Thursday, September 30, 2010

There's no other store like... Balenciaga - Spring/Summer 2011

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Much will be made over the coming days of the inclusion of a five months pregnant supermodel in the Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2011 show in Paris. It's not the first time a pregnant model has walked a runway. But this is Balenciaga. And given how much hoo-haa is normally made about model weight at the elite end of the fashion business, it does seem like some kind of watershed moment. The model in question, Miranda Kerr, is of course now not just a model, but a celebrity. And she has already walked in Balenciaga's shows on two previous occasions. Kerr's appearance at Balenciaga comes almost two months after she pulled out of the Spring/Summer 2010/2011 runway showcase of Australian department store David Jones, to which she is currently contracted, after marrying fiance Orlando Bloom. Since confirming her pregnancy, Kerr has spoken of her morning sickness in the first trimester, which presumably would have made the David Jones show difficult for her. That's assuming that David Jones would have been perfectly happy to put a pregnant model on its runway. In an odd coincidence, Balenciaga creative director Nicolas Ghesquière chose a large abstract houndstooth motif for this collection. The houndstooth motif being an integral part of DJs' brand identity (as is the advertising slogan, "There's no other store like David Jones").

Bambi bags Balenciaga - Spring/Summer 2011

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Did we say there was buzz about Bambi Northwood-Blyth going into Spring/Summer 2011? We did. Far more importantly, of course, so did Ashley Brokaw, one of the world’s top casting directors who started beating the Bambi drum in an interview with The New York Times’ Cathy Horyn on the eve of New York Fashion Week three weeks ago. And then cast her in her first international show, Rag & Bone, alongside Julia Nobis. Brokaw had told Horyn that both Northwood-Blyth and Nobis were at the top of her casting list this season. Well Brokaw has just cast the duo again - along with five months pregnant Miranda Kerr - this time, in the Balenciaga show in Paris. Given that Nobis already has one international show season under her belt and is regulation runway height, however, it’s nothing less than an extraordinary coup for Northwood-Blyth, who started modelling six months ago and also happens to be 5’7” tall – that’s the official version, with some suggesting she may in fact be 5’6”. How many girls have been turned down by model agents because they’re too small? Legions of them. Kate Moss is one of the rare exceptions and you have to say, Northwood-Blyth could be shaping up to be Australia’s version. 

In full Bloom: After ditching DJs, five months pregnant Miranda Kerr walks for Balenciaga

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Last month, much was made of Miranda Kerr's mysterious pullout of the David Jones Spring/Summer 2010/2011 runway showcase in Sydney. Kerr, who is under contract as the new face of the upmarket Australian department store chain, released a statement at the time saying she had just eloped with her fiancee Orlando Bloom and the couple wanted to spend some quality time together. Abbey Lee Kershaw, Catherine McNeil, Nicole Trunfio and Alexandra Agoston filled in as high profile replacements. A deafening chorus of gossip pegged her as being three months pregnant at the time - later confirmed by Kerr. Well, while a pregnant model may have been far too awkward for DJs, this just in: Kerr, now five months pregnant, is about to walk in the Balenciaga show in Paris. According to WWD's Twitter, husband Orlando Bloom is front row waiting to see Kerr on the runway. Interesting times indeed. You have to wonder exactly what David Jones thinks about this. And hilariously, the collection - including the outfit worn by Kerr - features a giant abstract houndstooth check. David Jones uses a black and white houndstooth check for its corporate identity. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"We had this great idea that we wouldn’t use a card" - Sarah Murdoch on the ANTM fiasco

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Belated congratulations to Amanda Ware, the – eventual - winner of Australia’s Next Top Model Cycle 6. On July 16, after the series launch, frockwriter did say that our money was on Ware. Of this year’s field, she looked to have the most international potential - one of the reasons, presumably, that the show’s producers reportedly wanted her to win the series so badly. Or at least that’s what Edwina McCann, the editor of ANTM partner Harpers Bazaar Australia claimed on Nine Network's Today show this morning. McCann - who, once upon a time, was Murdoch's personal stylist - said the show's producers left the voting lines open in the hope that Ware might “get over the line”. Of course the main ANTM topic of conversation today was not Ware’s win per se – but rather the debacle of last night’s finale, at the climax of which anchor Sarah Murdoch declared Kelsey Martinovich the winner. Only to announce moments later, ashen-faced, that a terrible mistake had been made and that Ware was in fact the winner. But not before the pyrotechnics had fired and Martinovich had delivered her victory speech. Total ballsup in other words. What really went down is anybody’s guess, with numerous theories and explanations offered. Murdoch finally broke her silence on Nine's prime time current affairs show A Current Affair earlier this evening, interviewed - very sympathetically - by her former Today show colleague, Karl Stefanovic.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Just back from New Zealand Fashion Week. Apologies for the lack of posts. Frockwriter spent the weekend about an hour and a half outside of Auckland at the beach - a divine spot called Pauanui - and there was no internet access. There is a lot of backlogged NZFW material coming up soon. Meanwhile, snapped a few iconic Kiwi bits and bobs in the local supermarché. Yes I know that Marmite originated in the UK, but New Zealand apparently put its own stamp on the product and claims this version as NZ's own. The last two items are not so well-known. But the beer should definitely be - the most delicious beer frockwriter has ever tasted. And who knew Kiwi blogger Isaac Hindin Miller was expanding his line of merch?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fight Club - Stolen Girlfriends Club Autumn/Winter 2011

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Stolen Girlfriends Club is New Zealand’s Ksubi. Founded by surfers (Dan Gosling, Marc Moore and Luke Harwood), it’s a streetwear specialist and has a cult following back home, evidenced by the massive turnouts to its hipster magnet shows. Last night’s presentation at the Mercury Theatre, Auckland’s oldest surviving theatre built in 1910, was a case in point. Frockwriter had to negotiate a queue half way around the block to get in. Inside, platters of of jam jars awaited the post-show revellers, while in the claustrophobic backstage area, models were already drinking out of them. As they milled around, the hair & makeup team applied fresh sweet peas and cigarettes to the girls’ messed-up hair and bruisers and hickies to the guys’ eyes and necks. The theme of the show was ‘Last Night’s Party’ and the mood the SGC trio was trying to conjure was the walk of shame of a bunch of kids after a big night out. It starred a stellar Australasian cast that included top Kiwi names Dempsey Stewart, Ella Verberne and Michael Whittaker (above). 

If genetic engineers like AgResearch had their way, the world could be populated by models

AgResearch is a taxpayer-funded R&D facility whose mission statement is to develop business opportunities for New Zealand's agricultural and biotech sectors. Yesterday it sponsored a group show which showcased the work of ten local designers using four new woollen fabrics: Stitch Ministry, Annah Stretton, Blak, Salasai, Sable & Minx, NYNE, Emma Ford, Michelle Yvette, Trix & Dandy and Alexandra Owen. Owen created a white fencing suit, using a new synthetic wool blend that’s been developed for martial arts wear. Joined the backstage lineup: a burly security guard, who kept constantly checking the monitor for signs of any anti-GM protestors. The latter formed a picket line outside the venue two years ago, when AgResearch last showed at the event. Considering that the organisation’s proposed “Frankenstein” genetic modification of six animal species using human genes has been met with criticism, this is hardly surprising. But there were no protestor dramas - or clones. The doppelgangers in the cute knits and suspenders were Australian identical twins Aimee and Morgan Hurst, joint winners of the 2008 Girlfriend Model Search. Check frockwriter's Posterous for a full picture gallery.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Miller's crossing - Nicole Miller presents a capsule collection at New Zealand Fashion Week

She came, she saw, she conquered jet lag. Two weeks after unveiling her Spring/Summer 2011 collection at New York Fashion Week, Nicole Miller bundled up approximately two thirds of the range to show again at New Zealand Fashion Week, styling it back with wintery accoutrements in the form of black ponte and leather leggings and cashmere hoodies. In fact she did such a terrific job with the transeasonal touchups, the collection appeared to bear little resemblance to the range just shown in New York. But Miller also gave the New Zealand audience a world exclusive preview of ten pieces from her pre Fall 2011 collection, including a charming black wool knit poncho dress with hood and some very pretty ruched metallic taffeta cocktail dresses. The bodycon silk jersey dresses with bondage backs were killer, ditto the crystal skull-embellished T-s and skinny jeans. Bumping in and out of the venue with grace and minimum fuss, with no backstage hysterics or makeup trailer – unlike the scenario with last year’s VIP guest Pamela Anderson – it was a slick show that added some professional polish to an event that really just keeps getting better every year. Frockwriter shot backstage before and during the show. Check our Posterous for a full gallery of images of the collection (pretty much every look) and below for the finale video. 

In the name of the father - Trelise Cooper's Autumn/Winter 2011 tribute show

Trelise Cooper dedicated her Autumn/Winter 2011 show to her late father Joe Neill. “Dedicated to my beloved father who passed away in July. I will miss seeing his face and love in the front row. He loved Fashion Week” noted Cooper in the show program. Indeed, frockwriter was sitting right next to Neill at last year’s show – where we snapped and posted the shot, below. A pretty enough collection that hit all the commercial notes – military jackets, animal prints, leggings, harem pants – at times it felt like we were watching a Spring show. Case in point, the sheer georgette series and the supersized reproduction of Botticelli’s Three Graces of Spring erected at the end of the runway. The latter was an extension of the main set design: a church-like stained glass triptych, elements of which were repeated in graphics and embellishments in the collection itself. But fashion is of course increasingly transeasonal these days and the closing series of ruffled and embellished teadresses in a barely-there palette of shell pink and nude was beautiful, notably when teamed with some spectacular black evening shrugs fashioned from layered shards of chiffon. Don’t have that many shots. Cooper kicked out most photographers from backstage before the show. But check frockwriter’s Posterous for a small selection. And here is a video of the finale, below. 

Night of the living dread - Nom*d Autumn/Winter 2011

In these cost-conscious times, more than one brand at any given fashion week will choose to do a static presentation over a full-fledged runway show. Margie Robertson, the mastermind behind cult Dunedin brand Nom*d, certainly put her imprimatur on the static show concept last night with her ‘Danse Macabre’ surrealist theatre presentation in-the-round. Staged inside an inner-city warehouse, it starred a mashup of models and professional performers in a series of horror tableaux that included an exorcism, with the performers playing with spooky props that ranged from a rope noose to a whip and an axe. Being horror aficionados, frockwriter loved it. Not that we stuck around for much of the performance. With tricky lighting and so many crowded around to take in the spectacle, you would really have needed to document a rehearsal to get optimum shots. But check frockwriter’s Posterous for a gallery of 30 shots we took backstage beforehand. And below, for a quick walk-and-talk video shot just before the models walked out into the auditorium. 

It's complicated - Alexandra Owen Autumn/Winter 2011

Due to a transport hiccup at the World venue uptown, nearly missed Alexandra Owen’s show. Piled in backstage to catch it in mid flight and what a beautiful collection it looked to be. In a rich colour palette of burgundy, sapphire blue and gunmetal, the closing pieces included ruched digital print dresses, longline tailleurs with silk maxiskirts and a series of intriguing jackets with heavily sculpted bodices and sleeves, some featuring intricate origami folding - with the fabric tufted together like furniture upholstery. Owen’s star is fast rising. Noted for her innovative tailoring, her first two shows were major drawcards of New Zealand Fashion Week and this season, joining her far better-established compatriot Karen Walker, Owen commenced showing at New York Fashion Week – albeit so far via a static showroom presentationSee frockwriter's Posterous for more images.

World class - Autumn/Winter 2011

World promised a decadent spectacle and the Auckland-based "factory of ideas and experiments" more than delivered yesterday with a hugely upbeat, extremely well-edited show that left its audience gagging for more. On the menu over high tea at The Langham hotel: a high camp hotpotch of Forties-look womens suiting in leopard print and tweed, madras mens suiting, disco diva silk patio dresses in eye popping kingfisher blue, canary yellow and bubble gum pink – the latter colour picked up in a brilliant mens anorak - and adorable accessories and styling. The latter included wool-wrapped eyewear, woollen bow ties, polka dot umbrellas, patent pumps with ponyskin mohawks on the heels, detachable silk fringing and Bride of Frankenstein coiffures. It’s been two years since World last showed at New Zealand Fashion Week – with the previous show another four years before that - and the event has definitely been the poorer for it. The collection was called ‘Wasted Days, Wasted Nights’, but it was no wasted afternoon for World. The show earned a standing ovation from the table of American VIP delegates, that included Coco Perez blogger Clif Loftin and Real Housewives of New York City stylist Derek Warburton, with Warbuton later Tweeting, “Okokok HAUTEST show of week!!!!!! @world own it B&TCHES!!!!!”. See frockwriter's Posterous for a full picture gallery. And below, for a video of the final walkthrough. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Catching up with Alice Burdeu backstage at Zambesi

Here is a quick backstage interview (below) I managed to grab with Alice Burdeu after last night’s Zambesi show, which she opened – one of 19 shows that Burdeu told me she is doing this week. It was noisy, so it’s a little hard to hear (and better with headphones). Great to see Burdeu back in action. She is looking really good. As she mentions, she has been taking a break to study psychology at Melbourne’s RMIT. Looking forward to seeing more of her later in the week.

A tribe called vest - Zambesi Autumn/Winter 2011


Zambesi has a kind of wild, vagabond aesthetic that perfectly sums up the dark intellectualism of New Zealand fashion. Yet while the brand has a very loyal fan base, often the runway collections, which rarely appear to be edited, tend to drift off into a blur of deconstructed layering. Hands down, however, this was their best runway show to date. The impressive, ascetic set design, which saw models emerge from an inverted ‘V’ fashioned from white cotton-swathed scaffolding, set the stage for a sophisticated collection that not only hit commercial high notes, but also had light and shade. The trademark layered dresses and tunics in variations of black segued into a series of fluid trousers and techno taffeta parkas in crisp arctic whites, while brocades and lace were deployed in more opulent eveningwear pieces, from chemises to quilted knickerbockers and cigarette pants. Anchored by a series of fabulous, glam rock faux shag furs in gunmetal grey and off-white, the coats were particularly strong. Here is the show finale, below. See frockwriter’s Posterous for more images.

Models in a hurry - backstage at the Newgen show


Meant to get out to my seat for this show, but wound up getting caught backstage. Kent Vaughan and I shot from two different angles backstage, capturing a little of the split-second timing and drama that goes into getting the models out onto the runway in their next looks. This group show featured four new New Zealand names: Kathryn Leah Payne, Maaike, Céline Rita and Riddle Me This. The standouts were definitely Maaike, Emilie Pullar’s brilliant new knitwear label and  Kathryn Leah Payne, who designed all the acrylic jewellery that accompanied her collection. See frockwriter’s Posterous for more images.  

Going Platinum at Hailwood - Autumn/Winter 2011

No, Adrian Hailwood's 'Going Platinum' show did not feature either Abbey Lee Kershaw, or any styling odes to her new hair. But it did star an exciting new Kiwi model, 16 year-old Becky Lawrence (above), who is definitely one to watch. Didn’t manage to get very many shots of this collection, with shooting runway from the audience touch-and-go at times and unfortunately, Hailwood kicking out most photographers from backstage just before the show. A mixed collection, with less of Hailwood’s trademark sculptural eveningwear and more of a sportswear focus, notably denim. The forest green patent parka was a standout. See frockwriter’s Posterous for more images.

Yes Wiccan - Cybele Autumn/Winter 2011

Loved this collection by Cybèle Wiren. Supposedly Pagan-inspired, the monochromatic opening series of hooded tops and dresses, cinched by wasp-waisted patent corsets – which will quickly make their way to stylists’ shopping lists – had a Medieval elegance, with the models seemingly channeling Joan of Arc. There were also some pretty chemises and kaftans in, stop the press, digital prints, as well as some charming velvet dresses, jodhpurs and voluminous cocoon coats. Here is an interview, below, with Wiren just after the show. See frockwriter’s Posterous for more images.  

Sera Lilly's sister act

Sera Lilly called her collection ‘The Sisters of San Salvador’ and appropriately, her sister walked in the show (the Diane Pernet-lookalike with the mantilla) - alongside a street cast of non professional models. Although frockwriter is convinced there were a few pros thrown in there. Some pretty floral daywear and evening dresses and a few cool knits, but the collection seemed to lack focus. It’s a great statement to get “real women” modelling in your show – and they certainly looked like they had a lot of fun - but just a reminder that professional models do this for a living, not for fun and they know they are there to showcase the clothes. See frockwriter’s Posterous for more images.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Juliette Hogan's morning attire

Beehives, cats' eyes, pussy bow blouses, floral shirtwaisters and tweed Princess coats...there was a definite Sixties vibe to Juliette Hogan's 'The Morning After The Night Before' show at New Zealand Fashion Week. See frockwriter's Posterous for more photos. 

Starfish opens New Zealand Fashion Week

Posted via email from [frockwriter]

Sustainability is an imperative global issue and the fashion industry is making some attempts to address it - although "could do better" would be the likely wording on the green report card of most fashion businesses. Good to see New Zealand Fashion Week choose an eco-focussed label - Starfish - to launch its Autumn/Winter 2011 season here in Auckland earlier this morning (which frockwriter is attending for the second season as the guest of the organisers). A pretty collection of wrap and T-shirt dresses, softly-printed maxidresses and maxi skirts in organic cottons and denims, linen, merino and hemp, models included Australia's Next Top Model Cycle 4 winner Alice Burdeu, one of numerous Australians who are in town for the shows. Below is a short backstage interview I recorded with Starfish designer Laurie Foon and the show finale. Head to frockwriter's Posterous for the full pic gallery. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ellie Ross and Ryan Cooper cover the 5th anniversary edition of WISH

WISH, the monthly, glossy luxury mag published by The Australian newspaper, turns five next month. To celebrate, David Meagher - the magazine's editor for three of those five years - has picked up the hot multiple cover trend seen in several international titles (including V), and commissioned five elegant covers for the edition, to be printed randomly. The issue launches on October 1st and here is an exclusive preview of all five covers. Shot by Australia’s Next Top Model judge Jez Smith and styled by Ken Thompson, they star New York-based Australian Ellie Ross and Kiwi Ryan Cooper, who flew to Sydney specifically for the job. In each image, they are wearing an exclusive look created by one of five luxury brands especially for the issue: Burberry, Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co and Ralph Lauren. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Kob crosses the Pond - Charles Anastase Spring/Summer 2011

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No sign yet of Australian supermodel Abbey Lee Kershaw at London Fashion Week. But frockwriter did do a double take while watching this video, below, of yesterday’s Charles Anastase show. Not only were the models showcasing the collection's fluid chemises, floral teadresses and silver foil clamdiggers and shifts, every last one was sporting what looks very much like Kershaw’s new haircut (which has now of course been dyed peroxide blonde). Described by various Australian beauty aficionados as a long choppy bob, aka "the Kob" or "Chanel Bob", as we previously reported, it’s caused a bit of a run on local salons from consumers wanting Kershaw’s look. Supposedly inspired by 60s/70s icons Jane Birkin, Francoise Hardy and Jane Fonda, Anastase’s hair stylist Lyndell describes the look as being “like virgin hair...a backlash against try-hard, dip-dye, pastel and over bleached hair, this girl is cool without trying”. To achieve it, the wigs were dyed four times and then razor cut. Frockwriter suspects that we might not see Kershaw in London until Tuesday morning at 9.00am. That’s the show time of iconic British brand Jaeger London and Kershaw is of course its Fall 2010 face. In the meantime, a new video of the Jaeger campaign has surfaced starring Kershaw and male model Ollie Edwards, below. And for those who can’t get enough ALK, here’s another new video - taken backstage taken at last week’s Anna Sui show in New York, which shows Kershaw, together with model mates Freja Beha Erichsen and Behati Prinsloo.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Caribbean queens: sass & bide Spring/Summer 2011

Sass & bide’s roots lie in London’s Portobello Road, the world’s largest antiques market, where designers Heidi Middleton and Sarah-Jane Clarke sold their edgy customised jeans to the city’s early fashion adopters back in 1999. Yesterday, for their third season back at London Fashion Week after a few years in the sportswear-nosed wilderness of New York Fashion Week, they returned to slightly more auspicious digs: the Royal Opera House. Entitled Papa Sucre  - French for 'sugar daddy' and possibly named after the 1995 instrumental track by Brit alt rock outfit Supergrass (but with a definite Creole undercurrent) - the collection saw a slight detour from the brand’s trademark heavy embellishment to explore the moment’s digital print trend in a monochrome palette of black, sepia and white, popped with watermelon and a hint of utilitarian khaki. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Abbey road: Australians on the Spring/Summer 2011 runways (New York)

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So we know how at least one Kiwi went at New York Fashion Week - Calvin Klein's exclusive Jessica Clarke (head to Isaac Likes for full documentation on NZ models in SS11) - but how did the Aussies fare all up? A pretty good effort. Congrats to all the girls. Abbey Lee Kershaw, not surprisingly, pulled off the most shows: 13 in total according to frockwriter’s calculations. Great to see the return of Catherine McNeil, although with just five shows under her belt (including several big names and opening one show), one might have expected to see her do a little better. According to (reliable) backstage sources, McNeil came very close to booking the blue chip Tom Ford presentation, but was cancelled at the last minute. Julia Nobis, Ajak Deng and Georgie Wass powered ahead. We’ve already talked about the expected/unexpected success of Bambi Northwood-Blyth. Although her mother agency, Chic Management, did report that Nicole Trunfio was heading to the event, beyond turning up in Michael Angel's front row, Trunfio did not, apparently, walk in any shows. Here are the show tallies. Anything we’ve missed, thanks for a headsup. On to London, Milan and Paris.  

Jessica Clarke, Calvin Klein's new exclusive - Spring/Summer 2011

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In December 2008, after modelling for just one month, New Zealand schoolgirl Jessica Clarke so charmed New York-based ck Calvin Klein creative director Kevin Carrigan in a home movie shot by her mother agency, that he flew her to Sydney and cast her in the brand’s big bucks party on Cockatoo Island that month. Minutes ago, in what is very big news for New Zealand, the 17 year-old scored an enormous coup: a New York Fashion Week exclusive with the same company’s marquee womenswear brand, Calvin Klein Collection. Heading into the season, Clarke was tipped by top US casting director Ashley Brokaw as a face to watch. But Calvin Klein is one of the most prestigious shows on the circuit and Clarke's coup will undoubtedly provide a brilliant springboard for her international career, just as it did for Sydney’s Julia Nobis last season

Thursday, September 16, 2010

London Fashion Week, New Zealand Fashion Week - and a sneak peek at World Autumn/Winter 2011


Another day, another Fashion Week. Yes, New York Fashion Week wraps today, giving the most gung-ho fashionistas/os the chance to hop the red eye to London for tomorrow’s kickoff of London Fashion Week, which runs September 17-22. Here is the British Fashion Council schedule, with some collections at Somerset House and others off-site. Here is the digital schedule of shows to be live streamed. And here is the On/Off schedule (an off-schedule event staged in Bloomsbury). Vis-à-vis Australians, jewellery designer Jordan Askill will present a film on Friday 17th at 15.00, with sass & bide showing at 17.45 that day and UK-based Richard Nicoll and Antipodium showing on Sunday 19th at 19.30 and Tuesday 21st at 09.30 respectively. While LFW is in full swing, New Zealand Fashion Week will kick off in Auckland (September 21-25). Frockwriter will be attending for the second time as the guest of the organisers. Click here for the NZFW schedule, which includes Zambesi, Nom*D, Karen Walker, Trelise Cooper and World, with New York’s Nicole Miller this year’s international ringin.
What’s Miller doing downunder?

Natalie Imbruglia helps PETA push for a fur-free world

"This Is Fur" Narrated by Natalie Imbruglia 

Here is the new anti-fur video from animal rights group PETA, entirely narrated by Australian singer Natalie Imbruglia - who is currently doing maternity cover for compatriot Dannii Minogue on the British series of The X Factor. It's a gut-wrenching video, so be warned. In it, PETA's undercover operatives have filmed in various fur farms and processing facilities, although no location is clearly identified - beyond the references to the Chinese fur industry, which is known for its brutality. China's human rights record is of course not particularly impressive, but that's of little concern to PETA. A number of fur organisations, such as the US Fur Commission, would no doubt take umbrage at the continued claims that strict regulations do not apply to this industry in other countries and that farmed fur animals are not afforded good nutrition, comfortable housing and prompt veterinary care. But then PETA never seems to film inside those facilities. As Paul McCartney once noted, if abbatoirs had glass walls we'd all be vegetarians. Until that day presumably, the greater percentage of the world's population will continue to eat meat. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Did Mexico's drug violence kill Rodarte's mojo? Spring/Summer 2011

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With its avant-garde homespun aesthetic and ethereal eveningwear, Rodarte is normally considered a highlight of New York Fashion Week, an event better known for commercial sportswear than creative bravura. But this has been a peculiar event, with more than one designer delivering a low-risk, (they hope) sure-sale collection. In spite of the fact that several influential American fashion critics have lauded the Rodarte collection as some kind of breakthrough for sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, loving it is a pretty big ask. That’s not to say there were not a couple of pretty pieces. Supposedly inspired by the northern Californian outdoors, a clever, collaged wood grain print was used in a terrific shift dress with deconstructed sleeves and a shell top with stiffened peplum; and there is one striking blazer, also with a stiffened pannier peplum, in a Delft China-like blue microprint. But to frockwriter’s eye, the rest of the collection looks like a snafu of plaid, gold brocade, kimonos, cheongsams and togas – the kind of costumes that Maria Von Trapp might have whipped up for Ridley Scott’s next swords and sandals epic.  

Ruby Jean Wilson is wearing a pair of bright orange running shorts at Karen Walker

How do we know? Because here she is backstage just before Walker’s show, shot a matter of minutes ago by Sonny Vandevelde (who clearly, had access to wifi). Wilson is another antipodian at New York Fashion Week and so far she’s walked in Lacoste. Just on Sunster FYI, his second exhibition at New York’s Tribeca Grand Hotel opened on Monday and runs until 12th October. Then from September 15-19, a new exhibition, ‘Sonny Vandevelde – Backstage Life’, will run in Paris as part of the Rives de la Beauté festival. That will make his fourth exhibition this year, after the Mars Gallery show during the L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival in March and the ‘Crazy Beautiful’ group show of backstage Rosemount Australian Fashion Week photography, which just wrapped at Sydney's Queen Victoria Building. Having just added V Magazine this season to his client list, dude’s on a roll...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Walk this way: Bambi Northwood-Blyth makes her mark on Spring/Summer 2011

diesel black gold SS11/getty via daylife
Frockwriter did say that there was buzz over Sydney It girl Bambi Northwood-Blyth heading into the Spring/Summer 2011 show season, with at least two casting directors (Ashley Brokaw and Kannon Rajah), talking her up. With New York Fashion Week now on the home straight, with three days to go, Northwood-Blyth has made a very respectable international debut. Four shows so far: Jen Kao, Rag & Bone, Joseph Altuzarra and overnight, Diesel Black Gold – which she in fact closed, quite an honour. Just a reminder that in modelling terms, 5’7” Northwood-Blyth is Lilliputian. For a clear illustration of just how petite she is compared to the regular runway amazons, see this backstage shot from Jen Kao, below. But she has a distinctive look – some might say, she resembles a young Lauren Bacall – and a very boyish physique. One thing she may need to work on however is her walk. Whether or not it's a matter of acclimatising to those often highly impractical runway shoes, there is something distinctly odd about it. Here are three of her show videos, below.

Living in the Seventies - Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2011

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all images: getty via daylfe
Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall and Marie Helvin didn’t ride out on white horses from behind the circular Richard Serra-lookalike set (most likely signed by Marc Jacobs’ go-to stage designer Stefan Beckman), but with their frizzed-out Sarah Moon hair and bleached-out Aladdin Sane eyebrows, Jacobs’ Spring/Summer 2011 models sure looked like Studio 54 refugees. When decked out in gold lamé or Brady Bunch stripe knit hotpants, skinny rib sweaters, bandeau “boob tubes” and floppy sun hats, with more than a little Iris from Taxi Driver thrown in for good measure – the child prostitute played by Jodie Foster in Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film. Another key reference for this collection appears to have been Yves Saint Laurent’s influential Ballets Russes collection, also, coincidentally, from 1976. There were voluminous off-the-shoulder peasant dresses and tops, often in the signature YSL colours of violet and red, with oversized safari jackets over maxi skirts echoing an earlier YSL collection. With flowers in their hair and at least one palm tree emblazoned on a top, this collection felt a little more Resort than Spring/Summer. But this has been a very safe season in New York so far, with the GFC still impacting on US retail, as it continues to bite elsewhere. There were some beautiful, commercial, chevron-striped chiffon dresses and sweet crochet swimwear, but it's the hugely-flattering, high-waisted bellbottom trousers which may well Fly Robin Fly out the door.

Monday, September 13, 2010

First look: The Style Tyrant snaps Ashley McConnell for Orri Henrisson Spring/Summer 2010/2011

We've had the first Australian fashion blogger make it onto the cover of a fashion magazine (Lady Melbourne on Peppermint). Now, if frockwriter is not mistaken, comes the first Australian fashion blogger tapped to photograph an ad campaign. Joining the ranks of American Scott Schuman, aka The Sartorialist, who has shot for Burberry and Australia's own SABA and Canada's Tommy Ton (Lane Crawford) is Sydney fashion blogger, photographer and fashion publicist Matt Jordan, aka Imelda: The Despotic Queen of Shoes and The Style Tyrant, who has just snapped the first campaign for Sydney menswear brand Orri Henrisson. Here is a preview. Jordan met Orri Henrisson designer Henry Ng while shooting him for The Style Tyrant, Jordan's year-old mens street style blog. The model is Ashley McConnell, bass player for Queensland pop outfit Operator Please (Perez Hilton's "favourite rocking teens"), styling is by James Dykes and graphics are courtesy new Sydney graphic design shop Lekkur Studio. Very cool little campaign. McConnell is no stranger to the camera. Repped by Chadwicks, his modelling debut was the Autumn/Winter 2009 campaign for Minty Meets Munt (one of Jordan's clients). FYI McConnell's hair isn't lilac, it's platinum blond - that's just the graphic overlay effect.

An army of Abbey Lee Kershaw clones at Preen? Spring/Summer 2011

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On Thursday frockwriter reported that some Australian hair salons are seeing an influx of customers wanting the “choppy long bob”, aka the Kob or Chanel Bob, worn by Australian model Abbey Lee Kershaw – which we revealed was cut by Chanel’s hair stylist for the brand’s Fall 2010 advertising campaign. On Friday, we reported that Kershaw died her hair platinum blonde on the eve of New York Fashion Week. And yesterday, we wondered if the decision could in any way be proving problematic with her work options at the event. Surely not, given her stature in the industry by this time, but even some of Kershaw’s fans over at The Fashion Spot are asking the same question. Overnight Kershaw walked in two more shows, Derek Lam and Preen, bringing her total New York Fashion Week show tally thus far to five (Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Derek Lam, Preen and Rag & Bone – which she closed). But while Wu put Kershaw in a turban and Wang plastered all of his models’ hair with white clay, both Lam and Preen left Kershaw’s bold new do down. And dang if Preen’s other models didn’t look like ALK clones - notably those with the shorter hair. According to makeup director James Kaliados (below), the beauty look was inspired by Catherine Denueve in the 1964 film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, which would of course match the 60s vibe of Preen's structured white shift dresses - white being another major early trend on the SS11 runways. Preen's hair stylist Luke Hersheshon put clip-on bangs in every (other) model's hair. Only problem with the Deneuve reference: she didn’t have bangs in that particular film.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Australian invasion of Joseph Altuzarra - Spring/Summer 2011

joseph altuzarra SS11 backstage/sonnyphotos

And this just in from the New York Fashion Week trenches. Backstage snapper Sonny Vandevelde tells frockwriter that no less than four Australian models just walked in the big buzz Joseph Altuzarra show: Lauren Brown, Annaleise Smith (second and third from the left, below, backstage with Altuzarra), Julia Nobis and Bambi Northwood-Blyth. Smith in fact opened the show. Twenty seven year-old Altuzarra, a Paris native, is one of New York's brightest new talents, dubbed a "boy wonder" by last year. And 20 year-old Northwood-Blyth (above) is off to a cracking start at the event. Frockwriter mentioned that going into the season she had already caught the attention of several casting agents, in spite of what would normally be considered a major handicap - at 5'7", Northwood-Blyth is well under the standard height of most runway models. So far, she has done Jen Kao and Rag & Bone, the latter another high profile New York show. More photos to come.

Alexander Wang's artistic license - Spring/Summer 2011

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For anyone who missed the Alexander Wang live stream earlier this morning on, here is a video of the complete show, below. A pretty collection from Wang, delivered entirely in a white, ecru and pastel palette. The edgy sportswear hinged on layering and super-wide trousers – both major early trends in this Spring/Summer 2011 season, seen across several shows – as well as a barely-there digital print used in loose tunics and asymmetric shift dresses that looked a little like it was cut from the gouache-splodged white sheet off the floor of a painter’s studio. Not surprisingly, Jean-Michel Basquiat was an inspiration. Wang’s deconstructed trenches, overalls and paint-splattered bombers had a definite 1980s vibe, when Basquiat was at his peak. Grungy metallic accents included an aquamarine foil hoodie, embellished turn-down belts, jagged metallic stripes on pants - as if the outside seams had been duct-taped closed - and nose rings on all the models. It was hard not to be reminded a little of the Spring/Summer 2007 collection of Marc Jacobs (with whom Wang once interned), which played a key role in the popularisation of the still-current harem pant trend. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Vogue shoots live at Chanel

What a blast Australia's first Fashion's Night Out was on Thursday night. Everywhere you looked there were people - many of them apparently also shopping (Ashley Hanson from Uscari in the Mid City Centre told frockwriter her sales were up 200percent). Tried to take in as much as possible, but it wasn't easy with so much packed into such a narrow window and over 450 retailers involved. Particularly enjoyed the Chanel photoshoot in the basement of the brand's Sydney flagship on Castlereagh Street, during which Vogue's fave snapper Max Doyle shot Chic Management's Sarah Stephens and Annika Kaban (above) in the Fall/Winter 2010/2011 collection. According to Chanel Australia's general manager fashion Ian Clark, Chanel did the same last year in London for the first Fashion's Night Out in that city and it had exclusive dibs on the live fashion shoot concept for the Sydney event. People loved it, crowding around to watch Doyle and his team working. Covered a little of it in real time on Posterous but here are some other shots. Have yet to experience a Fashion's Night Out in its native New York, but you can only imagine the vibe and energy. If only retail could always be like this...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Julia Nobis and Broed Dillewaard hit high summer for Marcs

In July, frockwriter unveiled the Spring/Summer 2010/2011 ad campaign for Australian sportswear label Marcs, starring two of the hottest new local modelling stars, Julia Nobis and Broed Dillewaard. Well here is the second instalment of the campaign, for high summer, shot once again by Beau Grealy, in addition to a brand new video. Beyond the Vogue Fashion’s Night Out show on Tuesday night in New York, Nobis has yet to hit the Spring/Summer 2011 runways. But we are sure it won’t be long before she pops up.

Make that The Blonde Kob...

Just yesterday frockwriter mentioned that a number of Australian hair salons are reporting a spike of interest in the new “choppy” longer bob, aka The Kob, sported by Australian model Abbey Lee Kershaw (now the world number five according to - whose long, bohemian locks were trimmed by Chanel for the company’s recent Fall/Winter 2010/2011 ad campaign. Well perhaps those salons should be en garde: snapped a matter of hours ago at a Chanel cocktail party at New York Fashion Week, Kershaw has just died her hair platinum blonde. Yes we know there are far more pressing matters on the global agenda than a model’s hair colour change, but the fashion world does tends to exist in its own bubble. “OMG!!!! Abbey Lee has gone blonde!!!! LIKE BLONDE and looks amazing!!!!!” noted Canadian photographer and blogger Tommy Ton on Twitter – a Tweet, together with this Chanel party snap, above, taken by US model-dedicated news site Modelinia, that is rapidly spreading across the Twitterverse. Kershaw’s hair was coloured by high profile Cuban hair stylist Orlando Pita, Kershaw's mother agent Kathy Ward tells Chic frockwriter, but there are no changes to the style. We're now wondering if perhaps Chanel wanted to keep Kershaw under wraps until the soiree. Kershaw, Chanel's current advertising face and a star of every Chanel 2010 fashion show, did not show up at Tuesday night’s Fashion’s Night Out show at the Lincoln Center produced by Vogue (while compatriots Catherine McNeil, Ajak Deng and Julia Nobis did), even though she was featured in one of the FNO promotional videos.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chop shop: Salons report a run on Abbey Lee Kershaw's bob

david jones SS1011 backstage

We’ve seen The Pip and The Pob, make way for The Kob – aka The Chanel Bob. That’s the short, choppy bob currently being sported by Australian supermod Abbey Lee Kershaw. LifeStyled editor Paula Joye christened it The Kob in her David Jones show wrap, noting that beyond the Mark McInnes sexual harassment scandal, Kershaw’s do was the talk of the front row at the August 3 show in Sydney, which starred Kershaw, Catherine McNeil and Nicole Trunfio as replacements for pregnant Miranda Kerr. “It’s a modern, long bob and I think a lot of the people in the front row have already booked in for an Abbey chop” Joye told frockwriter. “I think this the beginning of the return of the fringe. Kim Kardashian has just cut one. Lea Michele was sporting an extra long one at the Emmys. Leighton Meester, she’s had one cut as well. That long bob and that serious fringe that’s cut from quite far back". So have people in fact been booking in for Kershaw’s look? Update 10/09: Chameleon Kershaw now a platinum blonde.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Two Australians on schedule at New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011

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Who knew an Australian was at the helm of iconic New York fashion label Bill Blass? Not frockwriter, that’s for sure, until we read today's Herald Sun story. Perhaps Melbourne fashion scribes are more familiar with Jeffrey Monteiro's (above) name, given that he apparently launched his eponymous collection there in 1996. Another reason for Monteiro’s lack of a profile downunder could be that he doesn’t appear to have spent that much time here. Monteiro was born in Qatar in the Middle East, raised in Australia and schooled in India, with tertiary fashion studies done in Melbourne, where he worked as a design assistant at the Ellin Ambe label before launching his own line. He moved to New York in 2000, designing for the Mayle label and from 2005, for Derek Lam, where he was design director (also working for Tod's). Monteiro relaunched his signature collection in New York for Fall 2008 and in November last year was appointed design director of Bill Blass – which had closed in 2008, following several attempts at resuscitation. Blass died of throat cancer in 2002, after selling the label several years beforehand. Monteiro is one of just two Australians showing in New York this season, alongside another Melbourne expat, Michael Angel. Angel will show on Friday 10th with the Bill Blass show taking place on Wednesday 15th September - and Kiwi Karen Walker showing on Tuesday 14th.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wayne Cooper in talks for his own tv show, still hating on plus size women

screen caps 'the wc'/exero films

Wayne Cooper could be the “Gordon Ramsay of the fashion business” if Kostas Metaxas has anything to do with it. The Melbourne-based filmmaker has a "fashion comedy miniseries" called The WC starring Cooper in development and is currently talking to Australian and international television networks. Curiously, there has been zip local publicity on this, beyond a press release about a National Association of Television Program Executives award the teaser webisode, below, won in LA in July. The webisode was made specifically for the latter competition according to Metaxas, who tells frockwriter he has shot three quarters of the material for a full-length feature, but that The WC could be, pending interest, “a feature, a tv series or 20 webisodes....This is like a starting point. Wayne is an interesting character, and he’s an exceptional actor. And at the same time he has a sense of humour. He understands that what we’re doing is not meant to be rocket science”.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Get shorty: The personality girls of Spring/Summer 2011

bambi northwood-blyth/aje AW2011 via sportsgirl

The Spring/Summer 2011 show season kicks off in New York next Thursday and it’s time to ask, once again, which antipodians will make their marks on the international runways? We mentioned FRM Model Management’s Ajak Deng yesterday. Chic Management’s Abbey Lee Kershaw is of course tipped to continue her climb to the top. Already at #5 on, could this show season help her make it to #1? Other veterans either already in New York or en route include Viviens’ Skye Stracke. Priscillas’ hot new girls Lauren Brown and of course, Julia Nobis, who first emerged on the radar in February with a Calvin Klein exclusive, will be there. Joining them will be some brand new Australasian faces. Interestingly, unlike Nobis, Kershaw, Deng and co, three are under the standard runway height requirement of 5’10”.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ajak Deng: Civil war survivor, aspiring supermodel, breadwinner for eight

david jones SS1011 backstage

Frockwriter was preoccupied with a fulltime gig during the Fall/Winter 2010/2011 season, so we missed quite a bit of news. Including two new rising Australian modelling stars, Adelaide’s Emily Wake and Melbourne’s Ajak Deng. We did include one mention of Deng in our preliminary SS10 Australian model wrap just after New York Fashion Week, her first international show season, in which she did just a handful of New York shows (and we originally got her surname wrong*). However it was during the Fall/Winter 2010/2011 shows in February and March when Deng really grabbed the industry’s attention, walking in over 20 shows. These included blue chip names such as Lanvin, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier and Chloe – the first black girl to walk the latter’s runway in nine seasons in fact, prompting New York Magazine to ask in June, “Could Ajak Deng be the next Alek Wek?”. Like Wek, Deng is a Sudanese refugee. But while Wek’s family fled the war-torn African nation for the UK, Deng’s family settled in Melbourne in 2004 – among an estimated 23,000 Sudanese refugees who arrived in Australia from 2002-2007. Sixty-two percent are aged 24 and younger and 45percent of the settlers are believed to be female. Like Wek’s story – which Wek recounted in her autobiography in 2007 – Deng’s story is remarkable. The second of eight children, Deng lost her mother to malaria at the age of 12 while living in a Kenyan refugee camp and took charge of her infant sister. Three years ago her father moved back to Sudan and her stepmother left to join him. Since she was 16, Deng has been financially responsible for her seven siblings.  

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