Those kooky kids over at World have come to blows with Woollahra Council, which apparently doesn't have much of a sense of humour. The Auckland-based fashion brand, which bills itself as a “factory of ideas and experiments” (the dress, below, is from their AW10 collection) and operates eight stores in NZ and Sydney, has come to the attention of the council regarding a paint job that was recently given to its Paddington, Sydney store. As it emerges, multi-coloured polka dots are illegal in Sydney's trendiest shopping strip. In a letter dated May 17th, Craig Jenner, Woollahra Municipal Council’s Team Leader – Compliance, gave World’s landlord 28 days to nix them.
Here are a few terms of the order:
1. Restore the subject premises to the condition in which they were before work was unlawfully carried out by:
(a) Removing from the shop window the multi-coloured polka dots and:
(b) Painting the walls to the façade of the shop in a uniform colour, to remove the unauthorised multi-coloured polka dots that have been painted onto the front façade of the shop adjacent to Glenmore Road.
The letter goes on to say:
1. Condition 9 of development consent DA625/2004 requires the exterior colour scheme for the subject premises to accord with the requirements of Part 5.2.9. of the Paddington Development Control Plan 1999.
4. Council is satisfied that the multi-coloured polka dots displayed on the window and wall surfaces of the building are an advertisement. “Advertisement” is defined in Woollahra Local Environmental Plan 1995 as “a display by the use of colour, pattern, symbols…for promotional purposes… whether or not the display includes the erection of a structure of the carrying out of work”.
6. The advertisement does not satisfy the exempt development criteria for a flush wall sign or a window shop front sign, or the criteria for advertising in Heritage Conservation Areas, as specified in Woollahra Development Control Plan Exempt & Complying Development 2005.
It is not the first time that the council has taken issue with a fashion retailer in this vicinity.
In 2004, Woollahra Council deputy mayor Keri Huxley described the green used by World’s neighbour, Scanlan & Theodore, for its new Sydney flagship on the corner of Oxford Street and Glenmore Road, as a "hideous" and "particularly disgusting colour".
Huxley was unable to veto the colour however, because it was included in the building's development approval.
“We are outraged the council is so ignorant and lazy!” World director Francis Hooper told frockwriter.
“If they just took the time to ask us why?! World wanted to make a statement for the season, to bring colourful cheer to the neighbourhood, to take away the doom and gloom and recession fever that has gripped the city. All the locals love it! We have become a mini tourist attraction. We have only had positives from everyone. Even our landlord has commended us on uplifting the area. It’s obvious this wonderful spotty art is just a temporary installation. Trust the council to bully a small business out of business. Arse holes!”