Sunday, March 13, 2011

Penelope Murdoch

For the highly anticipated second installment of images from the CIT graduation parade, I give you Penelope Murdoch's collection. I loved the way Penny used functionality as a feature, with shorts that rolled down into trousers, and with hoods as a key theme of the collection - she explains it best herself, so please check out the Q & A below the images. It was also great to see some men's clothes and male models! Sometimes I feel like the boys miss out in the fashion stakes. Congratulations, Penny!

What inspired your graduating collection, and/or your designs in general?
As a designer my interest lies in the relationship between the wearer and the clothing. I have always been fascinated with subcultures, particularly the way in which they are able to communicate their ideas and beliefs to a wider community, through their clothing. I enjoy that within fashion and design we can create our own worlds to escape to, a place where we don’t always have to understand or explain.

With the use of transformation and interaction I have produced innovative garments that allows the wearer to be involved with the garment at a greater level than regular designs, as well as creating a garment that has multiple styles. The use of transformation in design increase practicality and visual effect along with emotive fabrics and techniques within the designs. This engages the wearer positively with their clothing and encourages the wearer to play a part in the creation of their clothing allowing them to value and appreciate the detail behind what they are wearing. In essence, make it their own.

Why did you decide to pursue fashion design?
It’s hard to say where the idea of fashion design came from. As a child I grew up on a farm so I was hardly surrounded by fashion. I believe it all started in yr 8 after one textiles class, in truth it was the only class I enjoyed, and I have never stopped loving it. It very important to me that I enjoy what I am doing in life as well as believing in my self.

What music are you listening to right now?

I have a great love for all music - old, new, classical. When I am designing I often listen to Mozart, but at the moment I have Neil Diamond playing in the background. The only music I cannot stand ironically is country music; I’m just not a fan at all.

What are your plans for the future, now that you’ve graduated?

Now that I have graduated I wish to get as much experience in the industry as possible. I hope to work in costume design for a few years and then start my own label but I believe there is so much to experience before that happens. As a start I am off to India over Easter next year to explore their amazing textiles and detail in their fabrics.

Label: Penelope Murdoch
Hair: The Hairdressing
Makeup: Amanda Hrusik, Cherie Salerno, Rebecca Dean
Canberra Makeup Academy
Photographer of Catwalk: Deye photography
Models: Richard Greig, Nik Sidhu, Jodie Nixon, Beck Prior, Yasmin Masri

Friday, December 31, 2010

A Fashion Week Retrospective

New Year’s Eve inevitably means reminiscing about the year that’s just passed, and my most memorable fashion experience of 2010 was definitely attending Australian Fashion Week. Turned out I knew a girl (Angela Menz) who knew a guy (Anthony Capon) who was showing at RAFW as part of his prize for winning the 2009 series of Project Runway Australia, and I was to go along to help out backstage!!(!!!)!!

After several months of planning, attempting to alter grey marl track pants to look like Alexander Wang, manically scouring op shops and saying ‘I have nothing to wear!’ about 8375409248657 times, I eventually borrowed a vest designed by my friend Lisa Twomey. Lisa creates amazing garments from vintage and recycled materials, and the vest I borrowed was based on an old leather waistcoat with military buttons; Lisa added shoulder pads draped in chains, peacock feathers, and created a beautiful patchwork on the back from pieces of velvet, lace, gold chord, and other unique fabrics. It was an honour to wear it, thank you so much Lisa!

So. It was the night before the big day. All was going according to plan. I had something to wear. I had my bags packed. I set my alarm for six a.m. and drifted off into a sound sleep and woke... with the plague.

Ok, really I just had a bad cold, but I spent the entire bus trip to Sydney with tissues shoved up my nose (v unfashionable) and my cowl scarf pulled over my face, firstly to hide the tissue scenario and secondly to try and avoid infecting my bus buddy Angela. We began calling it my ‘shroud’, but later realised that they actually put shrouds on dead people so it probably wasn’t the choicest word.

So while Angela went to explore China town and collect our friend Mimi from the bus station (she was arriving a few hours after us) I was sleeping in our hotel room and desperately willing myself to get better for the next day. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me!! It was my fashion week debut (of sorts) and I would have a sore red nose and a croaky voice, not to mention that I felt like crap! The girls came back at around 11pm, and when they saw how miserable I was they made a late night trek to Coles to buy me Lemsip and Vitamin C and oranges and Butter Menthols and anything else that might help me get better.

The next morning I woke up feeling much better, and I dosed myself up on cold and flu tablets and set to work getting dressed. In the end I wore Ang’s skull pendant, she wore my earrings, we all wore Mimi’s hair spray – I think every beauty product imaginable could be found in our hotel room that day. I distinctly remember Ang saying ‘I have eyebrow product if anybody needs it’.

Looking back, that is what I remember the most about my Fashion Week experience – if you needed something, someone would lend it to you, or at least help you find it, whether it was the gorgeous vest from Lisa, Lemsip from Coles, eyebrow product from Ang, or black underwear for Anthony’s models. That was our next task. The models had no underwear.

We met Anthony and his friends Petrina and Greg at Circular Quay, and while the rest of us stood and gaped at the likes of Susie Bubble heading in to the morning shows, Angela ran off and bought several pairs of black jockeys. But while that crisis was averted, another one had arisen – the airline had lost one of Anthony’s bags which contained most of his headpieces!!

There was nothing we could do except repeatedly check in with the airline, so we lugged the bags upstairs and started to unpack. After that I can’t really remember all that much until the end of the show. It was several months ago but also I think I just got really, really stressed (so I hate to think how Anthony felt)! We were sharing models with other designers which meant we were all packed in backstage together, and there were several shit fights over irons and steamers, and then Mimi and I had to run off and pack Anthony’s gift bags, and then I was trying on Anthony’s ‘Ballio’ headpiece and it got stuck in my hair, and every time I tried to take a photo someone would scream at me ‘BLACK SAFETY PINS!!!! WE NEEEEED BLAAAACK SAFFFFEETTYY PINNNNS!!!’

We saw Alyssa Sutherland, the RAFW ambassador – she had come to watch Anthony’s show and she came backstage to say hello, and she absolutely TOWERED above all the other models! Aussie Vogue editor Kirstie Clements was also standing near me at one point but I didn’t realise and *gasp!* apparently she had stray threads hanging off her jacket. I didn’t see it! All I know is what I was told.

After the show we hastily packed up and went to the bar. Angela, Mimi and I got our make-up done at the MAC make-up bar, and given that there was no food to be found anywhere in the building (bloody starving fashion types), we quickly got a bit tipsy on free champagne. At some point while we were sitting there (drunk), Alex Perry walked past. The day before he’d presented his all-singing, all-dancing, multimillion dollar runway show at Fox Studios, to more than a thousand guests.

In the end Anthony’s collection was quite well-received by the Australian press, although unfortunately most coverage tended to focus on the fact that he sent out men in skirts (SMH journo Richard Jinman described it as ‘transvestite grim reaper’) rather than his magnificent sculptural jackets or metallic and plastic detailing. But as Petrina pointed out when we were having schnitties and beer at the pub later on, ‘if everyone liked it, you’d be Alex fucking Perry’.

Check out Anthony's blog and the official looks from his RAFW collection, 'Egyptian Super Heroes', here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Steel Me Away

A few weeks ago I went to the CIT graduating fashion parade, an annual event showcasing the work of CIT Bachelor of Design (Fashion Design) students. This year's event was titled 'Archetype 10', and the event was the talk of the town, partly because this is fashion-starved Canberra, but mostly because it was a fantastic event. Not only were the clothes incredibly interesting and diverse, the presentation was seamless. According to all reports, it went more smoothly than most RAFW shows, so a big congratulations is in order for all the graduating students for being not only talented, but also organised and efficient!

One of the stand-out designers for me was Laura Steel, who presented her label 'Steel Me Away' (I always enjoy a clever pun on a surname!). Laura's collection was playful and irreverent, at the same time showcasing excellent tailoring in her signature sculptural frills. The incorporation of mesh into her garments added a point of interest; there was a fantastic moment where one of her models turned at the end of the runway to reveal a touch of derriere that was exposed by a mesh strip, and half the crowd gasped in surprise.

Laura has kindly answered a few questions and provided me with some photos of her graduating collection to share with you. I'm sure you'll be very impressed, as I was, with how polished and professional they are! Over the next few weeks I hope to showcase a few of my favourite designers from the parade, so be sure to keep in touch!




What inspired your graduating collection?
My graduating collection 'Hit Me With Music...' was inspired by the idea of memory and nostalgia, and the things that trigger them. I specifically looked into how music triggered my memories, and listened to old records and tapes from my childhood (Bob Marley, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Blues Brothers - just a few), as well as taking inspiration from patterns of old curtains and floor coverings to design and print my own fabrics.

How would you describe your graduating collection?
My graduating collection is very confident and loud. The intent was to translate a 'old' inspiration, into a contemporary context that was quite modern and out there without the final designs looking dated. The contrast of fabrics - sheers and solids - is quite interesting, and gives the collection a bit of a rock edge.

Which designers do you admire?
Earlier this year I went on work experience with the label 'State of Georgia' in Bali. Georgia Hall was great, she has no formal training, but has established this amazing label; she designs her own fabrics and prints as well as designing all the collections. It opened my eyes to what the industry is like, and got me excited about graduating and getting myself out there. Getting to actually meet Georgia and see how a designer works in the real world was biggest benefit for me, it was kind of like a VIP pass, you know, getting to see the behind the scenes stuff.

What are you reading right now?
I haven't really had time to get into a good book in a while, but am always into music magazines, I cant live without Rolling Stone
and Q.

What’s on the cards for the future, now that you’ve graduated?
Now that I've graduated Im just taking some time out. I want to look into starting my own label in the next couple of years, and I plan on looking into the business opportunities that are out there and being really well informed before I jump straight into it! I’m really excited to get started and to run my own label, it’s something I've wanted to do the whole time I've been studying and since graduating it’s something I feel is completely and utterly achievable.

Label: Steel Me Away
Hair: Amanda Fletcher at Axis Hairdressing
Makeup: Sami Bull, Kaarin Helmers and Ariel Miye at Canberra Makeup Academy
Photographer: Shana Jade Photography
Models: Lauren Cooper, Kristina Nedeljkovic, Alice Sutton, Hannah Mahony, Emily Josifoski

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sass & Bide

Yesterday I went to the Sass & Bide Christmas event with my friends Angela, Mimi and Ray. We were all squished into the Canberra Centre store (which is beautiful but not particularly large) and I have to say, I haven’t seen so many well-dressed Canberrans in the same place since itrip iskip’s ‘Grass Stains’ birthday celebration last year. Of course, it was a totally different style to the indie crowd that frequents itrip, but there was still the same rock n roll, artfully dishevelled nonchalance that indie kids cultivate and Sass & Bide is famous for. There were lots of wonderful shades of lipstick – I recognised MAC’s ‘Snob’ and ‘New York Apple’ doing the rounds – and lots of bright orange everywhere, both in Sass & Bide’s new resort collection and on the labels of the Veuve Clicquot (I probably had a bit too much – you have to seize expensive champagne opportunities as you find them!).

My favourite thing about Sass & Bide at the moment (and there are so many things to love!) is what they call ‘Sass & Bide exclusive clear rocket dome studding’. They’re these studs that look like mini icicles and they adorn the shoulders and waistbands of several pieces, giving them a subtle sense of ferocity. Check them out on ‘The Persuader’ skirt.

We also met one of the founders of the Sass & Bide, the lovely Sarah-Jane Clark. Clark and business partner Heidi Middleton began the label in 1999, selling jeans at a stall at London’s Portobello markets, and since then the label has become one of Australian fashion’s biggest success stories, with Sass & Bide now a multi-million dollar global company. As a result, Clark and Middleton took out the 2010 Veuve Cliquot Business Woman Award, which is awarded annually in celebration of women’s business achievements internationally (and that explains why there was so much Veuve available at the party). It’s not hard to see how Clark achieved such success, because not only is she creative and talented and an excellent businesswoman, she was also extremely nice!

So a very BIG thank you to Angela Menz for inviting me along to the Sass & Bide party as her guest!! You’ve probably heard she won the Fashions on the Field at the Canberra Cup last Sunday – but more on that later!

Until next time (and I promise I won’t leave it months before I write again) –


Thursday, March 25, 2010

2 by Lyn and Tony

This makes me want to get strips of leather and knit them.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I have a style and jewelled panties aren't it.

I'm kiiiinnnd of obsessed with Sex and the City – so much so that occasionally I start to imagine that I AM Carrie Bradshaw. In the episode ‘The Real Me’ Carrie gets invited to participate in a charity fashion show, so you can imagine my surprise – and the ensuing delusions about my future with Mr Big and a closet full of Manolos – when my friend Megan asked me to model in a fashion show for Pink Inc boutique.

Like Carrie, I was pretty anxious about being out there with actual models – but it in the end it was just fabulous to be able to wear Akira, Zambesi, Breathless and Vivienne Westwood! (If I only I were a foot taller and seven kilos lighter!)

There were even jewelled panties involved – just like in SATC! – but thankfully I didn’t have to wear them!

I only got a few snaps myself, but there were a bunch of photographers there, so hopefully I’ll be able to get hold of a few more photos to post.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I’ll Meet You There in the Summertime

Summer means tie-dye, hot chips and sunburn. It means afternoon rain storms and sleepless nights under mosquito nets. Salt-stringy hair and pale denim. And best of all, road trips.

I did a couple down to the coast during this summer, and discovered some amazing little shops on the way. Firstly there was Winch Books in Bungendore – your genuine, old-school, ramshackle book shop. Think Black Books but with charming (rather than terrifying) staff. I found some great old poetry books, and I’m sure there were some fantastic hidden treasures there – hidden being the operative word, because you’d definitely need to look for them!

Up the road was a leather shop, so enticing it managed to draw in even my strictest animal-loving vegetarian friends. There were cute shoulder bags in the shape of elephants and frogs, and then there were keyrings made out of actual frogs – well, cane toads. I kid you not. There were also new and vintage leather bags, fox tails, kangaroo skins, cow skins, tooled leather bags and wallets, and for some reason, a bunch of bowler and top hats – overall the perfect mix of quirky and cute.

Then about 40 minutes away in Braidwood we visited a shop a friend had told me about called Hoola Hoop, which sells vintage and rockabilly-style clothes and accessories. It was looking kinda sparse – possibly because the tourists had bought it all up – but there was still some fun stuff there, with brands like Heartbreaker and Hot Couture. If you don't fancy the drive, you can also do online purchases from their website.