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.

Clare Barker

Cover: April 2006

April 2006

From the front page

Image of Scott Morrison

Backing in a backflip

Thank the Wentworth by-election for this outbreak of good sense

Image of Sydney Opera House

Promo ScoMo and commodifying public space

The crass commercialism of last week’s promotion on the Opera House was a step too far

Cover of ‘The End’

‘The End’ by Karl Ove Knausgaard

The ‘My Struggle’ series arrives at a typically exhausting conclusion

Image from ‘Watt’

‘Watt’ at the Melbourne International Arts Festival

Beckett’s knotty novel is masterfully interpreted for stage by Barry McGovern


In This Issue

Comment

The horror inside

David Cronenberg’s ‘A History of Violence’

Winning slowly

The exford dregs

Augie March’s ‘Moo, You Bloody Choir’

More in Arts & Letters

Detail of a painting of Barron Field

Barron Field and the myth of terra nullius

How a minor poet made a major historical error

Still from Christopher Robin

A man and his bear: Marc Forster’s ‘Christopher Robin’

Adults will find this new tale of Winnie the Pooh surprisingly moving

Image of Cher in 1979

Eternally Cher

The queen of reinvention turns her attention to the works of ABBA

Image of Leonard Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein: show tunes and symphonies

Centenary celebrations highlight the composer’s broad ambitions and appeal


More in Noted

Cover of ‘The End’

‘The End’ by Karl Ove Knausgaard

The ‘My Struggle’ series arrives at a typically exhausting conclusion

Cover of ‘Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead’

‘Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead’ by Olga Tokarczuk

Offbeat intrigue from a Booker Prize winner

‘One Hundred Years of Dirt’ by Rick Morton

A social affairs reporter turns the pen on himself

Image of Ancestral Spirit Beings Collecting Honey, 1985-87

‘John Mawurndjul: I Am the Old and the New’ at the MCA, Sydney

The celebrated bark painter’s ethos guides this retrospective exhibition


Read on

Image of Sydney Opera House

Promo ScoMo and commodifying public space

The crass commercialism of last week’s promotion on the Opera House was a step too far

Image from ‘Watt’

‘Watt’ at the Melbourne International Arts Festival

Beckett’s knotty novel is masterfully interpreted for stage by Barry McGovern

Image of Abdul Aziz Muhamat in Lorengau

‘How are you today’ at the Ian Potter Museum of Art

Audio messages from Manus Island reveal what it sounds like to live in limbo

Image of Scott Morrison

Morrison looks the other way

Mental health is taken seriously in Australia, but not for those incarcerated on Nauru


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