Wednesday, March 26, 2014

rebel skivvy.......

Will this nineties revival ever end? Will I ever stop pontificating on the value of specific sartorial items that saw their heyday only a few short years ago? Are continuous rhetorical questions a real form of writing? Don’t answer that last one - or the first two either.

I said I was sick of trends, and I’ve yet to get back on the trend-wagon, despite my own predictions of imminent failure. But I do find myself with a real appreciation for skivvies. Something which only manifested itself in the last twenty four hours, after spying a rack of them in the school uniform section of a department store. I will confess to searching for the largest children's size in black, which I would have willingly worn without a hint of irony. But alas, I came up skivvy-less. 

So what gives? What’s behind the desire to don a garment that has a past dating back to the 15th century, a long list of famous champions (Steve Jobs anyone?) and a secret rebellious nature? Is it the simple design? The hint of masculinity - see my menswear obsession - that draws me in? Or is it that they are inherently comfortable and easy to wear? 

Or is it, in fact, the hidden wild streak that has me hooked? Dubbed the anti-tie, the skivvy became almost a symbol for the sartorially inclined gentleman who recoiled at the notion of formal attire and the constricting neck wear that came with it. The skivvy was a symbol of rebellion, of a fight against the system. And when feminists started rocking the skivvy, it found itself in the curious section of unisex clothing, alongside socks and scarves and boiler suits. 

I’d like to think the rebel in me recognises its equal in the skivvy and that’s why I’m drawn in. But to be honest, the real reason is more likely to be that with the end of March fast approaching and grey skies becoming much more frequent, it’s evident that winter is but a hop and a skip away. And I’m sure the only real way for me to deal with the rain and fog and icy cold winds that are on their way, is to wrap myself in skivvies. 

Plus, 15th century - man that’s some real vintage there.

kb xx

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

an afterthought.......

What makes something valuable? Its price? The memories attached to it? The number of sequins stitched to its collar? Value is generally measured by two things; money and usefulness. We generally value things because they cost us a lot of cash or are worth a lot of cash, or because they are extremely useful. But what if there was a third way in which we valued something? What if we placed value on something not for how much it cost or how useful it was but by the name on the tag?

I know this is not new ground. The science of brands is not a new development. We know that brands are a promise, a testament to our choices and style. But what if their influence on our fashion choices reaches a tipping point that results in a wardrobe reminiscent of a sartorial wasteland littered with designer tags?

I ask because yesterday I saw this cropped sweater by Alexander McQueen, and despite its near $300 dollar price tag, I considered purchasing it. Sure I found the oversized boxy shape, brilliant white colour and bold graphic print enticing, but was it also the name that was enticing?

When your wardrobe budget doesn’t quite stretch to the lofty heights of luxury fashion, entry level, somewhat affordable pieces like this sweatshirt take on a patina that is perhaps undeserved. 

They become a way to play in the world of luxury fashion. They become a way to participate in the brand promise, to advertise our style and good taste in a wholly recognisable fashion. In effect, we place a greater value on the $300 sweatshirt because it allows us the opportunity to play and participate. Suddenly value is determined not by worth or usefulness, but by the opportunities presented to us by owning it. 

But when you value something in this way, when you make sartorial choices based on this false sense of value, what becomes of your wardrobe? And the more pressing point - what becomes of your personal style?

When the brand, and the value we place on the brand outweigh innate personal preferences and taste, does personal style then become an afterthought?

kb xx

Saturday, March 22, 2014

kimye takes vogue.......

When I woke up this morning it felt like any other Saturday morning. Admittedly the sky was a little grey for my liking, but the desire to stay curled up under the covers was there, so yep normal, nothing amiss. Then I checked Twitter.

Hashtag #worldsmosttalkedaboutcouple had literally taken over my feed.

This morning Twitter - and I'm sure all other forms of social media - were overtaken with references to Kim and Kayne and their Vogue cover. Yep, you read that correctly - Kimye have taken Vogue. Not unlike the way the Kardashian sisters have taken various cities throughout the United States; and of course Vogue have already posted behind the scenes footage of the cover shoot. #realitylif

Kim gracing the cover of Vogue has long been speculated, though for most commentators the idea that Anna Wintour would put the reality tv star (and now serious style icon) on the cover of the much revered American Vogue was fanciful at best. But I guess Anna likes fanciful.

The decision has made some waves, and the various hashtags on Twitter featured a plethora of insults and exclamations of disgust and even threats to cancel subscriptions. Which all seems a little ridiculous. I mean we are talking about the cover of a fashion magazine; if that's not a first world problem I'm not sure what is.

However, the fact that enormous amounts of people have tweeted about it and posted about it and no doubt discussed it in real life means that Anna and co have ensured record sales.

Love or hate Kimye, you cannot dispute their success. Success that is the result of a following that soaks up everything they do. And they will soak up this issue of Vogue too.

In a society obsessed with celebrity culture, with 'reality', with following stars and seeing every intimate moment of their lives; are they not the perfect people to write about if you want to examine that society?

It's a question that Anna herself answers, 'Part of the pleasure of editing being able to feature those who define the culture at any given moment, who stir things up, whose presence in the world shapes the way it looks and influences the way we see it,' she writes in her editors letter in the April issue.

We can deny Kimye that status all we want, but the mere fact that we are discussing this right now only serves to prove Anna right.

I'd love to know your thoughts...

kb xx

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

secondhand stories.......

A few weeks ago I took myself on an impromptu op shop dash on my lunch break. It was a risk, obviously, because as a general rule op-shopping cannot be rushed. Time is perhaps one of the most important factors when scoring vintage radness. Alas, I gave myself a scant forty-five minutes and I managed to scoop up some serious vintage denim. When I returned to work, I crowed happily to everyone and anyone who would listen - and even those who wouldn’t - about my finds. I expected surprise, jealousy, congratulations, etc. etc. But from one workmate I got that tired line that springs forth from all virgin thrifters - ‘Why would you want to wear something secondhand?’

I've never felt the need to examine my love for a thrifted find. Sure, a trip to the op shop can yield volumes of amazingness at prices that will make your bank balance sing. And the hunt for the perfect vintage silk shirt or worn out denim is so much more fun than hitting select size and place order. But those reasons do not constitute all the reasons why I love op-shopping.

I love a good story. As is no doubt obvious from a mere cursory glance around here, I'm a voracious consumer of words in the guise of stories, and often in the guise of dictionaries - I'm not scared to admit a fondess for the Oxford's and Merriman's of the world - but stories are my truest love. And are the greatest reason for my fondness for something that has lived, perhaps longer than me, but lived nonetheless.

Every thrifted, op-shopped, vintage piece I own I imagine has a back story worthy of telling. The places they have been, the people they've been worn by, the events they've been a part of.

Take these faded black Levis, that were purchased as jeans and chopped unceremoniously by me into the frayed shorts they are now. They were found in the mens department and every time I wear them I imagine who owned them before me.

I imagine an ageing musician, who spent the best part of the seventies and eighties travelling up and down the east coast of Australia playing gigs in pubs and bars and the odd RSL. His trusty black Levis a constant companion, a lucky charm. Before every gig, he slip them on with a pair of weathered black leather boots, the kind with deep creases across the top and soles worn flat from years of loving use.

He'd play his set, the sound of his guitar reverberating throughout his body and into his denim. The music becoming woven with the dyed cotton fibre. His sweat would roll down his body, and hit the waistband of his Levis, soaking into the fabric and discolouring the patch of leather that signalled their American heritage.

I imagine him older, spending his days in a old weatherboard home, late night gigs far behind him. His belly grown wide and full in the past few decades, his Levis no longer fit. But they stay, tucked away in the back of the closet. A memory, a visual reminder of the life he lived.

I imagine his family, coming to stay one Christmas. Overwhelming him with love and noise and questions. I imagine his children taking to his closets with the somewhat misguided desire to help him. I imagine them making a pile of clothes to donate. Things the musician no longer needs. I imagine them pulling out the black Levis, now faded to the perfect grey black. I imagine them throwing them into the donate pile and them same Levis somehow finding their way to the op-shop that I visited on my lunch break.

Now, every time I wear them, I think of that old musician. A figment of my imagination, no doubt, but a what a wonderful figment. That old musician may not know it, or perhaps he does, but I'll continue the story of those Levis. I'll take them places, and make them a part of memories and adventures. I'll not let their story fade, I'll not let his story fade. That alone is reason enough to wear something secondhand.

kb xx

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


My fascination with double denim doesn't appear to have abated. And I'm clearly not the only one that is enamoured.

Perhaps it's the way doubling up on the blue gives you that I could not care less nonchalance that is so damn hard to cultivate. Maybe it's a nod to fashions past, or a overdeveloped sense of appreciation for a fabric that has become increasingly woven (pun intended) into our culture. Maybe it's the infestation of our sartorial lives by nineties reincarnations. Maybe it's the fashion anarchists in us all pushing back against 'rules' that are basically bullshit.

The Canadian Tuxedo, as the look is so eloquently known - no really I'm a fan of the phrase - was a faux pas of the greatest kind. It was a pointer to your economic or social status, it was the domain of a select few who made their own rules. It was the bastion of pop bands who dressed in that weird matchy way - a la Destinys Child - and, of course, Britney and Justin. Until the end of the first decade in the new century, when designers like Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney, Chloe, Dries and Isabel Marant embraced the idea and now rocking a Canadian Tuxedo points more to your ability to navigate trends than anything else.

My own DD (just to be clear I'm not discussing my bra size here) started with my first denim shirt, which I'll admit, came about a few short years ago - probably around the time Stella and Dries got on board. In a strange twist, my dear Mother has been rocking the double blue for some time. Something that induced a overwhelming amount of sartorial induced shame in my adolescence. Now I'm like a freaking poster child (adult) for double denim in all its guises. These days if I'm not wearing denim in some duplicated way I'm probably naked.

kb xx

Sunday, March 16, 2014

how to pose with vogue.......

Yes, I know this is the second time Lena Dunham has appeared in this space this month. I would apologise, but frankly my appreciation/fascination/obsession with Girls lingers still, and so anything remotely connected to the show, and to Dunham herself, is such a fucking win - I'm not even sorry. Not even sorry not sorry, just point blank not sorry.

And how on earth could I be expected to apologise for this?

Hamish Bowles - the most dapper man ever - and the inimitable Dunham preparing for a Vogue cover shoot by dancing the poses.

The Kate, the Naomi, the Twiggy - who wouldn't trust Hamish to prep you for a cover shoot. Shalom it out, people!

Dunham's Vogue cover shoot was perhaps the most speculated about and discussed ever. And I'm going out on a limb here, albeit a strong one, but I'd say it's probably the only one to have $10K bounty placed on its untouched head.

And while the cover, and the corresponding editorial were great, this video trumps both. Not just because I can actually imagine Hannah calling Hamish Bowles and admitting that she just doesn't know how to pose. And then I can imagine Anna sending Hamish over toot-sweet to sort that out - with a dance no less.

But also because in the incredibly unlikely event that my mug will ever grace the cover of anything that is not my Facebook page, at least there is something that will help my posing problems - I mean you've seen my pictures here right? I swear those sunglasses aren't surgically attached to my face.

kb xx

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

going up.......

Mary Katrantzou’s A/W 2014 collection was a distinct move away from her previous digital print heavy work. The queen of print instead sent some serious embellishment down the runway, using handmade textiles and vivid embroidery - to great effect. The collection was strong, elaborate and beautifully put together. And, after a scout around the Moda Operandi website, where you can pre-order pieces from the collection right now, it’s obvious it’s also incredibly expensive. 

In August last year there was plenty of talk online, in print and I’m sure in the real world about the dramatic price increases at luxury houses like Chanel and Hermes. BOF pointing out that the Chanel 2.55 bag now retailed at the same price as the Hermes Kelly bag. Well the same price it was a decade ago, because the Kelly bag had by mid last year nearly doubled in price itself. 

Luxury prices have historically consistently outstripped increases in inflation, more then twice the rate according to BOF. And while the raw cost of materials like leather and cotton, increases in wages in manufacturing countries like China and the ongoing costs of advertising in glossy magazines and maintaining store fronts in exclusive real estate markets no doubt contribute to increasing costs for luxury houses. There is another factor that Burberry basically confirmed last year when it said that it would raise prices to appeal to wealthier customers. A idea that sounds very much like the Veblen theory of goods. 

The Veblen theory of goods basically says that the more expensive something is, the more people buy it. Seems contradictory, but quality is generally associated with price. The old adage that you get what you pay for springs to mind. Which certainly explains how luxury fashion houses can consistently increase prices and still make record sales. 

What has any of this got to do with Mary Katrantzou’s latest collection? To put it bluntly, Katrantzou’s latest collection is not cheap. Not to suggest that previous collections were. Pieces from Katrantzou’s S/S14 and Resort 14 collections on Net-A-Porter range from $480 Australian dollars for a printed jersey tee to nearly $3000 Australian dollars for a Satin Twill dress in her signature vibrant prints. But on Moda Operandi, Katrantzou’s A/W 14 collection features prices that range from $4500 Australian dollars for a embroidered crew neck top to $50,000 for a heavily embellished dress. A significant increase in price. And while the work is also significantly different, and brilliantly done I might add, it illustrates an interesting phenomena in the fashion industry. That is the upward motion of prices. Prices that customers continue to pay. 

Which points to the concept of status consumption, that being the purchases you make based specifically on brand name, prestige or the status that comes with owning luxury products. Visual social media like Instagram and the explosion of the blogging world has in no small measure contributed to the desirability of luxury brands. And to the concept of status consumption. There are more then 6 million pictures with the hashtag Chanel and a staggering 88 million with the hashtag fashion on Instagram alone. Fashion is indubitably big business, with the luxury fashion market worth around $160 billion a year. 

Luxury houses and designers are, of course, entitled to price their products however they like. And more often than not, the workmanship, fabrics and construction far outstrip that of any fast fashion retailers. But if more and more brands follow Katrantzou’s and Burberry’s lead, and the Veblen theory, and increase prices to attract wealthier customers; customers looking for status and exclusivity and the prestige that comes with luxury brands, what exactly does that mean for the fashion industry? The demise of the middle market designer? The ever widening gap between fast fashion and high fashion?

How high is too high?

kb xx

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

approaching limerence.......

How long is too long to harbour a crush of the sartorial kind?

That is a real question, not the traditional rhetorical ones I usually throw around. I’d really like to know. Is there a timeframe? Should you move on after a set number of weeks or months or years has expired? What’s the etiquette here?

I’ve been holding a candle for a certain something for a certain time and I’m just not sure if I should continue the charade or except that we will never be together, mourn the loss and move on. Throw my unwavering adoration towards something else, probably equally unattainable, but something else nonetheless. 

In the interests of answering my own questions (a kind of hobby of mine) I googled, like all good questions answerers, and discovered there is actually a science behind crushes and even a word for a crush that doesn’t go away and is not reciprocated - limerence, in case you were wondering. 

According to the scientists, the symptoms of infatuation are a lot like those of mental illness and our brain chemistry when under the spell of the crush is comparable to that of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Things are weirdly starting to fall into place right now. 

Like going back to the same store, website, instagram account that you first spotted your favourite on repeatedly, just to check up on it. Which is strange when it’s a human - and also called stalking - and stranger still when it’s an inanimate object. 

Or like obsessively searching for said item in a bid to either a) actually find it available somewhere or b) find it in some magical 95% off sale which brings it fractionally closer to meeting your budgetary demands. 

We are, alas, powerless to stop the affects of the crush rampaging with our heads, and also our hearts. It’s out of our hands. Our obsessive, ridiculous, weird, creepy and often sad behaviour is completely out of our control. So we should just give ourselves up to the crush, let those good time chemicals flood our brains and enjoy the benefits. 

For up to two years anyway. 

After that, things get bad real quick. That’s where that limerence comes in. I’m getting real close to limerence, I think it’s time to let go. Nobody like a crazy woman possessed with uncontrollable thoughts and shortness of breath over a pair of shoes. Right?

kb xx

Monday, March 10, 2014

a big circle.......

Guys. Don't freak out, but I think I've got this shit covered. It's all so clear. So obvious. So much so that this has no doubt been said a thousand times already by people with much more clout than me. But here it is, right from my jumbled up head. Fashion is just one big dirty circle.

Nothing is really new. Even the people making clothes out of plastic and tin and string - people are doing that - it's ALL been done before. We've seen pink coats, leopard print, patchwork denim and floral over and over again. And over and over and over again.

But somehow we seem able to divorce from our memories the fact that this has all been done before. That nothing is new. Because every season we clap our hands and ooh and ahh about how amazing and brilliant and clever and NEW everything is. But, guys, it's not. And it's okay. Really it is.

Just because it's been done before doesn't mean it shouldn't be done again.

I mean, you eat your favourite food over and over again right? I've read The Secret Garden a thousand times and worn my favourite charcoal Sportsgirl knit nearly as many times. And that is ok. Because I like that story and I like that knit.

The only difference is sometimes I read The Secret Garden curled up in bed, sometimes I'm on a plane or outside laying in the grass in the sunshine. Sometimes I wear my charcoal knit with denim or leather or over a shirt. And fashion and it's trends are much the same.

Sometimes our pink is done boxy and oversized, sometimes our leopard is done in a trench or a clutch, our patchwork denim is less patchwork and more denim and sometimes out floral comes in bomber jackets. So maybe, just maybe, it's not the trend we clap for, but the form it takes?

kb xx

Sunday, March 09, 2014

girls, girls and words.......

I’ve spent the best part of the past week binge watching seasons one and two of Girls. A party I’m well past fashionably late to. But a party I’m quite happy to have gate crashed nonetheless. Despite watching all twenty episodes, it is episode one that I keep returning to. Or perhaps more specifically a scene within episode one. 

You know the one I mean, right? When Lena Dunham’s Hannah tells her parents that she may be the voice of her generation, or a least a voice of her generation? It’s not Hannah’s steadfast belief in her storytelling ability that sticks with me, it’s the simple notion that for the goal of writing to be serious, you must aim to be the voice of your generation. You cannot simply write, you must write the best prose ever to grace the page, or in the case of my generation - the website. You cannot just be happy with mild success, or even rampant success, you cannot be happy with a little monetary return or even a lot - you must be THE VOICE. 

When Hannah makes that statement to her stunned parents I feel an empathy for her, because I often find myself in situations where I’m forced to justify my choice to make writing my life and career. As if making a choice to use words, as opposed to medical instruments or law books, is less valid or not as important? Am I projecting onto a character in a television show? Probably, but I wonder if that is the magic of the psychology of television. Does seeing some part of you in a character on the screen give your life and choices and decisions some perspective, some support, some weird justification? Or am I just making all this shit up?

Anyway, here's to Girls and Lena Dunham and writing and binge television watching and being fashionably late to parties. And here's to not being anyones voice, except your own. 

kb xx

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

trend trend go away.......

When I was about fifteen I owned a pair of jeans that could best be described as overzealous flares. Of course, to go along with their overzealous nature they also featured a very distinctive floral embroidery from the hem to just under the knee - on both sides. Yeah, I know ridiculously rad. I bought them from Westco (anyone remember Westco?) and I was so convinced of their (warning: mum word approaching) trendiness that I wore them repeatedly. So many times that I’m sure friends, family and random people I passed on the street were convinced that my legs actually were made from blue denim and floral embroidery and not the actual ghostly white skin they are.

I had convinced myself they were so on trend that nobody could dissuade me if they tried. Not that they did. I’m talking very late nineties/early noughts, combined with a small town that I’m quite certain was notably absent of any copies of Vogue. Despite my convictions the jeans eventually found their way to the bottom of a drawer. Trend(y) or not, they fell by the wayside and lost whatever magic they previously held over me. I like to say it was magic, because admitting that I actually found them appealing does induce just a little sartorial shame. Ah, the past - so full of fashion wrongs and choices we just can’t undo. 

My discourse on said denim is leading somewhere, I promise. As you may be aware (or hey maybe you’re not - no judgement) New York, London, Milan and Paris are presently staging a multi-city fashion month of sorts; with a plethora of shows and presentations all featuring ‘trends’. As is the natural course of events, what has followed is an inexplicable amount of articles, blog posts and various social media manifestations recording, documenting, listing - and in some respects demanding - the trends we should all expect to be wearing shortly. 

A decade or so ago when I was wearing those jeans, I gave no thought to trends. I cared not for news from New York, Paris, Milan or London. The concept of a fashion show was so far removed from the life I lived in Small Town, Nowhere that had it been suggested to my young, overzealous flares clad self the only response would have been a cocked head and a furrowed and confused bushy brow - say wwhhhaaattt??

The idea that we could make a sartorial choice not influenced by trends today seems impossible. Immerse yourself in the fashion world, even the one ruled by bloggers online, and trends, what’s in, what we want to be wearing and what we will be wearing next season are conversation de jour. However, like most things, over saturation often leads to fatigue and the kind of familiarity that breeds contempt - remember? And, I’m not really sure how to say this but, I’m really fucking over trends.

I’ve been avoiding the shows, skipping (for the most part) blogposts discussing their merits, scrolling past link bait and just generally attempting to ignore the trend machine the appears to be steamrolling the (fashion) world right now. This doesn’t mean I’ve lost any of my appreciation for fashion and it’s associated accessories - namely shoes. Oh no, I still fervently worship at the altar that is my wardrobe and shoe-robe. I’m just over trends. 

Perhaps it’s a subconscious desire to revert to the days of old when I fell in love with those overzealous floral embroidered jeans and simply had to have them, regardless of whether they were actually in or not. Maybe I’m yearning for some sort of sartorial satisfaction that comes from choosing what you clothe yourself in based on whatever twisted ideas are floating around your grey matter, as opposed to the ‘ten trends you must invest in this winter’ lists that seem to circle the internet endlessly. 

Despite my newfound aversion to trends, despite my desire to not be overtly influenced, I’m under no illusions that the ability to avoid trends is tightly held by those that live outside the realm of the internet and far away from a high street fashion chain. Of which I am neither. And as per that famous scene in The Devil Wears Prada, even when we think we’re making an independent choice - we are not. So even though I thought I was being all individual and me when I wore those flares, the truth is I wasn’t. I was being influenced, even when I didn’t know it. Fashion you subversive little beast. 

Alas, my avoidance of trends is no doubt in vain; and will, I’m sure, be short lived. You will find me, sometime soon, poring over searching for inspiration and trends(!!!). For now though, I’ll pretend for just a little longer that I don’t know what a trend is. I’ll make sartorial choices based on questions like is it raining outside, and do I have to leave the house today. I’ll make believe that Small Town, Nowhere still exists and those overzealous flares really are the greatest thing I own. 

kb xx

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

contradictory me.......

Sometimes, more often than not, I feel like a walking, talking, tweeting contradiction. I’m well aware I don’t have to limit myself to just one interest, i.e. fash-un. But I’m also aware that it’s sometimes really hard to merge my two seemingly conflicting trains of thought. And sometimes it feels like if you talk about fashion it means you can’t talk about other issues, like politics or economics or in the case of the above mentioned retweet rape. On the other side of the same coin, if you want to discuss such issues fashion seems out of bounds.

To discuss it in sartorial terms, it’s like combining dainty floral prints in the form of fifties swing dresses with Comme des Garcons. Sure, it works in some kind of ironic way, but can you really wear that look every day without becoming a parody of yourself?

Imagine there is a wall. A big high one, but at regular intervals it has doors, unlocked, often open doors. On one side is fash-un. And Anna Della Russo. On the other is politics and global economics. You can walk through the doors between the two worlds, back and forth as often as you like. But straddling the wall is incredibly difficult. It's a wide wall, and you're not particularly flexible. And maybe this is my imagination, but there is this feeling that if you spend too much time on the fash-un side your credibility on the other side wanes. Or disappears.

Because if you obsess over Acne boots and Proenza Schouler skirts and knits by Marni how can you possibly have an opinion on the GFC or what happens in Canberra or on anything other than the quality of a Katrantzou print or if Hedi Slimane is legit rad or legit insane?

Sophia Coppola said that the general assumption is that to be interested in fashion you must be superficial or silly, but that she believed that you could be substantial and still interested in frivolity. So perhaps my contradictions are not so contradictory.

After all, does fashion not generally reflect the political, social and economic climate like nothing else in history? And individually, are our sartorial choices not directly influenced by various factors, not limited to our social and economic status; in fact you could argue that you are what you wear?

Perhaps the idea that fashion is frivolous and shallow is more about perception than reality. Maybe, just maybe the contradiction lies not in me, but in the ideal of fashion that is perpetrated and reinforced at every turn. An ideal that ignores history. An ideal that says if you care about what you wear you can't, therefore, care about anything substantial. A ideal that places fashion in a box, refusing to acknowledge the wide-ranging political, social and economic issues that play a significant role in the industry - regardless of what the outer layer of frivolity might make you assume.

I'm not prepared to forgo my love of fashion to pursue an interest in politics or social and economic issues or feminism, I want both. And I'm not prepared to allow myself to be placed inside a box, to conform to expectations, to help perpetrate an ideal I don't agree with.

I am prepared to embrace the facets of me that though on the surface seem inherently opposed, with a little digging become inexplicably linked.

kb xx

Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Saturday Paper and my romantic heart.......

Despite my rock hard exterior, I’m really quite the romantic at heart. Well, at least when it comes to traditional forms of media. What can I say, newspapers really do it for me. So yesterday, when The Saturday Paper launched and The Age went to tabloid for it’s Saturday edition in the one day, you could say I was giddy with feelings of adulation towards a few pieces of paper and some ink. And you’d be right. Now, before this gets much creepier - if that’s even possible - let me tell you a little story called ‘What I Thought Of The Saturday Paper’s First Edition’. A title that looks a hell of a lot like click bait, and let’s face it probably is. I wonder how many pictures of cute dogs I can incorporate into this post?

I’ll start at the end, because that’s how I read all print, with the exception of real live books - although some could admittedly benefit from a backwards read. Killer advertisement for Tasmania on the back page. I’m seriously considering thinking about contemplating visiting. Skipped the cryptic crossword. Don’t judge me, they are notoriously difficult. 

Read Patty Huntington, because Frockwriter and fashion and me. Have been googling Miley Cyrus + DI$COUNT UNIVER$E obsessively since and now I want a tie-dye t-shirt with sequins on it. Also Huntington would have to be one of the best fashion writers in Australia, and in the inaugural edition of The Saturday Paper writes an interesting and informed piece on how the aforementioned Cyrus and the the design duo of Discount Universe have formed an interesting connection, and more broadly about the long-term success of small Australian fashion brands. 

Also read Christos Tsiolkas’s brilliantly descriptive review of the much acclaimed Blue is the Warmest Colour. I now fervently believe that all movie reviews, or perhaps all reviews in general, should be written by fiction writers that have a distinct way with words. Writers that have an ability to construct more than just a review, but a strange hybrid of review and narrative, and just a big mash up of lovely words like melancholy, doomed, mired, ferocious, startlingly, potency…you get the picture. 

If you didn’t already know, Malcolm Turnbull, Federal Minister for Communications, made a rousing speech at the official launch of The Saturday Paper in Sydney on Friday night. An extract of his speech can be found on page 14 and includes this gem - ‘sharing stories is the most human of habits and the long form of journalism is one of the most pure, most enduring examples of that’ - that’s good Malcolm, that’s very good. Of course right next to that was the first editorial of The Saturday Paper which took us back to 1803 when a transported convict started the first Australian newspaper, a story which warms my heart, if not anyone elses.

The closer I get to the front of The Saturday Paper the more news I find. Reports on federal Senator Nash and the take down of a website that provided health ratings for pre-packaged food, a glimpse of which you can see here. The contentious issue of the $600K donation to the $10 million Biennale Sydney by the Belgiorno-Nettis family who founded Transfield, who have just been awarded the billion dollar contract to operate the Manus Island detention centre. And George Pell’s new job, which takes him quite far from the Royal Commission he so deserves to play a very big part in. 

The Saturday Paper leads with Manus Island, the death of asylum seeker Reza Barati and the issue that is currently dividing Australia. And while the three page piece by Sophie Morris is well written, making it's point succinctly and deliberately, it’s the story on page three that sends shivers down my spine and warmth through my heart. Sentimental? Yes, absolutely, and I’m unapologetic. 

The death of Luke Batty was shocking, senseless, terrifying and just overwhelmingly sad. And while it’s a sequence of events ripe for sensationalising and ripping apart, Martin McKenzie-Murray delivers something else - a story. Not a news story with who, what, where and why. Not a tabloid write up with out of context quotes and unnamed sources. Not rubbish and innuendo - a story. A story with real people, real emotion, real complexity and the rawness that only comes from the human condition. Perhaps Malcolm had this story in mind when he remarked that the sharing of stories is the most human of habits, for surely McKenzie-Murray’s piece is a embodiment of the notion?

The Saturday Paper, published by Morry Schwartz the man behind The Monthly, The Quarterly Essay and publishing house Black Inc Books, has garnered attention for the simple reason that it bucks the notion that print is dead. It eschews the idea that people simply don't read newspapers anymore by publishing exactly that - a newspaper, but with a distinctly nontraditional feel. There are no classifieds, no pages of sports or small filler stories, in fact Schwartz says they will leave out anything extraneous. Which is exactly what they did with yesterdays first issue. 

I’ll be buying The Saturday Paper next week, for one very simple reason. I love stories. The kind of stories that require more than a cursory glance, the kind that deliver more than facts and quotes and aren’t afraid to do so. The kind, that even if just for a moment, open a window into another life, another place, another point of view. And if a publication - especially a newspaper with real newsprint and real ink - can deliver those stories then I’m in.

kb xx