Saturday, February 27, 2010

Johnny Weir to be Nine Network's RAFW commentator?

For anyone who hasn't been following the Johnny Weir/Nine Network saga during the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympics, quick headsup. Eddie McGuire, Nine commentator (and former ceo), who has been anchoring the network's 2010 winter Olympics coverage, became embroiled in controversy over comments delivered during coverage of the male ice skating events last week, in tandem with guest host, Australian comedian Mick Molloy. The duo joked that flamboyantly-dressed male ice skaters - and in particular, ferosh US ice star Johnny Weir - did not leave "anything in the closet", with one competitor's costume described as "a bit of a Brokeback", in reference to Ang Lee's 2005 bromance Brokeback Mountain. In the wake of a backlash - which has included demands for a formal investigation in Australia into McGuire and Molloy's alleged vilification of homosexuals - Nine attempted to make amends by corralling Weir onto its Olympics team as a guest commentator.

After several nights of guest spots calling this week's womens' ice skating finals in Nine's field studio, Weir just presented an 11-minute wrapup of the best and worst fashions of the winter Olympics, together with McGuire and co-host Leila McKinnon.

In thanking Weir, McGuire alluded to possible future collaborations between the network and Weir. Noted McGuire:

"We are going to try to get you down to Australia in the not too distant future. Not only come down and have some fun, maybe with Fashion Weeks and things like that, but we want to see to see you skate, You are a champion and for all the hoohaa that's being going on, sometimes you can forget that you are a fantastic athlete".

Rosemount Australian Fashion Week is due to run from May 3-7 at Sydney's Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Beyond some high profile blogging invitees that organisers are rumoured to be wooing - the names Tavi Gevinson and Susie Bubble spring to mind - will Johnny Weir ice the rest of the competition out of Sydney's front row?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Prada's curve ball: Fall/Winter 2010/2011 video

Frockwriter talked about the unusual casting this morning. Here is Prada’s video of the Fall/Winter 2010/2011 show if you haven't seen it already, or missed the live stream. And on closer inspection, with all the full-skirted dresses, A-line skirts and Princess line coats – the wardrobe staples of many fuller-figured women (you only have to check the best-selling merchandise of antipodian brands Easton Pearson and Trelise Cooper, which cater specifically to the mature customer) - the brand’s casting strategy makes a whole lot of sense.

Not that there is anything remotely middle aged about the Victoria’s Secret Angels.

But their hyper “sexy” figures, which have placed them at the top of the modelling industry by way of earnings, as distinct to high fashion cachet, make them a little closer to regular women, with breasts and bottoms. As distinct from the androgynous, barely pubescent teenagers who have dominated the runways for the past decade.

Indeed, Dutch bombshell Doutzen Kroes, one of Prada's Victoria's Secret Angels, is one of several high profile models who have dominated fashion coverage over the past fortnight - over the fact they have been excluded from the runways due to issues of weight. On the eve of New York Fashion Week, at a CFDA body image initiative, Kroes told reporters that she rarely does shows because, although she might have done so when she was "11 or 12", she doesn't fit the current runway sample size.

Also on the eve of New York Fashion Week, the well documented weight struggles of Australia's own Gemma Ward were the focus of a 2500 word feature in The New York Post. And Canadian Coco Rocha was on the record with The New York Times saying:

“I’m not in demand for the shows anymore”

Although she was quoted directly in the NYT, on her blog, Rocha later claimed the story was a beatup. Only further confusing matters by admitting:

"in another parallel universe I'm considered "fat"

Presumably, that parallel universe is fashion.

Backstage, Prada talked about going back to the brand’s heritage (there’s that word again). The sexy secretary vibe and Sixties homewares graphics certainly did that.

The braided beehives seemed inspired by both Mad Men (although Miuccia Prda reportedly claims she's never watched it) and the stylish Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko (a connection previously noted by Bryanboy after Prada’s FW0809 collection).

But it also reminded frockwriter of Prada’s SS08 show, which we clocked in person.

Much was made at the time about the casting of full-bosomed Lara Stone, who also hails from the Netherlands, with many outlets heralding a return of curves to the runway.

Stone seemed somewhat larger two years ago than she is now. To wit, we distinctly recall overhearing backstage model gossip about the first casting she attended in Milan that season. “Jaws dropped” we were told, when Stone entered the room, such was her relative bulk compared to the other ectomorphs.

It is well worth noting that, two years down the track, Stone has just graduated to world number #1 on

Prada bumps an all skinny cast to include Victoria's Secret Angels - and four Australians

prada fw1011/getty

Yesterday there were whispers that the Prada cast in Milan might “shake the earth with surprise”. Frockwriter wondered if that might mean Miuccia Prada was planning to include plus sized Crystal Renn? Not quite, but fascinating casting nonetheless and it involves a hell of a lot of Australians. Yes the fashion world was gobsmacked by Balenciaga’s inclusion of Miranda Kerr in its Spring/Summer 2010 show in Paris last September. Well just as frockwriter hinted Kerr might make an appearance in Milan, she has just walked in Prada, alongside two other Victoria's Secret Angels, Doutzen Kroes and Allessandra Ambrosio, not to mention Kerr's compatriots and Chic stablemates Catherine McNeil and Abbey Lee Kershaw. And not forgetting Australia’s hottest new modelling star, Priscilla's Julia Nobis, who, as we reported, scored a Calvin Klein exclusive in New York last week and powered along at London Fashion Week this week, walking for a handful of top shows, including Burberry, Richard Nicoll and Topshop Unique - opening the latter two (and just dubbed a breakout star of the season by New York Magazine). Here is Prada's complete cast list.

None of the Victoria's Secret contract Angels are "plus sized", so let's just put things in perspective here. They are all thinner than "average" women. But they are more voluptuous than your "average" high fashion models, which is why they are in high demand for lingerie and swimwear work.

Catherine McNeil however, interestingly, has not done runway shows for several seasons - because, it has been claimed, she gained weight.

This is not a victory for plus sized models. But it is nonetheless a very interesting move in an area of fashion that is known for its draconian weight regulations and one that is no doubt about to be discussed at length.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Burberry revolution: streaming live, in 3D AND via the blogosphere's long tail

Well unless you’ve been living under a rock in a galaxy far from Planet Fashion – perhaps Pandora – then you might not be aware that iconic British luxury label Burberry is about to make fashion history in just over six hours' time. In a season in which seemingly very second runway show has been live streamed to the net, Burberry is taking this new fashion concept one step further by not only streaming live for the third consecutive season, but additionally, broadcasting in 3D. Teaming up with SKY Television, Burberry will broadcast a 3D version of the show to guests in five global locations: Skylight Studios in New York, the Beaux-Arts in Paris, The Address in Dubai, La Fabrique in Tokyo and Milk Studios in Los Angeles. In another first, Burberry has moved beyond its own website and provided various websites and blogs with its embeddable video player. So, beyond Burberry's own site, there will be a plethora of net destinations via which you will be able to watch the show live at 16.00pm GMT (3.00am AEST) - with, by all accounts, 15 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage prior to that. These sites include frockwriter. Many thanks to Burberry for including us.

But frockwriter does have to chuckle at the naiveté of some of the other Burberry code recipients.

Underneath its player, Grazia Australia for example has advised readers they can check out “exclusive interviews and red-carpet coverage via”.

Click on the email icon to the side of the player and anyone can copy and paste the embed code onto their own blog - a function that has been disabled on the player on Burberry's own site.

According to Burberry, to add to the festivities, the Twitterific ELLE US creative director Joe Zee, along with our buddy Bryanboy, will be “taking over” Burberry’s Twitter feed for the show duration.

Meanwhile, Burberry creative director Christopher Bailey has been busy recording these video meet-and-greets on YouTube and The Daily Beast (which is affiliated with the New York live stream).

Things are moving so quickly in Fashion 2.0, you have to wonder what the Spring/Summer 2011 season holds in store.

Eighteen of the coats and 33 of the bags are available for pre order from Burberry's website for three days following the show.

Burberry was not the only brand to offer its collection to consumers straight off the runway this season, nor was it the first to do so.

In September, Burberry sold two trench coats from its Spring/Summer 2010 show straight from the live stream and website, with consumers receiving their orders in three to four weeks, approximately three months ahead of their arrival in store.

Needless to say, the retail revolution has only just begun

Monday, February 22, 2010

sass & bide's cutting edge chic

"A visual collision of nature and industry; an all-consuming collective celebrating the drama of contrast and contradiction" is how sass & bide describes its Fall/Winter 2010/2011 'Tomorrow the Great' collection that was shown at London Fashion Week on Friday night. But it seems there was a little too much drama for some, with the glass shard-like invitation, above (which appeared to be echoed in some intriguing saber tooth-shaped metal clutches), reportedly drawing blood from more than one attendee. Let's hope they didn't get any on the collection, which heavily featured white and ecru.

There was lots of embellishment, as we have of course come to expect from boho de luxe queens Heidi Middleton and Sarah-Jane Clarke. On this occasion, they added shell and bone to their already well-rehearsed repertoire of metallic sequins and braids, creating a Pasikifa pastiche of ornamental cummerbunds, capelets and breastplates.

Tarty bodycon microdresses - which would be right at home in the fictitious Russian strip club which apparently inspired the accompanying silver vinylite platform shoes - were counterpointed against demure blouses with Victorian necklines, fluid, full-legged trousers and one stellar ivory sheath with a seed-encrusted yoke.

This is sass & bide's second season back in London after a hiatus of several years showing in New York and the city's rich creative/craft heritage, not to mention its far more personalised show schedule, are a much better fit for the label's quirky cool girl vibe.

collection photos: sass & bide
invitation photo: fashionista

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Pamela Anderson experience

By all accounts Wednesday night's launch of the Richie Rich label A*Muse at New York Fashion Week did not go down without a hitch, with guests complaining of having to wait an hour and a half for the show to start. Rich's muse Pamela Anderson was late - reportedly because she wanted Rich to personally pick her up from her hotel. Frockwriter has no difficulty whatsoever in picturing the pandemonium, having personally witnessed the line's global launch at New Zealand Fashion Week in September. And what a treat that was. Due to work commitments which commenced the minute we landed back in Sydney, our account of that show remained in draft form, including several videos. So voilà.

For anyone wondering why on earth A*Muse was unveiled in New Zealand, as far as frockwriter could ascertain, there were two reasons. Well three, if you count rumours organisers paid Anderson five figures to do so.

Brian Long, the label’s LA-based publicist, is a longtime friend of the New Zealand event, having attended for several years. Anderson also reports that her Malibu neighbours hail from Auckland's Waiheke Island and she had always wanted to visit (which she managed to do on the second day of her two-day visit).

Given that ANZFW is an annual winter event, the line's bikinis and board shorts were ludicrously out of context. But in spite of kvetching that the Anderson circus was a blight on NZ's fashion credibility, it should be noted that the event doesn't normally wind up on Perez Hilton's radar, which it did this time around thanks to Anderson's involvement. Also, Richie Rich is a veteran of New York Fashion Week, where his ultra trashy Heatherette shows were among the event's biggest drawcards.

Anderson reportedly arrived in Auckland on the morning of Thursday 24th September.

At 4pm that afternoon, a press conference was staged for the NZ media at the ANZFW venue: the old America's Cup sheds down on Viaduct Harbour.

I attempted to live stream the whole thing however later discovered that the wifi connection had died halfway through. Here it is for anyone who is interested, all 12 minutes of it. And yes, Anderson did the entire presser dressed in a pink scarf.

The show was due to be staged at 5pm the following day.

At 4pm that afternoon, I was backstage at Anderson’s venue, waiting for the collection to be wheeled in. It was the hottest ticket of the week, at least in hype terms, and it involved an international celebrity. Anticipating a certain level of backstage angst, my strategy was to get there early.

The minute the collection was brought in and the covers were unwrapped I managed to grab a couple of BlackBerry shots of two pairs of novelty mens swim briefs, one decorated with a pair of fluoro pink scissors and the other, with a skull. I TwitPic’d the pair with the scissors:

As dressers began to pile in and stand by their racks, with production assistants flapping around, you could feel the angst crank up a notch. One producer walked past and called out, to noone in particular: “Get your game faces on”.

At one point, the canvas awning at one end of the backstage area was peeled back to reveal a small white Winnebago parked immediately adjacent to the tent: Anderson’s personal backstage trailer. Straining over the shoulder of one security guy and Anderson's US manager, I managed to take another, albeit dark, BB shot of Anderson checking her bouffant do in the trailer's mirror. Not a peep out of anyone.

The manager then called out, in a loud voice and standing right next to me: “I want all media out. No exceptions”.

The minders did not appear to twig that I was media. Having survived previous backstage media purges on the big show circuit, I figured there was a chance I might survive this one.

I should point out that while security personnel were almost invisible at the event all week, save only for a front rego desk accreditation check, this show was crawling with them. According to ANZFW, Anderson paid for them. They had a job to do: protect their celebrity client. From what, it wasn’t entirely clear. Hordes of paparazzi? They appeared nonexistent. Mobs of fans? Couldn't see any of those either outside the venue or the Westin Hotel, where most attendees were staying.

I also had a job to do: continue documenting the event, notably from backstage. And there were several reasons why I felt welcome there.

Firstly, I had been invited to the event as a guest of the organisers.

Secondly, I had been accorded full backstage access for each day of the week (to shoot this photodiary).

Thirdly, I had canvassed my concerns about access to this specific show with the organisers that morning – and had been assured by the event's head PR that there would be no problem. Noone communicated anything about any backstage exclusives that had been organised. Sadly the head PR was not backstage. Nor were any of the organisers who, it should be noted, had employed everyone in the room bar Anderson's entourage and security.

Pamela Anderson’s backstage area had however by this stage seceded from Air New Zealand Fashion Week and become a celebrity sovereign state policed by security goons.

After eventually being dobbed in by an ANZFW production assistant (who claimed she was Australian - or had lived in Australia, from memory there was some Australian connection), a large, intimidating bouncer shuffled over to issue a threat to evict.

I did a double take, contemplating the absurdity of the prospect of being physically removed from an event that I had been flown over to cover, before calmly walking to the exit - his hands on me for the duration.

Outside the tent, I found myself standing next to the terribly amusing TVNZ Breakfast host Paul Henry. He too had been booted out. I flicked on the Qik and recorded the following which, once again, failed to fire live.

I wound up watching the show seated next to Henry, who thoughtfully provided the following post-show analysis at the end of the final walkthrough (you can't see his face because there were no lights):

Venturing backstage after the show had wrapped to get a closer look at the clothes, with the Anderson entourage - and indeed the collection - nowhere to be seen, I managed to be evicted a second time by a separate security goon.

Shortly afterwards I made my way to the Westin, where a number of media reps had been invited to have a drink with Anderson and Rich.

Once again, no photos were allowed. We were each given three minutes with Anderson. I was somewhat dumbfounded to learn that I would be able to record the interview as a video. Within seconds of flicking the on switch however, Richie Rich leaned over to put his hand over the camera lens:

Somehow I managed to record a second take. It is difficult to hear because there were so many people in the room and the light quality is poor, but there you have it:

I’m still not sure why such a fuss was made of the photography. Celebrities far bigger than Anderson are a dime a dozen at New York Fashion Week and while security is often tight at NY shows, it is extremely discreet.

Anderson departed Auckland the following morning at 1am by private jet. It seemed a little excessive, particularly in light of persistant reports of her financial problems.

Then I read in the NZ Herald that Anderson had flown straight to Brunei to attend a party thrown by Prince Azim. The penny dropped: that’s whose jet she hitched a ride on.

If you are wondering just how incongruous the flesh-flashing former Baywatch star would prove in the conservative Muslim state, where modest dress is the norm for women, it’s worth remembering that Prince Azim's profile as a decadent party-throwing playboy appears to be rivalling that of his uncle Prince Jefri, who once had a yacht called Tits.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Julia Nobis lands a Calvin Klein exclusive

calvin klein fw1011/getty via daylife

If there's one thing that trumps getting a spot in the Marc Jacobs show at New York Fashion Week, then it's landing an exclusive at Calvin Klein. Frockwriter mentioned that Priscilla's newbie Julia Nobis was a definite one to watch at New York Fashion Week, having been tipped by influential New York casting director Michelle Lee. Less than an hour ago in New York Nobis walked the second of two Calvin Klein shows - as no less than an exclusive (as confirmed by CK's Malcolm Carfrae). In modelspeak, Calvin Klein Collection is a queenmaker and if frockwriter is not mistaken, in terms of Australians, only Gemma Ward and Abbey Lee Kershaw have walked its runways before. Neither as an exclusive.

Andrej Pejic Storms London

Frockwriter predicted that 2010 could be Andrej Pejic's year. So far the androgynous Melbournite is off to a flying start. We mentioned that he was heading to London Fashion Week, which starts tomorrow. Well according to Chadwicks booker (and Model Mania scribe) Joseph Tenni, Pejic arrived in London last Wednesday, went to see agencies on Friday and at his first appointment, with Storm - the agency that famously discovered Kate Moss - he was signed on the spot. Started doing appointments on Monday, on Wednesday shot with both Dazed & Confused and Libertine Magazine. Meanwhile, here is Pejic, above, on the cover of a supplement inside the new issue of Australia's Culture magazine. And here is LFW's digital schedule, which includes 26 live streamed shows - including Friday night's sass & bide show. Stand by to see Pejic on the runway.

McQueen's shoes weren't made for walking, but that's just what they'll do on March 9

alexander mcqueen ss10/

Did we or did we not say that Alexander McQueen's Fall/Winter 2010/2011 show in Paris remains locked into the (constantly updated) Paris Fashion Week schedule - suggesting that the show will definitely be going ahead? (UPDATE: since removed from schedule. UPDATE: Nevertheless since confirmed by a company spokeswoman to take place on March 9). And that the production of showpieces specifically commissioned by McQueen for the presentation before his February 11th death, continues unabated? We did. And voilà, comes word today from Gucci Group chief executive Robert Polet via WWD that a McQueen collection will definitely be presented during Paris Fashion Week. The exact format of the presentation, however, remains unclear. Frockwriter can tell you a little bit more about those showpieces currently in production. We're talking shoes. McQueen and co, we hear, were so thrilled with the publicity generated by the Armadillos (above) and Geiger-inspired footwear from Spring/Summer 2010 (even though it terrified some models) that he designed/ordered some equally extreme footwear. Too bad he won't be around to see the final results.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"No change" to Alexander McQueen's Paris show date and production

alexander mcqueen SS10/graphikaddict

Surely the biggest question on the lips of everyone in the fashion world at the moment, beyond what the future holds for the Alexander McQueen brand, is, just what is happening with the scheduled presentation of McQueen’s Fall/Winter 2010/2011 collection at 8.30pm on March 9 in Paris? In the wake of the designer’s suicide on February 11, plans would obviously have been thrown into chaos. Irrespective of what happens to the brand in the longterm however, for the time being it is still a going concern. And the collection was reportedly completed, including final fittings, in the week prior to McQueen's death. Frockwriter has just checked with the Paris shows organising body, the Chambre Syndicale, which reports there is so far "aucune modification" (no change) to the schedule. Sources close to McQueen’s atelier, moreover, tell frockwriter that in terms of the production of showpieces commissioned specifically for the presentation, there is also no change to the delivery deadline. Whether the items are destined for the show, or merely for future photographic purposes, is unclear. But why the hurry otherwise? UPDATE: MCQUEEN'S NAME REMOVED FROM SCHEDULE, BUT SHOW STILL REPORTEDLY GOING AHEAD ON THE 9TH.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Women are from Venus, Sonny Vandevelde to show at Mars

There are lots of reasons to check out the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, which runs from March 14-21 at venues around Melbourne. Listening to Calvin Klein creative director Francisco Costa and Calvin Klein Inc's Executive Vice President of Global Communications (and Sydney expat) Malcolm Carfrae wax lyrical on helming a fashion superbrand at the Business Seminar on March 19 is one of them. As is checking in to see the sophomore exhibition of Belgralian backstage ace Sonny Vandevelde at Mars Gallery from March 13-28. Currently snapping the New York shows, the Sunster will just manage to make the opening after the FW1011 season wraps in Paris on March 10. Above is the flyer.

Christina Carey nabs Marc Jacobs

marc jacobs fw1011/

Word just in from backstage at Marc Jacobs (via Sonny Vandevelde) is that Priscilla's Christina Carey is the only Australian model booked for the show (confirmed). The Marc Jacobs show, which is due to kick off at 12.00pm AEST (8.00pm EST), is one of the most prestigious modelling gigs at New York Fashion Week - if not the most prestigious. You can watch the show live stream on Great get for Carey.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bloggers now account for up to 40percent of some New York show guest lists


Today WWD has yet another story about social media. Yes we all know many brands are live streaming shows and that the new media uptake is accelerating. What really caught my eye however was a handful of figures that they had managed to extract from various fashion houses delineating what percentages of either their press lists - or, according to WWD, their total guests lists - are suddenly being thrown open to bloggers. For companies that have either already shown in New York or are about to show: 10 percent of Nicole Miller's press list was reportedly comprised of bloggers. Tory Burch's guest list, 15percent. Vivienne Tam's press list, 20percent (200 bloggers). Ports 1961's guest list, 35percent. And the guest lists of both Walter and Temperley London: a whopping 40percent.

Against this backdrop, frockwriter feels the need to point out that the Paris shows organising body, the Chambre Syndicale, in all its wisdom, has just refused to accredit Melanie Hick. That's the Melbourne-based fashion editor of The Vine – Fairfax Digital's youth-skewed news website. As recounted to frockwriter, “We don’t accredit websites” was the response she was given while attempting to organise her upcoming FW1011 shows trip.

Fantastic to see that however quickly other parts of the fashion world are embracing the digital age, the French establishment continues to discriminate against even online professionals.

Of course the Chambre Syndicale has accredited a few websites in the past – and Fashion Wire Daily two examples.

However as the organisation informed me back in early 2007, when I switched from being the fashion reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald to that of its online arm, and then again six months later, the fashion reporter for News Ltd's, they’re not accrediting any "new" ones. Fairfax Digital and News Digital Media only operating two of the highest traffic news media websites in Australia.

Seriously, get a grip. And then go get a clue.

Luxury fail

Australian jeweller Sarina Suriano and her stonemason husband Noel Keating recently returned from a two and half year stint in London. In early December they also welcomed their first child, Stella. On December 17th, Keating went to Double Bay luxury shoe emporium Cosmopolitan Shoes to purchase a special Christmas gift for his wife: a beige pearlised patent leather YSL wallet from the Y-Mail collection. Keating reports that he was initially disappointed that the wallet was not packaged in a YSL box, as seen elsewhere (although it’s unclear if this was from YSL-owned stores). Instead, the $1,100 wallet was wrapped in what he describes as a “scruffy” YSL dust bag. On Christmas Eve, Suriano opened her gift. After her initial elation, she was disappointed to turn the wallet over and discover a small split in the leather on its back – something that Keating evidently had not spotted. After phoning Cosmopolitan Shoes to ask for a replacement, the duo returned the wallet to the store on December 30th and a replacement wallet was duly handed over. They accepted it and left the store. According to the Suriano-Keatings, the wallet remained untouched in its dust bag in their bedroom over the following three days. If only it had stayed there.

On January 3rd, over the course of a day’s shopping trip with a friend, Suriano says that she noticed the fabric banding around the zip of the wallet starting to fray. She opened the wallet to take a closer look and reports she spotted one jagged corner of the credit card holster immediately adjacent to the frayed banding, which, she surmised, had contributed to the fraying.

Exacerbating the problem: the credit card holster was, says Suriano, quite tight, making it difficult to remove cards, with cards becoming hooked in the banding as Suriano removed them. Later that day, Suriano reports that she also noticed a dark mark had appeared on the back of the wallet, which, she insists, had remained in her handbag all day. Attempts to clean the mark proved unsuccessful as it appeared to be ingrained in the leather.

All of these alleged faults have been documented in this series of photographs above and below, supplied by Suriano and Keating.

On January 7th, Suriano and Keating contacted the store again to ask for a full refund. They were told that someone would call them back. They report that noone did call them back. So on January 9th, they turned up at the store to ask for a full refund.

There was a dramatic contrast in the reception they received this time around. On this occasion, reports the duo, they were accused of scuffing and overfilling the wallet and then bringing it back for a refund.

The situation deteriorated. Over the course of the exchange, says Suriano, it was suggested that the matter might be referred to YSL parent Gucci Group, with Suriano noting that she believed Gucci Group would definitely want to know if something was not right with their product.

Suriano and Keating claim that at this point, Cosmopolitan Shoes director Rose Ghosn screamed at them in front of other customers and various staff members, calling them “pedantic, insecure, paranoid customers that pick a tiny fault in everything”, adding to Keating, “Obviously you couldn’t afford the wallet and now you want a refund.”

Undeterred, Suriano and Keating contacted YSL Paris, a representative from which instructed them (in correspondence sighted by frockwriter) that Cosmopolitan Shoes should have followed the company’s “Quality process”, with a view to initiating a “Quality examination procedure”. The rep told Suriano and Keating that he would contact Cosmopolitan Shoes.

According to YSL correspondence, the company contacted Cosmopolitan Shoes on January 18th instructing the company to provide a full refund. Over the course of the following week, YSL states that it sent “daily reminders”.

According to Suriano and Keating, Cosmopolitan Shoes failed to contact them to inform them that a refund was due. Their numerous efforts to reach Cosmopolitan Shoes director Rose Ghosn by phone were unfruitful, with messages left unanswered and on several occasions, they claim, staff hanging up on them.

On February 4th, Suriano reports, she finally did manage get through. Suriano says that there was a heated exchange with Ghosn, during the course of which - by all accounts - various unpleasanteries were exchanged on both sides. Still no offer to refund the wallet however, say Suriano and Keating, with Suriano adding that she was told the store “never gives refunds”.

On February 7th, frockwriter spoke with Rose Ghosn to get her side of the story. Ghosn said that she gave Suriano and Keating the benefit of the doubt on the first occasion and was happy to exchange the wallet.

However she declined to exchange the second wallet because, she believes, Suriano damaged the wallet herself. Ghosn suggested the most likely scenario for the scuff mark is that Suriano accidentally ran her pram over it.

“She ripped two wallets, absolutely, due to change of mind” said Ghosn. “Because she knew there was no other way to get a refund in this country. But a damaged item does”.

At one point Ghosn passed the phone to a colleague by the name of Dawn, who referred to the Suriano-Keatings as “problem customers”.

According to Ghosn the entire January 7th incident was captured on her security cameras - with the February 4th phone conversation also recorded (Suriano confirms that this was disclosed to her during the phone conversation). Ghosn added that she and her staff have been "harrassed" by Suriano and Keating.

The question that begs to be asked: why not simply give them the refund? These were, after all, YSL's instructions. The phone call was cut short by Ghosn so sadly, we did not get that far. The problems, say Suriano and Keating, initially came down to a YSL quality issue, not a reflection on Cosmopolitan Shoes.

As for the manufacturing origin of the wallet, Suriano says that there is an illegible stamp directly underneath a “YSL” stamp on one part of the wallet. Frockwriter checked a similar wallet from the same YSL collection at David Jones and found the similarly illegible small stamp under a “YSL” stamp in one part, with a “made in france” stamped in lower case letters in another (rather difficult to locate) area. Suriano reports she has so far been unable to locate the latter in her wallet.

A well-placed luxury industry source tells frockwriter that quality issues can arise within the manufacturing process at major luxury brands. The source added that a “bad batch” could be to blame.

Suriano and Keating insist that they did not damage the wallets and that Cosmopolitan Shoes has still made no offer to reimburse the wallet,

Suriano and Keating hope to have the matter resolved at the NSW Consumer Trader & Tenancy Tribunal.

Ghosn, meanwhile, told frockwriter that she is considering releasing her CCTV footage on Facebook.

All photos: supplied by Sarina Suriano and Noel Keating.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Alexander Wang channels Twilight for FW1011

alexander wang fw1011/ap via daylife

Opened and closed by veteran Natalia Vodianova, Alexander Wang's layered, Gothic-inspired show featured one Australian model, Abbey Lee Kershaw, who is already omnipresent at the FW1011 shows, which kicked off officially on Thursday. Streamed live a couple of hours ago, click here to see SHOWstudio's just-posted video.

Bloggers on the runway at New York Fashion Week?

juicystar007 (T) allthatglitrs21

Well they made it to the front row, where else is there for the fashion media’s new celebrities to go but the runway and advertising campaigns? Bryanboy is currently at New York Fashion Week and recently hinted that he just signed his first advertising campaign. No word yet on what that is. But one might easily speculate that Marc Jacobs seems an obvious (and yes, perhaps far too obvious) fit, given that over the past two years Bryanboy has become an unofficial online ambassador for the brand. Frockwriter was fascinated to just learn via The Imagist (aka’s editorial director Wayne Sterling) that Marc Jacobs may be using an element of street casting for Monday’s show. Then came word from Wikifashion co-founder Madeline Veenstra, an Australian covering Chictopia10, the Fashion 2.0 conference that’s on right now in New York (by proxy), that two YouTube beauty bloggers are due to walk in an as yet unnamed New York Fashion Week show.

On closer inspection they are sisters Blair (top) and Elle Fowler. According to a video update just posted by 21 year-old Elle, the two are indeed due to walk in one show and her 16 year-old sister Blair was the youngest makeup artist to have ever worked as makeup director at a New York Fashion Week show: Minnie Mortimer. The latter being one of a score of low profile labels that show at New York Fashion Week which is yes, a leviathan event.

Bloggers who appear either on runways or in ad campaigns are unlikely to win favour with the fashion media establishment, which has accused bloggers of becoming the butt boys and girls of fashion advertisers.

The fash blogosphere’s riposte: those in graft houses shouldn’t throw stones.

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