RSFF spotlights critical fashion issues

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image Aurelio Costarella RAFW 2010... The designer will be making a guest appearance at Friday's panel discussion on couture

As things heat up in Sydney for next week’s Rosemount Sydney Fashion Festival, the NSW State Library is hosting panel discussions about cutting edge fashion issues. Respected fashion historian and curator Margot Riley will head the ‘In Conversation’ series, along with the likes of designers, professors and journalists in the Australian fashion industry. Tackling the topics such as the relevance of couture in our contemporary society, and the current state of fashion writing in Australia- it’s sure to produce some lively banter from the industry heavy weights!


Think of it as ABC’s Q&A for fashion… The two panel discussions set to take place at the NSW State Library on Wednesday 25th and Friday 27th August 2010, are putting fashion critique back in the public eye.


Australian fashion is on the rise, RAFW (Rosemount Australian Fashion Week) is becoming internationally recognised, while fresh design talent is on the rise. Established Australian brands have also enjoyed sustained success in the fashion capitals such as Willow and Aurelio Costarella in New York, Sass & Bide in London, and Collette Dinnigan in Paris.



 We have celebrities donning local Australian brands, and a flurry of models on the international catwalks. So why is there such a gap in critical fashion writing in Australia today?





Australian Designer Aurelio Costarella shows his collection at RAFW 2010,

after breaking the tough fashion scene in New York in recent years




On Wednesday, a diverse panel tackles the topic ‘The current state of contemporary Australian fashion writing’, introduced by fashion editor of the Sydney Morning Herald Kellie Hush.  The renowned panellists for the night consist of Writer and Associate Editor of GQ magazine Mitchell Oakley Smith; Fashion Historian Margot Riley; LOVER Designers Susien Chong and Nic Biand; and Fashion Blogger Patty Huntington.


The second key topic up for discussion is the relevance of couture. Karl Lagerfeld recently had a 12m bronze lion manufactured for his Chanel Autumn Winter 2010-11 Haute Couture show in Paris. The lion took 30 sculptors three months to construct… for a show that was over within half an hour.  Couture clothing is a contentious topic, especially in the contemporary context of the Global Financial Crisis. 







Is Couture still relevant to Contemporary Australian Society?

Karl Langerfeld goes grand for his Chanel A/W 2010 Haute Couture show




For most Australians, everyday clothing is part of the casual culture, and the only handmade couture even considered would be Bridal wear- a once in a lifetime experience. However Friday’s panel discussion looks at the role couture plays in celebrating art, craftsmanship and resurgence of interest in the handmade.

With a panel that includes designer Aurelio Costarella; Custodian of the vintage couture Darnell Collection Charlotte Smith; Fashion Historian Margot Riley; fashion blogger Patty Huntington; and UTS Professor of Design Peter McNeil; the couture topic is sure to create some stir.





The Golden Age of Couture... Maggie Tabberer in 1957 Australian Vogue




To get in with the action, book now for next week’s panel discussions!


Fashion After Hours In Conversation Series


When: Wednesday 25th August 2010 (The Current State of Contemporary Australian Fashion Writing) & Friday 27th August 2010 (Couture- Is it still relevant?) 

Where: State Library of NSW foyer and Metcalfe Auditorium (enter via Macquarie Street)

Cost: $30, includes light refreshments 

Book Now: Ph 02 9273 1770 or









Image References:

1. Aurelio Costerella, RAFW, May 2010, Sydney, NSW, photograph © Robert James Wallace

2. Aurelio Costarella RAFW April 2010 The Age, Melbourne VIC

3. Maggie Tabberer for Vogue Australia, c.1957, Melbourne, Vic., photograph © Helmut Newton Estate

4. Chanel Haute Couture Autumn Winter 2010-11, July 2010 




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