Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Girls on the Avenue

The beginning of this month kicked off with a manic week in which frockwriter flew to Brisbane, Adelaide and Auckland in the space of five days for three separate events – in each case as the guest of the respective organisers (but just to clarify, no appearance fees). Before heading to New Zealand Fashion Week, I was in Brisbane on August 29 to facilitate the Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE fashion industry panel for the third consecutive year. Then on September 1, I headed to Adelaide to see an in-season fashion showcase called Fashion Avenue that is now in its third year and is organised by Pride Models, one of the two major modelling agencies in town.

This is the third time I have visited Adelaide in the past two years – both previous occasions for the Adelaide Fashion Festival - and these kinds of events are always a great opportunity to check out the local talent, make new connections and catch up with old friends. So many thanks to Pride Models for their hospitality. On this fly-by visit, those I bumped into included Attitude Magazine editor Selena Battersby; photojournalist/blogger Chanelle Leslie; show producer Kasim Mathews; Adelaide-based Brit model/footballer Ryan Clarke; and Sydney-based "Radelaide" native Josh Flinn, the Australia’s Next Top Model model mentor and communications manager for Alex Perry, who was on hand to supervise the show’s Alex Perry finale. 

After the show, I caught up with an old Sydney mate, Matt Braybon, who recently returned home from stints in New York and London to launch his own Adelaide PR agency called RedBeard. Great to see prodigal sons and daughters flying home to reinvigorate the local scene with invaluable international expertise. Great also to make a new Adelaide restaurant discovery: iconic Italian eatery La Trattoria which first opened its doors in 1975 and is one of very few restos in town whose kitchens aren’t closed at 11.00pm, which is when we rocked up (no, the restaurant is not a RedBeard client and yes, we paid for our own meals). 

As for the models, there were some great new girls, as one might indeed expect from a town that has already produced names such as Melissa 'MJ' Johannsen, Tori Trigg and Emilia Skuza, all of whom have attracted the interest of international agencies such as IMG Models and Wilhelmina. 

Of note: Shanna Jackway and Megan Ford, both of whom I have met before in Adelaide and who have both yet to make an appearance at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in Sydney or the overseas shows. Jackway is now signed to IMG Models and is apparently due to head offshore in January. 

Brand new faces included 15 year old Madison Stubbington (above), who won the Pride Models International 2011 Model Search and will head to Paris next year; 18 year-old Holly Watson, who looks like a baby Abbey Lee Kershaw; and 17 year-old Amelia Schubert. According to Pride director Christabal Dundon, all three have now been signed to IMG Models internationally.

Other standouts included Rebecca Downes, Adele Snowball and Siobhan O’Keefe – the latter flying in from Melbourne's Maverick Model Management at the last minute to replace Tori Trigg, who had an overseas booking.

Here is a short backstage gallery, below. And here are a few other shots that were taken in real-time over on frockwriter's live blog, complete with names.  

I thought the production level of the show was pretty good. A couple of bits of constructive criticism for whatever they are worth. 

Firstly, some of the styling was brilliant, particularly the Camilla Franks section, however every detail in a show counts and I thought some of the shoes dragged the show down. They don't have to be expensive, they just have to look smart (like the great colour-blocked ankle-boot that was used in one section). Secondly, go easy on the bronzer.

And finally, with another Spring/Summer showcase called A Night of Fashion at the Art Gallery of South Australia staged on September 22nd and the Adelaide Fashion Festival coming up in a few weeks - an event that always strikes me as being in need of a fuller program (same goes for the Sydney equivalent in August) - why on earth don’t you guys join forces, instead of running all these separate events? It’s only going to make for an overall stronger industry showcase.

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