April 2006

Arts & Letters

Mercedes Australian Fashion Week

By Clare Barker

On 26 April, the eleventh Mercedes Australian Fashion Week will open in Sydney, complete with shiny new operators IMG Fashion – the slick outfit that runs the bigger, better New York equivalent and has Kate Moss on its books – and industry insiders will commence their annual bitch-fest about how undercooked so much of it is.

The omissions! (Akira Isogawa will do his bit for his adopted country, but many of the big guns are staying away: Sass & Bide, Willow, Scanlan & Theodore, Collette Dinnigan.) The amateurism! (In the absence of the grand fashion houses that are the norm in Paris and Milan, a disproportionate number of Australian fashion graduates go out on their own, without apprenticeship.) The theatrics! (The 169 rats unleashed by Sydney it-boys Tsubi in 2001 were the tip of the iceberg; everything from Afghan hounds to midgets in lederhosen has been used since.) The plagiarism! (There hasn’t been a year without an entire collection ‘inspired by’ the European catwalks; last year one designer delivered a show that was shamefully reminiscent of Viktor & Rolf’s ‘Flowerbomb’ collection seen in Paris three months earlier).

But look hard at the premier event on the Australian fashion calendar and there is plenty to be hopeful about. While the papers stay busy printing pap-shots of soap stars and weather girls B-listing their way through the after-parties, buyers from boutiques and department stores, domestic and international, will be quietly placing orders for Spring–Summer 06–07, while young design stars – Josh Goot, Camilla and Marc, Marnie Skillings – continue to rise.

Ours is a young industry that supports young designers – hiccups, theatrics and all. Sydney is in a different league to Paris and Milan. We need to stop lamenting the lack of local equivalents to Chanel, Balenciagia, Gucci and Rochas. While it’s tempting to hate your husband for not being George Clooney, it’s better to try to love him for who he is.

From the front page

Image of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame. Image © Mick Tsikas / AAP Images

Tame impaler

Grace Tame owes the PM nothing, least of all a smile

Image of Oliver Twist. Image supplied.

Oliver Twist’s ‘Jali’

With quiet charisma and gentle humour, the Rwandan-Australian performer weaves together vivid autobiographical stories in this one-person show

Image of South Australia Premier Steven Marshall addressing the media during a press conference in Adelaide, August 24, 2021. Image © Morgan Sette / AAP Images

Marshall law

Premier Steven Marshall claimed South Australia was “COVID-ready” when the state opened borders just as Omicron was emerging, but it now faces the same issues as the eastern states

Image of Lisa McCune, Zahra Newman and Peter Carroll appearing on stage in Girl from the North Country. Image © Daniel Boud.

‘Girl from the North Country’

Weaving Bob Dylan songs into a story of Depression-era hardship, Conor McPherson’s musical speaks to the broken America of today

In This Issue

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

Jefferson country dreaming

‘The Resurrectionist’ by James Bradley

Illustration by Jeff Fisher.

Auditory hallucinations

Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz

Malcolm Turnbull & Conrad Black


More in Arts & Letters

Bing Crosby and David Bowie on Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas, circa 1977.

Oh, carols!

The music of Christmas, from the manger to the chimney

Image of Gerald Murnane

Final sentence: Gerald Murnane’s ‘Last Letter to a Reader’

The essay anthology that will be the final book from one of Australia’s most idiosyncratic authors

Image of The Kid Laroi

New kid on the block: The Kid Laroi

How Australia has overlooked its biggest global music star, an Indigenous hip-hop prodigy

Still from ‘No Time To Die’

The Bond market: ‘Dune’ and ‘No Time To Die’

Blockbuster season begins with a middling 007 and a must-see sci-fi epic


More in Noted

Cover of ‘Crossroads’

‘Crossroads’ by Jonathan Franzen

The acclaimed US author’s latest novel is a 1971 church drama modelled on ‘Middlemarch’

Still from ‘Yellowjackets’

‘Yellowjackets’

The US drama about teen plane-crash survivors is a heady mix of folk horror and high-school betrayal

Still from ‘New Gold Mountain’

‘New Gold Mountain’

SBS’s Australian goldfields series looks beyond colonial orthodoxies to tell the neglected stories

Cover of ‘The Magician’

‘The Magician’ by Colm Tóibín

The Irish novelist’s latest ponders creativity and the unacknowledged life of Thomas Mann


Online exclusives

Image of Oliver Twist. Image supplied.

Oliver Twist’s ‘Jali’

With quiet charisma and gentle humour, the Rwandan-Australian performer weaves together vivid autobiographical stories in this one-person show

Image of South Australia Premier Steven Marshall addressing the media during a press conference in Adelaide, August 24, 2021. Image © Morgan Sette / AAP Images

Marshall law

Premier Steven Marshall claimed South Australia was “COVID-ready” when the state opened borders just as Omicron was emerging, but it now faces the same issues as the eastern states

Image of Lisa McCune, Zahra Newman and Peter Carroll appearing on stage in Girl from the North Country. Image © Daniel Boud.

‘Girl from the North Country’

Weaving Bob Dylan songs into a story of Depression-era hardship, Conor McPherson’s musical speaks to the broken America of today

Still from ‘The Worst Person in the World’, showing Anders Danielsen Lie as Aksel and Renate Reinsve as Julie. Image courtesy Everett Collection.

‘The Worst Person in the World’

Renate Reinsve is exceptional in Joachim Trier’s satisfying Nordic rom-com