Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Booked: FASHION by Mitchell Oakley Smith

Books on Australian fashion are few and far between. In fact Alexandra Joel’s Parade and Elina Mackay's The Great Aussie Fashion, both published in 1984 (with Parade reprinted in 1998) and David Meagher's 2008 Fashion Speak (in which Australasians account for half of Meagher's 14 designer profiles) are the sum total to date if frockwriter is not mistaken. Well now we can add Mitchell Oakley Smith’s first literary effort to this very slim list: FASHION, a 352-page book on Australian – and New Zealand – designers, published by no less than Thames & Hudson Australia, the local arm of one of the world’s most prestigious fashion and art publishers (to be sold internationally as well). Here is an exclusive preview of the cover: a Georges Antoni shot of Anthea Page in Toni Maticevski’s silk cotton voile and triacetate ballgown. According to the notes, the dress is from the Autumn/Winter 2006 collection and according to Oakley Smith, the shot was first published in Oyster.

The dress bears a strong resemblance to the "doona" dresses that were later presented by Maticevski in New York in February 2007 for the Fall/Winter 0708 season. And no, apparently that's no Photoshop job - the model is actually carrying an eski bag emblazoned with an Australian flag.

Sydney-based Oakley Smith is associate editor of GQ Australia and has been writing about fashion for four years, for publications including BELLE, Myer Emporium and The Australian.

Accompanying a fantastic selection of imagery (see below) are 50,000 words profiling 70 designers, including Akira Isogawa, Josh Goot, Zimmermann, Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester, Nom*D, World, Birthday Suit, Romance Was Born and Arnsdorf.

The book took Oakley Smith two years and he approached five different publishers before hooking up with T&H.

Available from August 1 ($79.95).

All images supplied by Thames & Hudson
(Top to bottom)
Toni Maticevski by Georges Antoni.
RM Williams
Fernando Frisoni
Chronicles of Never
Marnie Skillings


Anonymous said...

Good to see a decent book on Aussie fashion, especially if it includes a bunch of top New Zealand designers also.
You may be interested also in the book by Angela Lassig, formerly a curator at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, 'New Zealand Fashion Design', featuring 25 Kiwi designers and over 500 illustrations.

Anonymous said...

I guess the reason there are so many books on international design houses is because of their longevity.

I bet a majority of the Australian designers profiled for this book weren't around in the 80s, with another good chunk of these probably dramatically changing their businesses or even disappearing in coming years. If a book like this was to come out every few years, or as a series, then it would make good sense.

It looks like an excellent effort nonetheless; certainly a beautiful cover.

Shazzy said...

What about Margaret Maynard's 'Out of line: Australian women and style'? To my mind it is the most important book that has been written on Australian fashion.

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