A Captive Audience

parachute silk
December 14, 2011, 5:19 am
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Turk & Taylor’s mega gown

Made from upcycled Vietnam-era parachutes, each piece of this dynamic dress is uniquely color blocked in cream, sand, army green and orange silk.


Livia Firth wears eco couture
February 13, 2011, 12:55 pm
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Livia Firth wears eco couture – in pictures | Life and style | The Observer.



Michelle Obama in Alexander McQueen: Lady in Red
January 22, 2011, 7:17 am
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Michelle Obama in Alexander McQueen: Lady in Red by Robin Givhan from The Daily Beast

Michelle Obama in Alexander McQueen

“The red petal print, silk organza gown wasn’t so much an act of diplomacy as a broad statement about the new realities of the fashion industry. In choosing a dress from Alexander McQueen, Mrs. Obama championed the cause of artisan design, the legacy of bespoke tailoring, and the staggering creativity that can be nurtured in the frock trade when it is at its best. The sleeveless dress, with its asymmetrical neckline, was created by a house that represents the designer imagination at its most indulgent and devilish. And in wearing the gown to honor China, a country that many view with disdain for its abundance of cheap labor, counterfeit products, and poor labor practices, Mrs. Obama seemed to be recognizing the country’s inevitable place in the fashion cycle and giving it its due. Indeed, Chinese consumers represent a vast new marketplace for designer companies, and the production quality of its factories continues to improve. In short, Mrs. Obama’s choice was an optimistic celebration of all that fashion can be and it seemed to suggest that China was welcome to be a part of that vision.

“This dress, less body conscious and richly adorned than Mrs. Obama’s previous state dinner gowns by Naeem Khan and Peter Soronen, seemed to be more of a celebration of the global fashion industry rather than a more narrowly focused desire to spotlight the creativity of China or any American designers who can claim a familial connection to it.

In Mrs. Obama’s considered fashion message, her full-skirted dress, from a British design house worn in celebration of a Chinese president, struck a blow for creativity. In grand and sweeping terms, one could argue that it symbolized the ability of a designer’s imagination to cross borders, connect different cultures, and ultimately express itself in a singular moment of beauty.”

Another article on the same website, by Kate Betts, referred to in the quote above about Obama’s trip to India is also interesting and points to a subtle and complex symbolism used through her fashion choices in order to acknowledge and honour other cultures

“Several Indian bloggers wondered why Michelle didn’t don a traditional sari for the more formal state dinner. Perhaps they didn’t recognize her stealth tactics. Did they not remember the lemongrass inaugural outfit? The one for which the color was chosen specifically because it represented rebirth and renewal? Or what about the glittering gold bangles she wore on one arm at the first White House state dinner, in honor of India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh? Not the obvious sari, but an accessible, universal gesture of Indian craftsmanship nonetheless. This trip’s wardrobe was packed with discreet messages of collaboration and understanding.”

And this post details some of the fallout from this dress and Obama’s response.

The Tiara Project
July 8, 2010, 4:08 am
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The Tiara Project is a Not For Profit organisation which provides free formal dress loan to girls attending school formals, debutante balls, weddings and other special events, who couldn’t otherwise afford it. 

At The Tiara Project our primary purpose is to assist girls from disadvantaged backgrounds to overcome financial barriers to participate in social events, particularly formal and semi-formal events.

By loaning dresses to girls for free, we are enabling individuals to:

• overcome financial barriers to social inclusion
• develop social skills
• boost self esteem and confidence
• care for themselves
• foster connections with school, family & the wider community
• celebrate and have fun

Project Goodwill
June 3, 2010, 12:57 pm
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April 1, 2010

Henry Roth.Life cycle … Henry Roth donated dresses from his archives. Photo: Quentin Jones

Reworked wedding dresses are helping transform the local op shop into a fashion destination, writes Natasha Silva-Jelly.

Trawling through an op shop in search of buried treasure has long been the preserve of the devoted fashionista. But what you might not know is that the humble op shop has been busy shaking off its mothball reputation and establishing itself as a fully fledged fashion destination, complete with chic fit-out and reworked designer pieces.

OneNoffs in the Sydney suburb of Randwick is one such example pioneering the op shop revolution.

The brainchild of Rupert Noffs, grandson of the late Reverend Ted Noffs, the not-for-profit charity store opened late last year as a typical clutter-filled, visual merchandising-free zone.

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Rent The Runway
June 3, 2010, 12:20 pm
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A Netflix Model for Haute Couture
Published: November 9, 2009

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Jennifer Hyman, left, and Jennifer Carter Fleiss at Rent the Runway headquarters.

// // For many women, a $1,000 dress is something they admire in the pages of a glossy magazine or see draped on the frame of a celebrity — not an item hanging in their closet.

Through the mail-order service from Jennifer Hyman, above left, and Jennifer Carter Fleiss, a four-night dress rental costs $50 to $200.

But a nascent Web site called Rent the Runway is hoping to make high-end fashions much more accessible and almost as easy as renting a movie from Netflix.

The mail-order service, which finishes the testing phase on Monday, allows women to rent dresses from notable fashion designers like Diane Von Furstenberg, Hervé Léger and Proenza Schouler for roughly one-tenth of what they would cost to buy in a retail store.

The rentals run $50 to $200 for a four-night loan and are shipped directly to the customer’s doorstep. After wearing the dress, she puts it into a prepaid envelope and drops it in the mail. Dry cleaning is included in the price, but damage insurance costs $5, and in the case of outright destruction of the dress, the renter is responsible for the full retail price.

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Suzy Amis Cameron – Red Carpet Green Dress Competition
June 1, 2010, 7:54 am
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Red Carpet Green Dress, Catalyst for a Revolution

By Magda Rod, 3 March 2010


I know, the dress looks blue—Avatar blue to be exact. But, it’s actually about 85% green. The Red Carpet Green Dress Contest was created by Suzy Amis Cameron, wife of Avatar director James Cameron, to send a message that one can wear green on the red carpet. In addition to designing Oscar-worthy gowns out of sustainable fabrics, the contest also serves as an international fundraiser event for her beloved MUSE Elementary

See also:

Green Gowns on Oscar’s Red Carpet

By Roberta Cruger, 7 March 2010


Even with Linda Loudermilk and Stella McCartney’s high-end sustainable clothing, it is still an effort to get eco-minded celebs into black tie worthy gowns. A couple years ago, retro Chanel was all the rage, which was a great idea, until Reese Witherspoon discovered hers wasn’t a one-and-only dress, as she’d been told, and her ’50s number showed up on somebody else. These are problems we don’t have to worry about, thankfully. To avoid the whole thing, actress Suzy Amis Cameron (wife of Avatar’s James Cameron) held a contest for her Oscar “green” gown. Guess what color it is?

The winner of the “Red Carpet Green Dress” competition is Jillian Granz, an apparel and textile design student at Michigan State University, who created a special design with sustainable materials and techniques that Deborah Scott Studios created (winner of the Academy Award for costume designs in Titanic–James Cameron’s other blockbuster.

Selected from worldwide entries, her green design utilized a clever and aesthetic waste-free way of using the material. Not only is Amis Cameron wearing the gown on the Oscars’ red carpet, she says she may wear the dress twice, “a definite fashion faux pas,” she admits to Planet46.com, but also “the epitome of recycling.” Another no-no was unveiling it before the Oscars tonight. Instead she revealed the gown at Global Green’s Pre-Oscar party last Wednesday. Yes, you guessed it–it’s Avatar blue.

The criteria for this first Red Carpet Green Dress contest was that it be sustainable as well as elegant, which Ganz, the aspiring designer winner, discovered took more thought and effort than she expected when searching for suitable materials and non-toxic dyes. But she says the trend is a positive direction for design…