulder responsibility for any longterm impact that those images may have on the models' respective future careers.

Notably, of course, with the internet, via which nothing can really ever be considered "niche" again.

But this matter does raise an important question about consent issues.

If Bruni-Sarkozy posed for the shot in 1993 as a “favour” for a charity, that is one thing.

But what happened to the photographs afterwards?

Comte told Le Matin that he had “no idea” how the image wound up at auction.

Noted Comte:
"I must have given it to someone as a gift."

A further potential complication in the Bruni case may well be posed by the fact that in 2005, Comte sold his entire archive to a company called I-Management, which is based, mysteriously, in the British Virgin Islands.

The transaction, for an undisclosed sum, comprised all of Comte's works up until the end of 2007, including copyrights.

Reportedly, Sodis wound up benefitting from the Christie's sale only after Comte eventually persuaded Christie's to donate the funds to charity.

And Sodis only became the beneficary after the funds were rebutted by the original intended recipient, a Cambodian childrens medical care group, because the donation was deemed to be culturally insensitive.

According to the Cambodian group's director, the Swiss paediatrician Beat Richner, the funds were rejected on the grounds that:

"Accepting money obtained from exploitation of the female body would be perceived as an insult".

Friday, January 30, 2009

Grandmaster flesh and the furious hive mind: The art of Calvin Klein

steven meisel/calvin klein via wwd

And so to the new Calvin Klein Jeans video which has been picked up very quickly since its launch on WWD overnight. Normally I try not to touch the same material that bigger blogs are discussing, because well, I assume that many of frockwriter’s readers have already seen the story there and I try to do new material. But the CK video is interesting for several reasons. Not the least of which is the fact that a big deal seems to be being made out of the video being “banned” from even late night cable tv in the US - and now, it seems, even restricted by the YouTube community. (UPDATE 31/1: VIDEO SINCE DISABLED BY CK. PLEASE GO TO CALVINKLEIN.COM OR CLICK THIS WWD LINK TO SEE THE VIDEO).

The grainy video, shot by Steven Meisel, depicts a group of women and men, half-naked save for their Calvin Klein Jeans, writhing on a couch as if engaging in foreplay for a ménage-à-six.

The scene is dark, the video quality grainy, as if it shot on a home movie camera.

The multi-girl/boy campaign, which also embraces print, reportedly stars models Anna Maria Jagodzinska, Anna Selezneva, Edita Vilkeviciute, Natasha Poly and Naty Chabanenko. According to, the campaign also includes Danny Schwarz, Vladimir Ivanov, Carson Parker and Mikus Lasmanis.

All appear to be over the age of 18. Over 20 in several cases.

To be sure, fashion editorial is vastly different to the medium of television. Women routinely appear topless in mainstream fashion imagery. More so, certainly, of late.

But even last year’s Secret Obsession commercial, shot by Fabien Baron and in which Eva Mendes is seen to writhe topless on a bed, managed to make the 9pm timeslot on US cable tv.

Calvin Klein runs the “uncensored” version of the Secret Obsession ad on its own website - which is where the new Calvin Klein Jeans tvc is due to bow today.

According to WWD the video will screen in Europe uncensored and Calvin Klein is working on an edited version to screen on cable in the US.

This campaign is tame compared with Meisel’s recent "dogging" editorial in V Magazine, in which a number of models - including Selezneva and Chabanenko - simulated sexually explicit acts in semi-public places.

The latter editorial was reportedly originally turned down by Vogue Italia.

But the Calvin Klein Jeans campaign does look like an audition for a porn movie - an industry in which Selezneva, Chabanenko, Jagodzinska and co might ostensibly have found themselves ensnared, were it not for the fact they were plucked from east European obscurity by international model scouts on the lookout for new talent.

Calvin Klein is by no means the only fashion or beauty company to use sex and soft porn to sell its products. From Tom Ford to American Apparel and Estee Lauder, the list seems endless.

Estee Lauder's tvcs for two separate Sean Combs fragrances in 2006 and 2007, which co-starred Australian models Lisa Seiffert and Jessica Gomez, were similarly restricted on US television.

But at least Calvin Klein can claim the soft porn genre is part of the company's brand DNA.

Launching his company in 1968 with startup capital of US$10,000, Calvin Klein sold the business to Phillips-Van-Heusen for US$700million in 2002 - excluding the jeans, underwear and swimwear businesses, which were at that time owned by Warnaco.

By late 2008, the Calvin Klein Inc business had surpassed US$6billion in global retail sales.

Klein originally made his name with his minimalist sportswear collections, which earned him the nickname of "Calvin Clean".

But he essentially made his fortune as Calvin Dirty, growing the business via the far more lucrative high volume categories of denim, underwear and fragrance which were promoted via "hot", sexually-charged imagery. The bigger the controversy, the greater the publicity.

Klein's most controversial campaigns involved minors.

In 1980, 15 year-old Brooke Shields appeared in a series of Calvin Klein Jeans advertisements, famously proclaiming that “nothing” comes between her and her Calvins. In one tvc Shields is sitting in jeans with her legs splayed before the camera.

It is difficult to imagine these ads even getting to air today. But then it is also difficult to imagine Louis Malle’s 1978 film Pretty Baby being made today without considerable fuss. In the film, the then 12 year old Shields plays a child prostitute, including some nude scenes.

The Brooke Shields ads were reportedly pulled by all three of the tv networks on which they aired.

Here are three of the videos:

WWD reports that the new Steven Meisel campaign is the first Calvin Klein Jeans commercial produced for television since the 1980s.

However Meisel was the author of the so-called 1995 “kiddie porn” campaign for Calvin Klein Jeans, which reportedly included tvcs (as opposed to cinema spots).

Originally inspired by an editorial shot earlier that year by Meisel for Italy's L'Uomo Vogue, teenagers as young as 15 were interviewed by an anonymous sleazy videographer, as if participating in an adult film audition.

Said to be inspired by "picture set" pornography of the '60s and staged with a wood-panelled 'basement' backdrop, the models cavort, and in some cases, squirm, before the camera.

In the print version, some models were pictured with their legs spread and their underwear showing.

In the video, a voiceover interjects with comments such as:

“You got a real nice look. How old are you? Are you strong? You think you could rip that shirt off of you? That's a real nice body. You work out? I can tell."

That year Klein told Advertising Age, that the ads had been intended to:

"express the spirit, independence and inner worth of today's young people."

Glancing back at the clips now however via YouTube (see below), it's not youthful independence and inner worth which seem to be being celebrated here, as much as human merchandise and the power trip of a sexual predator.

After sparking an outcry from conservative groups, criticism from President Clinton and even an FBI child pornography probe, the campaign was eventually withdrawn.

Just three months later Klein was obliged to withdraw a second campaign, after coming under fire over a new Calvin Klein Underwear image.

Shot by Tiziano Magni, the campaign included a provocative image of 20 year-old American model Joel West sitting with his legs spread wide open before the camera. Some suggested that West looked aroused.

calvin klein via

In February 1999, apparently oblivious to the perimeters of his soft porn franchise, Klein did not blink when enlisting the services of Mario Testino to photograph a series of small children clad in only their CK knickers to promote his new childrens line.

In a statement to The New York Times, Klein said that the campaign had been:

"intended to show children smiling, laughing and just being themselves. We wanted to capture the same warmth and spontaneity that you find in a family snapshot".

However the images (^), which were published in fullpage spreads in both The New York Times and Martha Stewart Living and were due to appear on a giant Times Square billboard, prompted yet more controversy. Morality in Media president Robert Peters said at the time, "At Calvin Klein, nothing is innocent."

The campaign was withdrawn within 24 hours.

Noted Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in The New York Times, prior to the announcement of the decision to withdraw the campaign:

"I think they're in very bad taste. But I can't stop them. I mean, there's the First Amendment."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Bogan - from Logan?

next via

Earlier this month a hoo-haa erupted over Logan’s new ad campaign which bows next month and is due to star highprofile natives of the Queensland city, which is located 20 minutes from Brisbane. Much was made of the alleged reluctance of Logan City Council to recruit supermod Loganite Catherine McNeil, because of McNeil’s penchant for calling herself the “bogan from Logan”. Mayor Pam Walker told The Courier Mail, "Including the word bogan in a campaign like this will only reinforce a negative message in people's minds". While fellow Logan councillor Sean Black noted, "Catherine McNeil isn't scared to shout about being a bogan from Logan, so why should we be?" Well frockwriter can confirm that McNeil will definitely be on board – make that billboard. It will however be a no-go bogan zone.

According to Logan City Council, the campaign, which is linked to a website competition, is to be comprised of 8-10 billboards erected in and around Logan. Each billboard asks a single question about the region.

The question on McNeil's billboard will be:

“Who is the famous supermodel from Logan?”

There will be no accompanying images on the billboard - or any mention of the word bogan.

But are locals hellbent on declaring their bogan affiliations regardless?

In an interesting Bogan-gate development, Australian online retailer Remo Giuffre reports today via Twitter that an anonymous customer from Brisbane recently ordered a T-shirt emblazoned with the word “BOGAN” using REMO’s custom-make Designomatic service.


Giuffre was unable to confirm any of the customer’s details beyond their home city.

Frockwriter called McNeil’s agent Kathy Ward - who confirmed that while McNeil is not being paid for her involvement, the Logan campaign was nevertheless done in consultation with her agency Chic Management.

As for the T-shirt, Ward says she has no idea if it might have been ordered by McNeil - or any friend or family member making a purchase on her behalf.

Ward told frockwriter:

“She does have an amazing collection of T-shirts but I’m unable to confirm whether she has any involvement with this one”.

For the benefit of readers outside Australia, the word “bogan” is an Australian colloquialism which stands for "An uncouth, stupid, or square person" according to the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang.

International equivalents would be "chav", "redneck" or "white trash".

According to a Logan City Council spokeswoman, it is not only Logan celebrities who are due to be featured in the Logan billboard campaign.

Joining McNeil, singer Darren Hayes and Olympian Steven Bradbury is, perhaps surprisingly, IKEA, which happens to be regionally headquartered in the city.

The IKEA billboard will read:
“Which Swedish furniture company is based in Logan?”

Logan City Council claims the campaign is costing $120,000, as opposed to $300,000, as originally reported by The Courier Mail.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Girt by HC

christian lacroix haute couture SS09/

Yet more extravagant haute couture - and more Australian mods - in Paris overnight. Frockwriter mentioned that Skye Stracke is also in town – here she is (^) hooting it up backstage at Tuesday’s Christian Lacroix show. Stracke also appeared at Chanel (along with Myf Shepherd), in addition to Alexis Mabille. And while as we already reported, Stephanie Carta was due to walk at Givenchy – and did - who else should turn up in the same show, but Catherine McNeil (see below). So evidently McNeil's torn ligament healed. With honorary Aussie, McNeil’s Danish girlfriend Freja Beha Erichsen, opening and closing Chanel, Australians have certainly been making their haute couture mark this week.

Although it’s possible that we have missed other Australians, frockwriter is finding it hard to believe that, as reported by Carta via Twitter:

“australia day is so over but at least half of dior wore aussie flags on their faces!”

But hey, if any photos turn up via Facebook or other, thanks for letting us know.

No sign as yet of Alice Burdeu, who was reported to have been in Paris for haute couture castings.

One alleged sighting of Burdeu at Friday's Big Day Out in Australia however, as it now emerges, suggests that those castings may have proven unfruitful.

Here are some haute couture show coverage links to various sites, as well as some details of the quite extraordinary jewellery at Lacroix.

christian lacroix haute couture SS09/

Loving the Givenchy show, to which the work of Australian Toni Maticevski bears a slight resemblance in parts, if frockwriter is not mistaken. Unless it's the other way around.

Needless to say, Maticevski would be in his element, creatively, spiritually and financially, should he ever be embraced by the Paris haute couture establishment.

givenchy haute couture SS09/

Click here for the Christian Lacroix collection on
Click here for the Giorgio Armani Prive collection on
Click here for the Christian Dior collection on
Click here for the Chanel collection on
Click here for the Martin Margiela Artisinal collection on
Click here for the Alexis Mabille collection on
Click here for the Givenchy collection on
Click here for the Anne Valérie Hash collection on

An embarrassment of riches

chanel haute couture SS09/getty

“Bling is over. Red carpety [sic] covered with rhinestones is out. I call it ‘the new modesty’”. So noted Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld in The New York Times on January 15th, a fortnight after Chanel announced 200 job cuts (reportedly one percent of its 16,000 workforce). Here are some early shots of the company's haute couture collection that was just shown on Tuesday morning in Paris. Australia's Myf Shepherd stars once again (^), her second haute couture outing after yesterday’s Christian Dior show.

Difficult to call from these first few shots but the backdrop to the show looks to have been a massive installation of white paper flowers.

The white flower theme was echoed in the whimsical millinery, which frockwriter assumes was created by Maison Michel, the 73 year-old Parisian milliner that was acquired by Chanel in 2002, along with several other specialist suppliers, including embroiderer Maison Lesage. (Correction: The millinery was created by Japanese stylist/makeup artist Katsuya Kamo).

chanel haute couture SS09/getty

Had it not been for Chanel, these houses would no doubt have disappeared, like so many others before them, taking jobs, and of course, skills, with them.

According to the above-linked NYT story, the luxury business in France still employs 200,000 people.

It is easy in this dire economic climate to look at these bespoke, hand-made and highly labour-intensive garments, whose upper prices soar into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and scream “obscene”.

But haute couture is about master craftsmanship and it represents the absolute nadir of fashion creativity. Paraphrasing a quote from the late Christian Dior, Dior's current creative director, John Galliano, told yesterday that the job of couturiers “is to make people dream”.

At the end of the day the super rich will always be among us.

And without them, let's face it, we wouldn’t have the pyramids, Rembrandt or Versailles.

Here’s a video of the Christian Dior show from the UK Telegraph:

For millinery enthusiasts, a video on Maison Michel.

And more on the work of Katsuya Kamo, who was most recently showcased in the November edition of London's Dazed & Confused magazine.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Model ID fail @ ACP

myf shepherd, not shepard, at christian dior haute couture SS09 - and definitely not alexandra agoston-o'connor/getty

Frockwriter doesn’t want to be too hard on the poor old worker bees over at ACP, especially in the wake of today’s news that this week’s edition of Grazia carries a mere 11 pages of ads and advertorial. Whilst Woolworths reports that it is moving Grazia from the prime checkout position in “the majority” if its 780 stores to the general magazine section, due to slow sales - amidst predictions that circulation figures for the December quarter, due for release next month, are expected to be lower than the 70,000 of the initial audit. But look for all the time that the “” domain name spends on this blog every day, we are disappointed that a few key details seem to be getting lost in translation.

Firstly, accompanying Grazia's online haute couture diary from Alexandra Agoston-O’Connor today, is an image from yesterday’s Christian Dior show in Paris, together with the caption:
“Alexandra walks in the Dior haute couture spring 09 show in Paris”.


Guys, that is not Agoston-O’Connor at all, but in fact another Australian model, Myf Shepherd.

FYI this is Agoston-O'Connor in the same show:

christian dior SS09 haute couture/getty

Memo to ACP stablemate Harpers Bazaar moreover, that is in fact the correct spelling of Shepherd's surname, as distinct from “Myf Shepard”, as is reported today by the Harpers' team re Shepherd's new incarnation as muse for the Superfine denim brand (which frockwriter reported last week):


We all make mistakes. But, you know, if indie blogs and web forums which don't have your gargantuan resources (not to mention advertising) can get it right, then why on earth can't you?

It's not like you spend so many hours newsgathering your own original stories that you don't have the time to check.

Sadly this is neither the first time that Harpers has called Shepherd Myf "Shepard":


Nor even the second occasion:


Thanking you.

From the Cobrasnake to the couture

givenchy SS09 ready-to-wear/

"PARIS COUTURE, starting tomorrow!! And pretty over the bad PR back in sydney". So Twittered Stephanie Carta less than one hour ago after attending a fitting for Givenchy, whose show is due to take place at 5am tomorrow morning Sydney time (7pm Tuesday Paris time). That's at least one haute couture show which Carta looks to have in the bag. Given that she walked in Givenchy's SS09 ready-to-wear show in October (^), it looks like Carta is a personal fave of Riccardo Tisci, the creative director of the prestigious Paris haute couture maison, which was founded by Hubert de Givenchy in 1952 and made its name by dressing Audrey Hepburn. It makes a change from being a personal fave of Cobrasnake party snapper Mark Hunter, whose trashy NYE shot of Carta in Kings Cross certainly got people talking three weeks ago (even The Sydney Morning Herald). Carta also looks to have taken some proactive PR measures by either deleting or moving her Magna Carta blog. Not that her partying days are behind her. In this just-posted quick chat with PAPER mag's Julia Frakes, Carta reveals that Le Baron is her favourite Paris nightclub and that Australians have earned a bit of a Paris rep as the life of the party. This is no doubt music to the ears of Hunter, who has just popped back up on the radar at the haute couture shows.

Carta tells Frakes:

"The the night before last I sat for about two hours at a casting with some model friends that I did not expect to see, including two other Aussies. When I finally walked into the casting (I had chosen to wear the sheerest dress out of the selections given since I knew nobody else would choose it and I wanted to leave more quickly) and was instantly blamed for all the noise... along with any other Australians that they knew were waiting there!"

There are at least four other Australian models in Paris this week: Skye Stracke, Alice Burdeu, Myf Shepherd and Alexandra Agoston-O'Connor. Both Shepherd and Agoston-O'Connor were spotted in the Christian Dior show overnight.

That's not counting Harper's Bazaar's Christine Centenera, who turned up overnight in a Dior pic portfolio on The Cobrasnake. Apparently Hunter has moved on from Byron Bay.

We do look forward to seeing the party shots.

And will be interested to see if this week's runway shots of Carta, Stracke, Burdeu, Shepherd and Agoston-O'Connor prove the biggest talking points of their respective haute couture seasons.

Monday, January 26, 2009


gareth pugh FW0910/reuters via daylife

“We have to sell the dream before we can sell the clothes” noted Gareth Pugh prior to his first Paris-staged womenswear show in September. Last night in Paris, with his first menswear collection, it was a Gothic nightmare Pugh was selling this time around. In the face of a financial apocalypse, with retailers folding right, left and centre, while others report gains – in the case of London’s Browns boutiques, a 200percent increase in the online shoe category in 2008, the more extreme the design, the better – Pugh’s attention whore couture shone like a beacon in a fortnight of predominantly play-it-safe, predictable mens clothes. The closing show on Sunday, it was bookended by the menswear season and the kickoff of the haute couture collections, which commence in a few hours' time. And the front-row presence of LVMH director Delphine Arnault has fuelled inevitable speculation that Pugh might be the latest Brit enfant terrible in the sights of the world’s biggest luxury conglomerate.

gareth pugh FW0910/reuters via daylife

Typically dark and brooding, Pugh’s debut menswear show was a hookup between Mad Max and the Marquis de Sade.

Highlights included button-down leather trenchcoats, nail-studded singlets and blousons, a shaggy goat fur gilet, a pewter chainmail-like mesh shirt over matching skinny pewter trousers, extravagant funnel-neck coats - one whose diamond patchwork leather applique echoed the trademark geodesic armour of Pugh's womenswear - and slashed skinny jeans or leggings that were so distressed, they resembled the shrouds of a cadre of post-apocalyptic zombies.

With longtime collaborator Nicola Formichetti on styling, the collection was worked back with multistrap knee-high biker boots, enigmatic cocktail hats by Brit milliner Stephen Jones and ghoulish makeup.

Pugh's Gothboy cast included, if frockwriter is not mistaken, fashion’s new dark prince, Australian Jethro Cave:

gareth pugh FW0910/reuters via daylife

Click here
to see the complete collecton on

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Caveman of the fashion apocalypse

hedi slimane

Well it seems official. Jethro Cave is Australia’s next top male model. Anointed by a solitary SS09 runway appearance in October 2008 - Balenciaga - last week the 18 year-old popped up in a number of high profile menswear shows in Milan. And now comes this photo portfolio by the influential Hedi Slimane, the former creative director of, and campaign photographer for, Christian Dior Homme (who has just shot a campaign for Prada). Shot for online viewing purposes only according to’s Wayne Sterling, the images are doing the rounds via, Dazed & Confused's and the blog of London-based stylist Nicola Formichetti. Click here to see the complete portfolio. The images were styled by Formichetti – a co-engineer of the recent controversial Calvin Klein homage images for Cave was not required to kneel in a corner, his hands behind his back, with the words “FUCK ME” scrawled in lipstick on his inner thighs - as was the case with another teen male model in the CK shoot. Looking a little more pretty boy glam rock than post-punk however, and styled up with womens' jewellery and makeup, Cave does nevertheless pose in his underwear.

hedi slimane

One amusing close-up shot shows a page from what appears to be Cave's personal diary, enscribed with the following hand-written statement in the Australian dialect:

"Youse cunt's are cunt's".

Now, it seems, Cave is going by the surname of his father, The Birthday Party/Bad Seeds frontman Nick Cave. That’s certainly how he is listed on London model agency website Independent.

This is interesting, given the fact that Cave first popped up on the Australian modelling radar at the 2006 Melbourne Fashion Festival as Jethro Lazenby, using the surname of his mother Beau Lazenby exclusively.

One month or so later, at the spring/summer 06/07 edition of Australian Fashion Week in Sydney – which Akira Isogawa opened, with Cave modelling – he was still going by the name Lazenby.

Several days before Isogawa's show, at an AFW casting call, the then 15 year-old told The Daily Telegraph:

"I've never wanted to live in his shadow but if I can make money out of it, why not?"

In 2007, Nicholas Morley hired Cave for promotional images for his Nicholas X Morley line.

Cave would not be the only celebrity progeny to gain a celeb-by-default legup in the fashion or film business.

A recent rollcall of rock offspring in modelling alone embraces Peaches and Pixie Geldof, Theodora Richards, Leah Wood, Elizabeth and Georgia Jagger, Kimberley Stewart, Daisy Lowe and Amber Le Bon. Not forgetting Elvis Presley’s granddaughter, Riley Keough.

How much interest would there be in any of these names were it not for the famous surname? In the case of Jethro Cave, it certainly seems to be providing additional buzz. A case in point the overnight mention on his personal blog The Imagist, Wayne Sterling notes:
“And how like his father is the boy. Powerful genes those”.

Here's a 1988 Polly Borland portrait FYI of Nick Cave in his late 20s, from the set of Ghosts of The Civil Dead.

polly borland via

But Jethro Cave is not the only model in the Cave family.

Cave’s stepmom - Nick Cave’s wife of ten years, and mother of their twin sons Arthur and Earl – is erstwhile Vivienne Westwood muse, Susie Bick.

Did someone give Kim Noorda The Pip?

chloé prefall 0910/

First Cameron Diaz, now Kim Noorda? In these Chloé Pre Fall 09/10 shots of the Dutch supermod, Noorda’s two-tone do certainly does bear a resemblance to the by now infamous coiffure of Australian Pip Edwards. Otherwise known as “The Pip” (which Girl With A Satchel pointed out yesterday may have also just been picked up locally by Australian designer Marnie Skillings). Frockwriter recently asked whether Cameron Diaz’s red carpet coiffure at the Golden Globes could have possibly been inspired by Edwards’ do – which is the result of a freehand technique called balayage and which merited a full-page promotion in the December edition of Australian Vogue, as bankrolled by the look’s alleged créateur, Sydney hair stylist Brad Ngata. So striking is Edwards’ look, it had previously inspired commentary by The Sydney Morning Herald, Mary-Kate Olsen and – a commenter on the latter site brilliantly pointing out that the look is resemblant of a “Top Deck chocolate”.

pip edwards/

Frockwriter’s suggestion that Diaz’s do may have been directly inspired by The Pip inspired quite some vigorous debate on the blog, with KAREN magazine commander-in-chief Marian Simms pointing out in one comment that Lancôme’s new creative director, New Zealand-born Aaron de May, was sporting a similar do in the middle of last year:

lancôme via 212dressingroom

Brad Ngata returned fire by telling frockwriter that he has been giving Edwards The Pip for the last two years.

In a highly amusing post that sadly appears to have since been deleted – but which lives on via its cached intro on Google Blogs – Oz blogger “Hot Caviar” penned the following post in her Debris Blanc Laboratorium blog:

“I am a massive admirer of Patty Huntington's blog, but I have to say, there is no way that Cameron's effortless two tone blonde do looks anything like the top deck tragedy that is Pip Edwards. I definitely don't agree there. ...”

And it seems there is no stopping The Pip.

Frockwriter’s Cameron Diaz post was picked up, literally, by the highly original Fashion Mag Daily, as well as at least one other celebrity blog.

Top Deck is a brand of chocolate made by Cadbury Australia – and which in fact may be unique to the Australian and New Zealand markets.

Which may help explain how Aaron de May fits into the story – or not.

Given the fact that Cadbury's Top Deck boasts a white chocolate crown over a dark chocolate base, while The Pip boasts dark roots on the crown of the head, fading into blonde ends, technically-speaking a more accurate description of The Pip would be a "Reverse Top Deck".

But look, at the rate The Pip seems to be spreading, it’s only a matter of time before someone has a crack at the genuine article.

Frockwriter believes that Delta Goodrem could be the ideal celebrity candidate.

Cadbury’s Top Deck is said to be Goodrem’s favourite chocolate.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nothing comes between Courtney, Missy, Myf and their Superfines (unless it's Levi's)

courtney love for superfine

Question marks may still hover
over the exact nature of the involvement of upwardly mobile Oz model Myf Shepherd in Miu Miu’s spring/summer 2009 campaign, which stars Katie Holmes. Even if Shepherd's Australian agency confirms that she was most definitely photographed for the campaign in November. But here is one new celeb fashion connection that Shepherd has definitely made. Frockwriter can reveal that Shepherd is about to join Courtney Love and US model Missy Rayder as the latest ambassadors of cult London-based denim line Superfine.

myf shepherd for superfine

Love, Shepherd and Rayder were photographed by Dutch photographer Jan Welters wearing nothing but a pair of Superfine’s cult skinny Liberty style. Shepherd is also photographed in the Rock style.

myf shepherd for superfine

Rayder is Superfine’s official season face and will feature in the SS09 lookbook.

missy rayder for superfine

From February, the images of Love and Shepherd will appear exclusively on the company's website, the latest inductees to Superfine's It girl photo gallery.

Shepherd's inclusion in the gallery is a definite nod to her 'hot' model status.

The gallery, which dates back to 2003, has so far embraced some of the modelling world’s biggest names, from Kim Noorda to Laetitia Casta, Irina Lazareanu, Doutzen Kroes, Malgosia Bela, Anne Catherine Lacroix, Tasha Tilberg, Hannelore Knutz, Kirsten Owen and French singer/actor/model Joana Preis.

Shepherd is only the second Australian model to feature in the Superfine gallery after Emma Balfour.

Welters is the husband of Superfine co-counder, and Sydney native, Lucy Pinter, who launched the brand with British illustrator-photographer Flora Evans.

Co-engineers, with sass & bide, of the skinny jean trend, Superfine rapidly garnered a following for its ‘sprayed on’ jean styles such as the Liberty and the Jamie, in addition to its trademark all-in-one denim jumpsuits and shrunken denim jackets.

More recently the brand has added tailored denim and as of SS09, a complete ready-to-wear collection.

Superfine’s celebrity fans include Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Olsen, Madonna, Kate Bosworth, Victoria Beckham, Amy Winehouse and Liam Gallagher (yes, they do menswear).

While getting Love to pose in the company's jeans may be a great get for Superfine, the singer apparently poses topless at the drop of a hat.

Leaving aside several topless public appearances while performing with Hole, in 2006 Love appeared topless on the cover of Pop magazine and in 2007, within an editorial for Vogue Italia.

As for Shepherd, the Superfine shots are so fresh, not even her mother agency, Sydney’s Chic Management, seemed to be across them when frockwriter called this afternoon - originally asking for an haute couture update.

No news yet, however Shepherd is currently in Paris doing the casting rounds for the SS09 HC shows, which start on Monday.

Considering that Shepherd happens to be a face of the SS09 global campaign for Levis 501, as shot by David Vasiljevic - and, pending the other casting, possibly even 'the' face of the season - frockwriter wonders if perhaps the Superfine shots might prove tricky for Shepherd.

We’ll keep you posted.

All images supplied by Superfine.

Before Jason Wu dressed the First Lady, he dressed dolls

It’s difficult to gauge the impact that Michelle Obama’s Inauguration wardrobe choices could have on the careers of the respective designers. Firstly Isabel Toledo, who designed the lemongrass wool lace shift dress and coat worn to Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony. Then Jason Wu, who created the one-shouldered ivory gown in which Obama dazzled later that evening. In the just-screened interview, below, from MSNBC’s Today show, Cuban American Toledo, a veteran of 25 years in the US fashion business, reveals that people started lining up outside her studio almost the minute the news of the dress broke (a spring version of which will reportedly hit Barneys in March for US$1500). With his gown now etched in history and destined for the Smithsonian Institute, the significance for Wu in particular seems almost immeasurable. While a designer could wait their entire career for the opportunity to design an Inauguration ballgown, the former Narciso Rodriguez intern has pulled off the feat at the age of 26, with a label that is just three years old (and apparently with a legup from US Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley, who hooked Wu up with Obama). The Obama coup is a career highlight for the Taipei-born and Vancouver- and Connecticut-raised designer – and that's a career, interestingly, which already spans a decade and covers some unorthodox ground.

At the age of 16, whilst still in boarding school, Wu began freelancing for the US company Integrity Toys and created his own line of dolls.

Now sold at FAO Schwartz and reportedly considered collectors' items, Wu’s dolls include the camp Fashion Royalty line of vinyl divas (pictured at the top of this post). In some of their sexier Wu outfits, the dolls look like they are dressed as backing singers in a Beyoncé or Madonna music video clip.

Far more suited to a First Lady of course are Wu’s fashion collections proper. Not including Tuesday night's gown, Michelle Obama reportedly already purchased four dresses from Wu's SS09 range.

Wu told the Wall Street Journal that the Inaugural ballgown “can’t be replicated - it will never appear in any form in my collection. It has to be special.”

That said however, frockwriter spotted the following two gowns in Wu's Resort 2009 collection:

jason wu resort 09/

The designs bear a marked resemblance to Obama’s Inaugural gown – minus of course the silk chiffon flower and Swarovski crystal embellishments:


Anyhow, here's the Today vid:


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No Australians heading to New York Fashion Week?

the fashion calendar via coacd

Well if the first draft version of New York’s Fashion Calendar is anything to go by, that could be the case. The Fall/Winter 0910 runway season is due to kick off in New York in three weeks. And not counting expat Michael Angel, who lives in New York and therefore does not have to schlep a collection and entourage across to the other side of the world, there is not one Australian name there. UPDATE 23/01/09: Toni Maticevski is showing off-schedule at 5pm on February 16th at the Altman Building. That's according to his Australian publicist Trish Nicoll. Why is the show not listed on the Fashion Calendar, the so-called Bible of New York Fashion Week, which is carefully vetted by all industry players as it represents the only roadmap to the hundreds of shows which take place all over town? That's a mystery according to Nicoll, who says that Maticevski paid his registration fee. Whether the mistake was made by the Fashion Calendar or the designer's New York PR office, Factory PR, remains to be seen. Given the current economic climate - and the fact that five other brands already share Maticevski's timeslot - it's an unfortunate oversight.

Aurelio Costarella recently told a Perth newspaper he is ditching The Big Apple; Jayson Brunsdon already missed last season. And much was recently made of sass & bide’s decision to forgo a show – for the second consecutive season – claiming the timing is not a good fit with Sarah-Jane Clarke's new baby.

It’s a far cry from 2006, when Australia's New York Fashion Week invasion was at its peak, with the event boasting a half dozen Oz names.

Unless some are still toying with plans however, in the current economic climate is anyone really surprised?

Even a number of American designers have announced that they are swapping runway shows for smaller, and obviously cheaper, static presentations.

Kiwi Karen Walker is nevertheless soldiering on regardless (February 14) and as already reported, Josh Goot is due to show for the second time at London Fashion Week on February 24th.

And it’s not only Australian designers who may be thin thin on the ground over there. The local PR rep for Calvin Klein reports that she has not yet managed to identify a single Australian media rep who is heading over.

Michelle Obama recalls the Reagan, not Kennedy, era for her Inaugural gown

reuters via daylife

Well Barack Obama has been sworn in as the first African American president of the United States and of the deluge of global news coverage, a significant proportion has been devoted to the sartorial decisions made by his wife. That is, a quite luxurious “lemongrass” embroidered sheath and jacket from Isabel Toledo for the swearing-in ceremony and a white, embroidered, one-shouldered evening gown by Jason Wu for the Inaugural Balls. Some have already noted that Jacqueline Kennedy also chose white for John F Kennedy’s Inauguration in 1961. But frockwriter feels the need to point out that the latter was a relatively modest affair compared with Obama’s one-shouldered gown. While very much in keeping with fashion trends, the one-shouldered gown proving big news on the red carpet over the past 12-18 months, the Jason Wu gown is nonetheless a risky - and some might argue, girly - choice. Not that Michelle Obama is risk-averse: she ignited debate over the red and black Narciso Rodriguez dress that she wore on November 5 when Obama delivered his Victory address. But there is one precedent. Nancy Reagan also chose a white, embroidered, one-shouldered gown - designed by James Galanos - to Ronald Reagan's Inauguration in 1981.

bettman/corbis via instyle

frank scherschel_LIFE©time inc. via instyle

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Devil wears a Q&A @ Sundance, Elle Driver to distribute 'The September Issue'

miramax via

Yes R.J. Cutler’s US Vogue-dedicated frockumentary, The September Issue, has finally enjoyed its world premier at the Sundance Film Festival with no less than Wintour herself honouring the glacial festival with her notoriously glacial presence. Although in this video, below, of a post-screening Q&A which was uploaded yesterday – with, at the time of writing, a mere 200-odd views – Wintour comes across as quite warm. If a little eccentric – she insists on wearing her trademark sunglasses inside the theatrette, as if she’s front row at a fashion show. Gawker quotes an unnamed tipster who claims Wintour flew economy from Salt Lake City to New York. But one hilarious detail which appears to have escaped Gawker’s attention is the name of the distributor which has reportedly picked up international rights for the film. Elle Driver.

Elle Driver is the name of a bona fide, Paris-based distributor - whose previous films include, amusingly, a Polish production by the name of Four Nights with Anna.

In what frockwriter assumes may have been at the time an industry insider joke made by Quentin Tarantino, the director's fans will recall that Elle Driver is the name of the one-eyed hitwoman played by Daryl Hannah in Tarantino’s Kill Bill films.

A member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (the “DIVAS”) Elle Driver, aka “California Mountain Snake”, plays a key role in both Kill Bill Volume I and II.

At the beginning of the first film, Driver infiltrates the hospital in which Uma Thurman’s character, Beatrix Kiddo, has lain comatose for several years.

Driver has instructions from "Bill" to kill Kiddo - who survives only after Bill, Kiddo's nemesis and former lover, has a change of heart and decides the hospital hit is bad form.

Driver returns in the second film for a spectacular – and somewhat hilarious - Amazonian death-match with Kiddo.

Frankly frockwriter can’t think of a better film distributor for The September Issue. We’re not going even going to touch the Richard Prince/LV naughty nurse connections.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

And baby makes five


Anyone too polite to ask just what Rachel Griffiths might have been hiding under that gold toga-style Ralph Rucci gown at last week’s Golden Globes, here is your answer: congrats are due to Griffiths and Andrew Taylor who are indeed expecting their third child. Griffiths just confirmed the news to People magazine – and the story has been spreading across the net (although apparently not as far as Australia just yet), as if the new Griffiths-Taylor could be the Second Coming. The Brothers & Sisters star and her artist husband are already parents to five year-old Banjo Patrick and three year-old Adelaide Rose. Frockwriter is taking bets that the third will be called Ned, Sydney, Lawson, Matilda, Nellie, Melba or Rolf.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Lara Stone's bloody Valentine

steven klein via tfs

Ah the fashion business. One minute a woman's arms are being pinned to the floor in what looks alarmingly like a faux pack rape scene for Dolce e Gabbana, the next another female model is simulating fellatio with a cow's udder for Sisley. Following much controversy over the depiction of violence against, and the sexualisation of, women in fashion imagery, it now seems that the men are starting to be on the receiving end of what some feminazis might consider to be their just desserts. Two weeks ago frockwriter shared's disturbing Calvin Klein homage, which depicted some teenage male models in subjugated poses. The words "FUCK ME" were scrawled in lipstick on the inner thighs of Brit Josh Blount - who may, or may not, have been required to expose his erect phallus in one shot. In spite of a denial from Blount's agency (and an additional denial from someone claiming to be Blount's mother, in a comment subsequently left on that post), it's just not clear. The story caught the eye of BlackBook and Jezebel, among others. Now comes a curious editorial spread shot by Steven Klein for the February edition of Paris Vogue, an issue completely dedicated to the Dutch model Lara Stone.

In the spread, which is reportedly called "Lara fiction noire", Stone is portrayed as a lingerie-clad femme fatale, who interacts with three men in a violent S&M fantasy.

In one shot Stone is lying manacled to a bed, with a young shirtless male cowering behind her in a cage.

In another, Stone looks to be pinned to the ground, her mouth streaked with black makeup. Faux "blood", fashioned from what looks to be sequins and other jewellery components, pours from its corners. There is a very strong inference that she has been hit.

As Stone lies prostrated, she is being groped by a sinister-looking hand, whose claw-like, armour-plated fingers are reminiscent of Freddie Kruger or Wolverine, take your pick.

In other shots a male model wearing a blue shirt emblazoned with New York Police Department badges mimes holding a gun to Stone and another shirtless male.

But the most disturbing image of all depicts Stone and one man inside a car.

Stone smokes a cigarette, her hands smeared with the man's blood.

The man looks towards Stone - his face and neck completely covered in blood.

Gunshot wound to the head? Burns victim? Extra on a Dario Argento splatter flick?

It is unclear at this stage whether the latter shot made it into the magazine proper - or if it is merely an outtake that was considered too controversial for publication.

The shot features on Klein's website as part of the Paris Vogue editorial.

steven klein via tfs

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Myf mystery: Bound for the cover of Paris Vogue?

russh japan via tfs

As frockwriter reported in November, an additional eight models are due to feature alongside Katie Holmes in Miu Miu’s SS09 campaign, including Australia’s new modelling supernova Myf Shepherd. There is no sign of Shepherd, or anyone else, in the first Miu Miu image. While we are waiting to see the rest of the campaign, here is Shepherd, meanwhile, on her very first international cover: the February edition of RUSSH Japan. And frockwriter wonders if perhaps RUSSH might not be the only international glossy to have been thinking along Myf lines for an upcoming cover.

As we also revealed on November 28, Shepherd recently shot editorial for the German and Paris editions of Vogue. The German Vogue editorial is already out in the February edition.

As many may already be aware, the February edition of Paris Vogue is entirely dedicated to Dutch supermod Lara Stone.

Last week, on his personal blog The Imagist, co-founder Wayne Sterling left this tantalising teaser about the March edition of the magazine. Sterling, presumably, has some advance intel.

The March edition is due to showcase, noted Sterling - and frockwriter assumes he was referring to the cover, a:

“haute fresh new face striking a stark but elegant pose. A new generation star is born. Trust”.

If you’re thinking there is no precedent for a totally new international, nay Australian, model scoring the cover of an international Vogue title, think again.

In June 2007, just two months after her first spectacular international show season, Shepherd’s Chic Management/Next stablemate Catherine McNeil made the cover of Paris Vogue.

Although currently on holiday, Shepherd's Australian agent, Kathy Ward, was uncharacteristically incommunicado when frockwriter attempted to check overnight.

Blog Archive