Wednesday, December 1, 2010

DEC 2010 - JAN 2011: Melburnin'

Apartment-living in Melbourne rocks. Whilst sacrificing space in exchange for close proximity to the city centre might not be for everyone, the prospect of fabulous food and entertainment on your doorstep is certainly appealing.

Cities are the hubs and centres of our modern world. In Luminous Cities at National Gallery of Victoria, Joel Kotkin describes them as “the ultimate handiwork of our imagination as a species, testifying to our ability to reshape the natural environment in the most profound and lasting ways”. This powerful photographic exhibition is a celebration of the beauty of cities from ancient to modern times, featuring works from the NGV collection by 19th and 20th century photographers such as Berenice Abbott, Eugene Atget, Bill Brandt, Lee Freidlander, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Grant Mudford, Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz as well as many others who have captured the energy of these impressive structures over this period. Cities featured in the exhibition include Rome, Pompeii, London, New York and Frankfurt, as well as Sydney and Melbourne. Runs until 13 March 2011. Read more...

Monday, November 1, 2010

NOVEMBER 2010: Melburnin'

As a challenged photographer myself, I take my hat off to anyone who can master this art form. I have been known to unintentionally crop the odd head or even worse, whole people when attempting to take group shots at family get-togethers, so my lack-lustre track record ensures that I am the last choice for photographic duties at such functions. Fortunately, there are plenty of exhibitions around Melbourne to glean photographic (and other) inspiration from this month, and I might even pick up a few pointers...Read more...

Friday, October 1, 2010

On Parr: Mike Parr speaks at ACCA

Who in their right mind would write a list of 150 instructions for themselves, such as: “swallow a lump of marble, repeatedly drop a brick on your foot, let a dog drink some of your blood, press some glass into some bread, arrange for a friend to bite into your shoulder until blood appears, light a match and hold your finger in the flame for as long as possible, nail your hand to a tree, push a small fish up your nose, keep licking the wall of an art gallery until your tongue bleeds and some blood is smeared on the wall, cut your throat an inch at a time …”? Read more...

OCTOBER 2010: Melburnin'

I have had my work cut out for me this month, cramming as many exciting events as possible into this little article. It would appear that October is the month of art festivals in Melbourne (although, is there ever a month in Melbourne that is short of a festival or two?). I am now passing on the challenge, anticipating that you will have your work cut out trying to get around seeing everything this month, so good luck! Read more...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

SEPTEMBER 2010: Melburnin'

“Art is a lie that helps us realise the truth”. Pablo Picasso’s powerful words poignantly linger in Carol Jerrems’ tribute to her mother Joy. This was Jerrems’ final piece of work before she passed away. Heide Museum of Modern Art’s Up Close exhibition features work from Carol Jerrems with Larry Clark, Nan Goldin and William Yang. Photographic images from each artist capture different aspects of life during the 1970s and 1980s, such as teenage and gay subcultures as well as party scenes of the 1980s. Read more...

Special Feature: Melbourne Fringe Festival 2010

Get ready Melbourne! With more than 4000 artists participating in hundreds of shows throughout Melbourne from 22 September to 10 October, the 2010 Melbourne Fringe Festival is guaranteed to be an action-packed-art-extravaganza.

Key festival locations are the Fringe Hub and Club where artists and performers including Kitty Flanagan, Miles O’Neill (Suitcase Royale) and comedian Sammy J (Barry Award winner) will all be performing solo shows. The festival also proudly boasts that 80% of all works featured are from Victorian artists. Read more...

Special Feature: Stick it!, A sticky situation…

Some of my fondest childhood memories involved a pot of delicious smelling Clag Glue, some crepe paper, cellophane and an A3 scrapbook for making collage pictures. Stick It! at The Ian Potter Centre, NGV is the first NGV exhibition to explore the collage art form in a bid to convince us that collage can be a sophisticated art form with diverse results, and is not just for kids. Read more...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August 2010: Melburnin'

The large ‘Art Fair’ flags swaying in the winter winds around Melbourne at the moment are an indication that August is an exciting, eventful time for Melbourne art-lovers. Throughout the month, high profile and highly anticipated exhibitions are complemented with intriguing independent shows worthy of a look. Read more...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

JULY 2010: Melburnin

Visiting galleries is advantageous when they are quiet and less crowded. Fewer people and distractions on a weekday or early in the morning allow you to take the time to study and savour each piece. Changed working hours now force me to fight the crowds on busy weekends. However, I have recently realised that this is often better. Other people definitely add to the experience. Observing their facial expressions and the way they react to different pieces is invaluable. Everyone is generally there for the same reason – they share a love of art. Sharing this passion with others is a delightful feeling, so, despite the crowds, I now vow to be patient and visit galleries at times when company is expected. Hopefully I will see you out and about this month – if I can spot you through the crowd. Read more...

JULY 2010: The Brunswick Show

Inspiration for The Brunswick Show originated from artist Stuart Beekmeyer’s observation of “the results of suburban gentrification and its affects on artistic communities.”

Beekmeyer’s belief “that Brunswick had reached a very important turning point” and “is positively brimming with artistic talent and creativity which needs to be celebrated and brought to light on a broader scale” appealed to Brunswick artists Belinda Wiltshire, Simon Gardam and Cynthia Nolan who also became involved in this exciting project. Artist Belinda Wiltshire explains, “The first few meetings were more about throwing around obscure ideas on how to make this thing come to life; make it something Melbourne has been missing – something new, something fresh and real.” Read more...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

JUNE 2010: Melburnin

If you have ever visited the Eureka Tower on Southbank and looked closely, you may have noticed the large gold bees that overlook the residential entrance to the building. Designed by Richard Stringer, the bees are symbolic of the hive-like community of people living in the Eureka building. Read more...

JUNE 2010: Drawn from the Inside

A wave of nausea washed over me as I tried to comprehend the statistic – only 150 out of 15,000 children sent to Theresienstadt ghetto during the Second World War survived. With stinging eyes and a lump in my throat, I took some moments to ponder the other statistics:
140,937 – Total number of people deported to Theresienstadt between November 1941 and May 1945.
58,491 – Largest recorded population in Theresienstadt at one time.
33,539 – Total deaths within Theresienstadt.
88,196 – Total number of people deported to the Extermination Camps.
3,097 – Total number of survivors from the Extermination Camps
17,247 – Total number of survivors found in Theresienstadt on 9 May 1945. Read more...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

MAY 2010: Sunday's Kitchen

If Sunday Reed were alive today, it would be a delight to meet her and attend one of her famous ‘arvo teas’ where we could discuss art, literature and even share recipes. Curators Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan also shared a curiosity in Sunday Reed, but more specifically in her cooking and love of gardening which has inspired their new book and exhibition at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Sunday’s Kitchen: Food and Living at Heide. Read more...

MAY 2010: Melburnin

Melburnians are fortunate to live in a city that invests generous amounts of time and money into the arts. Paying tribute to the blood, sweat and tears shed by artists and galleries alike in this beautiful city of ours, Melburnin’ offers a taste of what is on offer in Melbourne this month. Read more...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Vera Wang: wedding Wonder Woman

What you might not know about fashion designer Vera Wang is that she was a competitive skater in her teens. Wang studied at the School of American Ballet in New York, spending a year at Sorbonne and then graduating from Sarah Lawrence College.

Wang was a fashion editor and stylist for Vogue magazine and design director for accessories for Ralph Lauren for sixteen years before making the move into design. The move was prompted when Wang was trying to find a suitable wedding dress for her own wedding in 1989, recalling “I didn’t see anything that was my own sense of modernity.”

Today Wang’s business has gone from strength to strength. Stunning Vera Wang gowns have adorned well-know personalities such as Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman and Mariah Carey on their special days. “Wang’s design room is quite a magical place. There are racks upon racks of bridal gowns, some strapless or with dropped waists, crystal beads, and floral appliqués. On the floor are tulle hats and bolts of fabrics.”

'Devon' gown from SS10 collection

'Dorothy' gown from SS10 collection

'Diedre' gown from SS10 collection

'Diana' gown from SS10 collection

Wang lives in a Park Avenue apartment with her husband Arthur Becker (investment banker) and their two daughters, Josephine and Cecilia. Both girls were adopted as babies by the Wang and Becker.

Although Wang has come from a privileged family, she works hard. She is constantly multitasking, remains focused and is “a superwoman at all times.”

Research for this article comes from Vera Wang by Lynda Richardson, which appears in Legends² - Women who has changed the world through the eyes of great women writers (edited by John and Kirsten Miller, 2004). This is an inspiring, well presented book that explores great women’s achievements through the highest standard of writing.

For more info on Vera Wang and to view her current collections, visit:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

There’s no Plan B

The buying power of a large retailer should not be underestimated. For this reason large companies have a corporate social responsibility and need to set an example in their industries through ‘best practices’ that have a positive influence on the environment and society.

M&S are one example of such a business and at the beginning of this month they announced their plan to become “the world's most sustainable major retailer.” Through operation Plan A, they will make “180 commitments to achieve by 2015”.

These 180 commitments will involve “working with our customers and our suppliers to combat climate change, reduce waste, use sustainable raw materials, trade ethically, and help our customers to lead healthier lifestyles” say M&S.

Plan A originally commenced in January 2007 with 100 commitments to achieve in 5 years. This has now been extended to 180, as has the time frame to 2015.

“By extending Plan A we will reach further, move forward faster and challenge ourselves to be even bolder. It will allow us to make a far greater positive impact on the environment, our customers’ lives and the communities in which we operate. We believe it will also make us a stronger and more successful business” says Stuart Rose (M&S Executive Chairman).

This is an immense project that is summarised in a hefty sixty page document.
M&S have identified “5 pillars” where they can extend their social and environment commitments:

1. Climate change
2. Waste
3. Natural resources
4. Fair partnership
5. Health and wellbeing

Across these 5 areas, M&S will work with customers, suppliers and staff to execute change.

Examples of some key changes identified across these areas include:

• Aiming to make all our UK and Republic of Ireland operations (stores, offices, warehouses, business travel and logistics) carbon neutral by 2012. (Climate change commitment).
• Collect at least 70% of the clothing hangers we use and re-use 85% of these by 2012. (Waste commitment).
• Work towards M&S fruit, vegetables and salads being 75% pesticide residue-free by 2015 and 100% pesticide residue-free by 2020. (Natural resource commitment).
• Sourcing as much food as possible from the UK and Republic of Ireland by 2012 (Fair partnership commitment).
• Introducing 1500 Healthy Eating Advisors in our stores by 2010 and extend this training to our food section employees by the start of 2010 (Health and wellbeing commitment).

“Our extended Plan A will reach further and move us faster - covering every part of our business and reaching out to forests, farms, factories, lorries, warehouses and into our customers’ and employees’ homes. We believe sustainability is a key ingredient of business success and that Plan A will continue to make us more efficient, develop new markets and build customer loyalty. It’s therefore not just the right thing to do morally but also makes strong commercial sense,” Rose said.

Where a healthy environment and lifestyle is concerned, M&S rightly state “there is no Plan B”.

For more info, visit the M&S Plan A Commitments Report:

Read Inside Retailing article, M&S to become green leader:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Provocative Prints

I am enthused by some of the print and patternation coming through on the AW 2010/11 catwalks. Print adds another dimension and quality to the sharpest silhouette. Abstract prints in monochromatic colours are still prevalent and it is a fun challenge ascertaining what these prints have been inspired by – animal skin? Florals?

One of the strongest designers that I have seen utilise print so far this season is Carolina Herrera. Her collection has a unique handwriting, but is cohesive through similar silhouettes. The diversity of print and colour is exciting and refreshing. Quality fabrics also assist in providing depth and vibrancy of colour and detail.

Florals Carolina Herrerra,

Carolina Herrerra,


Carolina Herrerra,


A Detacher,

Brian Reyes,

Behnaz Sarafpour,

Monday, March 1, 2010

Timeless style

A friend of mine is looking for a watch for his Girlfriend’s birthday and as a starting point he asked for my advice: what brand of watch do I wear, what watch styles are women wearing at the moment, etc, etc. I have to admit, I have not been in the market for new a watch for sometime - I still am completely in love with my Michael Kors watch (an amazing leaving present from a previous job). However, Longines was one of the first brands that sprung to mind. They make high quality watches that are elegant and timeless (pardon the pun). This did get me thinking though, if I were to buy a watch right now, what would tempt me - gold, silver or leather strap? round or narrow face? what colour face? a minute hand? There are so many questions and too many brands, but below are some of my picks…now I just need to start saving!

Seductive Silver
Longines 'Dolce Vita' - Stainless steel case and bracelet with 32 Top Wesselton diamonds

Tag Heuer 'Aquaracer Lady'- Polished steel case and bracelet, unidirectional turning bezel, white MOP dial topped with 10 Top Wesselton diamonds.

Graceful Gold
Gucci 'Chiodo' – 18ct yellow case and gold bracelet with jewellery clasp and white mother-of-pearl face.

Contemporary Combos
A silver and gold watch is a versatile accessory and will compliment most jewellery:

Chopard 'Happy Sport Round Gold' - 18ct rose gold and stainless steel case and bracelet with five floating diamonds

Black and silver is a striking mix:

Chanel 'Première Ceramic Steel Diamonds' - Steel case and black high-tech ceramic links with 52 diamonds (0.26ct). Also available in white/steel.

Leather Strap
Jorg Gray

Bulgari Bulgari - 18ct pink gold case, black alligator leather strap with polished 18ct pink gold buckle.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cool Coats

Although it is only the end of February and there should still be some more warm days left in our Melbourne summer, the AW2010-2011 Ready-to-wear shows have prompted me to think about my winter wardrobe. There seems no better place to start than with a gorgeous coat – the right one can be thrown over anything and still make you feel well turned out and as a bi-annual-coat-purchaser, this is my season to invest again.

Burberry Prorsum definitely has the strongest coast offering that I have seen so far. Silhouettes are spot on and the quality looks sensational (would we expect anything less?). The olive-green styles with brass buttons are perfect for everyday, but I also love the injection of colour from the fitted cobalt with black buttons addition.

Burberry Prorsum,

3.1 Phillip Lim has some interesting contrasts going on in his coat collection. There are tux-style jackets with contrast satin lapels and a caramel coat with black binding – very chic.

3.1 Phillip Lim

Adam presented a cute little cap-style coat, while Alberta Ferretti and Behnaz Sarafpour went for the belted waist look.
Adam, Alberta Ferrett, Behnaz Sarafpour

Carolina Herrera added colour and texture to a simple coat with over-sized patch pockets. The deep ox-blood red complimented other pieces as well as accessories in her collection.
Carolina Herrera

With so many great choices you'll be snug as a bug this season!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Welcome to A Little Pink Book

Thank you for joining me on this journey. The posts and pages to follow will have a fashion, design, art and retail focus, internationally and locally (Melbourne).

I am fascinated by the world of retail and in awe of new start up businesses because of the sweat, tears and triumphs they experience from their brave ventures. This blog is a tribute to them as well as the designers, artists and visionaries that shape our creative world today…enjoy the ride!