Article Archive

Stylin' 913

Author: Alyx Gorman
Monday, 16 June 2008

Lindsay Lohan has been announced as the face of this year’s Visa Swap campaign. Visa Swap launched in 2007 with Mischa Barton as its ambassador. The largest fashion swapping event in the world, it takes place every year in the UK. In a press statement Lohan said: “I am so excited to be involved with this year's Visa Swap event. The concept of swapping clothes, getting something for nothing and refreshing your wardrobe appeals to everyone. Ethical stories continue to dominate the news agenda and it's great when fashion projects benefit charities. I had such a great time at the Visa Swap campaign shoot, the clothes I wore were all vintage designer pieces which you just don't see every day!” For a look at an Australian swapping story, peek over the page for our shots from the latest Swap My Style.

You may have noticed that it’s sales season just about everywhere, with most of the high-end boutiques around town shifting their markdowns forward by a few weeks in order to keep up with the department stores. If you are looking for cheap thrills now is the time. For super sales we recommend Pretty Dog in Newtown ( who will be announcing their sale time shortly, and the Cohen et Sabine one day winter sale this Thursday at 1/61 Albion Street.

There’s drama afoot in the international fashion world as New York steals London’s date. In order to avoid running over Labour Day, New York Fashion Week has been shifted forward a week from the 6-13 February to the 13-20. This means that New York is running right over London’s schedule. London will now have to re-think its dates, throwing the whole fashion week racket out of whack. The Council of Fashion Designers America is currently in meetings with the British Fashion Council over the changes.

Two teenage girls in the United States recently took their lust for designer gear to criminal levels. The pair, along with a male accomplice used an early nineties Holden Commodore to ram-raid a high end Maitland boutique. They made off with over $8000 in clothing and jewellery, but were caught and arrested later the same evening. While we really, really want a Prada handbag, we aren’t about to crash our Vespa into Martin Place anytime soon, but you have to admire the kids’ taste, at fifteen most criminals are still stealing televisions and PlayStations.

Elizabeth and Neville Findlay, founders of Kiwi label Zambesi were acknowledged last week with a New Zealand Order of Merit. The pair have been working on the label for over twenty five years now, and are partly credited with the increasing credibility of New Zealand design on the Australian and international markets. UK retailer Karen Millen was also honoured with an OBE last week.

From kiffiyeh kafuffles to Prime Ministerial stylists, the distant realms of fashion and politics have been colliding in all sorts of ways, in all sorts of places lately. We looked at kiffiyehs a couple of weeks ago, but the story, like the trend, refuses to die. For two takes on the matter, we asked the only Palestinian we know, and a stylist friend who was rocking the scarves last year. Aarya, a Sydney University student, told us she couldn’t care less what people wrap around their necks to keep warm, but did point out that, as far as statements of solidarity go, they’re up there with Che shirts that have been printed by small children in China. “The cheap ones are about as Palestinian as a bacon double cheeseburger… they aren’t even woven properly,” she explained. “If you want to make a difference, you should act like an activist, not dress like one.”
Stylist James rejects the scarves for different reasons – “when they’re everywhere, you know it’s over”. For those looking for alternate neckwear, we recommend pashminas, they’ve got Persian cred for politicos but they’re way warmer, and because they come in bright colours, they’ll liven up monochromatic winter get-ups.
Over in the United States, they’ve found a different dress to worry about. Namely Barack Obama’s. When the Democratic presidential nominee was last week spotted in a baby-poo green polo and slightly too short pale denim jeans, the press had a field day. They labelled his get up geeky and compared the potential pres to Pee Wee Herman. His wife gets full marks though - there have been a substantial number of stories detailing Michelle’s fresh take on first lady chic. Of particular interest was a purple shift, which is (like the lady herself), apparently an unusual colour for potential Mrs Americas.
Across the pond, Vogue UK is declaring the Iron Lady in, with a decent sized spread dedicated to Thatcher chic. While we’re die-hard fans of the publication, we can’t help but think they may be a little off on this one. In the words of Booker Prize winner Alan Hollinghurst: “She looks like a country and western singer.”
Our own poster girl for political fashion faux pas Therese Rein is finally getting things right, according to the major daily newspapers. She’s given up on bright colours and scary suits and is instead going for more sombre fare – think soft greys and darker shades. While other outlets are getting designers to weigh-in on her new look, we’re sort of lamenting the loss of loud. It gave us something to look at while K. Rudd was speaking Chinese.
But, as always with fashion, it’s the French who win out when it comes to styling politics. There was something so incredibly chic about Sarkozy mourning next to his model/musician wife Carla Bruni at Yves Saint Laurent’s funeral. It’s no wonder that French psychiatrists have discovered growing numbers of people are unhealthily obsessed with the president.

There were so many things that were good about Swap My Style at The Loft. Unfortunately none of them had anything to do with the major focus of the evening. The set-up was lovely, with manicure, make-up and hair stations and Chandon and canapés circulating the room. The whole atmosphere was like an extremely pleasant ladies night out… until it came time to swap. Every one descended on the relatively tiny swapping area and those who could get to the racks at all had to flick through the worst of the nineties and clothing a long way off their size. While I’m sure there were some gems in the chaos (like the several hundred dollar Josh Goot skirt we’d bought along), it would have taken an incredible stroke of luck to find them. Others had much the same problem, which gave the rest of the evening a bitter taste. In the end we left empty handed; the night was a fun one, but for hardcore fashionistas, it was a label drought.