What inspired my look today: I wanted to take things more masculine today with a power suit. Keeping it super simple and sleek in khaki tones.
Where I went: All over Sydney today! Jardan in Paddington for Hansen and Gretel and Carriageworks for Alice McCALL. Bondi Beach for Bondi Born, then off to Christopher Esber at Cement Fondu in Paddington, Michael LoSordo at Reign at the QVB and then Dion Lee in Barangaroo.
Fave show: Loving the vintage resort vibes from Hansen with candy pinks, and soft pastels to start the day.
Fave trend: Then feather, sparkles and sheer glamour at Alice McCALL. Sleek and sophisticated at Bondi Born with clean lines, simple shapes and statement features.
Favourite show: Bondi Born. Such a beautiful setting at Totti’s restaurant – an Italian feast with a show will always get my vote!
Pretty as a picture: I had a great time snapping away with my Huawei p30 today especially the lunch spread at Totti’s—delicious food in a beautiful setting. I felt like we were in the Mediterranean.
Everyone was wearing: Colour blocking, beaded bags and strappy sandals.
What I ate: A beautiful Italian lunch at Totti’s.
Highlight of the day: Dinner with my dear friend Dion Lee. His collection is gorgeous.
This post was produced in collaboration with Huawei
For a big day of shows I wanted to embrace a strong look and what better option than a great suit. I was attending the Camilla and Marc show today so a khaki skirt suit from their latest collection was ideal for the day ahead. The classic Camilla and Marc blazer silhouette is always spot on and has such a flattering fit and paired with a midi skirt, it is feminine, sleek and edgy all rolled into one. Plus the colour is a little different from your average suit so it really elevated the entire look.
As the skirt is already a statement-making piece in itself I wanted everything else to be quite minimalist. So I opted for a nude sandal with clear straps — simple yet on trend and a great accent piece to the suit. And after a few hectic days I definitely couldn’t leave the house without sunglasses. These black futuristic frames by Prada worked well with my favourite Dior bag worn as a clutch.
As a longtime fan of Bec and Bridge, theirs is one show at Fashion Week that I always look forward to. I find that I always spot something on the runway that I can immediately see myself wearing whether it be to work or to an event. This year was no exception. I caught up with Bridget Yorston and Becky Cooper after their show to chat what inspired the collection, their standout pieces and that fur runway…
Hi guys, congratulation on the show it was amazing.
Bec: Thanks Kate.
To be finished, how does it feel?
Bridget: It’s a big relief but we are so happy how it went today, it was pretty smooth backstage. No major hiccups, it was a really good energy.
The collection was beautiful. Can you tell me a bit about the inspiration behind it?
Bec: we were inspired by the iconic surf culture of the 6os and 70s and that’s where we started with the collection. And then we had a lot of fun with the collection and miss matched prints.
There were so many things I loved on the runway but what were some of your standouts?
Bridget: I love some of the shirting pieces and there was one particular dress in the khaki colour. It’s a long dress with a buckle in the middle and it feels so resort [wear] and fresh and I’m really excited to wear that.
I am loving all the flared looks in the show! I also love all the hair and makeup trends… what was your brief to the hair and makeup artists and the stylist prior to show?
Bridget: I think for the hair we wanted something quiet undone, obviously its quiet hard to get that perfect undone look so there is still a lot of work in that but we wanted her to look like she had been in the water all day and she stepped out and it dried naturally and she’s off to a gig – that was the hair brief and for the makeup, we just wanted not too much, we just wanted a dash of colour on the eye. We wanted that puberty blues feel – quiet fresh faced.
You design the collection but then a stylist styles the show. Can you explain a bit about that process?
Bec: It’s an organic process for us. We work with our stylist really closely and for the past two weeks, we have been re-evaluating and changing things. Bridge and I were on the phone until 10 o’clock last night…
Bridge:… still designing things and changing things, you use every minute.
Bec: This morning we were still changing things.
Bridge: We work with [stylist] Kelly Hume and we love working with her. We have worked with her for so many years now and we work really well together. She is really good at bouncing ideas off.
What was the inspiration behind the fur runway?
Bridge: We wanted something a little bit 70s, a little bit rock n roll. Not too serious and that is what sprung to mind and we were able to make it happen which was great.
What inspired my look today: I was channelling a little Hollywood chic today with the combination of an elevated LBD and a chocolate brown faux fur coat to complement it. And the cutest
Where I went: I had a few different locations today. I went to Carriageworks for Bec & Bridge and Baker Street Studio for the Matteau runway show.
Fave show: It had to be Bec & Bridge. I always look forward to seeing their show every year and it never disappoints. Once again I fell in love with so many things.
Favourite trend: Of all the looks I saw today I particular loved seeing oversized shirts with belt detailing. And the super cute thing that is floral flares.
Pretty as a picture: It’s always really interesting seeing designers’ sets every year and how they interpret their vision into how they produce and dress their show. And the one thing that definitely had me snapping away (it’s lucky my new Huawei P30Pro has the most amazing camera and zoom function) today was the fur runway at Bec & Bridge’s show. So fun!
Everyone was wearing: There were mini bags aplenty today. And there was loads of tie dye pieces along with suits and sandals.
What I ate: My team and I stopped for salad and juice at Bread and Circus in between shows for lunch. Then dinner at home with the family.
Highlight of the day: It’s always great seeing interesting faces on the runway so it was great to see actress Phoebe Tonkin make a surprise appearance on the Matteau runway. Also the seeing plus sized models walk the show was really refreshing to see.
This post was produced in collaboration with Huawei
It’s the second day of Fashion Week and with my first show being Bec & Bridge I opted to wear a piece from their new collection. I’m always a fan of an LBD and loved the look of this midi dress, particularly the finishing details. The tie-up neck ribbon and the sheer panelling give it a hint of drama and elevate it from a being just a simple black dress.
In keeping with the whole glam look and feel of the dress, I felt it needed another equally as glam touch. Given it’s been a little chilly of late I decided on a long chocolate brown faux fur coat. It ticked both the style and utilitarian box and was definitely the perfect statement outerwear to cap off my outfit.
When it comes to a black dress I think you it’s great to have accessories that pop to provide a little contrast. I love this structured mini camera bag by Yuzefi; with the colour blocking and chain strap it gives the look an interesting focal point. I decided on wearing this particular pair of pointed Christian Louboutin pumps because I loved the ankle straps so much. I think the little details are often what makes a look and I liked that strappy shoes worked beautifully with the cropped midi hem of the dress. Gold statement earrings provided just the right hint of glam and made for a strong finishing touch to my ensemble.
Opening Fashion Week is a big honour for any brand and this year, Edwina Forest and Adrian Norris saw their label Aje kick off the big event that is Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. Ahead of their show I caught up with the Edwina and Adrian to talk about their latest collection, how asking for directions led to the start of their brand and why they ultimately just want to make women feel great in their clothes.
Thanks guys for joining me today. So exciting! Congratulations on opening Fashion Week.
Edwina: Thank you.
It’s a truly an exciting thing. How does it feel to open?
Edwina: It feels very exciting, but definitely a bit of pressure comes with that.
Adrian: Yes, I think at the moment, we’re just a bit tired. I’m kind of dead … but no, it’s a huge honour, it’s exciting.
Why is it so important, why is it such an accomplishment to open Fashion Week?
Edwina: I think obviously to be synonymous with a brand like Mercedes Benz, which is so globally respected and held in such high prestige is obviously one element, for our brands to sit beside each other, is wonderful. But obviously Fashion Week Australia in terms of Australian fashion it’s where all eyes are on Australia, so it’s hugely important.
Yes, but to open it is even more exciting?
Adrian: Definitely, I think in the past we’ve always sort of, “Oh, no, I’ve never really considered opening.” So, it’s definitely a huge honour.
Why didn’t you consider it?
Adrian: I don’t know, I think when you’re work is in Europe, you think it’s something that’s going to happen one day, but it is, it’s crazy. To think we’re the one that does all of it and yeah, it’s a bit stressful.
And there is a lot of hype around the first show as well.
Adrian: Definitely more than every other one. Almost with the pressures being internalised, the other… within the business and we’re sort of being aware of Fashion Week, but this year it seems like everyone is paying more attention.
Can you tell me a little bit about the inspiration behind the collection and what can we expect to see?
Edwina: I think for us, we feel really proud to be Australian designers and to be an Australian brand. I think some brands kind of shy away from the Australian heritage. We’re fiercely proud of it. So, we felt it was the perfect moment this year to celebrate Australia and the beautiful landscape in which we live and all the inspiration it’s given us. So, we really have taken a lot of inspiration from the iconic emblems of Australia and all the diversity of the natural landscape, and also the diversity of all the cultures we have within the land.
How were you inspired by this collection?
Adrian: I think that we’re always looking toward nature and art as our two main references and I think this year, we just specifically focused on the natural forms and a lot of the natural flora. It’s definitely an ode to Australia… in a non-kitsch, weird way.
Do you have a favourite piece that I should be looking out for on the runway?
Adrian: It sounds strange, but we were really inspired by the shape of gumnuts. I know it sounds really weird and kitsch, but there’s a few dresses that are really beautiful.
Do you guys always agree on everything? How does the whole relationship work…
Adrian: I would say they’re two different forms of agreement. I think we’re always wanting to get to the same end point, but we have really different ways of getting there.
Edwina: People laugh a lot about that internally. We say the same thing, but in totally different ways-
Adrian: Totally different ways.
Edwina: We think we’re arguing but actually…
Adrian: They said that, “Do you know that both of you are saying the same thing?”
Who wins in a fight?
Do you have quite separate style aesthetics or would you say that you’re quite like minded?
Edwina: I think it’s always been the differences that made the magic within the brand. And as the brand has evolved, its become something we really believe in, there’s this concept of duality. Because there’s duality inside in all of us. You know, like one day you can kind of feel strong, but at the same time you want to be gentle, and you’re kind of a bit wild, but at the same time you need to be a bit tame and I think it’s that kind of play on duality that’s always worked between us as humans.
Adrian: Yeah. There’s always differences. But I think our difference, we know what we want to look like. It’s probably more in the details and it’s not about someone disagreeing with someone, it’s about having two sets of eyes on something and knowing that somebody else’s point of view always has merit and you can see it that way. So, you do see things differently from another person’s perspective.
Could you describe each other’s style aesthetic?
Adrian: Edwina’s got the best style in the world, I think.
Edwina: That’s not true, but thank you.
Adrian: But no, I think we’ve actually got very similar aesthetics. We love all the natural fabrics, we love the same colours.
Edwina: We love the same techniques.
Adrian: Yes, it always comes out … it’s just having two different sets of perspective coming and that kind of forms … I don’t think we’d be able to create what we create singularly.
How did you first meet?
Edwina: So, I was about to move to Sydney to work at Russh Magazine. I was working in a high-end boutique in Brisbane. This poor, lost Norwegian tourist walked in, aka Adrian and asked for directions. And I just remember his style, because it was very different to Brisbane.
Adrian: I was a lot more out there then.
Edwina: Had this long blonde mop of hair, you know, this undone white shirt, really skinny jeans, this big Dolce & Gabanna belt and I just thought, “Oh my, this guy is just not from here.” And it was just funny, because the directions he got given were so bad and-
Edwina: And then it was just a serendipitous moment, that evening we ended up being at the same party together and there was the Norwegian tourist who was Adrian and yeah, we kind of became best friends.
How did you start the brand?
Adrian: So, we started it in Noosa and so I opened a store. Edi and I started working in the store together and Edi actually came down to work for Russh and we sort of had this idea of creating a line for the store. So, I went and created a collection. I came back and it was shocking…. and I was like “Edi, you’ve got to help me style this collection,” and she came back. She said, “I can’t style that.”
Edwina: I wanted to add things and then I said, “These are things I want to add.” So, Adrian quickly, we drew them.
Adrian: We remade it and we came back and so it was more of … that was really where the fusion happened and so we came and we kind of really brought them together and then the first collection, it was amazing, it was so beautiful.
Did you know instantly then that you needed to start the label together?
Adrian: I was magical. It was really beautiful. And we were so young and so inexperienced.
Edwina: So naïve.
Adrian: And we’ve never made clothes before. So, I mean, it’s been an amazing journey to go on. Yeah.
What have been some of the biggest challenges throughout your career as designers?
Edwina: Business, right?
Adrian: Yeah, I think the balance between business and creative is always, it’s a really difficult, and then you start out being … we obviously had the business from the start. So, we had the first store and we had that balance between, I’d say… you’re young and you don’t have any stress on you and then it goes through that period of, “Oh, God, I’ve got [to] actually pay people and I’ve got to actually feed myself.” And then you get staff and you’ve got to think of them. So, you just kind of lose some of the creativity, but then it’s really beautiful I think, in our case, the creativity, it’s waves and I think that now, where we’re sitting, we’ve just opened our 17th store yesterday.
Adrian: Thank you. So, it’s kind of at the stage now, where our business is in such a strong position that it’s allowing us to be completely creative again.
What would you say has been your biggest pinch -me moment within your career?
Edwina: This is about to be one [opening Fashion Week], I think.
Adrian: Oh, yeah, definitely. This is a big one.
You’ve dressed some pretty amazing people. What is the one that stands out in your mind?
Adrian: I think it’s great when people wear your clothes, but I also think it’s just as great like when somebody comes into one of your stores and feels like a million dollars and walks out. When people, like some of the messages you get, they’re pretty amazing. Just as amazing as when a big celebrity wears them.
Adrian: Someone? Oh, we got Kate Moss did.
Edwina: Oh, yeah Kate Moss. Just recently Katy Perry has been big. Linda Toll, I love her.
Is there someone, alive or dead that you wish that you could dress one day?
Adrian: Everyone. Everyone should be wearing Aje once in their life.
Edwina: Everyone. The whole world.
What’s the plan after Fashion Week?
Adrian: There’s a little break. We’ve got a few more stores that we’re rolling out by the end of the year.
Oh, exciting. Where about?
Adrian: Oh, gosh, we’ve got New Zealand opening, that’s our first international store. We kind of feel like it’s one of our states, but it’s definitely international…. So, that will be kind of the first in the international expansion.
Will you expand further internationally?
Adrian: Yeah, definitely. We’re looking into it, we’re just going to do it carefully. You just have to make sure that all your ducks are in a row when you do it.
When you’re not working, you guys hang out together as well?
Adrian: Yeah, we still see each other so much.
Edwina: But we’ve become more anti-social.
Adrian: It takes a lot to get us out these days, but luckily we still all hang out together.
New York City is about as far away as you can get from the rural town Narrandera where model Victoria Lee grew up. As a self-confessed homebody, she says even she’s surprised that she’s now based in the Big Apple and miles from home. However relocating to the other side of the world is the logical next step when you’re one of the hottest models of the moment. Along with walking in last year’s Victoria’s Secret show alongside Gigi Hadid and Naomi Campbell, she is also a freshly minted David Jones ambassador joining fellow Aussies Jessica Gomes and ex-AFL player Adam Goodes. I caught up with Victoria to chat about the secret to a flattering photo, the one beauty product she can’t live without and how she stays fit.
What’s a day in the life of you?
Every day is different, which took awhile to get used to, to be honest. But I’ve since learned to embrace this fact and just go with the flow—as much as I can anyway! In general though, I love to wake up early, exercise in the morning, make yummy food and then get on with my day. If I’m working the hours and location always change but if I have some time off I’ll usually take care of any chores or e-mails, catch up with friends, sort the neverending pile of mail, run errands… it’s always a little different.
What is Fashion Week like for you?
This is the first time I’ve been home for Australian Fashion Week in a long time so I’m very happy to be home, but also [being here] where I haven’t done the shows. Actually being able to sit and experience the show is fantastic. I’m really enjoying seeing the way the show comes together and to appreciate the collections and creativity of the designers and all their hard work, from the other side.
What was it like to attend Camilla and Marc’s opening show?
I am such a huge fan of Camilla and Marc and to think it was their 15 year anniversary which was amazing. The show was fantastic—you felt transported to this other world through the lighting, set, sounds and music. Not to mention the collection itself which was stunning—the models looked so beautiful, powerful and strong.
Last year you walked in the Victoria Secret show in Shanghai alongside other supermodels like Tyra Banks, Gigi Hadid and Naomi Campbell. How did that feel?
Surreal. It was so much better than I actually expected. I thought I’d be more anxious, that I wouldn’t be fully present and just enjoy, but did. And I think that’s because of the Victoria’s Secret team and the girls I was there with. Everyone is so welcoming and supportive. They know you’re nervous! They really make an effort to make you feel as comfortable as possible and to just have fun and enjoy yourself, which is what it’s all about. It was very exciting, I really enjoyed the entire experience.
What does it mean to you to be an ambassador for David Jones?
It’s a real honour. I grew up shopping at David Jones and admiring past ambassadors Megan Gale and Miranda Kerr. To be a part of such an iconic Australian brand is incredible and I’m so happy to be a part of the David Jones family. Especially now; to be alongside Jess Gomes and Adam Goodes is amazing. And to be celebrating the 180th birthday of DJs is really special.
How did you first get into modelling?
I met with agencies after being recommended by photographers when I was in Sydney one time with my family. However I didn’t start going to castings until I finished school.
Was this always your dream?
No, not at all. Mainly because I grew up in Narrandera, rural NSW. I had no concept of the modelling industry—it was a long way away. Even after I started, I never viewed modelling as a career option. I had no idea what to expect, but I appreciated the fact that the opportunity doesn’t come by every day. I thought I would try it out in between school and university. I’m extremely lucky to have such a wonderful support network that has been by my side every step of the way.
What were you like at school?
I loved sport and athletics but was also very focused on my studies. I worked hard to get the best possible mark on my exams as I could. I ended up being Dux of my school which I was really happy about. All my friends from school try to catch up when everyone is home over Christmas which is always a lot of fun.
What’s something that people don’t know about you and would be surprised to find out?
Growing up I was a real homebody—I hated being away from home. Even on school excursions, I would want to go home ASAP. I couldn’t even do sleepovers. So to now live as far away from home as possible is something that still surprises me!
What was your first big break?
Very early in my career, my first Fashion Week, I walked for Camilla and Marc at Australian Fashion Week.
What has been your biggest pinch-me moment?
Can I have two?! Walking for VS [Victoria’s Secret] and being named as a David Jones ambassador were both pretty special pinch-me moments.
Who do you look up to?
I admire my parents and grandparents—I’m lucky to have such a wonderful family whom I look up to. I also admire women like Elle McPherson, Jess Gomes, Megan Gale, Doutzen Kroes, Diane Von Furstenberg, my agent, Doll, just to name a few! Intelligent, hard-working, very genuine women.
What has been the best advice you have ever received?
My mum always encouraged me to do my best in any situation and not to follow the crowd—be my unique self, always.
If you hadn’t become a model, what would you be doing?
Probably something in health or nutrition. I’ve always been fascinated by the human body.
As a model, how do you stay fit?
I love dance-based workouts—I find my body responds well and they are a great combination of strength and cardio. Along with stretching and recovery I make sure to respect my body and to prioritise sleep and recovery as much as my workouts. Along with proper nutrition. I love food and aim to nourish my body in the best way I can.How do you prep for a big show?
I have a healthy lifestyle constantly but leading up to a big show I’ll make sure to drink plenty of water and get as much sleep as possible. I have a sweet tooth so I might cut back a little on the chocolate. But it’s all about balance.
What is it like living in New York?
I love it. It took a while to get used to—it’s a far cry from Narrandera and Sydney. But it’s an amazing city with such a vibrant and eclectic energy and culture. I’m very lucky to be able to live there and call Australia home. It’s the best of both worlds which I’m very appreciative of.
What do you miss most about living in Sydney?
The wonderful beaches, weather, our laidback attitude, our sense of humour, our fresh food, being close to my friends and family of course. The list goes on… travelling and living away really emphasised to me just how lucky we are as Australians to live here. I know it’s such a cliché, but it’s true—we are the lucky country.
What is the secret to a great photo?
Oh my gosh—good question!! I guess try to relax and keep your chin down.
What is your number one beauty essential?
Oils. I’ve noticed a real improvement in my skin since using them. I love Dermalogica phyto replenishing oil at the moment but I’ll change it up depending on how my skin is feeling. They can be used to remove make up, as a treatment, to prep for makeup, during a flight—just make sure you get one that suits your skin type.
My daily wrap up of the day that was at Australian Fashion Week.
Shows I attended: 10 Pieces
Location: Icebergs, Bondi Beach
Fave show: 10 pieces
Biggest trends I saw: Emerald green, monochrome, tailoring mixed with relaxed street wear vibes.
The highlight of the day: Watching 10 pieces with the backdrop of bondi; a pit stop at the Vittoria Coffee lounge interviewing the likes of Russh editor-in-chief Jess Blanch and Fashion Week seating director, Miro Kubicek.
It may seem innocuous but when it comes to Fashion Week seating is crucial, especially when it comes to the front row. As the seating director at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia, Miro Kubicek is the man in charge of ensuring that the right people end up in the right places, which with last minute no shows, VIPs running late and the occasional attendee trying to secure a spot in the coveted front row, is no easy feat. Having been in the role for over 15 years, Miro has seen more than his fair share of dramas and here he chats to me about how he maintains order at the shows, how fashion has changed over the years and flirting with Anna Wintour…
Can you describe your role?
So my role is seating director of this event. What it basically means is that I have to make sure that the front row is the way it should be or the way it was designed. I’m dealing with the last minute changes and all the small details that actually happens last minute, which is people not showing up or running late, being tied up in meetings, and I’ll get a notification or I’ll get an SMS and I kind of start adjusting. At the end of the day, the front row needs to look right and it needs to be the right people in there.
Why is the front row so important?
Well, look, the designers, this is the time when they’re presenting their collection and they worked really hard and long hours and all that. SO, it is really important because it makes a difference in sales, in exposure, in how the collection is perceived or how it’s received.
It makes a difference in who sees the collection? How does the hierarchy work?
The hierarchy, it’s more like a mixture of things. It’s not like if you just get editors and give them the preference. That’s one dimension of the whole spectrum, when normally we would have couple of aspects of it. You’ve got the media, you’ve got the journalists, you’ve got the celebrity, you’ve got the buyers, and then the socialite and then sort of the exposure on that level. So, you need to just have a good mixture of it all.
And you’re the man to know it.
I can’t remember a Fashion Week where you haven’t been in charge of this. How did you get in to this?
I was always around events and doing different things, but I got engaged so I was asked to come and do Australian Fashion Week, I think maybe it was 2002 and 2003, which was on the events side. There was a guy who was doing seating, I didn’t know that role existed. I was looking at him and I was thinking “That’s a pretty cool role and I would like to do that one day.” I was doing it the next year.
How has the landscape at Fashion Week changed over the years?
Oh, dramatically. It’s changed. We’re talking here, 15/16 years, when I started. So, in those days, there was no social media or blogging or Instagram or the instant feed of the design. Back then, it was really the old fashioned way. Taking the pictures, and then downloading the pictures, and then the magazine would have those pictures, and they published them. Now, very different game. Everything loads instantly. We have the shows on the screen, straight away. Anybody who’s around that can watch it, Facebook Live streams, Instagram Live streams. With that, also the broad difference in the industry.
How do you stay on top of your game with that? Knowing who’s who and who’s the best blogger to celebrity to editor?
The industry is fairly small. The people are more or less the same, they just change publications. That’s on one side. Yes, you have new players in the game, but you just keep on top of it like everybody else. You read, you look at social media, who’s coming up, who’s doing the right thing, who’s doing the nice things about fashion. We also have a delegates list. So we have lists that is released, that’s given to me with all the internationals and all the locals, and every year or every season, I go through and see who has changed and who is new and who I have to get to know a little bit. So you do your research. There goes a couple of weeks before the event, where we literally just study, like you go to University.
What’s your biggest pinch-me moment?
There was few ’cause I’ve been involved with a lot of different Fashion Weeks over the years. I’ve been part of New York Fashion Week and Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Berlin, so there’s a lot of international stuff. I met a lot of really famous people, which is always very exciting. But, you know, as far as fashion, I think the moment with Anna Wintour was really, really special. That goes back to 2008 I think. I looked after her for about a day, a day and a half, and then we were running into each other throughout the week in New York and it was really cool. We were like buddies. We flirted a little bit.
It was fun. It was good.
Well everyone does want to be your best friend because they all want to get front row, that’s for sure.
It’s funny. I come to Sydney to do the Australian Fashion Week every year and it literally is, there’s a group of people that you never hear from until the week before Fashion Week.
“Hey buddy, how are you?” It’s like oh, Fashion Week’s coming up, yeah. It’s part of the game. It’s fun.
Any front row faux pas over the years?
Similarly to the previous questions, there’s so many. In general, some nights people can be quite nasty. A lot of people that don’t belong in the front row try to be in the front row, get a little bit aggressive at times. Verbally aggressive, not physically.
Yeah. You’ve seen it also, over the years. People sometimes stubborn, they think if they sit there and don’t move, then nothing’s gonna happen.
I try to control the front row. At the end of the day, it’s like “You’re gonna move.”
Does security ever get called?
No, I don’t think we ever needed to call security for seating. I have a chat and I kind of engage in a manner that, after 30 seconds or 40 seconds of talking to them, they realise that this is not the right thing to do.
All right. Well thank you so much. It’s such an insight into what you do and this whole week, so thank you so much.
Growing up on a farm in a small rural town in NSW, Jess Blanch grew up surrounded by fashion magazines and the images of photographerPeter Lindbergh. Having worked as a journalist at The Australian before making the move into magazines, the editor-in-chief of RUSSH magazine says she always dreamed of being a writer, and somehow “fell into” fashion. It seems a job she was destined for however, with over eight years and counting in the role. I caught up with Jess during Fashion Week to chat about the Australian design aesthetic, her favourite trends from the week and the show that really stood out for her…
What trends have really stood out to you?
One trend I really love is the oversized bag. I first saw it at the Camilla and Marc’s show and it was almost a moment of thank goodness now I can finally put all my things in the bag. I think there’s been a really soft, 90s thing going on which feels really quite fresh, and it obviously suits our lifestyle here. I love these 90s slip dresses and the way the coats are going over the top of them and knits are going over them, and unexpected colours like we saw before. There’s been a lot of green.
There has been a lot of green.
I think last year it was yellow; it’s almost like there’s just this kind of Pantone colour that everyone makes movement with. But I think also the trend is, what I’ve seen is a lot of streetwear. Everyone’s kind of doing their own interpretation of a Polo sweater and layering. And I think the nice thing this year is I feel that the brands are really sticking to what they do and maybe the trends are becoming less relevant.
What is Australia’s take on fashion?
Obviously some trends are often set in Paris and Milan, but I think Australians are not designing that way. I think the designers here are very much global brands in their own right these days. They’re distributing direct to the likes of retailers like Net-A-Porter and Matches, and they travel so much. I think it’s really coming down to designing for a lifestyle, and that’s what I loved about the Romance [Was Born] show last night, because what they do so well, is they really turn their brand into culture. And it’s not about the pieces, it’s about the match of the music, with the performance, how they wear the clothes, the makeup that goes with that. It’s not just a collection that’s just about pieces. And I think that also Double Rainbouu did that really well, it was really nice to go to the Lansdowne, and what I loved about that show was particularly the casting, because the kids wearing the clothes are the ones that we see on the street. You go and get a coffee and you’re like, “who is that amazing boy?” And so it’s so nice to see them in that show, it’s very real. I guess it was a way to show what Sydney culture is about and how we live here.
Is that why Fashion Week is so important?
Fashion Week’s really important and I think for Sydney we’re really lucky, particularly at offsite shows, like Matches yesterday at Wylie Baths. We’ve got such a beautiful city and I think that it’s a great opportunity to show people these little pockets, the things that we know and love, and the collections. Obviously things in the lighter collection it’s a natural environment for it, so it’s good to see the week thriving.
What have been some of the highlight shows this week?
Well, I mentioned Romance last night and I loved that, because it was a real spectacle and it always is, and they have fun and don’t take themselves too seriously. I thought that Camilla and Marc show was super strong. It’s their 15th anniversary and I was really happy for them because the brand really evolved over the years and they’ve done a really great job of designing but also running a successful commercial brand and I think that’s really important. It is probably my highlight along with Romance. I’m looking forward to Chrisopher Esber tonight as well.
What does the RUSSH reader get out of Fashion Week?
I think RUSSH readers are very fashion savvy, when we talk about our audience, we often say that we’re the magazine that the influencers like to read, like Carmen Hamilton last night, she’s like “I’m a fan”. The RUSSH reader is very savvy, they know where things are being made, they really care who’s designing them, so they want Fashion Week to really show them new things, and kind of give them a deeper insight into the brands and the lifestyle behind the brands and who those designers are and where they’re getting their ideas and inspiration from. And that’s what we try and do, we don’t just report on looks, we actually try and report on the culture of the design sentiment and what’s happening at the time.
Have you always been interested in fashion?
No, first I’m interested in publishing, so I guess, looking back, I grew up in the country on a property. There’s a big gap in my family between myself and my siblings and I just had lots of fashion magazines in the house. So I think I just fell in love with the, yes it was the 80s and it was all Peter Lindbergh images, and I think I always just fell in love with that, the escape of fashion and that sense of the woman as well, and how fashion could make you feel. So I never planned to be in fashion, that was never my plan.
No, no, I want to be a writer. Sometimes I’m in my office and I’m like, “leave me alone, I just want to write!” Running a magazine is very different to that. But then I got into publishing and I actually started writing for The Australian newspaper as a journalist and I loved that and that sort of led to magazines and then finally the RUSSH opportunity came about and it just felt like a natural evolution for me. But I remember in the early days everyone was like, “fashion, how did that happen?”, I’m like, “I don’t know.” I just fell into it.
No, you’ve always been super stylish!
It’s nice of you to say that. Yeah, maybe I knew more; I learned by osmosis I guess. When I first began the editorship I really spent a lot of time travelling for the international fashion weeks and those weeks and those trips can sometimes be six weeks at a time, and you just take a lot in when you’re on the circuit. You’re like a sponge in your first few seasons. That was amazing experience.
What is the key to success when you’re an editor?
I think they key to success as an editor, or really anyone, is having great people around you. I’ve got a team that I really admire and respect. They’re just great people; they have great taste in music and food and everything that I love and share and I think that’s what makes me excited to come to the office every morning. It’s have such a nice environment and we all collaborate. It feels like a collaboration between all of us with our contributors. Whether they be models or artists that we’re working with, that’s probably the most exciting, fulfilling part of the job.
Who is the designer to watch?
Well, it’s not over yet. That’s a good question. A lot of people have been talking about Acler which is interesting. The NewGen show is coming up and I think that’s a really important one to watch because the ideas in a NewGen show are very fresh. They haven’t had that commercial rush and that’s always a good show to see.
How do you approach Fashion Week as an editor?
A lot of people ask me “how many shows are you going to today?”, and I think, sometimes as an editor, it’s great to see the shows, but obviously we spread them out between our team. It’s really important for my Fashion Team to be there and seeing everything. But I really try and connect with the designers over the week and really find out what’s going on with them, spend some time with them. Sometimes it’s nice if there are after-show dinners and those kind of things happening, because it’s really good to see where they’re at. I think we’ve always done a good job of telling the designers’ stories, and that’s what I’m trying to learn about them during the week. Where are they going, what their inspirations are, and where they want to take their businesses.
What’s a day in the life of you?
During Fashion Week? Not a lot of sleep. I’ve got to say. I was woken up by a toddler at 5 this morning and I went to bed after midnight. Every year I’m like, “I’m gonna be super organised…” It’s always a lot of people to see. It’s a great week though. Sometimes you feel a bit superpowered in Fashion Week because you’re like I’ll have three hours of sleep and I’m not tired at all.
Well, you look amazing after having not much sleep. Thank you so much. Enjoy the rest of your week.