Thursday, January 25, 2018

Vogue Australia Features The Darnell Collection

In her story, Night Shift, featuring The Darnell Collection, Alice Birrell, Fashion Editor, Vogue Australia, focused on the shift in what people wear when they dress up and how 'dressing-up' events have changed in the past 100 years.
The Darnell Collection

It's all about the flouncy flamenco-esque ruffles down the back of this dramatic dress 
by Oscar de la Renta. 

At the shoot, the models posed in the extraordinary bathroom of a Mid-Century Modern house in Clovelly, above the pristine sands of Clovelly Beach, in Sydney. 

I was interviewed in my role of a Fashion Anthropologist.
 I talked about the shift in types of gowns women choose to wear to special evenings 
as well as the huge variety of styles of garments from which we can choose today.

(The article, titled 'Night Shift', is in the December 2017 issue, page 207 - 209)

One Enchanted Evening (Affirm Press) is available from all good bookstores in Australia & New Zealand 
& from the following online booksellers: 
The Darnell Collection

My story about this dress is on page 56:
"This dazzling Oscar de la Renta evening dress is a glorious salute to Spain with its lush matador red colour, the carnation print of the silk taffeta and the glorious effusion of frills and ruffles.

Red was the legendary designer's favourite colour. He wore a red carnation in his buttonhole every day when he lived in Madrid as a tribute to the red carnations thrown 
into the bullfighting ring before each show.

A chance commission in 1950 to design a dress for the daughter of the US Ambassador to Spain wound up on the cover of Life Magazine, which led to an invitation to Madrid to apprentice for Cristobal Balenciaga. De la Renta's future as a fashion designer was secured.

This spectacular dress is worthy of being worn by Carmen Amaya, the greatest flamenco dancer of all time. Different styles of flamenco dancing convey different emotions, but they all have 'duende' - the genius to masterfully convey passion and emotion.

Without doubt, this dress conveys Oscar de la Renta's 'duende' - and his elegance and style. 

Australian Women's Weekly photo shoot for my new book, One Enchanted Evening

Only for very special reasons do I allow models to wear gowns in 
The Darnell Collection, but I felt a feature of my new book, 
One Enchanted Evening
in Australian Women's Weekly, was a wonderful opportunity 
to bring a selection of dresses to life. 

There are some dresses too valuable or fragile to allow to be worn, 
but there were plenty of others from the book that made choosing difficult. 
I also had to pick garments that suited the three models' individuality, 
who were also 6 foot tall. 

I always enjoying transforming modern women (and men) into another era. 
For this shoot, we were working with garments 
from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 2000s. 
All very different moods, dress silhouettes, hair and beauty styles, accessories. It was an exciting challenge. 

In the end, I went for dresses that either had stories personal to me 
or designer/decade histories I thought would highlight 
the diversity of stories (and fashion) in my book.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Age, Colour and Fabulousness Celebrated on the Gold Coast

As part of an expansive public programme to coincide with the major Conde Nast sourced fashion photography exhibition, 'Coming Into Fashion' at the Gold Coast City Art Gallery
a series of talks and events have been held at the Gallery precinct. 

Of particular interest was last weekend's The Fashion Forum, created by author, Alison Kubler. Fashion leaders and creatives were invited to speak in front of an audience 200 strong. 
Ari Seth Cohen, author of Advanced Style; Deputy Editor, Vogue Australia, Sophie Tedmanson; Brisbane based demi-couturier, Gail Sorronda; and I - custodian of The Darnell Collection.

Ari's respect for and commitment to Age and Style set the tone. Alison lead the four In Conversations with leading questions that engaged the speaker and the audience. 

Everyone dressed to the hilt and celebrated this unique and thought-provoking forum.
I flew home to the Blue Mountains recharged, empowered, and upbeat

Surrounded by the most fabulously dressed women on the Gold Coast.
'Ari's Harem'!
At the luxurious Palazzo Versace Hotel

Alison Kubler, Host and Presenter of The Fashion Forum and Tracy Cooper-Lavery, Director Gold Coast City Art Gallery,
and Ari Seth Cohen, author of Advanced Style and 

Wearing a gold lame full-length cape by Danica of Double Bay at The Versace Palace Hotel,
enjoying Afternoon Tea with Ari Seth Cohen

At The Fashion Forum at the Gold Coast City Art Gallery
with milliner, Meredith McMaster and Women in Racing CEO, Jennifer Bartel

Age has no boundaries!! Neither does dressing as an individual!
With Mary Baynard, Sara Jane Adams and Judy Brine
The most elegant multi-tasker in the world. Who says 'Pucci' and 'inflating tyres' don't go together? 
A line-up suitable to win 'Best Dressed' and for Afternoon Tea at the Palazzo Versace Hotel

Thursday, January 11, 2018

1960s Hallmark Paper Party Dress

For the perfectionist Hostess who wanted to be the centre of attention as well as perfectly coordinated, in the mid to late 1960s, Hallmark produced paper party dresses that matched the party accessories from the centrepiece to the paper flowers and matchbook covers.

In 1966, the Scott Paper Company in America used a gimmicky marketing ploy to market their new range of throwaway tableware. For just $1.25, consumers could send away for their paper dress which was posted back along with coupons to buy their tableware. 
Scott Paper Company received half a million orders in six months. 

 The idea of wearing paper dresses caught on and became a massive hit at a time when the youth fancied crazes, hip fashion trends and the idea of disposability (the idea of having disposable incomes was new). The huge potential of wearing 'wearable advertising' for products and political messages encouraged other companies to produce and sell dresses by the hundreds of thousands, 
including Hallmark.

Paper dresses could be altered in minutes with a pair of scissors and tape, worn once or twice and then thrown away. This was perfect for the new generation of women who were eager 
to rebel against the 'Make Do and Mend' culture of WW11.

The fad was short lived and by 1968, when a new Hippy fashion movement took hold, 
paper dresses were out of date.

This wonderful, colourful and fun paper dress, made by Hallmark, is in The Darnell Collection. It even has its original packaging. 

(photograph: Brigitte Grant Photography)

Monday, January 8, 2018

One Enchanted Evening at Leura Garage Book Launch

The storms cleared as the launch of 'One Enchanted Evening', my third book (Affirm Press) about dresses in The Darnell Collection and stories about the women who wore them, kicked off the summer season
in the Blue Mountains.

Ultra trendy Leura Garage was emptied of its tables and chairs and replaced with a catwalk. Seven local models wore garments from the collection, from the 70s to the 90s.
Two 1929 Cadillac Lasalle automobiles, on loan from Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs, ferried models to and from the catwalk venue.
Nearby Caffeine & Gasoline cafe was turned into the styling and wardrobe area.
ABC Nightly News presenter, Jeremy Fernandez, was ever so professional and suave as the evening's Emcee.

Leura Garage hosted a bountiful evening with flowing Central West wines and platters of locally sourced canap├ęs to 150 guests. All captured in full colour by Brigitte Grant Photography.

It was a fabulous evening celebrating what is best about being a 'local'!

Models surround a stunning and rare 1929 Cadillac Lasalle

With ABC Nightly News presenter, Jeremy Fernandez, Emcee of the evening, in a 1929 Cadillac Lasalle