Sunday, November 29, 2009


I'm gettin' the guilt sweats for not being a good, regular blogger but unfortunately I'm up to my ears in shit I have to do and I haven't the time (or creative energy, if we're being honest) to write a whole, completely comprehensible and preferably entertaining blog post. Therefore, I'm reposting an article I wrote for 2threads during my internship last month about the beauties of harnesses and corsetry in fashion. Also, speaking of 2threads, don't forget to vote for Owl and the Grapes as Best Fashion Blog in the 2threads Australian Fashion Awards.

Whenever I consider this Spring’s trend of harnesses and corsets, which I must admit I do with some regularity, there are three words that never fail to pop into my head when I think of all those laces, buckles, knots and bondage: Thai Me Up. Before I know it, I’m daydreaming about all the other brilliant puns that have made me snort thanks to Thai restaurants. Why, there’s Bow Thai, Tongue Thai, Thaifoon, Thaitanic, The King and Thai, Thai Me A River, Thai Ranosaurus... Oh it’s an epidemic, really. Considering this, and how easily distracted I am, perhaps I’m not the best person to be writing this article. Alas, I will anyway, let’s just hope for everyone’s sake that I don’t dwell too long on the subject of great (or not so great, depending on how you look at it) Thai restaurant puns. Rather, I’ll try to keep focused on the topic at hand: Thairiffic Harnesses and corsets as the new accessory trend. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Harnesses and bondage have been peeking their tough little heads out in catwalk collections for a couple of seasons now, however it’s only this season that the trend is truly beginning to bloom and hell, it’s almost become almost normal to wear a harness outside of an S&M studio. Chain harnesses were featured in the Spring collection from Ann Demeulemeester and leather harnesses, paired with casual, simple clothes could be seen in Giuliano Fujiwara’s show. If you were lucky enough to get your hands on a Sass and Bide front-row gift bag, in it you would have found a beautiful - you guessed it - a harness.

Meanwhile, corsets have been spotted on so many celebs it’s actually getting quite ridiculous. The list includes: Katy Perry, Paris Hilton, Eve (of course), January Jones, Lily Allen, Rihanna, Taylor Momsen (isn’t she a bit young?), Scarlett Johansson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mischa Barton, Jessica Simpson, Beyonce and even notorious good girl Jennifer Anniston. But why wouldn’t they? Celebs – get ready for a massive generalisation here – love to expose and exploit and will often wear whatever will garner the most attention. Unfortunately, because of this, the corset trend might not be entirely popular with some fashionistas. When Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan are doing it, you’ve missed the trend wagon, right? Normally, yes. However, in this case, the outerwear as underwear trend is one that’s incredibly flexible (which you wouldn’t think, given that they’re made outta whale bone, wires and leather). To avoid looking like a D List celeb vying for the camera lense, the trick is to layer, layer, and then layer some more.

Wear your leather, chain and waist cinching garments over loose, sheer and cocoon-like clothing. The trend looks best in neutral colours: Lots of nudes, pale pinks, creams, white and blacks. Look to Australian Richard Nicoll’s Fall 2009 collection for inspiration. If you’re a bit curvier, wear your corset under a loose fitting cropped top (or at least ensure your breasts aren’t spilling over) and don’t forget to add a generous pinch of androgony, if only to balance things out. Juxtapose a tight corset on your upper half with some billowing trousers on your lower half. The key is to wear them as accessories, not as your entire outfit. To get your hands on some harnesses and corsets, I’ve found the sweetest rewards come from spending lunchtimes scouring Etsy (try Garbage Dress and iheartnorwegianwood) and eBay, although you can also find some vintage inspired pieces at Supre, if you can bring yourself to enter the place. Otherwise, if you’re really wanting to spoil yourself, check out Bordelle where some wonderful pieces can be found that would almost certainly be worth a trip to the pawnshop. Then there are all those simply amazing swimsuits in the fashion stratosphere at the moment that dance the line between corset, harness, bondage wear and swimsuit. Try the trend soon, before we all get Thai’ed of it, as we all know it won’t be too long before Paris Hilton conditions us to vomit at the sight of anything bondage.

Friday, November 13, 2009

You're The One For Me, Fatty

I wrote this article about Gemma Ward's retirement from modelling for 2threads a few days ago and, to celebrate/lament the ending of my internship today, I'm posting it here. Enjoy (or not, if you're a Gemma fan).

The possibility of Gemma Ward’s retirement from modelling has been looming dangerously in the fashion air like a giant fluffy pair of highly unstylish neon legwarmers for some time now. Rumours on the subject have ranged from the plausible to obscene: That she was to quit modelling in pursuit of Hollywood, that the devastation of her dear friend (and supposed lover), Heath Ledger, led her to depression/emotional eating, forcing her to quit, that she will quit Prada and the like in favour of plus sized modelling (can you spot the obscene one?). Finally however, that silly old highly excitable rumour mill can give up the speculations and head back to bed because Gemma Ward has officially announced through her agent that she has no plans to dive back into the modelling world. It’s over, folks. Gemma Ward is quitting the modelling industry. And it’s probably for the best. Hell, if I had half the amount of attention on my thighs as she does, I’d surely be in a straight jacket by now, rocking myself to sleep on an empty stomach.

Unsurprisingly, given the media’s obsession with weight, she regularly makes headlines for being either far too skinny or too ‘fat’; anorexic or a ‘roll model’. International fashion blog, Bryan Boy, hasn’t helped the publicity epidemic; whilst perhaps not saying anything particularly cruel himself (apart from that she could “Give Crystal Renn a run for her money,”) many commentors on his website have been vicious on being presented with paparazzi photos of the 22 year old sporting her new body. Insults include such comments as "homegurl needs a dose of jenny craig and were good to go." Whilst of course it’s clearly something only an idiot would say (if the subject matter wasn’t a clear enough indicator for you, you can tell by the terrible spelling and grammer), such remarks have – at least in part – been blamed for Gemma Ward's decision. Gracing the cover of Vogue for the first time at the tender age of 16 (alongside Gisele Bundchen, Natalia Vodianova and Karen Elson), it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that she’s put on a little weight in the last few years: It’s called puberty y’all. In the end, she looks healthy and rather than speculating on the whys, we should consider and celebrate the highlights of the wide-eyed Australian talent’s career.

The Perth-born beauty was originally discovered via Australian television series Search for a Supermodel. Remarkably, she didn’t make it into the finals but thanks to the small amount of publicity she received through the show, before long, she was signed to Vivien’s Model Management. Chris Fox (from Viven’s) remarked that her first impressions of the blonde haired, green eyed young lady were that she was simply “surreal, beautiful, very European, wide-set eyes, angelic, not a skerrick of makeup." Soon, with the help of Fox, Ward was strutting her stuff down Australian runways and a household name (in Australia). Within a year, the soon-to-be-supermodel signed to IMG and was plastered over magazines the world over. She made her runway debut at the Spring Prada show in Milan, all the while garnering masses attention due to her “alien” and “otherworldly” look. In July, 2007, she was named one of the highest paid models, according to Forbes (ranked #10).

Ward has been photographed by some of the best, including the Vogue regular Steven Meisel. In 2006, she played Grace Kelly to George Clooney’s Cary Grant in a Vanity Fair shoot, dressed to the hilt in old Hollywood glamour. She’s modelled for Valentino, Calvin Klein and Prada and stalked the most prestigious runways. The ethereal creature can lay claim to being on over 30 Vogue covers, i-D, W, Time Magazine’s Style & Design issue and Numero, to name just a few.

More recently, Ward starred in films The Stranger and Black Balloon alongside Liv Tyler and the highly respected Australian actress Toni Collette. Considering her highly successful crossover to film, it makes perfect sense for her to give up modelling in favour of a more rewarding (though perhaps not monetarily) career. Although, if she does decide to return to modelling, let’s hope that she’s welcomed with open arms because, despite what crap Lagerfeld and the like might feed us, the skin and bone phenomenon is passé. And truly? If you think Doutzen Kroes, Lara Stone or Gemma Ward are fat, you’re the one who needs a straight jacket.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Good Stuff

Check out the good stuff I've been doing when not doing things here (which is, let's be honest, most of the time). Yes, whilst this blog might feel a little abandoned at the moment, I've been typin' to the point of callouses on behalf of 2threads and This Way In.

I wrote my first (!) album review. And it was of none other than the lovely local quintet Bridezilla's long awaited debut. AND, the folk at Modular quoted me in Bridezilla's press release.

Want to give harnesses and corsets a go this Spring but don't want to end up looking like Jessica Simpson gone, well, *even* more wrong? The outerwear as underwear trend is one that's incredibly flexible (which you wouldn't think, given that they're made outta whale bone, wires and leather), just check out my guide on how to wear these adaptable accessories.

When you pour three trends into the one accessory what should result is a fashionable, on trend item that'll be as good as glued to your pretty thighs for the next three months. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Lady GaGa.

Oh, and I got interviewed by Jenna Black (from 2threads) about the merits of interning.

Also, check out my photos from last week's preview of the Britpop Photo Exhibition at the Abercrombie: An amazing collection of photos of British live acts from photographers Daniel Boud, Graham Denholm and Mark Metcalfe. Want a sample? Oh, okay:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Forgot

The man and I held another Vintage and Retro sale last weekend and it was a massive bloomin' success. I only failed on one account: I totally forgot to tell all you lovely readers about it - I know, it's an epic fail, isn't it? Best sign up to the newsletter (email me at with 'Subscribe' in the subject line) or join our facebook group to ensure this never, ever happens again. Hopefully though, if you're a Sydney kid, you heard about it anyway. We were featured everywhere from uber cool newsletter Two Thousand to independent radio station FBi (or so my friend Guy says). And honestly? It's probably for the best that I didn't tell you because if it had been any more packed on Saturday I think the place would have burst. And then we'd never be able to have another sale again. So really, I did the right thing. Alas, I feel bad so, to make up for my abandonment, I will tell you well in advance (ie now) that the next sale will be on the 12th and 13th of December. If you play on my guilt enough I might even give you a discount on the weekend. Which, given how cheap everything already is, basically means I'm offering to GIVE you a heap of awesome clothes. How can you be angry with me after that? I'll tell you: You can't.

Here are some of the man's photos from the weekend:

Sweetest dog ever. I offered his Mum a swap: Clothes for dog. She wasn't too keen.

It was 7-Eleven Day. This meant free slurpees for everyone. I had two (or maybe it was three?) and then hit a major slurpee low mid afternoon. I'm pretty sure I had the sugar shakes. Amazing.

Millie threatened to jump out the window because someone stepped on her tail. It was pretty traumatising. She's okay now though, thanks for asking.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Monkey and the BrownMan

Last week, 2threads sent me behind the scenes on a fashion shoot in the heart of Newtown with Sydney label Monkey and The BrownMan. I took way too many photos of the photographer taking photos, assisted where possible and then wrote an article about it afterward for the 2threads site. Now, I'm reposting it here, because I'm not feeling very creative today. Summary enough? Yes, I think so. Article follows:

What does Monkey and the BrownMan mean? A fair enquiry, one might think, given the obscurity of the brand name. “Well, that is a good question” agreed Stacey Brown, Creative Director of the label, illusively. Entertainingly, this was, more or less, the end of the conversation. Further investigation was met with similarly ambiguous replies. So, whilst the meaning of it all remains a secret for now, shared between Stacey and her partner in life and business Chris Brown, I can tell you what they do. Monkey and the BrownMan design simple, comfortable and attractive T-shirts using high quality, certified organic cotton. Even better, it’s all ethically sourced and locally manufactured. An avid surfer, and often disposed to wearing his own designs, it seems Chris begun the business designing with himself in mind. Luckily for us, he’s a man with taste and his T-shirts echo the desires of many. In fact, there's a whole jungle of surfing, stylish ladies and gentlemen out there vying for Monkey and the Brownman’s limited edition wares.

However, Monkey and the BrownMan is much more than just another T-shirt brand. Chris and Stacey are personable, lively creatures whose inspirations and interests are as varied as there are colours in the spectrum. Stacey enthusiastically recounts to us a recent venture to Paris, where she completed a month long design course. Meanwhile, when Chris starts raving about the ‘amazing’ film he recently watched called Death Race 2000, I would be lying if I said there weren’t a few giggles in the room. The film is set in the year 2000, which, by ‘70s standards, roughly translates to lots of people (one of which is none other than Sylvester Stallone) in fantastical black leather jumpsuits and some very low fi graphics. The title is pretty self explanatory; the plot revolves around a transcontinental race in which contestants kill people for points. Frankenstein (David Carradine) apparently exclaims at one point: "You want to make love to me because I drive the Monster and wear this costume". Sounds pretty unbelievable, right? This being typical of the kind of entertainment Chris and Stacey enjoy in their downtime, it’s clear that they’re not the types to be swept up by the latest trends or blockbusters. This may serve as an analogy for their work; Monkey and the BrownMan is a label content to do it’s own thing, regardless of what’s in Vogue.

It was glaringly obvious, whilst assisting on their most recent shoot, why Monkey and the BrownMan are so quickly gaining popularity; not only down under, but on the overseas market as well. Unusually for a fashion shoot, there was no chaos, no skeletons sipping on Diet Coke and no sleazy photographer (in fact, it was suggested by talented photographer Brad Mawby that I was the sleazy one, due to my apparently overzealous adjusting of the model’s clothing). Rather, the rail of T-shirts was wheeled by Stacey and I through the backstreets of Newtown to an old church where the model, Khan Porter, unzipped his bag to reveal a collection of his jeans from home. Whilst the direction of the shoot was crystal, all input was invited, and even Khan steered the shoot on several occasions. Stacey and I took turns holding the reflector whilst Brad snapped away. Afterwards, large lunches were consumed in a cafe downstairs from Monkey and the BrownMan's base and Khan revealed his unhealthy appetite and penchant for real Coke - whilst I sipped on my Diet Coke.

The team at Monkey and the BrownMan have their client base very clearly in mind: A client base that Khan embodied perfectly. They’re also intent on staying true to that client base who, likewise, seem devoted to the brand (and who wouldn’t be?), because, whilst there might be some obscurity when it comes to their brand name, there’s no uncertainty as to what Monkey and the BrownMan do and there are certainly no skeletons in their closet when it comes to sourcing and manufacturing. Though, speaking of skeletons, a little birdy on site told me that there might be a horror film of their own, with models clad in Monkey and the BrownMan apparel, in the works.

For more behind the scenes shots, check out the album here.
You can purchase and browse Monkey and the BrownMan's awesomeness here.
You can see Brad's work here and to book Khan, find him here.
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