Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
judy smith Apr 2017
Presumably the next big thing will be soles — socks with holes. Or maybe zits — pants with zips.

It’s made me wonder what else is ahead for us this season, so I headed to the mall to find out.

Topshop proclaims the return of triple denim (noooo!), the corset and coats worn as dresses. The latter should be worn undone to the waist and half falling off in order to “create a cold-shoulder silhouette”. Doesn’t make such sense during a Melbourne winter, I must say.

Topshop also has a very worrying item called a “monochrome gingham flute tie sleeve top”, which looks to me very much like a chequered table napkin worn backwards with ribbons at the elbows keeping the sleeves on. I’ll pass on that one.

Over at H&M;, winter’s “new mood” is all about “sustainable style” containing recycled materials. That means a simple flannel top is reborn as “conscious fashion” and a blue worker-style singlet becomes a “lyocell vest top”.

What would they call hi-vis? Apparently, the fash pack call it “haute reflecture”. Yes, really.

Most concerning is a shirt with “trumpet sleeves” so wide they’d need a separate seat at a restaurant. Even then they would end up dipping into the dinner of the person sitting at the next table. It may help you work out what to order, but it’s not likely to win you any friends.

At Zara it’s all about a “limited edition ballet dress” that will look perfect under a “moto jacket” Did they forget the r? Or are they too cool for correct spelling?

There is also something very strange called “over-the-knee high-heel sock boots”, which are $100. Give them to someone you loathe this Easter.

Zara also wants us to wear “Mum-fit jeans with side stripes”, which will no doubt just draw more unwelcome attention to the dreaded maternal hips. Who needs that?

They also have a velvet sack-style dress with a drawstring at the mid-thigh. It’s the style that doesn’t discriminate — it’s guaranteed to look unflattering on everyone.

So what other trends should we be running away from this season? Fashion insiders tell me “street-chic utilitarianism” is all the rage. That seems to involve wearing a flak jacket 10 sizes too big in a rotting-flesh colour paired with floral leggings with built-in shoes.

There’s also “new shirting”, which looks to me like the same thing as “old shirting” but has the added disadvantage of being just about to fall off your shoulders at the most inopportune time.

Trust me, you don’t need that and you don’t need an ironic-slogan T-shirt that tells the world “This was not a gift” or “This is a white T-shirt”.

I am also quite interested to know that “bra out” is apparently a trend and I wonder if that means I should stop tucking my daggy mum-bra straps into my tops.

Now, as someone who spent most of Wednesday this week at work with a large shop store label hanging out of the back of my skirt, I’m obviously not a huge fashionista.

But even I can see that never before has there been such a gap between clothes the fashion-conscious labels are promoting and everyday pieces we actually want to wear. You know, clothes that are well priced, well made, last more than a few seasons and aren’t made by five-year-old Bangladeshi orphans.

THERE’S no doubt something very weird is going on when there’s a waiting list for Yves Saint Laurent’s $10,000 jewelled boots and jewellery made of real succulents is being tipped as the next big thing. But really, who wants to have to remember to water their earrings?

Wandering around Zara this week (from where I bought the $89 skirt I forgot to take the label off), I was interested to see sale racks packed with off-the-shoulder tops, summer denim and lots of body suits. When are they going to learn women don’t want press studs up their privates?

I know that in fashion everything new is old anyway and that’s what really concerns me.

I’ve been around long enough to remember all the best worst fashion disasters such as pooh-catcher pants, velour tracksuits, trucker hats and platform sneakers.

Frankly, there are some items that don’t deserve to be wheeled out again. They include leg warmers — because your ankles don’t get cold when you work out, do they? And let’s not revisit male crop tops, because a hairy muffin top is something we don’t need to see.

Back to jindows. Just because Topshop tells us they’re “globally trending in the denim space”, it doesn’t mean you need a pair.

Remember. You didn’t need jeggings, coatigans, skorts or flatforms. And you sure as hell don’t need jindows.Read more at: |
judy smith Apr 2017
So you know you’re looking at two very different styles of dress, here. But precisely what decades? When did that waistline move back down? What details are the defining touches of their era? How long were women actually walking around with bustles on their backsides?

Lydia Edwards’s How to Read a Dress is a detailed, practical, and totally beautiful guide to the history of this particular form of clothing from the 16th to the 20th centuries. It tracks the small changes that pile up over time, gradually ******* until your great-grandmother’s closet looks wildly different than your own. As always, fashion makes for a compelling angle on history—paging through you can see the shifting fortunes of women in the Western world as reflected in the way they got dressed every morning.

Of course, it’ll also ensure that the next lackadaisically costumed period piece you watch gives you agita, but all knowledge has a price.

I spoke to Edwards about how exactly we go about resurrecting the history of an item that’s was typically worn until it fell apart and then recycled for scraps; our conversation has been lightly trimmed and edited for clarity.

The title of the book is How to Read a Dress. What do you mean by “reading” a dress?

Basically what I mean is, when you are looking at a dress in an exhibition or a TV show, reading it in terms of working out where the inspirations or where certain design choices come from. Being able to look at it and recognize key elements. Being able to look at the bodice and say, Oh, the shape of that is 1850s, and the design relates to this part of history, and the patterning comes from here. It’s looking at the dress as an object from the top down and being able to recognize different elements—different historical elements, different design elements, different artistic elements. “Read” is probably the best word to use for that kind of approach, if that makes sense.

It must send you around the bend a little bit, watching costume adaptations where they’re a bit slapdash. The one I think of is the Keira Knightley Pride and Prejudice, which I actually really enjoy, but I know that one’s supposed to have all over the place costuming-wise.

Yeah, it does. I mean, I love the BBC Pride and Prejudice one, because they kept very specifically to a particular era. But I can see what they did with the Keira Knightley one—they were trying to keep it 1790s, when the book was written, as opposed to when it was published. But they’ve got a lot of kind of modern influences in there and they’ve got a lot of influences from 30, 40 years previously, which is interesting to an audience and gives an audience I suppose more frames of reference, more areas to think about and look at. So I can see why they did that. But it does make it more difficult if you’re trying to accurately decode a garment. It’s harder when you’ve got lots of different eras going on there, but it makes it beautiful and interesting for an audience.

The guide spans the 16th to the 20th century. Why start with the 16th century?

Well, partly because it’s where my own interest starts, in terms of my research and the areas I’ve looked at. But more importantly in terms of audience interest, we get a lot of TV shows, a lot of films in recent years—things like The Tudors—that type of era seems to be something that people are interested in. That time is very colorful and very interesting to people.

And also because in terms of thinking about the dress as garment, obviously people wore dresses in medieval times, but in terms of it being something that specifically women wore, distinct from men’s clothes, I really think we start to see that more in the 15th, 16th century onwards.

Where do you go to get the historical information to put together a book like this? What do you use as your source material? Because obviously the thing about clothing is that it has to stand up to a lot of wear and tear and a lot of it doesn’t survive.

This is the other thing about the 16th century stuff—there’s so little surviving. That’s why that chapter was a lot shorter and also that’s why I used a lot of artworks rather than surviving garments, just because they don’t exist in their entirety.

But wherever possible, you go to the garments themselves in museum collections. And then if that’s proving to be difficult, you go to artworks or images, but always bearing in mind the artist will have had their own agenda, so they won’t necessarily be accurate of what people were actually wearing. So then you have to go and look up written source material from the time—say, diaries. I like using letters that people have written to each other over the centuries, describing dress and what they were wearing on a daily basis. Novels can be good, as well.

Also the scholarship that has come before, the secondary sources, works by people like Janet Arnold, Aileen Ribeiro. Really well researched scholarly books where people have used primary sources themselves and put their own interpretation on it can be really, really helpful. Although you take some of it with a pinch of salt, and you put your own interpretation on there, as well.

But always to the dress itself wherever possible.

What are some of the challenges you face, or the constraints on our ability to learn about the history of fashion?

Well, the very practical issue of trying to see garments—some of them I did see here in Australia, but a lot of them were in the States, in Canada, in New Zealand, so it’s hard to physically get there to see them. And often, even when you can get to the museum, garments are out on loan to other exhibitions or other museums. That’s a practical consideration.

But also, especially when I’m talking about using artworks and things, which can be really helpful when you’re researching, but as I’ve said they do come from a place where there’s more interpretations and more agendas. So if someone’s done a portrait and there’s a beautiful 1880s dress in it, that could have been down to the whims of the person who was wearing it, or the artist could have changed significantly the color or style to suit his own taste. Then you have to do extra research on top of that, to make sure that what you are seeing is representative.

It’s a fascinating area. There’s a lot of challenges, but for me, that’s what makes it really exciting as well. But it’s really that question of being able to trust sources and knowing what to use and what not to use in order to make things clear for the audience.

Obviously many of these dresses were very expensive and took a lot of labor and it wasn’t fast fashion—people didn’t just give it away or toss it when it fell out of season. A lot of times, you did was you remade it. When you’re looking at a dress that’s been remade, how do you extract the information that you need as a historian out of it?

I love it when something like that comes up. I’ve got a couple of examples in the book.

Well, it can be quite challenging, because often when you’re first looking at a piece it’s not obvious that it’s been remade. But if you’re lucky enough to look inside it and actually hold it and turn it round different angles, there’ll be things like the placement of a seam, or you’ll see that the waist has been moved up or down according to the fashion. And that’s often obvious when you’re looking inside. You can see the way the skirt’s been attached. Often you can tell if a skirt’s been taken off and then reattached using different pleats, different gatherings; that can give you a hint that it’s then been remade to fit in with a different fashionable ideal.

One of the key ways is fabric. You can often see, especially in early 19th century dresses when they’ve been made of these beautiful 18th century silks and brocades. That’s nice because it’s the first obvious clue that something’s been remade or that an old dress has been completely taken apart and it’s just the fabric that’s been used. I find it particularly interesting when the waist has been moved or the seams have been taken off or re-sewn in a different shape or something like that. It can be subtle but once your knowledge base grows, that’s one of the most fascinating areas that you can look at.

You page through the book and you watch these trends unfold and there are occasional sea changes will happen fairly quickly, like when the Regency style arises. But how much change year-to-year would a woman have seen? How long would it take, just as a woman getting dressed in the morning, to see styles just radically alter? Would you even notice?

Well, this is the thing—I think it’s very easy, when we’re looking back, to imagine that in 1810 you’d be wearing this dress and then all the frills and the frouf would have started to come in the late 1810s and the 1820s, and suddenly you would have had a whole new wardrobe. But obviously, unless you were the very wealthiest women and you had access to dressmakers who had the absolute newest patterns and newest fabrics then no, you wouldn’t have seen a massive change. You wouldn’t have afforded to be able to have the newest things as they came in. You would have maybe remade dresses to make them maybe slightly more in line with a fashion plate that you might have seen, but you wouldn’t have had access to new information and new fashion plates as soon as they came. To be realistic, there would have been very little change on a day to day level.

But I think also, for us now—it’s hard to see it without hindsight, but we feel like we’re fairly fluid in wearing the same kind of styles, but obviously when we look back in 20 years, we’ll look at pictures of us and see greater changes than we’re now aware. Because it happens on a slow pace and it happens on such a subconscious level in some ways.

But actually, yeah, it’s to do with economics, it’s to do with availability. People living in towns where they couldn’t easily get to cities—if you were living in a country town a hundred miles away from London, there’s no way that you would have the resources to see the most recent fashion plates, the most recent ideas that were developing in high society. So it was a very slow process in reality.

If you have a lot of money you can change out your wardrobe quicker and wear the latest styles. And so the wealthiest people, their clothes were what in a lot of case stood the best chance of surviving and being in modern collections. So how do we know what working women would have worn or what middle class women would have worn?

Yeah, this is hard. I do have some more middle class examples, because we’re lucky in that we do have quite a few that have survived, especially in smaller museums and historical collections, where people have had clothes sitting in their attics for years and have donated them, just from normal families over the years.

But, working women, that’s much more difficult. We’re lucky from the 19th century because we have photographic evidence. But really a lot of it will come down to written descriptions, mainly letters, diaries, not necessarily that the people themselves would have kept, but there’s examples of people that worked in cotton mills, for instance, and people that ran the mills and their families and wives and friends who had written accounts of what the women there were wearing. Also newspaper accounts, particularly of people who would go and do charity work and help the poor. They often wrote quite detailed descriptions of the people that they were helping.

But in terms of actual garments, yeah, it’s very difficult. Certainly 18th century and before, it’s really, really hard to get hold of anything that gives you a really good idea of what they wore. But in the 18th century—it’s quite interesting, because then we get examples of separate pieces of clothing worn by the upper classes, like a skirt with a jacket, which was actually a lower middle class style initially and then it became appropriated by the upper classes. And then it became much fancier and trimmed and made in silks and things. So then, we can see the inspiration of the working classes on the upper classes. That’s another way of looking at it, although of course that’s much more problematic.

It’s interesting how in several cases you can see broader historical context, or other stories happening through clothes. Like you point out that the rise of the one-piece dresses is due to the rise of mantua makers, who were women who were less formally trained who were suddenly making clothing. Are there any other interesting stories like that, that you noticed and thought were really fascinating?

There’s a dress in the book that a woman made for her wedding. I think she was living on her own, or she was living with a servant and her mother or something. She made the dress and then turned up to her wedding and traveled quite a long way to get there, and when she arrived, the groom and all the guests weren’t there. There was nobody. So she went away and came back again a week later, and everyone was there. And the reason that no one was there before was that a river had flooded in the direction that they were all coming from. She had obviously no way of finding out about this until after the fact, and we have this beautiful dress that she spent ages making and had obviously gone to a lot of effort to try and work out what the latest styles were, to incorporate it into her wedding dress.

Things like that, I find really interesting, because they talk so much about human and social history as well as fashion history, and the garment is the main way we have of keeping these stories alive and remembering them and looking into the kind of life and world these people lived, who made these garments.

Over the centuries, how does technology affect fashion? Obviously, we think of the industrial revolution as really speeding up the pace of fashion. But are there other moments in the history of fashion where technology shapes what women end up wearing?

One example is where I talk about the Balenciaga dress from the early 1950s—with a bubble hem and a hat and she would have worn these beautiful pump shoes with it—with the introduction of the zipper. Which just made such a huge difference, because it suddenly meant you’d have ease and speed of dressing. It meant that you didn’t have to worry about more complicated ways of fastening a garment. I think the zipper made a massive change and also in terms of dressmaking at home, it was a really quick and simple way that people had of being able to create quite fashionable styles on a budget and with ease and speed at home.

Also, of course, once women’s dress started to become simpler and they did away with the corset and underwear became a lot less complicated, that made dressing a lot easier, that made the introduction of the bias cut and things that sit very closely to the natural body much more widely used and much more fashionable.

I would say the introduction of machine-made lace as well, particularly from the late 19th, early 20th century onwards where it was so fashionable on summer dresses and wedding dresses. It just meant that you could so much more easily add this decadent touch to a garment, because lace would have been so much more expensive before then and so time-consuming to make. I think that made a huge difference in ordinary women being able to attain a kind of luxury in their everyday dress.

That actually makes me think of something else I wanted to ask you, which is you point out in your intro the way we casually use this word “vintage.” I think about that with lace. Lace is described as being a “vintage” touch but it’s very much this question of when, where, who, why—it’s a funny term when you think about it, the way we use it so casually to describe so much.

Oh, yes. It’s crazy. I used to work in a wedding dress shop and I used to make historically inspired wedding dresses and things. And brides used to come in and say, “Oh, I want something vintage.” But they didn’t really know what they meant. Usually what they meant is they wanted something with a bit of lace on it, or with some sort of pearls or beading. I think it’s really inspired by whatever is trending at the time. So, you know, Downton Abbey became vintage. I think ‘50s has always been kind of synonymous with the word vintage. But what it means is huge,
judy smith Apr 2017
It’s the tail end of fashion week in Paris, the busiest week of the year for fashion buyers.

When I meet Clodagh Shorten, owner of Samui, the game-changing boutique that put Cork on the fashion map, she’s already been here four days and is on her tenth buying appointment — there’ll be at least another five before she leaves in a couple of days time.

These appointments, private bookings with designers, allow her to get up close and personal with the clothes that have just been showcased on catwalks.

She’s deciding which pieces will best suit her customers.

Today, we meet at Schumacher, the stunning German label known for its easy chic look.

A beautiful white space, with lush cream velvet sofas, bare walls and white rails (nothing here to distract from the main event — the clothes), this room, prime space in Paris, is rented by the designer year-round just so they have the right venue to sell at Fashion Week.

It gives some indication of the power Fashion Week wields.

Clodagh is here with her right-hand woman, Samui manager Mary-Claire O’Sullivan.

There are two rails — the keepers and the ‘ones that got away’.

They’ve already seen this collection in London.

Today they are here to fine-tune.

This is unusual, Mary-Claire explains — at most appointments, they are seeing the clothes for the very first time.

“This is a big spend,” they tell me, and they’ll stay as long as they need “to get it right”.

Piecing together a collection is something akin to a jigsaw puzzle.

All the items are photographed — later they will be analysed back in the apartment they rent during Fashion Week.

The mix has to be right.

So the coats, a sleeveless waistcoat, are moved to the rail on the right.

They won’t make it to Cork.

Coats were already picked up this morning at another appointment.

Like I said, a jigsaw puzzle.

Two models are on hand to try on clothes when requested — I hear ‘can I just see this on one more time’ a lot.

There’s no haggling over prices in these sales negotiations — it’s all too civilised.

The price is set, as is the instore mark-up. These lauded designs must cost the same the world over.

Clodagh and Mary-Claire share a language and a wavelength. They can finish each other’s sentences and, while I don’t so much as sniff a hint of tension, they tell me they can disagree on buys.

“Clodagh doesn’t want a yes woman,” Mary-Claire says simply.

From Schumacher, Clodagh leads the way through the Parisian cobbled streets, phone held aloft, Google Maps to direct her.

Her wheelie bag is constantly behind her — inside there’s the laptop for orders and a camera for instant access to photographs of collections.

Her calculator is another permanent fixture in the showroom.

Today, Clodagh is dressed in an Australian label coming soon to Samui, Ellery. The lush black fabric sways and moves with her body; an outfit like that makes you really appreciate her eye for fashion. It’s sensational.

For this 5.30pm appointment we are heading to see another new label for Samui — Paskal (Clodagh will wear a piece from this line tomorrow).

The Ukrainian designer is looked after by an agency so in this showroom there are pieces by a handful of brands.

Again, the setup is the same — private appointments, models on hand.

Clodagh and Mary-Claire have to be more careful here — this is a new label and it’s more fashion forward so black is prioritised.

Not every client at Samui will wear this line. Every purchase, I realise, is a gamble.

“We’ve made mistakes, of course we have,” says Mary-Claire though you get the feeling that could be a rare event.

Pieces bought by these two women rarely end up in Samui’s sales rack.

They know their customer, plain and simple.

There is so much trust there, some clients are simply sent collections each season, allowing Clodagh to make the call for them.

So much of their day is spent discussing various clients (never by name in my presence) — what they might like, the best size.

It is effectively the ultimate personal shopping experience.

The number of items and sizes are limited, so customers know they are truly getting one-off pieces.

As we leave, kisses over, the agency head tells them, “you’re our favourites” and you just know it’s not empty fashion talk.

People genuinely love Clodagh and Mary-Claire. And they respect what they do.

Samui is open 16 years now. Clodagh mastered her trade at Monica John before stepping out on her own. Mary-Claire joined her eight years ago.

It has been one of the few boutiques in Cork to not just survive the downturn but to positively thrive.

As the economy spluttered around her, Clodagh very masterfully decided to go high end.

First came Moncler — the top people here had to come and view Samui to see if it was the right match for their esteemed label.

It was — and, increasingly, doors began to open.

Carven, Marni, Rick Owens — people really began to sit up and take notice of Samui.

Now labels are often vying for space on the shop floor. Still though, it takes work to secure the big new names.

Clodagh spends a lot of time on planes, networking, meeting the key players. And it’s not as simple as a visit to Fashion Week twice a year either.

These days pre-collections are key too: these pieces will be on the shop floor for longer.

So Clodagh and Mary-Claire travel in January to Paris for pre- collections, Milan in February for Moncler, Paris in March. The same cycle begins again in June for A/W pre-collections, with S/S Fashion Week in September.

Clodagh is always pushing, always striving for new.

She was devastated to say farewell to Transit, the brand with her from the very beginning. It was simply time for a change she tells me.

They love seeking out new labels, nurturing them, sharing them with their customers.

The next morning we meet at 9am for Dries van Noten.

Clodagh stocks around 50 different labels, most exclusive to Cork. This Belgian designer is one of them.

Here again is a very fashion forward line.

There’s a minimum €20,000 spend here, and that’s the amount Clodagh and Mary-Claire can play with.

This is a much busier showroom, a slick operation. Buyers are everywhere, the models weaving between them.

They are assigned a seller and a table, laptop at the ready to secure the sale.

Sophie, today’s seller, walks them through the long rails and talks to them about the collection, the fabrics, the colour, the catwalk, the vision.

Clodagh and Mary-Claire repeat the process a second time alone, a third time again with Sophie.

There are little standing breaks for coffee — refreshments and lunch are provided by the designer.

Clodagh and Mary-Claire know to carry snacks everywhere. The buying process can be a long one; Dries could be an all-day event.

The price point is much higher here so, again, each piece has to be carefully thought out. Checked and checked again.

These A/W deliveries will land in store in July.

Watching them make their Samui edit on that March morning, I just know the Dries selection will be a show-stopper this Autumn.

I leave them to sign on the dotted line, wishing them success for the rest of their gruelling schedule as I head for Charles de Gaulle.

“People don’t realise what goes into this,” says Clodagh. And she’s right.

None of us can possibly grasp what it must have taken for one woman to put Cork on the fashion radar.Read more at: |
judy smith Mar 2017
WHEN Jayson Brunsdon learnt he had to muster the strength to fight cancer as his fashion empire crumbled around him, he was at breaking point.

Luckily for him and husband Aaron, a saviour was on the way — in the form of a beautiful brown-eyed angel — their son, Roman.

In a heartfelt interview with Wentworth Courier ahead of the March 30 launch of their book, Designer Baby, the couple shared their tumultuous journey to bring Roman home to Australia after he was born to a surrogate in Thailand.

Watching their faces light up as the now two-year-old Roman gleefully dives under a mountain of pillows on the couch at their Elizabeth Bay apartment, it is easy to see why they describe him as “the light at the end of the tunnel” after what they have been through.

And the couple has held nothing back in telling their amazing story of survival, hope and determination in the face of unbelievable adversity.

Their world came crashing down in 2008 when the global financial crisis delivered a devastating blow to their Jayson Brunsdon label, a darling of the fashion world, worn by Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and Jennifer Hawkins.

“Most of our business was international, in America and England … and we lost all that business overnight,” said Jayson, 52.

“It was around the same time that I was diagnosed with (testicular) cancer.”

He faced a three-year battle, including four months of intense chemotherapy, after surgery had failed to stop the disease spreading.

“It’s very difficult to be creative when you can barely get out of bed and you’re deliriously ill and you feel like you’re dying,” he said.

“It was a really hard time and it went on for a long time so we had to downsize and we had to get rid of our stores.”

Aaron, 44, said the cancer made it impossible to keep the business afloat.

“Jayson was the creator of the brand but my time had to be devoted to his care as well and so … everything started to suffer and it kept going down and down until we reached rock-bottom,” he said.

“It was the GFC, it was the cancer, it was everything and one day we woke up and lost everything, we lost the entire business.”

Rather than give up, Jayson fought the cancer and won — a process which caused him to reflect on his life to the point where he questioned whether he even wanted to be part of the fashion world.

“Cancer was life-changing because after you’ve been through it, you just can’t deal with ******* and there’s so much of it in the fashion world, it kind of revolves around it and I thought; ‘I don’t know if I can do this any more’,” Jayson said.

“But what else was I going to do? We had the business and … when we downsized, I could kind of get away from it all.”

The couple has since rebuilt the business and the Jayson Brunsdon black label is in 40 Myer stores.

When Jayson went into remission, the couple of 18 years could finally pursue their dream of having a family together.

“We had wanted it for a long time but (the cancer) meant we had to put the whole thing on hold,” Jayson said.

“At that time we started to realise there was a lot more to life than working seven days a week and struggling every day,” Aaron said.

“We wanted something more and I think one of the most important things in our lives was having a family.”

After doing a mountain of research, the couple began eight months of preparation work with the All IVF Center in Bangkok and they were matched with their Thai surrogate ****.

They were over the moon when she fell pregnant with Roman, using Aaron’s cousin Rebecca’s egg, donated altruistically, and Jayson’s *****.

But their excitement turned to panic when the Thai Government announced it was going to outlaw surrogacy in the wake of the Baby Gammy scandal, when an Australian couple left their son with his surrogate mother because he had Down syndrome.

The couple was told the chances of bringing Roman home were “almost impossible”.

“At the time, it was the worst news any parent could face — we were five-and-a-half months pregnant and at that point we knew there was going to be a fight and we just didn’t know how long the fight was going to be,” Aaron said.

“It was one of the most tumultuous times in our lives because we had gone through so much to get to this point and we’d had so many challenges.

“When we finally got pregnant, we thought there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“And then for the bombshell to drop on us to say that ‘you can’t bring him home’, that was the most frightening thing that had ever happened to us.”

In the wake of Gammy, the Thai Government ordered an audit into IVF clinics.

This led to the forced closure of the All IVF Center after authorities allegedly discovered links to the human trafficking of surrogate babies.

The fate of about 50 Australian couples — including the Brunsdons — was thrown into limbo.

After much political wrangling, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop arranged a pact with the Thai Government who agreed to grant a grace period for pregnancies already in progress.

Jayson finds it difficult to articulate the relief he felt.

“It was just sheer joy, it was like, ‘thank God’, it’s difficult to describe really because it’s about our child and if you can’t get him home, you don’t know what to do,” he said.

“When it was all clear, we were just ecstatic and we could get on with living again. We were just on hold, we were holding our breaths.”

But they were not out of the woods yet.

Despite being assured they would have not issues leaving Thailand after Roman was born on January 5, 2015, they were detained at the airport for human trafficking.

“Initially they said, ‘we are not going to let you go until we see the surrogate mother’ and they asked us all these questions and they were screaming at us,” said Aaron.

“It was awful, we were so terrified.”

Eventually they were allowed on the plane — Roman had an Australian passport and Jayson’s name was on the birth certificate.

Jayson has spoken out for the first time in response to accusations that he saw Roman as a commodity akin to a buying a fashion accessory.

“That’s kind of pathetic really. Who has a child so they can have them as an accessory that they can dress up?” Jayson said.

“I just think it’s just really bigoted, discriminatory, really ill-informed and it’s unacceptable.

“Some people are just really ignorant people and they don’t understand that when you’re gay, you’re born gay. It’s like being born black … you can’t help it.

“So if you want to have a child, why shouldn’t you have a child?

“If we got him as just an accessory, we would have been over him by now wouldn’t we?

“It’s part of the joy of being a new parent, to buy the cot and decorate the bedroom and all that kind of stuff.”

Jayson said Roman had “enriched” their lives.

“He makes us so much more responsible, patient, caring and loving and we are very lucky because he is just a gorgeous little angel,” he said.

“(Parenthood) is such a fantastic experience. It’s the hardest thing you ever do, but it’s the best thing you ever do.

“It’s the best thing we ever did, it’s better than showing in New York Fashion Week or anything, it’s a much more heart filling experience than anything you’ve ever done.”

Aaron said they would ensure Roman was not deprived of anything.

**** said she would do it all over again if they ever wanted a sibling for their son Roman.

“One day in the future if you want to have a sister or brother for Roman, if she can help and do again, she is happy to do,” said an interpreter responding to questions.

The mother, who had never been a surrogate before, said she discussed her decision with her husband and family, including her two children Jonus, 16, and Nicky, 6, “so everyone knew and agreed”.

Her motivation was to help the Australians, “fulfil a family that would be the most wonderful gift to them that they can never forget”.

“She also believed this is a very good thing she did, to give life,” the interpreter said.

“She look after someone’s baby for them. She want to make that couple also very happy.

“She loves and talk to baby and let her kids and family touch and talk to a little boy inside. “Because she believe her love and care will be the best vaccine for baby to grow well.”

When she met Aaron and Jayson, she understood how they felt.

“You two very good people. She knew you are super fathers who will raise a little boy surrounding with love, good education and all good things,” the interpreter said.

“Buddha teach her to be good people, to help other people and bring happiness to people.”Read more at: |
judy smith Mar 2017
In one shot, the actress posed in a barely-there Burberry cape, revealing quite a lot of her *******, and it is this picture which has been criticised. Broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer condemned Watson for her hypocrisy in campaigning against page three while then bearing all in a ‘posh magazine’, while also suggesting that she wouldn’t be taken seriously for the move.

Watson, however, defended herself, stating that she was ‘stunned’ by the controversy, and didn’t see what her ‘**** have to do with it’. Indeed, many have backed the actress up, arguing ****** and fashion have nothing to do with feminism. And yet, in society at the moment, it does seem that way.

Women across the globe struggle to be taken seriously unless dressed in a certain way. Even our own Prime Minister is fodder for tabloid’s style sections; focusing more on her shoes than her politics. This certainly wasn’t the case for her predecessor David Cameron.

Similarly, professional women are only taken seriously when conforming to the predetermined white male power ideal. Suits, straight and sleek hair, minimal makeup (that is still flattering to a feminine ideal) is encouraged, and leaves very little room for women of colour, gender nonconforming people, and others.

This double standard between genders is evident not only in professional spheres, but in everyday life. Women who choose to wear the hijab, for example, are sometimes demonised and are branded as oppressed, with those expressing such an opinion often having no factual knowledge of the context behind the garment. Surely a woman’s choice of how they present themselves to the world is their business and their business alone. As Watson argued, ‘feminism is…about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality’.

Fashion and style is an incredibly powerful tool which one can use to express oneself and its value most definitely shouldn’t be discounted within feminism. Denouncing stereotypes of style and outdated ideals of beauty can empower some, and allows people to embrace their uniqueness and difference. Others, however, may be empowered by embracing typically gendered style, or what may be branded as ‘conservative’ fashion.

The importance here, though, is not what they are wearing but that what they are wearing is a consequence of them exercising their choice, and how it allows them to express their personal beliefs and message.

Watson’s choice to wear a revealing top is just as valid as her choice to wear a suit on any other day. A person’s style should not impact their validity or respectability. It is not for other people to say what may empower an individual. That choice is yours, and yours alone. Whether a woman chooses to pose for **** photo shoots, or cover herself from head to toe, it does not make either any less feminist nor any less of a role model.Read more at: |
judy smith Mar 2017
On Wednesday the Supreme Court ruled in the Star Athletica v. Varsity Brandscase, which centered on the issue of copyrighting the chevron, stripe, and other patterns of cheerleading uniforms. To laypeople, this was the case that gave the world the justices’ unforgettable banter about fashion and style. “The clothes on the hanger do nothing. The clothes on the woman do everything. And that is, I think, what fashion is about,” said Justice Stephen Breyer during an argument with Justice Elena Kagan, who responded, “That’s so romantic.” But, to those inside the fashion world, this was a landmark that has potential to resonate in the industry for years to come. Not only is the suit the first time the Supreme Court has ever heard a case centering on apparel design copyrights, but the 6–2 ruling in favor of Varsity Brands allows elements of a garment’s design to be protected by copyright law. In the Court’s syllabus, it declares: “The Copyright Act of 1976 makes ‘pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features’ of the ‘design of a useful article’ eligible for copyright protection as artistic works if those features ‘can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article.’ ”

To help translate the government legalese, Vogue spoke with Joseph Mueller, a lawyer at Dewey Pegno & Kramarsky LLP, a litigation boutique that regularly handles copyright disputes. Mueller wrote, “The Court decided that copyright law can sometimes protect aesthetic elements of designs for cheerleader uniforms. This sounds straightforward, but a little background shows why this case was complicated. Copyright law protects certain types of artistic and creative expressions. On the other end of the intellectual-property spectrum is patent law, which protects innovations based on their usefulness and novelty. This case dealt with a tricky middle ground: Copyright law can protect aesthetic features of a ‘design for a useful article’—but only if they are distinct enough from the article’s useful or functional aspect.”

But how to define what’s useful and what’s not in a garment? Would you call Craig Green’s many ties and knots functional or decorative? What about Julien Dossena’s linked squares at Paco Rabanne? “There is tons of gray area,” Mueller wrote. “The Court articulated a rule that sounds neat and tidy, but we won’t know precisely how much protection it actually gives designers until other courts apply these principles to other cases.”

In short, this ruling isn’t a blanket statement protecting all designers from knockoffs and copying, but rather it opens the door for making the case that certain parts of design can be protected by copyright. That’s important, especially considering that Congress has discussed expanding copyright protections for fashion designers but has not yet made it into law.

Still, the impact this decision could have on high fashion is great. Not only does it provide luxury houses some ground to defend themselves against fast fashion retailers who churn out replicas of runway designs before the originals hit stores, but it also has the potential to discourage designers from borrowing motifs from their peers or from the past. “Designers have relied mostly on trademarks to protect themselves, but now they can argue that more conceptual, less obvious aspects of their designs should be protected by copyright too,” wrote Mueller. “As with many Supreme Court opinions, it will take some time to know what the practical effect of this decision will be. But there’s no question that it’s a big shift. You can expect to see designers relying on copyright law more often to challenge what they perceive to be knock-offs.”Read more at: |
judy smith Mar 2017
In keeping on track to make art more accessible, Isabella Huffington has a two-item collaboration with Designow and two upcoming exhibitions.

While her paintings can be “kind of intense, colorful, bright and a bit overwhelming,” she decided to translate a “very light one” called “Chrysanthemum” for the dress and scarf that will be sold on Designow’s site starting March 30. The artwork’s floral motif is actually a collage made of found objects like books and magazines. With clothing, you’re thinking about the consumer and you’re thinking about yourself, so it’s much more like an architect. You want to be authentic but it also has to look good on the person.” Huffington said of the $250 long-sleeve knee-length dress with a tapered waist. “You could wear it to a party but you could also wear it to work at 20 or at 40. I’m really interested in making art that has mass appeal.”

There is also a scarf with an artistic box that is geared for gift-giving or for a younger shopper who might not want to wear a dress. Huffington said of her fashion debut, “This is the first dip in the water but I’m definitely interested in pursuing this further. A lot of people don’t think they have interest in art or access to art so I love the idea of bringing art into the everyday.”

On April 28, Huffington will open an exhibition at Rebecca Minkoff’s gallery adjacent to the designer’s Melrose Avenue store. The artist has another show opening May 3 at Anastasia Photo on the Lower East Side of Manhattan about women and politics.

An admirer of Japanese artists Yayoi Kusama and Haruki Murakami, Huffington said a lot of Japanese artists, and American ones too, are collaborating outside of fine art so she’s looking to what they’re doing for cues. Even buying flowers in Japan calls for almost “artlike wrapping,” she said. “We’re almost missing that in the States because art is very much seen as something that is reserved for the elite. Even with Trump trying to cut [the National] Endowment for the Arts, it’s just not seen as a priority. But people who need art most almost don’t have access to it. I love being in a country where art is so much a part of the culture.”

Huffington said she has been really lucky to have her mother Arianna’s encouragement for years. “Since I’ve been a kid, she’s basically let me completely destroy my entire bedroom. I put paint on the walls and colored. At one point, I glued sponges so she really let me experiment. That really was my introduction to art,” Huffington said. “The best lesson my mom ever taught me, it’s especially [good] for my generation, was if something doesn’t work out it’s very easy for us to get discouraged. My mom basically said, ‘You have to knock on a lot of doors before things work out.’ So you just keep going. It’s like a task. A bunch of tiny things will lead to a big thing. It’s not one thing that changes everything. So you have to do a million different things before the right thing comes along.”

In other Designow news, the first Collective x Designow fashion show will be held April 2 with 28 students from FIT, the New School’s Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute. The event at 526 West 26th Street is part of a competition.Read more at: |
Next page