Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rachel Rutt scores her second international cover - so why can't she get a gig downunder?

dazed & confused japan via chic management

In the deluge of Rosemount Australian Fashion Week coverage, frockwriter somehow managed to miss this cover. So congrats are due to one of this blog's faves, Sydney model Rachel Rutt, who scored this month's cover of the Japanese edition of Dazed & Confused. And while sure, it's not as visible as the cover of the UK parent edition (which Rutt's better-established Chic stablemate Abbey Lee Kershaw has cracked twice), it is nevertheless a fantastic get. It represents, moreover, her second international cover - after scoring one of 12 multicovers of the autumn/winter 09/10 edition of French Revue de Modesmade the cover of Dazed & Confused Japan last October, alongside big names including Coco Rocha, Ali Stephens, Karmen Pedaru, Dree Hemingway, Constance Jablonski and Maryna Linchuk. Coincidentally, in February, another Chic-ette, Rutt's great mate Myf Shepherd, scored the cover of Dazed & Confused Japan. So you could say that "MUTT" has this mag covered. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Casting clout: Kannon Rajah carves up the show circuit, from Karl to Ksubi

Frockwriter has mentioned Sydney expat Kannon Rajah on several previous occasions. During 2008’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show – on which he has worked in casting and show production since 2006 – and last year’s VS show, which we profiled in a tv story on Today Tonight. We caught up with the casting dynamo yesterday down in Bondi. Rajah, who now lives in New York with his Australian wife and son, returned to work on Ksubi’s show which closed RAFW. It was a bit of a homecoming for Rajah who started his career working for the then Mercedes Australian Fashion Week from 2001-2005, initially as a runner and eventually designer relations director and show producer. Victoria’s Secret isn’t Rajah’s only coup – in February he became the casting director for Italian luxurygoods maker Fendi, the latest in an expanding roster of personal clients, which also includes Gareth Pugh, Pedro Lourenco and Willow.

Master blaster: Indie Kiwi startup asks "WTF has happened to magazines today?"

Last night, frockwriter’s attention was drawn to Master Mouse Patrol, an interesting new, free magazine from New Zealand which describes itself as "sexy, yet polite". Developed by three Kiwis - Sam Williamson, Benny Castles (whose day job is menswear director of Auckland-based fashion brand WORLD) and Richie Wildman - the magazine is edited in Sydney, printed in Auckland and designed in New York. Here is the link to the website, which adds new material on an ongoing basis and also includes a PDF of print edition one: a compendium of musings on New Zealand, Australia, travel, food, the arts, photography and a comic from Kiwi illustrator Jooles Clements. It’s the second magazine to have launched from within the NZ fashion community – after Karen Walker’s travel site, Runaway Now.

But not even Walker’s more illustrious guest contributors in the form of Sir Richard Branson and model Shalom Harlow are a patch on Master Mouse Patrol’s anonymous "fallen drag queen" scribe “Bambi”, who lets rip on a wide variety of topics and, elsewhere in the issue, plays resident Agony Aunt.

With kind permission from Bambi and Master Mouse Patrol, here is her dissertation on the state of contemporary fashion magazines, which frockwriter believes deserves far wider play. Enjoy.

WHAT THE F*** has happened to magazines today?

It’s bad enough the publisher thinks he/she/it is doing us (the reader) a favour by keeping the cover price under $10 (f***ing arseholes) in a genuine and deluded attempt to remain relevant in the market, and to keep competitive so that they can slim up to advertisers and lie that they have a readership! What readership!? Even lithium-fuelled subordinates are turning off magazines by the millions!

DO YOU know why?

Well it’s because they write shit about shit! All they worry about is getting that prestigious tampon or Gatorade advert, coupled with the drug-f***-lust for the freebee! What makes it even worse is that the freebees you are getting are so pathetic and cheap you actually don’t realise that even your advertiser hates you! You lazy Mother F***ers, all you care about is how fat you look in those jeans!! F*** I hate you so much! The reader gets a regurgitated piece of nothing filled with press releases whilst you plump your lips with free arsecream!

You fly around the planet consuming stuff and not really believing in any of it because you are basically the nerd outsider from the schoolyard that everyone hated!

Magazines were once fantasy-filled bibles of style, fashion, modernity! They allowed us, the great unwashed, to dream, to aspire, to want to work harder for a better life… OR was that all an illusion and really the fuckers never ever dreamed for us!?

I loved looking through National Geographic. Reading about exotic travels, looking at bizarre and beautiful people, things, places. Even the advertising was aspiring: Rolls Royce engines, Lufthansa flying to Machu Picchu! Or the Rolex Oyster, how it was made and how good it looked whilst scuba diving in St Tropez, ads telling you of an excellence that you may want to experience or have! Old Vogues, old any magazine were different, you know why? Well they were alive, they had a soul, the writers cared, the photographers cared, the editors cared, everyone actually cared!

It’s so simple - money was not the only frikkin object! The craft of the story, the committment to the photo, this was what mattered, the money came later! That’s why we have iconic publications (only a few), they remain beacons amongst a sea of vile, useless, fat, hideous, mundane magazines that do nothing but kill the planet!

I was recently lucky enough to meet with the Editor At Large for American Vogue, and it struck me how nothing mattered to him except the moment, the creation of the moment and the recording of the moment! Perfect for Vogue! I realised spontaneity, campness and humour all made taste and that really is Vogue. It’s an amazing formula, a recorder of fashion, he made the moment and then recorded it and off he went first class to Sydney and back home to NYC and then Paris! And here lies the thing! It’s that exact free spirit! That powerhouse of character, a career spent seeding a drag aesthetic that makes a magazine great! Remember it’s not war and peace, it’s a frikkin magazine! It is ephemeral, a thing that exists only to record the moment!

Magazines are still extremely important vehicles in connecting our planet, moving culture and society forward away from ignorance, bigotry and hatred towards Prada, Louboutin and Gucci!

But more and more I see a cancer creep into the industry and slowly killing it; this cancer of seriousness, of self-importance - and, unfortunately, there are too many mediocre people fuelled up with degrees, believing that they are the elite, the one that has the god-given right to take the freebee and then basically lie to us all about society today, distorting the truth and assassinating the moment!

I hate you all!

To all the f****ing hideous magazines that I see on the newsstands around the world I dearly hope you all go under or even better you end up under the umbrella of ACP, where your life will be a slow living hell, where even your shit has to be justified to a manager, then quantified by an accountant! I hate you all and you deserve to die!

X Bambi

All artwork supplied by master mouse patrol

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Letters from TED (x)

TEDxsydney pic gallery on frockwriter's posterous

I was honoured to be invited to be among 650 audience members at TEDx Sydney on Saturday down at the Everleigh Carriageworks. Like many others, I live reported from the auditorium on Twitter (hence the bombardment of #TEDxSydney Tweets). For the uninitiated, TED is a non profit think tank dedicated to “ideas worth spreading” that has been staged annually in the US since 1984 (and more recently, also in the UK). The TED acronym stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and it has showcased some of the world’s most fascinating people. Some you know (Bono, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bob Geldof). But many, you have never heard of. They are all invited to give “the talk of their lives” in 18 minutes flat. Sadly I have never attended a TED, but pioneering Sydney e-tailer Remo Giuffrè has since 1993. TEDx is a new program of independently-organised events that aim to provide a potted "TED-like" experience and Giuffrè obtained the license to stage TEDx Sydney this year – after a much smaller Sydney showcase last year organised by other parties. And what a day it was.

Eighteen speakers (including several not mentioned in the official program, who spoke for three minutes) covered subjects ranging from microinsurance for the world’s poor (Andrew Kuper) to the sexually-ambiguous Intersex community (Gina Wilson); homophobia (retired High Court judge Michael Kirby - whose comments about Seven Network’s treatment of former NSW Transport Minister David Campbell last week drew a round of applause); nanotechnology (Amanda Barnard) and psychoterratic diseases (Glenn Albrecht).

My personal favourites were digital activist Brett Solomon who helms, which assists political dissidents jump firewalls imposed by repressive regimes, in addition to Rachel Botsman, co-author of the upcoming book ‘What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption’, who spoke about the rise of swap/share/recycle culture. Here is the video with which Botsman wrapped her chat:

And not forgetting aquanaut/aquabat Dr Sarah Jane Pell, who had the audience spellbound with a presentation about the very serious plans that are afoot to colonise the ocean. For anyone who wants to read more about this, head to the Atlantica Expeditions website. Team leader is former NASA bioengineer Dennis Chamberland. James Cameron is planning to be a crew member. Clearly, science fiction is about to become science fact.

Also of note, the eight wonderful musical performances which acted as palette cleansers in between each presentation.

Missy Higgins delivered a mesmerising live act, ditto Darren Percival, aka Mr Percival, a former backup vocalist who these days accompanies himself on stage: a solo a cappella performance, via the use of live sound mixing/looping. This guy really does deserve to be better known. I recorded this short sample.

The talks were all livestreamed and, according to the terms and conditions of the TED site, they must be made available to the public for free on the TEDx YouTube channel within one week of each TEDx event. So check there and the main TEDxSydney website for updates.

Beyond the 650 who made it into the auditorium, there would have had to have been another hundred or so, perhaps more, milling around the Carriageworks foyer area. They watched a live broadcast of the presentations on a large screen, in addition to the TEDxSydney Forum: a series of short interviews with the speakers, conducted by The Chaser’s Craig Reucassel. Reucassel’s Chaser colleague, Julian Morrow, did an excellent job producing the Forum, which provided non-stop entertainment throughout the day, whenever the proceedings in the main auditorium took a break.

At the very end of the program, MC Giuffrè took to the stage for one last time and called up his organising committee, which included Morrow and Baz Luhrmann's musical director Anton Monsted – who presumably curated the excellent musical component.

It was actually quite touching to see Giuffrè flanked by this new team, which has already vowed to produce a TEDxSydney 2011. They received a standing ovation.

It would have reminded anyone who did know Giuffrè in the days of his cult bricks-and- mortar REMO store, of his annual team photos. Housed in the location where American Apparel sits today, on the corner of Oxford and Crown Streets, REMO's “the community is the brand” motto, quirky product offer and award-winning mail-order catalogue gave a shot in the arm to Australian retail for eight years – before Giuffrè went bellyup in 1996. After several years working in the US, he reopened in March 2000 as an online operation. The business today has 46,649 customers in 137 countries.

If Saturday is any gauge, then Giuffrè should take heart that there is still definitely room for a bricks-and-mortar environment where people come together to share ideas and a common experience.

Part of this shared experience was community graffiti.

When we broke for the first coffee break, Giuffrè drew our attention to the fact that in each of our delegate bags, was a felt-tipped marker pen. He told us, words to the effect, 'You’ll work out what it’s for when you head to the coffee room'. In a dimly-lit space partitioned off behind the main stage, we were confronted by dozens of polystyrene cubes covered in white calico. Each served the dual purpose of chair - and blank canvas.

People immediately whipped out their marker pens and started scribbling – also on the white floor - quotes, observations and drawings. No idea what the organisers plan to do with the results (perhaps a TEDXSydney quilt?) but I thought I would record as many as possible for posterity with my camera.

Click here to see my Posterous pic gallery of almost 70 of them.

Included is a shot of three generations of Giuffrès: Guiffrè with his mother Marie, teenage daughter Lola and wife Melanie.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Juliana forges ahead

Frockwriter mentioned that Chic Management’s new star Juliana Forge walked in 21 shows at her first Rosemount Australian Fashion Week earlier this month. We were sworn to secrecy over Forge’s recent Ralph Lauren Rugby campaign, because, well, sometimes models shoot and are paid for campaigns, only to wind up on the cutting room floor. But in the case of the 18 year-old Victorian, that's not the case, because here she is in the Ralph Lauren campaign. And now here is a sneak peek at two Max Doyle images from Forge's upcoming Seafolly Limited Edition campaign – that’s the new high-end line from the 35 year-old Australian swimwear brand. It’s a pretty great get for a new model, especially considering the established names who have previously been cast: Alyssa Sutherland for the inaugural Seafolly Limited Edition campaign, with everyone from Miranda Kerr to Catherine McNeil and Jessica Hart modelling for Seafolly proper.

Add to this a multigirl Harpers Bazaar Australia cover, together with campaigns for Just Jeans and Red Earth, and Forge appears to be well en route. If not to be the next Miranda Kerr, as Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper reported yesterday, then at least certainly Australia's latest rising Australian modelling star.

Some of the information in the SH story is inaccurate, at least according to Chic Management, which reports that there was interest in Forge from German Vogue at one point, which however came to nought. There is no second Ralph Lauren Rugby campaign. And Forge does not leave for New York this week.

According to Chic, Forge is heading to New York in June, where there may well be a go-see with Victoria's Secret, as reported.

Chic Management and its New York affiliate Next do of course have a knack for getting their models into the VS show, so let's wait and see.

Lingerie was however apparently far from Forge's mind in 2008, when she was a Melbourne schoolgirl modelling part-time and repped by Melbourne's Camerons agency. In August that year she told The Age's Janice Breen Burns:

"I have a say in what jobs I do too - like, I won't do underwear. And I wouldn't be pressured into being really skinny".

At the time Forge also reportedly described catalogue gigs as "cheesy". But that doesn't appear to have precluded her recently doing what looks very much like an online lingerie catalogue gig for Bloomingdales.

both images: max doyle for seafolly, courtesy seafolly

Friday, May 21, 2010

The models of RAFW

Frockwriter profiled some of the designers and a few of the bloggers of Rosemount Australian Fashion Week, but what about the models? Sadly we ran out of time in the leadup and our planned RAFW newbies post remained unfinished in story drafts. But we did photograph quite a few models as we went along, in our Twitter/Posterous feed and show photo galleries (which have also, conveniently, been archived on Facebook – thanks Posterous). But we also wanted to check with each of the major Sydney agencies to see which of their models were the busiest at the event. Some of their nominated newbies were included. Of course there were many, many other models who worked during the week and it’s not necessarily about who pulled the most shows. There was in fact an exceptionally strong cross-section of Australian model experience on RAFW's runways this season. As distinct from runway diversity, which Australian designers - like their New Zealand counterparts - have yet to fully embrace, with Asian and black models still fighting hard for visibility above the bevy of über-popular blondes and Europeans. "It's like they'll only use a black girl if there's a tribal theme to the collection" noted one observer.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

World's spot of bother in Woollahra

Those kooky kids over at World have come to blows with Woollahra Council, which apparently doesn't have much of a sense of humour. The Auckland-based fashion brand, which bills itself as a “factory of ideas and experiments” (the dress, below, is from their AW10 collection) and operates eight stores in NZ and Sydney, has come to the attention of the council regarding a paint job that was recently given to its Paddington, Sydney store. As it emerges, multi-coloured polka dots are illegal in Sydney's trendiest shopping strip. In a letter dated May 17th, Craig Jenner, Woollahra Municipal Council’s Team Leader – Compliance, gave World’s landlord 28 days to nix them.

both images/world

Here are a few terms of the order:

1. Restore the subject premises to the condition in which they were before work was unlawfully carried out by:

(a) Removing from the shop window the multi-coloured polka dots and:

(b) Painting the walls to the façade of the shop in a uniform colour, to remove the unauthorised multi-coloured polka dots that have been painted onto the front façade of the shop adjacent to Glenmore Road.

The letter goes on to say:

1. Condition 9 of development consent DA625/2004 requires the exterior colour scheme for the subject premises to accord with the requirements of Part 5.2.9. of the Paddington Development Control Plan 1999.

4. Council is satisfied that the multi-coloured polka dots displayed on the window and wall surfaces of the building are an advertisement. “Advertisement” is defined in Woollahra Local Environmental Plan 1995 as “a display by the use of colour, pattern, symbols…for promotional purposes… whether or not the display includes the erection of a structure of the carrying out of work”.

6. The advertisement does not satisfy the exempt development criteria for a flush wall sign or a window shop front sign, or the criteria for advertising in Heritage Conservation Areas, as specified in Woollahra Development Control Plan Exempt & Complying Development 2005.

It is not the first time that the council has taken issue with a fashion retailer in this vicinity.

In 2004, Woollahra Council deputy mayor Keri Huxley described the green used by World’s neighbour, Scanlan & Theodore, for its new Sydney flagship on the corner of Oxford Street and Glenmore Road, as a "hideous" and "particularly disgusting colour".

Huxley was unable to veto the colour however, because it was included in the building's development approval.

World's response?

“We are outraged the council is so ignorant and lazy!” World director Francis Hooper told frockwriter.

“If they just took the time to ask us why?! World wanted to make a statement for the season, to bring colourful cheer to the neighbourhood, to take away the doom and gloom and recession fever that has gripped the city. All the locals love it! We have become a mini tourist attraction. We have only had positives from everyone. Even our landlord has commended us on uplifting the area. It’s obvious this wonderful spotty art is just a temporary installation. Trust the council to bully a small business out of business. Arse holes!”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sarah Jessica Parker gets down to Bassike

splash via

Sarah Jessica Parker gave a boost to the early careers of sass & bide’s Heidi Middleton and Sarah Jane Clarke by sporting some of their clothing on Sex And The City. Her latest Australian fave is apparently Sydney eco label Bassike. Fashion kingmaker Parker would quite obviously have her pick of clothes to wear on and off the big and small screens, with designers throwing their collections at her. Parker is currently on the promo trail for Sex And The City 2 and did a press conference in New York yesterday. And here she is off duty in New York on Saturday in Bassike’s ‘Dot’ logo T. Bassike’s Sydney PR, Emma van Haandel, is very good at getting clothes on visiting celebrities downunder – remember Sienna Miller in another EVH stablemate, Scanlan & Theodore, last year? Just how did the clothes get to SJP? According to a Bassike spokeswoman, the T-shirt was gifted by a mystery “friend” of the brand in the US, where it had its official launch one month ago at Barneys.

But not only did Parker wear the T-shirt, she personally called the Bassike HQ at 4pm yesterday.

According to EVH, Parker rang to say how much she loved the clothes and ask could she "place an order"?

"Yes, it was a surprise" the Bassike staffer who took the call told frockwriter. The call was then passed onto sales manager Jono Alder – who apparently initially thought it was a joke.

En route to Parker now are two pairs of Bassike’s Slimrise jeans, some scoop Ts, one opal print T, the lightweight crew sweatshirt, a denim jacket, a jersey tank, the Galah print trench from the SS1011 collection and some swimwear. No credit card was needed according to EVH.

Launched by Deborah Sams and Mary Lou Ryan in 2006 as a capsule collection of organic cotton jersey T-shirts, pants and dresses, Bassike has grown into a cool little collection of basics, denim and tailoring. The SS1011 show included printed swimwear, some great jackets - two cases in point, the Galah trench and a funnel-necked utility parka – in addition to acid wash-look, high-waisted jeans and some striking striped knits and open-weave sweaters and tunics.

Here is frockwriter’s Posterous pic gallery – only managed to get a few decent shots of that particular show. It’s one of several that I did not get a chance to blog during the week.

You can see the full collection on the Bassike website.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The bloggers of RAFW Part 4: Imelda's Matt Jordan

And finally, a quick chat with Matt Jordan, who blogs about shoes in character as Imelda Marcos on Imelda: The Despotic Queen of Shoes - recently adding a new mens street-style blog called The Style Tyrant. Would have loved to have done more blogger ivs at last week's RAFW, but in between coverage of the jam-packed schedule, there was only so much time. Hope to do more.

The bloggers of RAFW Part 3: Sassi Sam's Sam Winter

The third interview in frockwriter's bloggers of RAFW series: a chat with Sassi Sam’s Sam Winter. Sydney-based Winter established her Sassi Sam e-commerce site five years ago - and the Sassi Sam blog 18 months ago.

The bloggers of RAFW Part 2: An Australian Wintour's Megan Aney

As part of frockwriter's bloggers of RAFW series, here is a short interview with Gold Coast-based Megan Aney, from An Australian Wintour.

The bloggers of RAFW Part 1: Aych blog's Hannah McArdle

For those who followed my RAFW coverage on Twitter, this particular video will be a repeat: a quick chat with Auckland’s Hannah McArdle of Aych Blog. It was part of a short series of blogger interviews I shot at last week's event. Given that it only went on frockwriter’s Posterous feed (where it has nevertheless been viewed over 650 times), I wanted to blog the bloggers of RAFW series in order here, so voilà.

Monday, May 10, 2010

ABC Art Nation's story on Sonny Vandevelde

On the eve of RAFW, frockwriter mentioned that the ABC's hot new Art Nation show would be dedicating its entire May 2 edition to fashion. After sending the embed code for the fashion bloggers story, the producers kindly shot through deets for the standalone story on photographer Sonny Vandevelde that was also featured. It was shot during the L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival in March, when Sonny had a solo exhibition of his backstage work at Mars Gallery. Great to see his editorial work also given some due attention.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dion Lee's fashion analysis

To those who may have been wondering whether Dion Lee was going to be able to pull off a second blockbuster collection fresh out of design school – in his case, the seminal NSW TAFE, this country’s equivalent to London's Central Saint Martins – the answer was delivered yesterday morning at approximately 9.30am. Yes, he did. Set against arguably the most iconic of Australian backdrops, Sydney Harbour, by way of the northern foyer of one of the world’s most beautiful buildings, the Sydney Opera House, the twenty-four year-old Sydneysider mesmerised his audience with a small, but perfectly formed collection entitled Façade.

It began with a dose of the complex, razor-cut, yet deconstructed, tailoring with which Lee has quickly established his name. The collection quickly moved into a series of bodycon microdresses with a honeycomb effect, created by the layering of synthetic mesh. These segued into yet more microdresses, this time in a sheer stretch georgette, splattered with a striking, ultraviolet Rorscharch inkblot effect print.

If asked by a fashion shrink what you saw in the patterns, you might well say Josh Goot and Michael Angel, coincidentally, two other Australians. Unlike Lee, Goot and Angel are both self-taught. They have nevertheless been at the vanguard of the recent digital print power trend. In Goot’s case, as far back as his Spring/Summer 2008 collection presented at New York Fashion Week.

Lee closed with a breathtakingly beautiful series of draped crepe microdresses in soft duck egg blue and taupe. Their skirts consisted of layered micropleated panels, with the bodices crafted from soft ropes of the same fabric, meticulously draped, knotted and interlaced.

The "drapé" was effectively trademarked by Madame Grès in Paris last century. Dion Lee just deconstructed it. If anyone is planning to revive that haute couture house, you know who to call.

Click here to see frockwriter's Posterous pic gallery of the show.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Jayson's New Wave

Every season Jayson Brunsdon mines some bygone hard glamour era for inspiration, more often than not hovering around the mid century. Last night, he made poolside chic his muse and cited a couple of film refs: Jacques Deray’s La Piscine from 1969 and Jean Luc Godard’s 1963 film Le Mépris (Contempt). Both were part of the French New Wave cinema movement, which coincided with a new, futuristic mood in French couture, one that was spearheaded by Pierre Cardin and André Courrèges. Courrèges was Brunsdon’s biggest reference, heralding a new sporty direction for the Sydney fashion illustrator-turned-designer. Beyond the trademark hostess dresses and shirtdresses, was a smart, structured series of trench coats, piped A-line skirts, striped sweaters and knit sheaths, with a cute two-tone, A-line shift in caramel and white. The short, full dirndl skirts and roomy pailletted tanks are sure to appeal to Brunsdon’s more mature customers, which is obviously where the money lies. But there was no shortage of youthful exuberance in pretty wasp-waisted, full-skirted party dresses, which looked tailor-made for the new generation Brigitte Bardots and Jane Birkins. Click here to see frockwriter's Posterous pic gallery of the show. And here for a video of the finale.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Manning Cartell's backstage drama

While snapping away in the show leadup, wound up getting stuck backstage at Manning Cartell for the show proper this morning. Not such a bad place to be, of course, provided you can steer clear of the production team, as they scramble to dress the models in between exits. There are often five dressers to one girl, each pulling at a different part of the outfit. A more sophisticated collection than we have come to expect from Manning Cartell, with luxury fabrics such as guipure lace deployed in elegant sheaths and jet embellishment used on cigarette trousers and a few interesting addons - notably, a gunmetal-beaded, 20's-look bib, layered over a black lace sheath. Teamed with the entire collection: dramatic Lucite earrings from Alexandra Blak. Click here for frockwriter's Posterous pic gallery.

Kate Sylvester's charming summer

The collection was called ‘This Charming Man’, but there was no sign of Morrissey the muso (or the Australian designer for that matter, who has nevertheless been flitting in and out of shows for the past two days). Auckland’s Kate Sylvester did however deliver yet another charming collection of her signature discreet chic. If you had tapped leather as an emerging trend of this antipodian summer season, you are not wrong. Several collections have included leather, among them yesterday’s hot newcomer Flannel and Sylvester one hour ago. Her caramel leather series included a mid calf length A-line skirt, bomber jacket and matching bustier and knickers. Also of note, soft Liberty-like florals on sweet pinafore dresses and roomy trousers – another emerging trend in Sydney – and her knit twin sets, swapping a cable knit bodysuit for a regular sweater with one pair. A little more subdued than usual - the autumn/winter 2010 collection shown in Auckland had much more attitude - but there is more than enough to keep Sylvester’s cult fan base happy. Click here to see frockwriter's Posterous pic gallery of the show. And keep up to date with our real-time coverage of RAFW via Twitter and Facebook.

Sally Koeswanto and the Ready to Wear 2 show

There's no doubt about it, the quality of RAFW's group shows is getting stronger. Here is frockwriter's pic gallery of yesterday's RTW2 group show, which we covered live backstage. Particularly liked the Jakarta-based Sally Koeswanto, who had a couple of very strong looks - not to mention some killer accessories, all her own collection.

Kristie Lawrence's hot Flannel

One of my personal highlights of RAFW Day 2 just has to be Flannel. It's a new brand by an industry veteran, Kristie Lawrence - who launched Empire Rose over a decade ago. Buttersoft leather tabards, jodhpurs and A-line skirts and a series of quite spectacular suede dusters with ultra-long fringes, screamed luxury sportswear. They were teamed with sweet lace dresses, roomy trousers and other simple, yet sophisticated, separates in a barely-there colour palette of white, mustard and ecru. Here is frockwriter's Posterous pic gallery with a few runway shots. And below, the final walkthrough and a post-show iv with Lawrence. Once again, just a reminder that if you would like to follow frockwriter's live coverage of RAFW, head to our Twitter feed or Facebook.

ABC Art Nation's story on fashion bloggers

Here is the ABC Art Nation story on fashion bloggers that I mentioned was due to air on Sunday evening, for anyone who missed it. The entire half hour show was in fact dedicated to fashion, which was great to see on Australian television - for once. Will bring you the other stories as quickly as the ABC can get those embed codes over. There was a great standalone profile on our buddy Sonny Vandevelde. And not before time.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gail Elliott rocks it out for Little Joe's Sydney debut

Great runway debut earlier today from British model-turned-designer Gail Elliott. For anyone who is wondering why Elliott chose Sydney for the runway launch of her Little Joe line (which is not new - it's just the first time Elliott has shown it at RAFW), she is married to an Australian, her business partner Joe Coffey, her business is headquartered here and the couple spend much of the year in Sydney. Elliott launched her label with lingerie, moving into ready-to-wear after a couple of seasons. At first, I found myself making a mental note that Elliott could perhaps have left a few pieces in the showroom. Editing for the runway is often an acquired skill: every runway piece needs to sing and buyers can see the more commercial pieces upon appointment. But as the collection moved forward, set to a high energy 70s rock soundtrack, the looks got stronger. The cuffed khaki silk combats and harem pants and soft military jackets over maxi skirts lent a utility feel. But the pretty slip dresses and a knockout series of tiered maxi dresses had boho de luxe written all over the them ("sex on the beach in Ibiza" is the first thing that sprang to mind on Twitter). Click here to see frockwriter's Posterous pic gallery of the show. And here are two videos - the final walkthrough and a quick backstage chat with Elliott afterwards. To keep track of my Twitter coverage on the spot, here is my Twitter feed. And here is my Facebook page, where everything is aggregated.

Zimmermann's 'Vanishing Point'

A little futurism from Zimmermann, the Sydney fashion brand that had never done swimwear before the birth of Australian Fashion Week in May 1996, but which launched a capsule swimwear collection there specifically with an eye on the export market. In the 15 year interim, Zimmermann has established itself as one of the world's most fashion-forward swim brands. Unlike many swim brands however, fashion is at the heart of Zimmermann. The collection, entitled 'Vanishing Point', featured a collision of linear graphics and soft florals in a romantic futuristic vision, that was ably assisted by some spectacular silver neckpieces, courtesy Sydney jewellery brand MANIAMANIA. An easy summer wardrobe of sheer, fluid trousers, jumpsuits and maxi dresses, many of them featuring geometric cutout panelling. The best maillots had wrapped bodices with cutout detailing. The showstoppers: a series of fringed tops and dresses in eye-popping turquoise. Click here for frockwriter's Posterous gallery of photos.

digital prints and huge silver neckpieces - zimmermann SS1011 #RAFW

Christopher Esber, Australia's latest fashion star

The revelation of Day 1 however, most definitely had to be Christopher Esber. Now 23 and sewing from the age of eight, Esber cancelled his solo debut at last year's RAFW because of a death in the family. Esber had previously shown his graduation collection in 2008 as part of the NSW TAFW group show. A tightly-edited and perfectly-executed brand statement, it left you wanting so much more. Esber is a disciple of minimalism and to be sure, a legion of legends did it first, from Halston, to Calvin Klein and Helmut Lang. Esber is also not the first hot new Australian talent to launch with this aesthetic bent, two cases in point, Josh Goot and last year's RAFW breakout star, Dion Lee. But his futuristic vision embraces not only sculpted cigarette pants, high-collared shell tops, crisp leather gilets and tailored sheaths, but sweet little whimsies, such as the ice-blue, micropleated skating skirt - which, on closer inspection backstage, was constructed over a bizarre satin foundation garment. Little wonder Australia retailer Belinda Seper ran backstage after this show (as she did with the earlier RTW1 show, specifically to check out Carly Hunter. Here is a quick chat we had backstage). Click here to see frockwriter's Posterous pic gallery of Esber's show. No doubt we will be hearing a lot more about him.

Camilla Franks takes one big step forward at RAFW

One of the highlights of RAFW Day 1 was the Camilla show. Sydney-based actress-turned-designer Camilla Franks specialises in kaftans with beautiful prints. There are only so many occasions you can wear a kaftan however - at least in this part of the world, no surprise that Franks has a big Middle East business - and her resortwear shows, while usually very colourful, have never really stood out from the Fashion Week pack. Yesterday was different. Partially-inspired by James Cameron's 2009 3D blockbuster Avatar - and with the styling assistance of Michelle Jank - Franks' extraordinarily beautiful prints exploded on the runway, in a series of dresses, shorts, kimonos and swimwear. Click here to see frockwriter’s Posterous photo gallery of the collection. And here is a post-show chat I had with Franks. Apologies for the delay in posting these. Hope to be a bit better organised today.

Monday, May 3, 2010

tammy stone (l) and greta chesterman backstage B4 aurelio costarella #RAFW

Camilla SS1011 finale at RAFW

Lisa Ho SS1011 finale at RAFW

A new day dawns at RAFW

So the first two shows of the first day of the soon-to-be post-Simon Lock era of Rosemount Australian Fashion Week have wrapped. The first, a very pretty collection of draped jersey goddess gowns and digital print blouses and maxi dresses from Fashion Week veteran Lisa Ho. Delivered in a nude colour palette jolted by shots of magenta and lichen green, it was an easy, breezy patio-perfect collection with relaxed lines. The same could be said for Ginger + Smart's 'The Transcendent' collection. Jumpsuits ruled, ditto a knockout series of bodycon dresses, fluid trousers, kimono tops and plissé blouses, the best in a spectacular digital print. Obviously an early SS1011 trend. Click here and here to see frockwriter's Posterous pic galleries of both collections. The relaxed mood of the clothes was in direct contrast to the vibe vis-a-vis the seating arrangements of RAFW founder Simon Lock. Lock usually sits in the very first seat on the right hand side at the beginning of the runway. Sitting in Lock’s spot: IMG Asia Pacific general manager Dan Hill (above). According to Lorraine Lock, Lock has been “banned” by Hill from attending many shows and is “beside himself”. Frockwriter will check with Hill for his side of the story (update: when we approached Hill, he suggested we discuss it at another time. According to an IMG source, Lock had to submit a "list" of show requests that he wanted to attend. Lorraine Lock reports a number of those names were crossed off by IMG). In the interim, it's worth noting that in 14 years, Lock always prided himself on never missing a single show. An interesting start to the week.

jumpsuits rule at ginger + smart #RAFW

samantha harris - about to open lisa ho, the first show of #RAFW SS1011

RAFW SS1011 launched - and how to follow the coverage on [frockwriter]

So Rosemount Australian Fashion Week SS1011 is officially off and running. After a week of various 15 year anniversary parties to which the event's founders discovered themselves, curiously, uninvited, nice to see both Simon and Lorraine Lock front and centre at last night's 15 year tribute dinner thrown by MAC (although that is obviously not Lorraine, but Carla Zampatti in the photo above). Approximately one hundred fashion names sat down to a degustation dinner courtesy Brent Savage, from the Bentley Restaurant and Bar, while ten models from Chic Management teetered on skyscraper pumps on a series of mini podiums down the middle of the room. Each model was kitted out in an extraordinary paper dress created by New York artist/costumier Zaldy especially for MAC. Just a quick headsup on frockwriter's coverage this week.

For the second year in a row, to cover all the news from RAFW, the blog is going to move into a slightly different format. There will be more analysis than last year. There will also be more photos. And video, as usual.

This page will anchor the various coverage components.

To attempt to cover a maximum number of shows, I have outsourced the management of frockwriter's photo galleries to a brilliant web publishing platform called Posterous. Here is the direct link, but I will blog pointer posts here directing you to the Posterous galleries. Please disregard the first entry, which is a replication of the previous Bvlgari post here. I was simply testing the water.

Why Posterous? Because it creates instant photo galleries via email - instead of laborious manual uploads which take time. Beyond RAFW, Posterous is also going to become my new TwitPic - that's the photo hosting application that is attached to Twitter, which unfortunately comes complete with its own tacky advertising.

You don't like, use or even understand Twitter? Totally understand. We had this discussion last year. But here's the thing, plenty of people do use Twitter - in my specific case, 2,700 followers, which FYI is more than double the number of daily subscribers to this blog. So it's a big audience and Twitter devotees want information as it's happening. So if you are not following the Twitter feed, you will miss out on some information.

Facebook is one other option via which to follow Twitter. My Twitter feed is currently integrated into my personal Facebook page. There is also a frockwriter fan page (button on the RHS). The latter is however still a bit of a work in progress, since it's tricky integrating one Twitter feed to more than one page.

Another option of course is simply to read my Tweets in the Twitter widget that has been temporarily installed at the right-hand side of this page.

Hope that clarifies things. Better get to it.

Bvlgari's 125 years of Italian jewels

With 13 shows a day, it's unlikely many Rosemount Australian Fashion Week attendees will have a spare moment to scratch themselves this week. Let alone, hop along to the Sydney chapter of the travelling 125 year retrospective exhibition of Italian fine jewellery maker Bvlgari, which opened last week and runs until Thursday in the flagship Castlereagh Street Sydney boutique. But for anyone not tied up at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, or just anyone with a passion for jewellery, this exhibition is a can't miss. The jewellery is extraordinary, with some pieces dating back to the early 20th century. Included are pieces on loan from collections such as Elizabeth Taylor's and also items worn by the screen legends Ingrid Bergman and Sophia Loren. Ram raiders and those after four finger discounts are, naturally, unwelcome - hence the exhibition has heavy security and is by appointment only. Those interested should email

Sunday, May 2, 2010

ABC Art Nation tracks fashion bloggers

Well we did say RAFW is shaping up as a blogocalypse. And look, frockwriter actually means that in the nicest possible way. A mere whisper at the 2006 event, bloggers are really coming into their own this year. According to The Sydney Morning Herald's Georgina Robinson, whose story about fashion bloggers was splashed on page one of on Thursday, IMG had (as of Wednesday) officially accredited 20 bloggers this year. Robinson later revealed on Twitter that the company had knocked back another 30. In the interim, a number of those knocked back have had their accreditations rushed through. On the eve of RAFW, ABC's Art Nation joins the score of mainstream outlets to track the rise of fashion blogging as part of today's fashion-focussed show. I was honoured to be included, alongside Lady Melbourne and Fashion Hayley (with Sonny Vandevelde featured in either this or a separate story. Sonny was filmed during his recent LMFF exhibition).

The program airs at 5.30pm on ABC1 today and it will be repeated at 7pm on ABC2. Hopefully it will also go online.

In the interim, here is the teaser video from the ABC Art Nation site.

Just to further clarify the accreditation issue for bloggers, some appear to have erroneously believed an accreditation was the only entry point to the event.


An accreditation, while handy, is only a guarantee into the main venue, the trade show, the media centre and the daily group shows that are organised by IMG. The guest lists of all solo collection shows are strictly at the discretion of the designers. Which is exactly how it works overseas. Earlier this week one Sydney publicist mentioned that 50percent of her guest list/s are non delegates.

Publicists appear to be thawing to the idea of bloggers. Which is great news. Because at the end of the day, they must surely realise that although the number of Australian newspapers, magazines and tv outlets covering RAFW has remained fairly static over the years, the number of independent online media outlets has grown exponentially. This coverage is new, additional exposure for all concerned.

Just a few of the great blogs that will be front and centre covering include, once again, Sonnyphotos (your go-to for the best backstage photography), also Imelda (the shoe expert - with an acerbic general fashion eye), Cultures In Between (an achingly cool indie perspective), the upwardly-mobile Sassisam, New Zealand's Aych and Isaaclikes and Sassybella.

There are many, many more, including etailer blogs (such as The Grand Social). I am flat out today and I am so sorry I don't have time to compile an exhaustive list, but please sing out in the comments so people know where to find you.

Best of luck to everyone with their coverage for the coming week.

I will do a post later today to clarify how frockwriter's multi-platform coverage will work this year. I am hoping this will make it easier to follow. Guys, I cannot do everything on Blogger. It's as simple as that.

In the interim, I have also included a Twitter widget to the RHS set to anyone referencing RAFW. If you are not familiar with Twitter, just click on the links highlighted in blue for more info about those people.

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