Category Archives: Fashion

Overheard something…?

Have you ever wished you were a fly? OK to have some context, I generally wouldn’t want to be fly, especially near fly spray… but sometimes it could be handy, particularly in a room when you want to overhear a conversation. Wish no more!

The elevator at publishing company Conde Nast, i.e. the Vogue offices (made famous by The Devil Wears Prada) has its own Twitter feed. Say what? I don’t know either… possibly entirely made up, but nevertheless quite funny.

Check out example tweets:

  1. [Girl holding brownie abashedly in elevator] Male coworker: I’m not judging you.
  2. [Guy walks into elevator wearing “Legalize Gay” t-shirt] Teen Voguer: That shirt is so two months ago.
  3. Woman #1 to Woman #2, holding an omelet: “What’s the occasion?” Woman #2: “…huh?” Woman #1: “I would need an occasion to eat that.”
  4. Girl #1: It’s been really quiet in here lately. Girl #2: [In a hushed response] No one wants to be quoted…

Did you catch The September Issue on the ABC? I’ve seen it before, but it’s something I can easily watch again. I find it a fascinating insight. Speaking of which, the Devil Wears Prada has some memorable quotes:

  • Miranda Priestly: Is it impossible to find a lovely, slender, female paratrooper? Am I reaching for the stars here? Not really. Also, I need to see all the things that Nigel has pulled for Gwyneth’s second cover try. I wonder if she’s lost any of that weight yet.
  • Emily: You don’t deserve them, I mean you eat carbs, for Chrissake!
  • Andy Sachs: Oh, thanks. You look so thin. Emily: Really? It’s for Paris, I’m on this new diet. Well, I don’t eat anything and when I feel like I’m about to faint I eat a cube of cheese. I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight.
  • Emily: [to Andy] You sold your soul to the devil when you put on your first pair of Jimmy Choo’s, I saw it.
  • Miranda Priestly: Bore someone else with your questions.
  • Miranda Priestly: Find me that piece of paper I had in my hand yesterday morning.

Have you had a boss from hell?

Top of the pops.

This weekend marks the end of my youth… Though, some might have said my youth ended a while ago… hardy ha ha. What am I talking about? Video Hits!

For those not familiar with the program, it showcased the latest video clips and completely unrealistic competitions (I don’t know who ever won them!). Over time the show evolved to having hosts and interviewing singers (Channel Ten had to place those ex-Australian Idol contestants somewhere).

I was among the many, whose childhoods was shaped by the program — not to mention my teenage years and my early adulthood. I would ritualistically turn on the telly and either plant myself on any couch or try to mimic the dance moves while cleaning… all while commentating on the chart parade with family, friends and housemates or whoever was around to listen to me.

According to Crikey, ‘historically, Video Hits was also one of the limited ways kids could explore their musical tastes in the pre-internet era. Unless you had an older sibling or hip friend, or dared parley with the intimidating punks staffing local record shops, you learned about music from Video Hits, as well as Rage, Smash Hits and TV Hits magazines, and commercial radio top 40 countdowns including Barry Bissell’s Take 40 Australia‘. Exactly! That was me! Pick me!

Apparently VH is the second longest running music TV show in the world; the longest running is the Eurovision Song Contest (Rage premiered in April 1987). But sadly, it has fallen victim to Channel Ten’s ‘restructure’ (or review, as it’s called in my workplace).

Farewell Video Hits, we had such a good time together and just for a bit of nostalgia, here is a bit of Britney before her meltdown.

Speaking of tops, another fast fashion label is heading to Oz, Topshop is rumoured to be opening in Melbourne/Sydney in 2012. According to dropdeadgorgeousdaily who cites ‘industry sources’, Topshop have their eye on a location at the Chapel Street Jam Factory precinct in Melbourne, and it is believed that the short list of Sydney locations include the outer-suburb Chatswood Chase shopping centre.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Topshop and H&M are watching Zara very closely. What will this mean for Sportsgirl? Portmans have already announced closing 15 to 20 stores (out of a total of 133). Is there room in our tiny market for these international labels?

Are you sad about Video Hits? Or are you a Rage fan? RAAA-AGE! Ra, ra, raaagggggeeeeeeeee!

images: Dave Lavington

Kate’s getting married… again.

OK so the subject title may be misleading as I did blog furiously leading up to and the days after Kate (Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) married. I try not to blog too much about royal weddings and resisted the temptation to say my two cents worth about the wedding of Prince Albert II of Monaco to Charlene as so much has been written, albeit, mostly sad things. I did have to post the picture below of former French President Jacques Chirac and his wife Bernadette Chirac (R) speaks with Iran’s former Queen Farah Pahlavi at the Monaco event. I wonder if they had polite conversation or discussed things like the future of Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei or nuclear power, disguised as nuclear weapons?

Where was I? Oh yes Kate as in Kate ‘fashion extraordinaire’ Moss. Kate blasted on to the fashion scene in the Calvin Klien jeans ads and started the ‘waif’ look, a physique you have to be born with. Coupled with dating Johnny Depp, there was no going back. Though, to her credit Kate has been able to transform herself to from waif/grunge to fashion chic right in front of us. I think she has survived because she can transform, and model, i.e. be a blank canvass for whatever is in season. She rarely gives interviews and hasn’t really crossed over into hosting or acting. Thank goodness she knows her limits.

Kate Moss in her younger days, but do you recognise the dude?

So, who would’ve thought she’s the marrying type?! I really did think she was just too cool for societal conventions, but I guess not! A few weeks ago, Kate married The Kills front man Jamie Hince and it was polar opposites to the other British Kate’s wedding earlier this year.


As predicted much earlier, she did wear a dress designed by friend John Galliano (despite his recent fall from grace) and he, a powder blue or light grey Yves Saint Laurent suit. The dress was sleeveless ivory bias-cut, with gold detailing, a long veil, and accessorised with a floral headband.


It could’ve been a wedding for anyone really, but with a guest list that included Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Naomi Cambell, Marc Jacobs, Anna Wintour,  Carine Roitfeld (I wonder if her and Anna are mates now that Carine is no longer at French Vogue?) and approximately 294 other  famous/beautiful people, it wasn’t your average wedding. Mario Testino was photographer of the day but that didn’t stop Terry Richardson posting some wonderful pics here.

Anna Wintour and Marc Jacobs - critiquing a guest's outfit perhaps?

The question is, which Kate wedding would I have preferred to attend? This one would have been the party of the year. No doubt about that. Though it would have been the most stressful in figuring out what to wear with uber fashion designers, Vogue editors, photographers and stylists attending in abundance. Though, the Royals probably throw a good party too. I’m pretty sure I could have fit both events in my diary, no?

What did you think of Kate’s wedding and which one would you have preferred to attend?

images: Getty; AP

Za, za, zaaza, za.

One Sunday, I finally took a sneak peak at the biggest fast fashion label, Zara. I did want to go much earlier but seeing the crowds detered me:

Outside Zara - Saturday 3pm

Outside Zara - Sunday 5pm

When I did end up going there was no queue, but upon leaving (empty handed), the queue had started. So, inside was still wayyyy too crowded for a leisurely browse and shop, but what stood out for me was the colour palette. It wasn’t a typical Autumn/Winter palette of black, camel and more black, but deep blues, emerald greens and bright reds, which is rather exciting for me. I have always been a fan of a splash of colour in winter. It lifts a look and the mood.

A great red pleated skirt that can be layered with tights and a sweater. I think it would look great with greys, camel and black… maybe even blues?

I always like a good printed blouse – wear to work with a black skirt or on the weekend with jeans.

How cute is this dress?
Wear as is or dress it up with a belt and some accessories.

A friend of mine suggested that they make people queue to build up the hype, like clubs… I don’t think so, but you never know. Anyhow, Zara has been open a couple of months here in Melbourne and Sydney; have you been? Did you buy anything? What did you like/dislike?

Tip of the day: I walked passed at 10am on a weekday and it was empty. Too bad I was rushing to and from a work thing.

images: Man of the house and Zara.com

Australian fashion swimming overseas.

Yes, yes I will be writing about Zara, when the storm calms down a bit. Though you can read my previous posts about Zara here and here.

There is no doubt, many Australian fashionistas who know lots about international fashion. I too, have from time to time posted fashion trends from overseas. But how does Australian fashion fair overseas?

Imran Amed, editor of the Business of Fashion attempts to answer my question. He was a guest of IMG at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week.

Australian fashion has an image problem. When I mentioned to friends that I was thinking of attending Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in Sydney, the reaction ranged from raised eyebrows to incredulous laughter. Others quipped that the sum total of Australia’s contribution to global fashion could be distilled down to Ugg boots and swimwear.

Gwyneth Paltrow in her Uggs

Is this true? Yes Australia designs awesome swimwear and practical wear (Ugg boots should never been seen outside the comforts of your home, I’m looking at you Gwyneth Paltrow), but we also have great designers such as Martin Grant or Collette Dinnigan. They might not work at established Fashion Houses, or be at cutting edge of fashion, such as Christopher Kane but Martin and Collette create beautiful, timeless pieces made from luxurious fabrics.

Martin Grant - AW11 - Look 11

In multiple ways, it seems the cards are stacked against the Australian fashion industry. Apart from the fact that Sydney is more than 20 hours away by plane from all of the major fashion capitals, the value of the Australian dollar has increased by over 100 percent in the last ten years, from 53 to 106 Australian cents to the US dollar. This has made products exported from Australia very expensive, though raw materials and services from abroad have also therefore become much cheaper, an important consideration in a country where local apparel manufacturing is scarce.

This is very true, don’t you think? It would be very difficult to compete in a market that is over saturated. For example a Camilla & Marc retails on net-a-porter in the same price range as 3.1 Philip Lim, Zac Posen, Stella McCartney and Missoni where labels have brand recognition for style and quality.

Imran further discusses the arrival of fast fashion and the online disconnect, adding that “Australia is now the third or fourth most important market for many international fashion e-tailers, a ranking that is disproportionate to the country’s relatively small population. [Yet] Australian retailers have been very slow to move online, citing complications with logistics and complaining about the unfair tax advantages… If Shopbop can get the goods all the way from America to Australia without issue, it’s surprising that local retailers cannot even organise themselves to deliver domestically”. Overall, a very balanced post that raises some good points.

What is being done to promote and support our fashion industry and in turn, what is the industry planning to do to compete with the arrival of international fast fashion labels and the growth of online shopping? Should we be tapping into China? China is a new market that has the potential to embrace new brands.  There is a lot at stake given that the broader textile, clothing and footwear (TCF) industries in Australia provide over 48,000 jobs, generate exports worth $1.6 billion, and contribute $2.8 billion to our economy each year.*

Do you have any ideas? What do you think about the business-ey side of fashion?

images: Kitmeout; Martin Grant; Net-a-porter
*Statistics obtained from a Media Release by Senator Kim Carr dated 19 September 2008. Politicians are known for their accuracy in figures, right?

Winter headwear

Winter has well and truly arrived. It’s cold. Maybe not as cold as places where snow falls, but it’s still pretty cold, especially when that wind from the South brings in an extra chill, ensuring that you’re F R E E Z I N G!

So to warm up, I’m sure you have been told to “put a hat on” cos somebody, somewhere, told someone, who told you, that human individuals lose most of our body heat through the head. Well, apparently this is a myth!

Yes, the face, head and chest are more sensitive to changes in temperature than the rest of the body, making it feel as if covering them up does more to prevent heat loss. However, covering one part of the body has as much effect as covering any other.

Rachel Vreeman and Aaron Carroll debunked the myth in the British Medical Journal. They traced the origins of the hat-wearing advice back to an US army survival manual from 1970 which strongly recommended covering the head when it is cold, since “40 to 45 percent of body heat” is lost from the head.

The myth is thought to have arisen through a flawed interpretation of a vaguely scientific experiment by the US military in the 1950s. In those studies, volunteers were dressed in Arctic survival suits and exposed to bitterly cold conditions. Because it was the only part of their bodies left uncovered, most of their heat was lost through their heads.

Nevertheless, keeping warm is a good thing. But the question remains, can winter headwear be stylish as well as warm?

Check out Rihanna looking cool in a very warm looking hat. But could mere mortals like us wear a hat like that without looking plain ridiculous?

Warm factor: 10/10
Style factor: 6/10

Now is this a stylish winter look or what?! I wish we could wear stuff like this in Australia without looking ridiculous.

Hat rating
Warm factor: 6/10
Style factor: 9/10

Paired with the coat, leggings and heels: 10/10

Kylie Minogue looking stylishly warm. The hat is reminiscent of a turban. A petite lady able to carry off a chunky hat.

Warm factor: 9/10
Style factor: 8/10

Maybe Prince William’s bearskin hat is an option this winter? Though it does weigh 1.5 pounds (0.68 kilograms) and stands 18.5 inches high, which might make it cumbersome to wear out and about.

It would definitely be warm as it’s made from the fur of the Canadian black bear. However, an officer’s bearskin is made from the fur of the Canadian brown bear instead as the female brown bear has thicker, fuller fur, and is dyed black. An entire skin is used for each hat at a cost of approximately £650 each. If properly maintained, it can last for decades; some hats in use are reportedly more than 100 years old.

Warm factor: 10/10
Style factor: Priceless

Will you be wearing any of these hats to keep warm this Winter?

images: dukht.com; Vanessa Jackman; Rex; Getty | Sources: Guardian

Family Businesses

I haven’t been out and about of late, which makes inspiration for posts limited. I do stuff on the weekends, but I am positive you don’t want to read about the latest shower cleaner.

So for inspiration, I read about fashion, there are loads out there without having to leave… bed, which in the current weather is a fantastic plan. You may or may not know, a designer name is not necessarily owned by the said designer. For example, Stella McCartney does not actually own the label; she started the label in in a joint venture with the Gucci Group in 2001 (glad she stayed with Stella and not hybrid name like Stelcci). So it really should not be a surprise that Jimmy Choo shoes is now owned by Labelux, a company owned by Germany’s Reimann family.

Who? Exactly my question!

At the beginning, a man born Choo Yeang Keat, was born in Penang, Malaysia, into a family of shoemakers. His family name is Chow but was misspelled on his birth certificate as Choo (surprisingly a common occurrence). He attended Cordwainers Technical College in Hackney, England graduating in 1983 (the college is now part of the London College of Fashion).

Jimmy Choo opened a workshop in Hackney, North London in 1986. His craftsmanship and designs were soon noticed and he came to the verge of international notability when his creations were featured in a record eight pages in a 1988 issue of Vogue magazine. Patronage from Diana, Princess of Wales, soon followed from that further boosted his image.

Mr Choo and the last pair of shoes he designed for the late Princess of Wales

In 1996, Jimmy co-founded Jimmy Choo Ltd with British Vogue magazine accessories editor Tamara Mellon, but in April 2001, Choo sold his 50% stake in the company for £10 million. I’m sure there is more to that story… and since then, the company has been bought and sold a couple of times; most recently to Labelux for £500 million.

Labelux’s other investments include Bally, Derek Lam and a stake in Coty perfumery. However, despite the glamour, the company or its subsidiary made their substantial fortune from much less rarefied products such as, Mr Sheen and Windex.

And this takes me back to my original point. Cleaning products! Clearly they make a lot of money and who would have thought Jimmy Choo’s could be shipped out alongside Mr Sheen.

Are you part of a family business? Have you tried Mr Sheen or Jimmy Choo?

images: Clovertwo