Private Sydney: war of fashion, art and mags
It's been a week of fiery exchanges with David Jones and Myer battling over designer Kym Ellery, while the story of duelling magazine divas Nene King and Dulcie Boling will be told in the next Paper Giants series.PT2M8S http://www.dailylife.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2dpdl 620 349 February 1, 2013
IT IS arguably the most political cocktail dress in the country right now, and on Wednesday it will be in the frontline of a multibillion-dollar battle when David Jones's star model,
Miranda Kerr, sashay's down the runway wearing Ellery.
Sending a clear message to arch rival Myer, DJs is putting the Ellery frock, by the designer Kimberley Ellery, in the coveted ''opening'' position at its autumn/winter fashion extravaganza.
Attention-grabber ... Miranda Kerr in a creation by Ellery. Photo: Supplied
The designer is also expected to be installed in the front row of the parade, another inidicator of just how much support David Jones is giving Ellery, who has landed in the centre of a fierce corporate showdown.
Part of DJ's marketing strategy is the ''family'' of Australian designers it exclusively stocks and invests millions of dollars in promoting, a family which for now includes Ellery.
On Wednesday Myer backed down from legal action that would have thrown the DJs launch into chaos by seeking an injunction to stop the retailer stocking and promoting the Ellery label.
Kerr features on the cover of the new season DJs catalogue wearing Ellery, a glossy magazine in which the store has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars. If Myer had succeeded in the injunction, the retailer would have been forced to shred thousands of copies of the expensive catalogue on the eve of its launch.
A trial is scheduled for April, when Myer intends to pursue its injunction to stop the brand being sold in David Jones, but not before Kerr gets to wear the label on Wednesday night, the image being beamed to media outlets across the country.
Myer signed a three-year exclusivity deal with Ellery in 2011.
According to court documents, the relationship between Myer and Ellery started to deteriorate late last year over celebrities wearing the label to the Spring Racing Carnival. Myer initially arranged for model Rebecca Judd to wear an Ellery gown, but changed its mind. Instead, Ellery arranged for actor Mischa Barton to wear the label to the races, a high-profile fashion event providing valuable marketing exposure where celebrities are photographed and spruik the labels they wear.
Ellery also claims Myer's former general manager of merchandise, Judy Coomber, advised Ellery to design women's officewear to boost sales.
''I was shocked to hear that suggestion … Ellery is not a workwear brand.''
The designer then attempted to reach Myer's chief executive, Bernie Brookes, claiming he told her in an email: '''I have no interest in meeting with you. I have many loyal suppliers and designers who I allocate my time to.''
BRADMAN PORTRAIT AMONG ARTIST'S LOSSES
When John Singleton's luxury Pretty Beach guesthouse in Killcare went up in flames last year, along with it went several valuable works by the artist Bill Leak, including a highly prized portrait of cricket legend Sir Donald Bradman.
''It wasn't just the grand piano which had burned into oblivion, so had my paintings … it has taken a while for me to realise just how devastating this has been,'' Leak told PS.
While insurance will cover the cost of rebuilding multi-millionaire Singleton's guesthouse, Leak says he has now discovered the insurance policy did not stretch to his artworks, which combined were worth nearly $200,000.
''Singo and I had a mate's agreement. The house was an excellent place to hang the works, but I never took out insurance over them. Financially it is a disaster, and I guess it means a lot more cartoons,'' a somewhat defeated Leak said.
Among the works were portraits of late AC/DC singer Bon Scott and the late Charles Perkins, an old friend of Singleton's.
''The Don Bradman piece was signed by him, too. I had painted it in 1988 and it was particularly valuable. I had kept it as a sort of retirement plan,'' Leak said, adding that the loss was not just measured in financial value.
''You don't just acquire artworks, they are created. It is a massive blow for me … it's a bit like losing one of your own. If someone had stolen the works, it probably would not have been so hard for me to take because at least you know the artwork lives on. But this, this is just so final. It is a terrible blow.''
Leak has had bad luck at Singleton's properties before. Four years ago he suffered serious head injuries in a fall from a balcony at Singleton's Mount White property. It took him months to recover, after spending a long time in a coma.
NOT ON THE SAME PAGE ON PAPER GIANTS SCRIPT
THREE years after she consulted on a hit TV series about herself, Ita Buttrose is Australian of the Year.
Can her former colleagues Dulcie Boling and Nene King, who is making her own headlines after court claims a former friend fleeced her of hundreds of thousands of dollars while she was addicted to drugs, expect a similar fate?
The second series of Paper Giants: Magazine Wars, which promises to be one of the TV highlights of this year, is in post-production. However, PS hears at least one of the main subjects had no involvement in it.
PS understands Southern Star Entertainment offered King and Boling to be paid consultants, but that Boling declined while requests for a copy of the script were refused.
The show's producer Mimi Butler told PS both were involved in the series' ''development'', but did not go into specifics. The series promises to capture the torrid years in Australia's magazine business when the duelling magazine mavens, King at Woman's Day and Boling at New Idea, were engaged in a bitter battle for readers and salacious scoops with the full backing of their respective overlords.
Viewers will see Rachel Griffiths as Boling (who these days is a board member at Kerry Stokes's Seven empire) and Mandy McElhinney (from the Rhonda and Ketut ads and who played Kerry Packer's long-suffering secretary in the original Paper Giants) as King, with Rob Carlton reprising his role as Packer.
The ABC is yet to release a screening date, though midyear looks likely.
In the original Paper Giants Buttrose was credited as a consultant, but the show was criticised in some quarters for being a little too flattering to her.
Buttrose's former husband, Alasdair ''Mac'' Macdonald, was certainly unimpressed, suing the ABC for defamation before settling for an undisclosed sum and an apology.
Former Aussie supermodel Gemma Ward's highly anticipated ''comeback'' is the talk of the fashion world. PS can report she is not taking any chances. Ward (pictured) has been on Palm Beach working out and adhering to a strict diet in preparation for an upcoming rumoured shoot with Vogue Australia. PS also hears she has found love, though with who remains a mystery. Ward was a no-show at Thursday's Christian Dior boutique opening, with tongues wagging that she was not quite ready for the inevitable scrutiny her return to the red carpet will attract. PS was assured that when she does finally return, she will be ''looking spectacular''.
A SAVAGE MUSE
The ghost of the late Percy Savage, an Australian fashion publicist who took Paris by storm throughout its glory days and has been described by London's Daily Telegraph as an ''enigmatic, Zelig-like character'', loomed large over the Christian Dior boutique opening, the first stand-alone store from the design house on Australian soil. Savage, who died in 2008, arrived in Paris from Australia in 1947, the year Dior launched his New Look, which, as PS reported last week, had been so overwhelmingly embraced by Sydney's fashion-conscious ladies of the day. The pair became so close that Dior named his iconic men's fragrance Eau Sauvage after him. It was also Savage who recommended Dior employ a young Yves Saint Laurent, who would go on to take the Dior helm when the designer died.
A BAZAAR LINE-UP
It sound's like a logistical nightmare, but the editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar Australia, Kellie Hush, says having 15 different covers designed by the biggest names in global fashion and dispersed across the country simultaneously can be done. On February 11 Hush will launch her 15th anniversary edition of HB, and has enlisted Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Karl Lagerfeld, Lanvin, Christian Louboutin, Diane von Furstenberg, Gucci, Calvin Klein, Hermes, Collette Dinnigan, Victoria Beckham, sass & bide, Romance Was Born, Stella McCartney (right) and Carine Roitfeld, to each create original artwork for the issue. The results range from drop dead chic to bizarrely kooky, as in the case of McCartney's effort, which features a pair of sexy panties.