Friday, February 25, 2011

Rosemary Smith and Emilia Skuza hop on fashion's trans Tasman locomotive

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She was optioned for another big show, but Rosemary Smith pulled off the next best thing in Milan overnight: Fendi, alongside some of the biggest runway names in the business. Not bad for a first international show season, but Smith has got a long way to catch up with some other downunder newcomers, like Dempsey Stewart, whose already stellar first show season now also includes the blue chip Prada and Burberry shows. New arrivals to this already blistering antipodian show season are runway veterans Abbey Lee Kershaw, who has, not unexpectedly, been cleaning up with big name shows such as as Gucci, Fendi and Burberry; Myf Shepherd, after a year’s hiatus, walking so far for just Angelo Marani; Jessica Hart, who appeared at Matthew Williamson in London; and brand new Adelaide face Emilia Skuza. First emerging on the Paris haute couture runways last month, Skuza turned up at Aquascutum, Antonio Berardi, Mary Karantzou, Amanda Wakeley and Emelia Wickstead in London. The rise and rise of “trans Tasman models” has captured the attention of not only the blogosphere, but also the mainstream media. Today, The Australian ran a story about Bambi Northwood-Blyth and The Sydney Morning Herald covered the plethora of Australian models currently working the show circuit. 

Bulgari's lion queen

How does Italian jeweller Bulgari top campaigns starring naked Julianne Moore alongside a sulphur-crested cockatoo and the next season, some adorable lion cubs? With a campaign for the company's brand new Mon Jasmin Noir fragrance starring another naked American actor, Kirsten Dunst, opposite... a full-grown lion. Behold what frockwriter understands is an exclusive preview of Bulgari's Mon Jasmin Noir campaign that is being released later today. It was shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott at Villa Balbianello in the exquisite Lake Como region just outside of Milan. Working alongside lion cubs is one thing, but even with the behind-the-scenes imagery (below), we're not convinced that Dunst happily nestled snugly against a real lion and/or that Mert + Marcus managed to get both it and Dunst to 'love the camera' at the same moment - and that's it's not a Photoshop mashup. Then again, Dunst is an old hand with big cats. Some movie sites list her as the voice of young Nala in Disney's 1994 animated feature The Lion King (IMDB has Nikete Calame voicing the role). The following year, she co-starred in Jumanji, opposite Robin Williams and some scary - albeit computer-generated - lions. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gemma Ward is back - in black

perth theatre company via perth now
Well it's not Hedi Slimane or Tom Ford (we don't think), but this ill-fitting tux worn by Gemma Ward and conceptual photoshoot for The Perth Theatre Company's upcoming production of The Ugly One, in which Ward is due to make her stage debut, could be the next best thing to a piece of fashion theatre that Ward's fans have had since the former world number one disappeared herself from the sartorial stage. The shots have just been released by the PTC, presumably shortly after today's press conference in Perth, during which Ward's fellow actors Benj D'Addario, Brendan Ewing and Geoff Kelso were reportedly totally ignored by the assembled media throng, in favour of Ward. They should probably get used to this.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gotham pretty

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Abbey Lee Kershaw might have skipped New York Fashion Week this season, but rising up in her wake was no shortage of antipodian runway talent. If international casting directors did not already have Australian and New Zealand model agencies on speed dial, they will do from now on. Australia had at least 18 models at New York Fashion Week, seven of them brand new to the event and among those, several models with less than six months experience who scored some big shows. New Zealand now has its own potential modelling superstar. For the second consecutive season  - and from the same agency, Auckland's Clyne Management - the Land of the Long White Cloud delivered a face to watch. And then some. After Jessica Clarke nabbed a Calvin Klein exclusive last season, a 17 year-old total unknown Kiwi by the name of Emily Baker walked in pretty much every major show of the week, prompting to declare her its first Top 10 Newcomer of Fall/Winter 2011/2012 - and noting that Baker is now “on the watch list of every major casting director, photographer and editor in the trade”. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Andrej Pejic on the cover of ZEIT magazin

zeit magazin's facebook

Andrej Pejic's first modelling job was a cover: issue #77 of Australia's Oyster magazine, in 2008, together with two female models. Given Pejic's profile today, that was extraordinarily good foresight on Oyster's part. What is surprising, perhaps, is that it has taken this long for Pejic to land a solo cover. Germany's ZEIT magazin is the first cab off what frockwriter understands is a rapidly lengthening cover rank for Pejic, with two other European covers shot in the past two weeks - one of them, quite a big deal in fashion terms. ZEIT magazin is the arts/culture supplement to German newspaper Die Zeit. Founded in 1970, the magazine describes itself as the paper's "emotional section" and its numerous investigations and scoops over the years include having tracked down, in Buenos Aires, the long-lost original version of Fritz Lang's 1927 German Expressionist masterpiece Metropolis, which then premiered at last year's Berlin International Film Festival.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Melissa queen of the desert

rodarte FW1112/

When the Mulleavy sisters were dreaming up their Fall/Winter 2011/2012 collection with the Great American Plains in mind, chances are there weren't any pictures of Australia’s Red Centre on their mood board. And yet second out in the ethereal chiffon and guipure lace confections of their New York Fashion Week show on Tuesday was 16 year-old Melissa J who lives slap bang in the middle of Australia in Alice Springs, surrounded by desert. Yesterday frockwriter mentioned that in this bumper antipodian model season, a few, even newer Aussie girls were waiting in the wings. Melissa – aka “MJ”, who we first profiled in November – is one of them. Discovered by Adelaide's Finesse Models in October, she has already walked in seven New York shows and presentations this week (also Charlotte Ronson, Mandy Coon, Dennis Basso, Tracy Reese, Creatures of the Wild and Yoana Baraschi), with Hollywood red carpet favourite Marchesa lined up for today. Now 16, MJ is being chaperoned by her mother, brother and auntie and all were, we hear, in attendance at Rodarte cheering her on. Must have been a big thrill for them. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ANZAC day at Marc Jacobs

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Frockwriter mentioned that a larger-than-usual contingent of Australian models was heading to New York Fashion Week this season. And that after day one, some of them were off to a cracking start. We have previously talked about upwardly-mobile New Zealand faces, notably Jessica Clarke, who was spotted by a Calvin Klein rep in Sydney two years ago and then in September 2010, walked a Calvin Klein Collection exclusive in New York. Another Kiwi has just emerged from left-of-field to become one of the most buzzed-about models of the season: Emily Baker. Modelling for just six months, Baker has a smouldering, sunkissed beauty that is reminiscent of 1970s American modelling icons Cheryl Tiegs and Patti Hansen, blended with a little modern Lara Stone moxie. This morning Baker added Marc Jacobs to her bulging top show list. And she was joined by three upwardly mobile Australians: Julia Nobis, now in her third international season after her own Calvin Klein exclusive this time last year and Codie Young and Dempsey Stewart, both of whom are working in New York for the first time. You could say the antipodians are having a bumper season. And waiting in the wings behind them on some interesting options are several other new Aussie girls... 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Andrej Pejic talks to Seven's Sunday Night

richard chai FW1112/

Seven's Sunday Night current affairs program just ran its profile on superstar Serbian Australian model Andrej Pejic - as tonight's lead story no less. Here is the video below, in case you missed it. As outlined last week, I worked closely on this story with the Sunday Night team, setting up all their filming access as they went in Paris and London. I also travelled to Melbourne for the interview with Pejic's delightful family: mother Jadranka, brother Igor and grandmother Danica. Andrej, meanwhile, has just touched down at New York Fashion Week, where he is booked for a number of shows. Some are straight menswear, as in yesterday's Richard Chai (above) and Robert Geller shows. However some shows and presentations are womenswear, such as Ally Hilfiger's presentation for her Nahm brand (below). And it seems he may be earning womens' modelling rates. Way to go.   

Friday, February 11, 2011

Add Dempsey Stewart to the Aussie posse of Fall/Winter 2011/2012

richard chai FW1112/

This time last week frockwriter mentioned that a contingent of Australian models was readying to take to New York Fashion Week's runways in what could be the biggest antipodian season to date. And after day one, it looks like they're off to a cracking start. We didn't include Perth's Dempsey Stewart in that mix, but with a cover story on WWD yesterday (below) and the prestigious opening slot of Richard Chai's show (above), it's a little hard to ignore her. Chai in fact cast four Australians in his show: Codie Young, making her international runway debut, together with Julia Nobis and Ajak Deng. Later in the day Young not only opened, but closed the Wayne show (below). ANTM Cycle 6 winner Amanda Ware, meanwhile, made her OS debut in Wes Gordon's presentation. Saturday sees the arrival of two hot Aussie men - including, as reported, Jack Vanderhart, as an exclusive for the Calvin Klein Collection mens show. And it's only the first weekend of the season. 

Portmans takes Abbey Lee Kershaw back to her roots, taps Julia Restoin-Roitfeld and Louise Roe to boot

While frockwriter noted that Abbey Lee Kershaw had signed on as the autumn/winter 2011 face of Australian high street chain Portmans, we haven’t touched the story in the interim because well, images of the Nicole Bentley-shot campaign have pretty much been everywhere since its January 27th launch. But here’s something that caught our attention: a sneak peek at Portmans' secret second winter shoot that Kershaw has just done in New York, this time with a US team headed up by photographer Matt Jones. Same stylist, however, Harpers Bazaar Australia fashion editor Christine Centenera (which just goes to show that it’s not only in Paris where salaried magazine staff moonlight as stylists on the campaigns of advertisers). And miraculously, Kershaw is rocking her original long-haired coiffure in these images: mousey blonde, with pastel highlights and bangs. A Portmans rep assures us that this is merely a wig and that Kershaw - who, as we first reported, is ditching New York Fashion Week to appear with her boyfriend’s band Our Mountain at its three London gigs next week - still has a platinum bob. Perhaps Portmans figured Kershaw’s platinum locks would blend into all the snow in and around the Meat Packing District location? 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Julia Nobis gets dark for Jac + Jack Autumn/Winter 2011

This time last year, not many people had heard of Julia Nobis. That was until her international runway debut at no less than Calvin Klein put her well and truly on the fashion map. In the intervening twelve months, the 18 year-old Sydneysider with the cool, Meryl Streep beauty has been quietly building an impressive body of work that has embraced runway turns for many other equally big names, campaigns for Proenza Schouler and Burberry Black and lookbooks for Prada and Alexander Wang. The current advertising face of Australian fast fashion brand Marcs, Nobis has just added a little luxury to her Oz portfolio. Photographed by Stephen Ward, here is a first look at Nobis in the Autumn/Winter 2011 campaign of Jac Hunt’s and Lisa 'Jack' Dempsey’s Sydney-based luxury knitwear label Jac + Jack

Knit happens

hand knits for servicemen via micro revolt

Whatever your position on Australian troops in Afghanistan – and this week’s “shit happens” media furore over off-the-cuff comments made to same by Opposition leader Tony Abbott – here is one war-related story that can’t surely be accused of being a beatup. The Queensland Country Womens Association has just dispatched 136 hand-knitted woollen skullcaps to our diggers in Afghanistan to wear under their helmets. Reportedly at the behest of the Australian Defence Forces and with the support of the RSL and Bendigo Woollen Mills, the project involved 20 knitters from the QCWA’s Border Division handcraft group (which has also knitted clothing for babies in Africa). Included with the parcel, which was posted to the ADF in Sydney yesterday, was a sweet letter, which read: “As some of us are old enough to be your grandmothers or great-grandmothers, we felt that our pride in you could not only be knitted into these skull caps; But that you may feel a little of the love and appreciation, which Australians hold for you when you wear them. Be safe.” There is a very longstanding connection between knitting and the war effort, which dates back to at least the American Civil War.

In with the new - David Jones Autumn/Winter 2011

Tuesday's David Jones show felt the same, but different, to previous years' events. There was no Mark McInnes, Colette Garnsey, Miranda Kerr or even sass & bide. With the exception of relatively recent fashion ambassador addition Kerr, all had been front-and-centre at the show for almost a decade, laying the foundations for the "house of brands" into which the department store subsequently evolved. Taking their places and for a variety of different reasons - which ranged from scandal and resignations, pregnancy and defection, all in the space of eight months - was a new management team (albeit one promoted from within) and a swag of new labels, the absolute standout of which on the night just had to be Josh Goot and his colourblocked bodycon dresses and tulip skirts and tops with wildly expressionistic graphics. Not forgetting some highly polished Australian modelling talent, that included girls who have walked for some of the world's biggest fashion brands: Nicole Trunfio, Alexandra Agoston, Myf Shepherd, Stephanie Carta, Tiah Eckhardt and Christina Carey. And some newcomers who may soon follow them. Think Rosemary Smith (above, in Josh Goot), who is off to the European shows with at least one big name in her appointment book. Click (here) for frockwriter's Posterous pic gallery of backstage shots taken before and during the show. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oyster sells out with Lara Bingle

Australia's longest-surviving indie fashion mag a sellout? Well, newsstand-wise, that could be the end result vis-à-vis Oyster's hot 91st edition which is out on Friday. Here is a first look at its double trouble cover of Shire babe and scandal magnet Lara Bingle, shot by Georges Antoni (above) and Stephen Ward (below). Also up in issue #91: profiles and photoshoots on/featuring Fashion East's Lulu Kennedy, Ryan McGinley, Andrej Pejic, Emma Balfour, Myf Shepherd, Blonde Redhead's Kazu Makino, Ohne Titel and Max Blagg. Looking good.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Meet the new boy, Jack Vanderhart

On Friday, frockwriter posted about the potentially bumper season of Australian models on New York Fashion Week's runways for the Fall/Winter 2011/2012 season, which commences on Thursday. Three days later, there's already an update. Meet Cronulla's Jack Vanderhart. Modelling for just a few months, the 17 year-old's portfolio includes one editorial in Vogue Australia, two Australian GQ editorials and a campaign for pyjama tycoon Peter Alexander. According to his mother agency EMG Models, Vanderhart is about to add something with a little more international resonance to that list: Calvin Klein exclusive. EMG reports that Vanderhart has just been confirmed for Calvin Klein's menswear show in New York at 2pm on Sunday 13th February. A Calvin Klein exclusive is considered a highly prestigious get for any new model and has the potential to launch their career. Sydney's Julia Nobis scored an exclusive with the womens' show last year.

The show goes on for David Jones... without sass & bide

As per David Jones' famous advertising slogan, there used to be no other department store in Australia for sass & bide. But after days of rumours, it is now confirmed that David Jones' arch rival Myer will become the brand's exclusive Australian department store partner moving forward, having just acquired a 65percent stake for A$42.25million plus a performance bonus based on fiscal 2011 sales results. David Jones, which has winter 2011 sass & bide stock on its hands and features the brand in its winter 2011 "brand book" catalogue (above), has responded with its own Australian Stock Exchange announcement this morning that it is ending its 10 year association with sass & bide following David Jones' decision not to acquire a stake. Oh and it wasn't doing very well anyway, added DJs (at least at DJs - Myer reports that sass & bide overall delivered 50percent year on year sales growth for the past two years)Noted ceo Paul Zahra, “We did the calculations and could not justify the price paid for the business, particularly given the lack of growth in our sass & bide business with sales and gross profit in FY10 at approximately FY05 levels". This is fascinating, given that David Jones gave sass & bide its prestigious finale spot in the Autumn/Winter 2010 show one year ago. What the Myer decision ultimately means for the sass & bide brand remains to be seen. Not surprisingly perhaps, the brand has been yanked altogether from tomorrow's lineup, David Jones has confirmed to frockwriter.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Andrej Pejic on Sunday Night

neil barrett FW1112 backstage/sonny vandevelde

Gird your loins, Andrej Pejic fans. Next Sunday, on Australia's Seven Network, the first comprehensive television profile of Pejic will go to air on the Sunday Night program (6.30pm). A Sunday Night crew embedded themselves with Pejic during his most recent tour of fashion duty at the Paris mens shows - during which he walked for a number of designers, but was notably cast by Jean Paul Gaultier as James Blond and then the following week, as the traditional bride of Gaultier's haute couture show. From castings to fittings, photoshoots, backstage, front-of-house and interviews with some of the world's leading fashion commentators, it's going to be a fly-on-the-wall look at a pretty fascinating fashion moment. Sunday Night just ran an in-show promo at the end of its first show back on air tonight after the summer hiatus (video and screen grabs below). Relieved to finally be able to talk about this after several weeks of intense work.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Australia's next top models plot a New York Fashion Week takeover

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As far as frockwriter can ascertain, there is not a single Australian designer due to show during New York Fashion Week's Fall/Winter 2011 season, which officially kicks off on February 10th. Kit Willow Podgornik will shoot her Fall/Winter 2011/2012 lookbook in New York on February 9th, but that's a private event. This is a big change, of course, compared to five years ago, when up to seven Australian labels were showing their wares there. But this does not mean that there won't be any Australians on New York's runways. In fact, FW1112 is shaping up to be a bumper season for antipodian models in The Big Apple. The world number 5, Abbey Lee Kershaw, won't be among them, however, as she will skip New York Fashion Week this season. Although due to head to Milan and Paris, prior to those legs Kershaw will be tied up in London with a "personal music project" [telling her mother agency, Chic Management, this will involve a performance with "my band" - read Our Mountain, the band of Kershaw's boyfriend Matthew Hutchinson, with whom Kershaw has previously performed on stage). 

Amanda Ware gets her bouffant on for Nicola Finetti Pre Fall 2011/2012

Since being crowned runnerup to Australia's Next Top Model Cycle 6 in September - and then moments later, in dramatic fashion, named as the competition's real winner - Amanda Ware has yet to make her entree onto the international fashion market. That could change after next week, should Ware hit the runways of New York Fashion Week's Fall/Winter 2011/2012 season, which kicks off on February 10. In New York right now for castings, Ware has a better than even chance of getting noticed. Not just thanks to the ANTM win, but also inadvertently thanks to ANTM host Sarah O'Hare, news of whose live tv gaffe in announcing the wrong winner spread swiftly around the world, giving the show far more attention than it usually garners. Good timing then for Australian fashion designer Nicola Finetti in nabbing the still under-the-radar Ware for his Pre Fall 2011/2012 campaign and lookbook. Here is an exclusive preview of both below.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gemma Ward delivers a video address, calls in a favour from Mario Testino

mario testino for vogue paris via TFS
The furore of global coverage sparked by the news that Gemma Ward had broken her silence (well, kind of) on her relationship with Heath Ledger in Perth’s Sunday Times newspaper over the weekend sounds like nothing compared to the media circus the Perth Theatre Company can expect once Ward rocks up for rehearsals later this month. Ward mentioned Ledger during an interview to promote her involvement with the company’s new production of The Ugly One, which will run from March 22-April 9, with three previews starting on March 18. Last night, Ward lent yet another helping hand to the official launch of the company’s January-June season at the new WA State Theatre Studio Underground, addressing the invited guests in a prerecorded video which was reportedly filmed on her laptop from her New York bedroom. The YouTube version, needless to say, is likely to go ballistic once the company eventually puts it online. 

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