Friday, July 31, 2009

Cate Blanchett and David Downton, the cover stars of Vogue Australia's 50th

vogue australia via

Vogue Australia has just unveiled its 50th anniversary edition at a launch party in Sydney. And what a commemorative edition. The cover, make that covers – there are four - depict Australian actor Cate Blanchett, although not photographed, as is the norm with fashion publications. In a bold move by Vogue Australia, all four covers are hand-drawn by UK-based illustrator David Downton, who is well-known for his celebrity portraits - which have included Blanchett in the role of Elizabeth I - and whose fashion clients include UK Harpers Bazaar, Chanel and Harrods. Although heavily supported by art directors in the early 20th century, fashion illustration was eventually overshadowed by photography. In spite of the emergence of influential illustrators in recent decades, including the late Andy Warhol and Antonio Lopez, Ruben Toledo and latterly, LA-based newcomer Danny Roberts, fashion magazines have been reluctant to fully re-embrace illustration. The record 360-page edition, on sale August 5th, also features a 28-page editorial shot by Greg Kadel, starring Catherine McNeil and Abbey Lee Kershaw. Another story, modelled by Karlie Kloss, showcases 10 swimsuits created for the issue by Chanel, Dolce e Gabbana, Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano for Christian Dior, Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein, Frida Giannini for Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Bally, Burberry and Max Mara.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"We don't give a shit" - Charlotte Dawson on the Cassi Facebook fallout

getty via

Frockwriter mentioned that ANTM Cycle 5 runnerup Cassi van den Dungen was getting a bit of a rough trot on the Facebook accounts of ANTM hosts Alex Perry and Charlotte Dawson, with both hosts engaging in some snarky banter with their Facebook followers about van den Dungen’s decision to turn down contracts with Priscillas and Elite New York. After receiving a Facebook friend request from van den Dungen moreover, Perry put the decision to accept or decline the friend request up to a vote. Well since Perry and Dawson are obviously so well-acquainted with the social networking phenomenon, they may be interested to learn that this week's ANTM posts have been discussed in at least five other web forums, including two forums of the behemoth US social networking site LiveJournal, which generates over 11million page views a day.

One of these, the celebrity gossip-skewed Oh No They Didn’t, is LiveJournal’s most popular forum and boasts over 90,000 members, who generate over 100,000 visits and 300,000 page views a day. Which, evidently, has the potential to take Perry’s and Dawson’s “semi-private” comments to their Facebook coteries, to a significantly wider audience.

One LiveJournal member who appears to have access to Perry’s Facebook account has shared some more of their vitriolic banter:

Alex Perry




Charlotte Dawson
"Apparently Cassi has signed with Tania Power (?) modelling agency and is coming to Sydney to model for Portmans. Nuff said."

"What's a Fella Hamilton? Sounds fascinating. Almost as fascinating as a Greenborough Plaza winter fashion parade. Stupid Cassi - she's really put her modelling career into a big suburban toilet."

"too true. Enough about the bogan ... she's someone elses nightmare now."

"Very kind comments .... thank you! I think Cassi's only going to end up being the poster girl for Sunbury Centrelink."


Although frockwriter has been unable to contact Perry, Dawson confirmed that these are her comments and that they were made on Perry's Facebook account.

Dawson added that she does recall Perry making the other comments, that she stands by the comments and does not see anything wrong with them.

Dawson told frockwriter, "Absolutely. I could not give a rat's ass. They're the sort of things I would say on the show. What's wrong with them being on a Facebook page? That's what I’m paid to do. I’m paid to call it as I see it.

"They’re not defamatory, they're said with humour, not vitriol, and honesty. It was a situation that I was very much involved with.

"Her boyfriend, during the live finale, was grabbing his crotch and sticking his tongue out at me. You don’t know what this girl has gone and done to evoke the ire of a lot of people.

"We don’t give a shit. We're coming from a place of personal experience and Cassi has very much frustrated and angered and disappointed a lot of people.... She's upset her family terribly, she's been a real nightmare and spat in the faces of people who supported her".

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pamela Anderson - and at least seven Oz brands - head to Auckland

getty via

Air New Zealand Fashion Week announced its preliminary designer lineup this afternoon in Auckland. Further names are yet to be confirmed for the event, which runs from 21st–25th September at the Viaduct Harbour Marine Village. But so far the schedule looks to boast at least seven Australian names: Perth’s United Constructions and Brisbane streetwear label House of EZIS, in addition to five yet-to-be-confirmed designers who are due to take part in a Diet Coke Little Black Dress group show - along the lines of what we saw in Sydney at RAFW in early May (and as ANZFW's Pieter and Myken Stewart hinted was in the pipeline, when frockwriter bumped into them at RAFW). But by far the biggest news of today’s launch was the fact that Pamela Anderson is also heading to the event.

Yes, as incongruous as it sounds, Anderson is due to travel down to ANZFW with ex Heatherette designer Richie Rich. That is Rich pictured with Anderson above, together with transgender performer Amanda Lepore, at New York Fashion Week in February. That's Lepore on the right, for anyone who isn't sure.

Anderson is working with Rich on a new eco fashion line called Muse that is due to be unveiled the week beforehand at New York Fashion Week.

According to today's release, the line will be shown in Auckland on Friday 25th September – in what you would have to assume will be the event's closer.

What's the Anderson connection?

A New York-based fashion/celebrity publicist by the name of Brian S Long, whose clients include Nicky Hilton and who has been attending ANZFW from almost the very beginning.

Also new to the event this year is a dedicated runway showcase of eight Maori designers (Miromoda) and The Viewing Room – a special showroom from which designers will be able to showcase their ranges to buyers and press the minute they walk off the runway.

It’s a great initiative and one that Pieter Stewart first announced in WWD in May.

“It’s going to be a bit of a scheduling nightmare, but I’ll work it. I might have to stretch out the shows” Stewart told WWD. “We’ve had a few meetings with the designers to ask, ‘What do you need?’ And they’ve said, ‘We’d like to bring our entire showroom on site so we can capture the buyers while they’re there.’”

Below is the list of confirmed participating names.

Adrian Hailwood / Adrian Hailwood / AUCKLAND
Andrea Moore / Andrea Moore / WELLINGTON
Annah Stretton / Annah Stretton / MORRINSVILLE
Barbara Lee / Barbara Lee / CHRISTCHURCH
Basquesse / Viviana Pannell / WELLINGTON
Cybèle / Cybèle Wiren / AUCKLAND
Chapel Design / Janelle Chapel / AUCKLAND
Emma Ford / Emma Stuart / AUCKLAND
Emma / Emma Wallace / WELLINGTON
House of EZIS / Andrzej K pytel / AUSTRALIA
Julian Danger / Amy Rose Goulding / DUNEDIN
Huffer / Dan Buckley & Steve Dunstan / AUCKLAND
ISBIM / Joshua Jang / AUCKLAND
Juliette Hogan / Juliette Hogan / AUCKLAND
Kagi / Kat Gee / AUCKLAND
Karen Walker / Karen Walker / AUCKLAND
Kate Sylvester / Kate Sylvester / AUCKLAND
Nom*D / Margarita Robertson / DUNEDIN
Oyl / Vicki Reid & Nicola Karam / WAIRARAPA
Riddle Me This / Liz Proverbs / MT MAUNGANUI
Sable & Minx / Theresa Brady / AUCKLAND
Salasai / Kirsha Whitcher / HASTINGS
Sera Lilly / Cheryl Lilly / AUCKLAND
Serena Fagence / Serena Fagence / AUCKLAND
Sheryl May / Sheryl May / GISBORNE
Stolen Girlfriends Club / Marc Moore & Dan Gosling / AUCKLAND
Tara Cunniffe / Tara Cunniffe / AUCKLAND
TCD / Caroline Marr / AUCKLAND
Trelise Cooper / Trelise Cooper / AUCKLAND
Trix & Dandy / Michael Pattison / AUCKLAND
Twentysevennames / Anjali Stewart & Rachel Easting / WELLINGTON
United Constructions / Jill Crabb & Helen Miraudo / AUSTRALIA
VonAvi / Greg & Kaz von Heraud Parker / WANAKA
Zambesi / Liz & Neville Findlay / AUCKLAND

Miromoda Designers
Wiremu Barriball / Wiremu Barriball / TITAHI BAY
Kiri Nathan / Kiri Nathan / AUCKLAND
Samara Vercoe / Samara Vercoe / NELSON
Keri Wanoa & Hemi Sungren / Keri Wanoa & Hemi Sungren / WAITARA
Tutina Pasene / Tutina Pasese / OTAKI
Shane Hansen / Shane Hansen / AUCKLAND
Bianca Walford-Collier / Bianca Walford-Collier / WELLINGTON

Diet Coke – The Little Black Dress Show
Five New Zealand and five Australian designers to be announced

In Vogue: Christina Carey

greg lotus

Christina Carey has been flying under the radar for some time. If you can call being the face of Japanese beauty giant Shiseido low profile. Still, Carey's sophisticated look - which is evocative of that of 1940s model Lisa Fonssagrives and other faces of the glory days of haute couture – has definitely taken some time to catch on. Carey’s show tally for FW0910 earlier this year, for example, embraced a mere handful of names. Well after spending four years shuttling between Paris, New York and Milan, perhaps things are about to change for the 23 year-old Melbournite. Here are three shots from a 20-page editorial spread in the upcoming August edition of Vogue Italia. Shot by Greg Lotus (with the complete editorial on his website), it stars Carey alongside Belarusian supermod Tanya Dziahileva (above L) and a third model. It is Carey’s second Vogue Italia spread this year, after Tim Walker’s Fairy Time story in February.

greg lotus

Cassi signs with Work Agency

jez smith/antm via tanya powell

It’s hard keeping up with Cassi van den Dungen. Crowned runnerup in ANTM Cycle 5 three weeks ago, she declined contracts with Priscillas and Elite New York to rejoin her childhood modelling agency in Melbourne, Tanya Powell. On Saturday she shot a first job with Portmans. Frockwriter can reveal that van den Dungen has now signed a contract with the Sydney-based Work Agency. A boutique agency that reps photographers, hair and makeup artists, stylists and 14 models, it is operated by Helena Vitolins, who reports that she signed van den Dungen 10 days ago and that Work Agency organised the Portmans gig. Vitolins also reps Nicole Bentley who shot the campaign. Vitolins reports that her biggest model names are Holly Thompson, who has shot for Vogue Australia and Siew Longhorn - who has worked for Calvin Klein Jeans, Tommy Hilfiger and, last week, The Gap. But arguably the agency’s most high profile name in any field to date is photographer Carlotta Moye, who recently shot Miranda Kerr for the cover of Australian Rolling Stone.

Vitolins reports that van den Dungen has a lot of job options. However she declined to clarify whether or not these options are completely different, or one and the same, to those mentioned yesterday by Tanya Powell - which remains van den Dungen's mother agency.

“Her chart is full” is all Vitolins would say.

Nor would Vitolins clarify if she has had any dealings with any international agencies with regards to van den Dungen.

It does appear however that van den Dungen is unlikely to be turning up on the SS10 international runways in September and October.

“It’s far too early for that” said Vitolins. “I think it’s important that Cassi establishes herself in the Australian market and learns to model. She’s loving modelling and I think she has the potential to do very well.”

She added, “I’m a small agency. I’ve always been very much under the radar, I’m not in the Yellow Pages. It’s total management and I am very selective. It’s a very career-based agency. I don’t represent people who don’t work”.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cassi shoots Portmans, gets cyberbullied by ANTM hosts

On Thursday frockwriter first mentioned that ANTM 2009 runnerup Cassi van den Dungen was returning to her childhood modelling agency, Tanya Powell, and had booked a first job with Portmans. The shoot took place on Saturday in Sydney and here are three shots - two of which appeared in the Herald Sun yesterday (with the hilariously provincial headline, "Forget New York, this is the big time"). This is a lookbook designed to accompany Portman's September collection and it will be primarily featured online - but also possibly on point of sale material in-store. It was shot by Nicole Bentley, who also photographed Kelsey van Mook for Portmans' August campaign. The Tanya Powell agency reports that it is currently fielding approximately 10 job offers for van den Dungen. UPDATE 29/07: Van den Dungen signs with Work Agency.

Alex Perry and Charlotte Dawson meanwhile - the two ugly step-sisters of the ANTM Cinderella machine - have both been whinging on Facebook about van den Dungen's decision not to accept the ANTM-affiliated offer of Priscillas and Elite contracts.

Perry, moreover, who noted on Facebook at one point that he is so "OVER THE BOGAN", has made quite some fuss over van den Dungen's nerve in sending him a Facebook friend request.

Perry put the decision to accept or decline the friend request up to Facebook vote and solicited the yays or nays of his follower posse. Over 60 responses ensued - most to the negative.

If you are going to berate your show's teen contestants for bitching, snarking and bullying, have the grace to follow your own example.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Talking Obama's jeans, flood pants and meggings with ABC Local Radio Queensland

getty via daylife

Radio shows often call hoping to throw light on the various fashion stories which pop up in the papers. I thought I might as well start podcasting them, as a kind of archive. Bear in mind these are usually drive time programs with general audiences – as distinct from the hardcore fashion audience that comes to this blog. It’s interesting to segue between the two. First up, last week’s chat with the State-wide Afternoons show on ABC Local Radio Queensland. The subject was the pair of baggy jeans worn by Barack Obama to the All-Star baseball game and which had been the target of quite some media ribbing the world over. The show host was also keen to talk fashion tips for guys over 40 and we moved onto high fashion runway trends from the recent SS10 shows, notably the omnipresent cropped trouser and the male harem pant. Click the player above to hear - and please bear with me as I iron out teething podcast problems.

Behind-the-scenes at Portmans

Provided by Portmans and exclusive to frockwriter, a behind-the-scenes video of the making of the Australian highstreet retailer's summer campaign. Due to appear in August online and in store, the campaign stars Canadian Kelsey van Mook and was shot by Nicole Bentley on the Wolverine set on Sydney's heritage-listed Cockatoo Island. Other faces you might recognise in the background include Claudia Navone, fashion director of Harpers Bazaar, who obviously moonlights as a stylist, Portmans creative director Nikki Hillier, hair stylist Nicholas Jurnjack and makeup artist Charlotte Blakeney.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cassi van den Dungen pursues her model dream with Tanya Powell

tanya powell

So Cassi van den Dungen lost Australia’s Next Top Model’s 2009 crown, turned down contracts with Priscillas and Elite New York and threatened to go back to Sunbury to focus on her boyfriend’s bricklaying business. But it seems she has not given up on her modelling dream. Van den Dungen has rejoined the agency that discovered her at the age of five and repped her as a child model: Melbourne’s Tanya Powell Model Agency. Never heard of it? Tanya Powell is one of many low-profile Australian agencies that often springboard models in the smaller markets, only to then send them on to sign with larger local agencies, namely Chic Management, Priscillas, Chadwicks and Vivens. And some question the wisdom of van den Dungen’s decision to turn her back on offers from bigger players with proven track records of managing international careers.

This is certainly the case with the modelwatchers on online forums The Fashion Spot and and indeed, Priscillas itself.

Unaware that van den Dungen had returned to Tanya Powell when frockwriter called this afternoon for comment, Priscillas booker Lizzi Leighton-Clark noted, "It's a shame that she's not willing to pursue a modelling cereer that goes beyond Melbourne, because obviously she has the potential to be an amazing model".

Modelling is not just about having a pretty face and long legs. It is about attitude, work ethic, momentum and, moreover, the right management.

According to Tanya Powell manager Rosetta Stefano, Tanya Powell does not have any models under contract. The agency's biggest womens' name is Cassie Gardner, in addition to television personalities Paul O’Brien, Tania Zaetta and Laura Csortan.

With Gardner's wider career now being managed by Viviens in Sydney and IMG in New York, one would hope that all is not lost for van den Dungen. And both van den Dungen and Tanya Powell should take on board the fact that, since van den Dungen is evidently not under any kind of non-compete agreement with the management agency affiliated with ANTM, ie Priscillas, every other major Australian agency that is headquartered in Sydney would be very keen to sign her up immediately.

The essential difference here however is the fact that while an unknown Gardner went from a small agency to bigger agencies, van den Dungen made a name for herself in a high-profile television competition, had offers from big agencies, but has chosen to go in the reverse direction.

Van den Dungen is booked to shoot for Portmans on Saturday – a web campaign is all Stefano could tell frockwriter, adding that she rejoined the agency immediately after the ANTM finale.

Reports Stefano, “We’re speaking to lots of different companies. She’s definitely very keen to be a model. We are doing her comp card, she went for a casting yesterday, she’s on the way. At the moment she wants to basically do as much as she can in Melbourne. If you’ve got a good product it doesn’t matter who represents her”.

“There’s a lot to be said for a place where creativity and intelligence are still valued cultural commodities” - Horacio Silva, The New York Times

On the eve of the launch of the Australians in New York Fashion Foundation, the final instalment in frockwriter’s series of mini profiles of prominent Australians working in the New York fashion media: a chat with The New York Times’ Horacio Silva. A new media specialist, Silva arrived in New York over a decade ago with Ben Widdicombe and cut straight to the jugular of the fashion business via the outrageous Chic Happens online gossip column.

Describe your current position and what the job involves.
Horacio Silva: I work as the Features Director/Online Director for T: The New York Times Style Magazine, which means I basically write, assign and edit for print and online. It’s fair to say, though, that as the T web presence continues to grow beyond all expectations, my work is increasingly online. That said, we just undertook a really interesting experiment in reverse publishing in which we are running (obviously updated) content in the ‘Sunday Styles’ section of The New York Times newspaper that has already appeared on T’s website. It's a development I’m very excited about and though it’s early days it seems to have struck a chord with readers (not all of whom I can assume already knew about T online.) I think it’s a smart way to expand the brand and get our original content out there to as many people as possible.

How difficult was it to break into the New York media environment? Briefly describe the career trajectory which led you to your current position.
I don’t know that it was any harder than breaking into media in Australia. In most countries, it’s a pretty hermetically sealed industry that takes talent, gumption, luck and contacts to break into. But like a lot of people who work in New York media, I basically just made the move and took it from there. I had worked in Australian publishing for many years – in print then online for Microsoft Australia — and my then boyfriend, Ben Widdicombe, and I wanted a change so we moved at the beginning of 1998. NYC and Hong Kong were the two options on the table at the time, but New York, which I fell in love with when I used to visit for work, was an easy choice for me.

As for my trajectory, I was lucky to have some shekels left over from my previous job so I had the luxury of feeling out the city and meeting lots of people. As a result, I was privy to a lot of fun information that wasn’t being reported and so Ben and I started a catty online column called Chic Happens on That got the attention of the late Amy Spindler, who was the editor of Fashions of the Times (as T was called during her tenure) and my beloved enabler, and I just kinda stayed.

What do you know now that you dearly wish someone had told you when you first arrived in New York?
Nothing career-related. Seriously. But I would have loved a head’s up about the Thai food being pretty awful. Learn to cook it if you’re a fan and plan to move.

Best part about working and living in New York.
Mmm… the fact that you have the option to compete and do good work on a big stage holds a lot of sway for me. Because I don’t drive, being able to get around the city easily is also a plus. And there’s a lot to be said for a place where creativity and intelligence are still valued cultural commodities.

Worst part about working and living in New York.
A lot of visitors to the city complain that New Yorkers never let up about work, that you can be at a late—night bar and people still find a way to go on about their job. But I don’t mind that so much. (What am I talking about? I’m probably the worst culprit.) For me, the worst thing is really the tyranny of distance.

Where are you from in Australia and what do you most miss about it?
I was raised in Sydney. I’m a Leichhardt boy, but I lived most of my adult life in the Eastern suburbs. Of course I miss my family and friends above all else. And did I mention the Thai food?

What advice would you give young Australians hoping to break into the media/fashion/beauty businesses in New York?
Regardless of where you’re from, geographically or socio-economically, the world doesn’t owe you a single favour. So if you want it badly enough, you have to work hard for it. One thing I do remember from back when I was still working for Microsoft and-–shhhh!!!—talking to headhunters about moving to New York, is that you have to be here, no ifs or buts, so find a way. You’re wasting your time sending out resumés from Australia and expecting people to follow up. To quote the sagacious words of the New South Wales State Lottery: You’ve got to be in it to win it.


“There is such a culture of entitlement in New York, kids who work hard are a breath of fresh air” – Laura Brown, Harpers BAZAAR

On the eve of the launch of the Australians in New York Fashion Foundation, a chat with Laura Brown. For those unfamiliar with the name, Brown is the dynamo responsible for US Harpers BAZAAR's most press-worthy “cover coups” and conceptual editorials. Highlights have included a cartoon fashion spread depicting The Simpsons guided through Paris fashion salons by Linda Evangelista, Tyra Banks posing as Michelle Obama and the first interview with Katie Holmes following her wedding to Tom Cruise, with shots styled by Victoria Beckham. With Brown now also the public face of all BAZAAR's tv appearances, including a stint as guest judge on Bravo's The Fashion Show, her television franchise is building.

Describe your current position and what the job involves.
Laura Brown: I am the Features/Special Projects Director at Harper’s BAZAAR. I book our covers, conceptualise and produce our major pop culture/fashion portfolios, run the features department, coordinate our public relations strategy and represent the magazine on television.

How difficult was it to break into the New York media environment? Briefly describe the career trajectory which led you to your current position.
I left Australian Bazaar in 2001 and turned up here a week before September 11, so it was tricky. I knew precisely two people – one at The New York Post and one at Talk magazine (RIP). But that’s all you need if you’re passionate enough about succeeding here. I freelanced for a year, became senior editor at W, then to Details, then to BAZAAR four and a half years ago.

What do you know now that you dearly wish someone had told you when you first arrived in New York?
That just because everyone speaks English, it doesn’t mean they’re just like you! That, and a complete list of reliable doctors and real estate agents.

Best part about working and living in New York.
Working with people I never thought I’d meet, and seeing your ideas manifest themselves on a global stage. At the beginning of the week, never knowing how it’s going to end. And walking past the MOMA sculpture garden every morning on the way to the office.

Worst part about working and living in New York.
The size of apartments. My shoes are fighting for their life.

Where are you from in Australia and what do you most miss about it?
I’m from Sydney. Apart from friends and family – it’s the sea air from the harbour. I feel like I exhale when I get home, and take another deep breath to last me for a year!

What prompted you to participate in the launch of the foundation and how will it operate?
It’s just really gratifying for us to build a network of Australians who are really there for each other – alongside assisting the winner of the foundation prize, selfishly it’s been so encouraging to have that bedrock of people around. And anything to increase awareness of Australian design talent in New York is always worthwhile.

What advice would you give young Australians hoping to break into the New York media/fashion/beauty business?
Work hard – and keep focussed. I really believe that if you are passionate about something, and you’re good at it, you will do well. If you follow your interests, you will meet people organically that can help you achieve your goals. Don’t expect anything – there is such a culture of entitlement in New York, that kids who work hard are a breath of fresh air! Get a visa and get on a plane – I arrived here at possibly the worst time in history, and I’m still here.

Describe your typical day at Harpers Bazaar.
Wow, there really is no such thing as a typical day at BAZAAR. It feels often like we are making a film and are all producers instead of editors. The majority of time is spent coming up with concepts for stories – both written and visual – and finding the best teams to achieve them. Then it’s a matter of putting all the puzzle pieces together to achieve the most amazing result. Nothing like coming up with a crazy idea and having Karl Lagerfeld shoot it. The rest of the day depends on whether we are shooting something (I am on set often), on deadline to ship the issue, or coordinating our PR strategy. Then there’s the TV appearances! It is certainly not dull. I think my next job will be at the U.N.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Don't let the rats get to you" - Colin Bertram, NY Daily News

On the eve of the launch of the Australians in New York Fashion Foundation, a chat with Colin Bertram - pictured above at CNN, following an interview with Anderson Cooper. And looking remarkably comfortable in Cooper's anchor's chair.

Describe your current position and what the job involves.
Colin Bertram: Features Editor/Assistant Managing Editor of the NY Daily News. I’m responsible for all fashion, entertainment, lifestyle, gossip and news features across the paper.

How difficult was it to break into the New York media environment? Briefly describe the career trajectory which led you to your current position.
I worked retail for Giorgio Armani both in London and then in Sydney when Club 21 brought the Armani brand to Australia. When I transitioned to freelance fashion writing I was lucky to have Marion Hume as my first editor (she was at The Australian at the time) and learned very quickly under her eye. After spending a year in New York (2000) I returned to Sydney where Kirsty Cameron (then editor in chief of In Style Australia) offered me the position of fashion news editor at the magazine. I won my green card in the lottery and moved to New York in 2004 where my first job was as an associate editor on a Sunday insert celebrity magazine for the NY Daily News – I heard about the job through a friend – and then moved into the features department a year later and then worked my way up to my current position.

What do you know now that you dearly wish someone had told you when you first arrived in New York?
Don’t let the rats (both animal and human) get to you!

Best part about working and living in New York.
For work, I love the pace. For living, it was where I met the love of my life so you can’t really beat that!

Worst part about working and living in New York.
As anywhere, working in NY has good and bad aspects and like the city itself, both are a little larger than life. The good can be truly amazing and the bad, well, it can really freak you out. Best part of living in NY is being able to get out and put it all in perspective so that when you return you see the city for the truly amazing place it is. It’s all about not getting bogged down in the day to day struggle of surviving in such a crazy place.

Where are you from in Australia and what do you most miss about it?
Grew up in Brisbane and lived in Sydney prior to moving here. I miss family and friends. And Cherry Ripes…


"Anything is possible" - Colac Pictures president Julie Anne Quay

On the eve of the launch of the Australians in New York Fashion Foundation, here is the second in a series of chinwags with a handful of the foundation’s board members – all prominent Australians working in the New York fashion media. Here, a (sadly very brief) chat with Julie Anne Quay, who landed in New York to a job as studio manager for no less than Steven Meisel. Quay then moved on to V Magazine as executive editor and other fashion consulting roles such as casting, for clients including Marc Jacobs.

Describe your current position and what the job involves.

Julie Anne Quay: President of Colac Pictures and Jaq Inc. Colac Pictures is a film production company. The main project in development right now is the film version of Australian author Lee Tulloch's fashionable cult classic Fabulous Nobodies. Jaq Inc is a fashion production company and right now the main focus is projects for

How difficult was it to break into the New York media environment? Briefly describe the career trajectory which led you to your current position.
I really believe you make your own luck. My first job here was with the photographer Steven Meisel as his studio manager. I was recommended by an American friend I had worked with in Australia. If I hadn’t been right for the job Steven wouldn't have hired me.

Best part about working and living in New York.
The energy - anything is possible.

Worst part about working and living in New York.
The flight home to Australia.

Where are you from in Australia and what do you most miss about it?
Melbourne. I miss my family the most.

What prompted you to launch the foundation and how will it operate?
It is very hard when you first get here. There is a culture shock, namely that everything is not what you see on television. Australians have a unique sensibility and outlook and en masse we are a powerful entity. We wanted to encourage young Australians to be proud of the heritage here and draw on that to make their path in the US and as well create a way for Australians living in Australia to get great work experience here and bring it back home.


"Milk every contact, take risks, work for nix" - New York power PR Malcolm Carfrae on getting a foot in the door of the fashion biz

Last week Frockwriter mentioned the new Australians in New York Fashion Foundation, whose mission statement is to facilitate connections for young Australians in the New York fashion and beauty businesses. A gumleaf mafia corroboree will convene tonight in the Big Apple to launch the foundation, with a number of highprofilers tipped to attend. Just how will the program work? In 2010, a foundation prize will be awarded to one Australian citizen aged 18-28 to cover travel and accommodation expenses for up to six months, with a work experience program organised. Applications open August 1, deadline is September 15, 10 finalists to be announced November 1, with a finalists dinner - apparently in Sydney - slated for late December. The winner will be announced mid January 2010. Click here for more details. In the interim, frockwriter thought we would pick the brains of a few foundation members who have made it to the top of the competitive New York fashion media market and ask their advice for industry newcomers. Here is the first of a series of Q&As: Calvin Klein's Malcolm Carfrae.

Describe your current position and what the job involves.
Malcolm Carfrae: I am the Executive Vice President of Global Communications at Calvin Klein Inc. I oversee public relations, corporate communications, celebrity services, special events and charitable initiatives for the company world-wide.

How difficult was it to break into the New York media environment? Briefly describe the career trajectory which led you to your current position.
The tough part was getting into the fashion industry in London. I worked in retail (on the shop floor) for two years until I could find a job in fashion PR there. I worked for almost nothing and earnt my keep by working seven days a week. I was lucky enough to work for a small fashion PR agency that gave me the opportunity to grow quickly. For me, getting a job in New York was the easy part, because I was head-hunted and relocated. Once in New York, it was all about hard work and initiative. I was promoted twice at Calvin Klein, and have had my current title for about a year.

What do you know now that you dearly wish someone had told you when you first arrived in New York?
Knowledge is power in New York. I hated not knowing the best place to eat, where to cut my hair, where to buy a lamp shade. I asked a lot of questions and never asked the same question twice.

Best part about working and living in New York.
It's the most professional city in the world. People are driven and very positive, very up. Fashion is taken very seriously and people are generally well paid. It's easy to get around - Manhattan is a small island and taxis are plentiful. And the beaches that are an easy drive away.... For an Australian, it's like being at home. London can't offer that.

Worst part about working and living in New York.
The distance from Europe and Australia. I can't think of another negative.

Where are you from in Australia and what do you most miss about it?
I'm from Sydney. I miss the easy sense of humor, the light and my family but after 20 years away, the sense of longing subsides.

Considering how many Australians already work in the New York media - without any specific assistance - what prompted you to launch the foundation and how will it operate?
It's true - a lot of us made it with no specific assistance but we liked the idea of combining a social networking group with a foundation that gave something back to young Australians. Maybe it will be a little easier for Australians to find work experience or jobs in New york with our support. We'd like to see the people we help taking the knowledge back to Australia. It will function as a work experience programme, not a scholarship. We'll provide the funding and the work placements for the recipients.

What advice would you give young Australians hoping to break into the New York media/fashion/beauty business?
Milk every contact you have without stalking the person. Having the right contacts gets you everywhere in New York. Take risks and do your research. Find out everything about the company you want to work for and email everyone there you can. Offer to work for free and work nights if you have to. My current executive assistant researched me so well before her job interview, she knew I wrote short stories when I was younger. And she knew the annual turn-over of our company - impressive.

Describe your typical day at Calvin Klein.
A typical day for me is answering the many emails I get overnight from Europe, Asia and Australia (before breakfast), get to the office before the deluge of emails from the US begin. Back to back meetings, usually a lunch with editors or stylists, meetings with my team to plan the next initiatives and strategize, sitting in on interviews with our designers and accompanying them to an event after work, normally two events per night or a work dinner. Home at 11 if I'm lucky.

Case closed: Jenna Sauers is Tatiana Anymodel

nikola tamindzic/jezebel

So the Tatiana mystery appears to be finally solved. In a coming-out essay on Jezebel today entitled "I am the anonymous model", New Zealander Jenna Sauers reveals that she is Tatiana Anymodel, the anonymous model behind the site's Modelslips column - as frockwriter long suspected to be the case.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Murder on the shop floor


What is it with luxury retailers and their horror window displays? Oh yes, that's right, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Frockwriter recently showed you the spooky, Re-animator-style windows at Hermes’ Australian flagship in Sydney, which depicted the skeleton of a mad scientist attempting to resuscitate a series of dead critters. This followed a 'Murder at Midnight'-themed display in the same store, which showcased a pair of bloodied scissors and detailed the lengths to which a desperate luxury enthusiast might go to get their hands on a Birkin. Well now Barneys New York has gone one better at its New York flagship. Two Expressionistic window displays feature discombobulated store mannequins that appear to be the victims of some violent crime - complete with splatters of fake blood on the glass. UPDATE 23/07: The windows have now been removed by Barneys.


The windows are not located in prime position on Madison Avenue, which the store fronts, but instead a series of slightly more discreet vestibule displays.

But that has not stopped them coming to the attention of New York media blog Racked – and indeed some of the site’s readers, who don’t seem particularly impressed.

Notes one:

“You have got to be kidding. Violence against women is such a huge global and domestic problem - often culturally ingrained and acceptable - honor killings as just one well-known example. What is wrong with you? This is horrific and totally inhumane. Let's have a torture window as well - we could have waterboarding for displays of swimwear - would that excite you?”

While according to another Racked reader:
“How witty and clever! Elegantly dressed woman dying violent, bloody deaths.

How modern, how post-feminist, how curiously emblematic of the newly hip tolerance for making sport of women. What's next, a mannequin buried up to her limp neck, rocks strewn about, her chandelier earrings dangling "just so" from her lifeless frame?

This season, I will not be caught dead in...Barney's.”

The problem for Barneys – and of course many other retailers, notably at the luxury end of the market – is that shoppers won’t be caught dead inside their stores at the moment, irrespective of what they have in their window displays.

With luxury department store sales plunging, amid drastic price-slashing, the US retail shopfloor is increasingly looking like a bloodbath. So is it at all surprising that the retailers' creative departments are so keen to play out this horror scenario in their VM displays?

Although one of the last department stores to cut staff, in March, the Barneys New York department store chain has not had a ceo for the past year.

In April, the company received a US$25million cash injection from parent company Istithmar World, the Government of Dubai-owned, Dubai-based private equity company which acquired Barneys New York – and US$500million associated debt - in 2007 for US$942milllion.

Two Barneys stores are tipped to close, amidst speculation that Istithmar World may offload the retailer altogether.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Tatiana mystery - about to be solved

nikola tamindzic

Frockwriter has had some fun over the past 12 months trying to ascertain the identity of the mysterious "Tatiana Anymodel" who writes anonymously about the modelling business - and, increasingly, general fashion - for Nick Denton's high-profile, New York-based womens' blog Jezebel. In fact we devoted five posts to the subject. Our best shot was Kiwi Jenna Sauers, even though Sauers repeatedly denied she was Tatiana, both in comments on this blog and in person, when we bumped into her at last September's New Zealand Fashion Week. Well Jezebel is about to finally unmask Tatiana. And this teaser that appears on the blog of Gawker photographer Nikola Tamindzic tells us three things: Tatiana is white, with brown hair and a rather strong jaw. Compare this shot to a portrait of Sauers that we took in Auckland after the Zambesi show (below). If it is indeed Sauers, this is a big story for New Zealand. UPDATE 22/7: CASE CLOSED - JENNA SAUERS IS TATIANA ANYMODEL.

Nicole Kidman digs in her fourth line of paparazzi defence

Much has been made of the so-called Great Wall of Sutton Forest, a 250m long, 2.5m high dirt wall erected by Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban on their Southern Highlands, NSW property Bunya Hill, ostensibly to keep the prying lenses of the paparazzi at bay from one exposed section of the property. Well frockwriter (who spends a lot of time in the region - and took this shot from the roadside) can report that the dirt wall has now been reinforced with a second, green, line of defence: a row of conifers that appears to stretch the length of the property on the western side of the front gates. Add to that the existing barbed wire boundary fence and the makings of a secondary fence in between the conifers and the dirt wall and, well, Jamie Fawcett may need to enlist the services of the 11th Panzer Division if he wants to plant any listening devices. No word on explosives being attached to any of the fortifications, but we'll keep you posted.

Sienna Miller werks it for the paps - and Scanlan & Theodore

scanlan & theodore

Sienna Miller kept the paparazzi busy over the weekend in Sydney, while she took time off from promoting Stephen Sommers' Gi Joe: The Rise of the Cobra, in which she plays a character called 'The Baroness'. Miller was spotted lunching at Catalina on Saturday and yesterday, at Bondi Icebergs. But while the paps were spotted crawling around Icebergs, trying to get good angles, according to Sydney gossip columnist Ros Reines Miller was offered the back door of Catalina, however chose to walk out the front instead. "She loves paparazzi" explained Reines on Twitter. In case you had any doubt about the role of the celeb hype factor in artificially boosting fashion trends, Melbourne-based fashion brand Scanlan & Theodore provides a good case in point. Contacted by Miller's Australian stylist, Scanlan & Theodore sent Miller three free items: a wool cashmere coat, a cardigan and a dress. Miller wore the coat yesterday and S&T is already shopping around the pap shots. Punters will obviously have to fork out $650 if they want their own.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lock, stock and three smoking aliens

campaign brief

Super cool campaign from Sydney ad agency Kastner & Partners for Fisher Space Pens, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Created by Darryn Devlin and Dan Foster with photography by Sean Izzard and retouching by Cream, the campaign depicts three smartly besuited aliens, each bearing a Fisher Space Pen in their breast pocket. The tagline reads, “Civilizing space since 1968” (the year the pens were first used by NASA for Apollo 7). The Fisher Space Pen became indelibly linked with the US space program after Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong used one to fix a broken switch on the lunar module, allowing them to return safely to the space capsule after their historic moon walk. Given that the aliens resemble Ozwald Boateng-outfitted gangsters from Guy Ritchie's 1998 Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, frockwriter is not sure where civility fits into things. But interestingly, the campaign follows the release of Prada’s SFX-heavy Fall 2009/2010 lookbook (below), for which animal heads, abstract sculptures and graphic designs were Photoshopped onto the heads of several models.

campaign brief

prada FW0910 lookbook via fashionologie

The psychedelic one-piece ski suit, Mt Buller

snow blind

According to our woman on the piste, Lorraine Lock - who is embedded in the Australian Alps for the season - the buzz on the slopes is the return of the one-piece ski suit. Documented here in an eye-popping psychedelic print, the suit is teamed with a studded white belt and a black helmet. Although apparently not compulsory anywhere in Australia, helmets are promoted by the Australian Ski Areas Association - and of course to avoid any Natasha Richardson-type scenarios. Très chic but frockwriter can't help wondering..... isn't it awfully cold peeling all that off to take a pee at 1700 metres? Check out Lock's Snow Blind blog for daily updates.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bluralism, finally a legit art movement

lindsay lohan by chrissy miller/

Many railed over the quality of images that were snapped by mobile phone and uploaded to Twitter at Sydney's Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in May. “Blurry”, “average” and “grainy” were terms used to slag the images off, with several parties asking the Twitterati to cease and desist. Some derided the phenomenon as “the failure of new media”. We, the new media douchebags, girded our loins and smartphones, dubbed the movement Bluralism and joked that we might one day stage an exhibition. Well, typically, New York has beaten us to it. On Wednesday, the Stephan Weiss Studio staged an exhibition of camera phone images taken by 14 artists including Cass Bird, Justin Giunta, Richard Kern, Danielle Levitt and Chrissy Miller, who were each given a Casio Exilim Mobile with which to document one week. Although one great big promo for Casio, photos taken using other mobile phone brands were also included. With New York Fashion Week eight weeks away and more and more fashion players piling onto Twitter, frockwriter wonders if any of the city's more social media-savvy types have considered aggregating the best images from the anticipated deluge of SM coverage.

Catherine McNeil shoots a heroine cover for Numéro

There might be a question mark over Sarah Stephens' exact involvement with the September Vogue Italia, but another Chic Management brunette definitely has a new page one under her belt. Catherine McNeil graces the cover of issue #105 of influential French magazine Numéro - with her brows either bleached or airbrushed to achieve fashion's increasingly popular no-brows look (the subject of a story in today's New York Times). Shot by Greg Kadel and styled by Franck Benhamou, the cover is of course another great get for McNeil who, in just two years, has risen to the world number eight position on's Top 50 working models ranking. The Numéro cover emerges at the same time as McNeil's spectacular Patrick Demarchelier editorial in the August edition of German Vogue. However frockwriter can't help thinking just how cynical Numéro's "héroine" double entendre coverline is - not to mention's "Heroine addict" headline on its blog entry overnight. Drugs have always been a problem in the modelling business. Earlier this week, veteran Australian model Emma Balfour slammed the fashion enablers of the 1990s "heroin chic" look for being "f***ing irresponsible". But the 40 year-old mother of two has been out of the business for some time. With last October's death of 20 year-old American model Randy Johnston and that of 27 year-old American artist and occasional model Dash Snow just four days ago - both from heroin overdoses - you have to wonder how big the current heroin problem in New York's fashion and art scene might be.

The September issue mystery

sarah stephens on set shooting vogue italia/modelfeed

Ellen Von Unwerth has already photographed Sarah Stephens twice: for the May 2008 issue of Russian Vogue and the September 2008 edition of Mixte. Now the sultry Melbourne-born brunette is about to complete a von Unwerth hat trick: an editorial for an upcoming issue of Vogue Italia. Stephens even logged shots of herself on set on Model Feed. But while any editorial in Vogue Italia is a great get for any model, mystery surrounds the cover of VI's September 2009 edition following a gossip snippet blogged by’s Wayne Sterling, whose sources say the issue is “a multiple cover extravaganza” involving two blondes and “a surprisingly unique choice of a brunette”. There are, of course, lots of brunettes.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Don't touch, it's haute couture!" - Skye Stracke turns auteur

Fantastic little video on New York mag’s The Cut blog, which provides a great insight into a model’s life backstage. Perth’s Skye Stracke was handed a video camera to cart around last week's haute couture shows in Paris and with it, she reports Alexis Mabille “fluffing up everybody for the show”, the 10.30pm-1.00am Chanel rehearsal - with a 6am call time the following morning - and sparkles at Armani. While at Chanel, Korean Daul Kim horses around with her mega pony tail and Stracke ogles the magnificent breakfast buffet traditionally put on by the Wertheimer bros at all their shows. Notes Stracke, “Doughnuts with Nutella, macaroons, brownies, croissants, fruit...”. Whether she actually ate any of it, is anybody's guess.

Frankie goes to fashionwood

givenchy SS10/

Jethro Cave might have an edgy look, a famous dad and good connections, not to mention a Gumby earring. But the real dark horse of the Australian mens modelling scene was, as it turns out, right under our nose whilst reporting on the recent menswear season. Meet Frankie Elliss-Galati. The 19 year-old Gold Coaster was discovered by Sydney-based photographer Chris Ferguson in a Brisbane sushi bar in January. After booking jobs for Vogue Australia and Bisonte, among others, he headed to the mens Spring/Summer 2010 shows in Europe. In his first international season he walked for names including Christian Dior Homme, Givenchy, Thierry Mugler, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli, Calvin Klein, Trussardi and Tim Hamilton (which he closed) - a feat noted by, which included him on its Top 10 Men’s New Faces for SS10. Not that anyone thus far appears to have been aware of his nationality.

Although repped in Australia by Viviens, Elliss-Galati's mother agent is in fact LA-based Australian Patrick Corcoran, who, like Ferguson, is a former Chic Management booker.

At Givenchy (above), Elliss-Galati got to wear one of the more extreme studded pieces which were inspired by the proposed collaboration between Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci and the late Michael Jackson, for Jackson's O2 Centre concerts in London. Tisci was reportedly due to meet with Jackson about the costumes on Monday 29th June, obviously an appointment that Jackson never made.

christian dior homme SS10 (top); robert cavalli SS10/

Where the Bisonte roam

No sign of Rachel Rutt at last week's haute couture shows in Paris. But frockwriter hears the upwardly-mobile Chic-ette is biding her time until the Spring/Summer 2010 season, which is just around the corner. Meanwhile, Rutt’s latest Australian work is about to hit: the very first advertising campaign for Australian luxury leathergoods brand Bisonte, which has just added a Chatswood store to its three store lineup in Sydney and Melbourne (with a fifth store, in Sydney's CBD, to open early 2010). The images will go into all Bisonte stores on August 1st and also a leather-bound look book. Shot by Chris Ferguson, the campaign (see below) also features Ruby Grose, Max Panichetti, Adrian Africa (Priscillas), Avril Alexander, Frankie Elliss-Galati (Viviens) and Chadwicks’ Georgie Wass – who we caught up with on live-streamed video at RAFW in May.

all images: bisonte

Blog Archive