Thursday, May 6, 2010

RAFW 2010 Report

Finale, Kate Sylvester

It all got rather busy over in Sydney when there were so many friends to talk to, shows to see, dinners to have and experiences to soak up. Rather than blog daily we thought we'd just post a diary of our week that was. Thanks to Tatum Savage at MAC NZ and Jodie Matthews at MAC Australia for being such wonderful hosts.

Front row, Kate Sylvester


After an impressive Zambesi show (see previous post) we stopped at Pasteur, our favourite Vietnamese restaurant on George Street for fresh prawn rolls and salad before making our way out to deepest, darkest Alexandria. Stolen Girlfriends Club's Spring/Summer 2010/11 show was held at a warehouse address reminiscent of the Auckland venue two years back, in the perfectly-named Doody Street.

Given the designers are passionate surfers and spend plenty of time at the beach, the collection was also aptly named; Life's a Beach - Watch out for Crabs. Elements of humour - backpacks with holes punched in them trailing sand down the catwalk and of course slogan tees; 'Escaped from Malibu, California' and 'Don't Cry Cowboys' - were balanced with bold directional fashion concepts - prints for the first time (in Aztec and crocodile patterns), padded shoulder t-shirt dresses, sporty lines, leggings and dresses with stretch-denim panelling.

L-R: Zambesi and SGC Tokyo agent Lubo,
Dan and Luke, Rach and Greg

Sure this was a spring/summer collection but it was an entirely different beast to Welcome To Nowhere and that, in a nutshell, is what we love about Stolen Girlfriends; expect the unexpected. Stylist Zara Mirkin delivered and great hair by Greg Murrell and the Ryder team was matched with great make-up by Amber D and the local MAC crew. The after party at uber-cool Pocket in Darlinghurst included some of the best bar service we've been privvy to in eons, amidst wafts of the ubiquitous Gudang cigarettes.

Top: The Ryder crew pre-SGC
Middle: Katherine Lowe and Isaac Hinden-Miller
Bottom: Giwan and Sherie Rai of Sherie Muijs


We spent most of Tuesday in meetings and catching up with our Aussie crew on-site, in particular Paul Bui and Rupert Tapper. The on-site venue at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay felt smaller than the Viaduct Village in which NZ Fashion Week is held but nonetheless the views of the city from the Rosemount Lounge were spectacular - as was the service - and the general vibe on site was relaxed and comfortable.

Rachael with Jodie Matthews, MAC brand general manager AUS/NZ

That night we queue for Friedrich Gray but the show is running an hour late and we need to attend the second MAC dinner of the week, the NZ designer and media dinner at the wonderful bar and restaurant complex The Winery, in Crown Street, Surry Hills. The two-story venue is beautifully turned out and has a wine list and menu to match. Invitees to the Elvis Room, adorned with some of the best Elvis images we've seen, included Zambesi, Kate Sylvester, Juliette Hogan, Twenty7Names and SGC crews, stylists Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and Zara Mirkin, editors Katie Newton, Zoe Walker, Marian Sims, MAC make-up artist Amber D and more. So good to see thirty or so passionate NZ fashion industry people in one room.


As dyed-in-the-wool Therese Rawsthorne fans we were disappointed that we didn't get out to her show but it was logistically difficult to make it Out West for a 9am show, then back in again for Kate Sylvester's 10am show on-site. We did make it to Kate at The Opt and it was well worth it. Entitled This Charming Man the collection oozed Morrisey's billowing sense of style and personality. A collection of two extremes, masculine/feminine, boys hair on girls and girls looking utterly feminine, we rated it as one of Sylvester's best yet. Stunningly pretty, subtle yet strong, the collection was magnificently styled to a bow-tie, collar and bride/groom finale by the very talented Karen Inderbitzen-Waller. MAC make-up by Liz Kelsh...

Top: Katie Newton and Tim Phin
Middle: Anna Fitzpatrick, Carla Robinson and friend
Above: Karen and Avril (right) with friends

Uptown to our favourite hidden Italian restaurant, the Lido Bar on George Street for lunch with Maree Mitchell of Title Management (thanks Maree) before popping into Zambesi in Paddington to hook up with Dayne Johnston. By now we're loving this cosmopolitan metropolis...

Above: Carrie Cooper and Rachael Churchward

Later we meet up with the N.M.I crew; Carrie Cooper (her Beau Coops shoe line is currently making substantial inroads into the NZ, Australian and European markets), Carla Robinson and their boss David Mascitelli who is hosting the Stolen Girlfriends Club at his business for the week to show their range to buyers. A crew return to The Winery and their sprawling upstairs couch bar as guests of N.M.I before half the crew goes to Romance Was Born. "Romance" is clearly the highlight of the week for those who celebrate art and extravagance in fashion and their fan club turns up in full force to the after-party at the Flinders Hotel on South Dowling Street. Here amongst Sydney's cool kids, we find ex-pat Shaun McGill sparkling in a Romance Was Born headpiece.

Above: Gary Bigeni image

9am. Johnny at Lido Bar makes us the best coffee we've had all year - and we needed it - prior to being picked up by Carrie and shown the NMI showroom. We pick up a pair of Beau Coops each before heading down on-site to see one of our favourite Australian designers Gary Bigeni. Last year we fell in love with his simple range and his masterful (for a young designer) knowledge of draping. Gary Bigeni 2010 didn't disappoint. In a packed-out show in the Cargo Theatre, Bigeni delivered a gorgeous range in a sweet palette of pastels; lilac, peach, pink, caramel and white, that took his trademark style a step further with the introduction of leather pieces and a series of simple angular silhouettes that screamed "Wear me!" We loved it! Goosebumps...

After the show, lunch with Carrie and Carla at the nearby Thai restaurant Sailor's Thai. Awesome food accompanied by a group of squeaky and colourful parakeets in the tree beside the balcony. Courgette flowers. Perfect. We managed to have a couple more business meetings in the afternoon before heading down to The Ivy to meet up with our Australian editor, the one-and-only Patsy Galore, Paul Bui and Rupert Tapper for a drink at the pool-side bar on the complex roof. This bar has history and prior to meeting up with MAC's Tatum Savage and the SST's Katie Newton for our last dinner of the week, it became clear why. Aussie wide boy businessmen outnumbered women 5 to one and the vibe was more meat market than share market, as the environment would suggest. Thankfully, we moved next door to the absolutely fabulous Italian restaurant Ucello for one of the best dinners we've had in living memory; simply scrumptious food, wine and company.

The next morning we flew home to a copy of Black 12. Happiness. Once again thanks to MAC, our Sydney friends, and NMI for being such gracious hosts. We had a ball...