Australian retail needs every boost it can get at the moment and fortunately three consumer fashion festivals are just around the corner. Melbourne Spring Fashion Week launched its program on Tuesday and announced Dannii Minogue as its ambassador and Sophie Van Den Akker as the face of the seven-day frockfest, opening in Melbourne on September 5. More than 150 events and runway shows for the public are on the MSFW program, which Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle says will help boost the coffers of Australian designers. ''Everything you see on the runways can be purchased in store … the event drives people into city stores and for every $1 council spends, $4 is injected into the local economy,'' he says.
Fashion Festival Brisbane opens on August 20 with a similar seven-day retail stimulation package, before Fashion Festival Sydney kicks off on August 23 at Sydney Town Hall. With new sponsor Mercedes-Benz on board, FFS is shaping up to be bigger than ever - literally, with Myer's new Big is Beautiful plus-size label taking the opening show slot. Daniel Hill, the general manager of IMG Fashion, which runs the festival, says including plus-size labels such as Big is Beautiful and City Chic, which featured in FFS three years ago, is important for any fashion festival that wants to be taken seriously as providing wardrobe options for regular women, who are generally far from a model's sample size.
For fashion lovers who had to be content with watching shows online during May's industry-only Australian Fashion Week, FFS is offering a series of Australian Fashion Week review shows, featuring designers such as Alex Perry, Therese Rawsthorne, Yeojin Bae and Josh Goot, as part of five days of free and ticketed events.
Heels and courts
It was barristers meet the Barneys shoe floor when Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent met in a New York courtroom last week to argue the former's allegations that the latter infringed its trademarked red soles. Women's Wear Daily reported from the courtroom that ''red pumps and sandals were strewn everywhere'', with the presiding judge, Victor Marrero, at one point exclaiming, ''Nice shoes,'' with a smile.
Paris-based designer Christian Louboutin, whose shoes have graced famous feet around the world, sued rival fashion house Yves Saint Laurent in April, claiming YSL's Palais pump and Palais slingback were virtually identical to his trademark. YSL lawyer David Bernstein argued Louboutin was trying to claim a monopoly over the colour red, noting that everyone from King Louis XIV of France and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz had possessed red-soled shoes. ''We are unaware of any case in which a court has upheld trademark protection to a mark consisting solely of a single colour of an article of apparel,'' London's Telegraph newspaper reported Bernstein as telling the court.
Brandishing a Louboutin heel, the designer's lawyer, Harley Lewin, claimed his client was not, ''as YSL misleading argues, [trying] to claim a monopoly over the colour red … But when YSL ignores countless colour choices … and apes the famous signature of the Louboutin brand, [it destroys] the goodwill painstakingly built in the red sole mark.''
Judge Marrero did not immediately make a ruling.
Abbey Lee love
Portmans has just finished shooting the first phase of its spring-summer campaign starring Abbey Lee Kershaw in Los Angeles. The shots (one pictured left) follow the success of Portmans' first campaign with Kershaw, who has starred in campaigns for Gucci, Versace and Tom Ford, among others, and were taken around Hollywood sights such as the Orpheum Theatre and towering palm trees.
''Abbey really came to life on the streets of Los Angeles … and it was yet again apparent why she's ranked No. 1 Australian model in the world,'' says the marketing manager for Portmans, Natalie Flegg.
The chairman of luxury conglomerate LVMH has inspired a rap album. American rapper Soulja Boy released his Bernard Arnault EP last week, which, in its second track, Louis Vuitton, references LVMH's flagship brand no fewer than 63 times.
But Arnault should take the tribute with a grain of salt - on other tracks on the album, Soulja calls him ''Robert Arnault'' instead.