Miranda Kerr has done rather a lot since she headed offshore to try her luck on the international fashion stage in 2005, like so many other eager Aussie hopefuls before her. The following year, after scoring a Maybelline contract, she landed what would evolve into a highly lucrative deal with US intimate apparel giant Victoria’s Secret. Kerr returned to the Australian market in 2008 in a big way as the new face of Australian department store David Jones, an astute marketing investment that is presumably costing DJs much less today than it is currently worth in media coverage. In the eighteen months since Kerr last walked DJs' biannual runway showcase, she has emerged as a truly global star – not just one of the world’s highest-paid models, but a household name whose every move is charted by the paps. Sure, the marriage to Hollywood heartthrob Orlando Bloom hasn’t hurt her profile, ditto the birth of their beautiful baby boy Flynn in January. So refreshing, then, to see Kerr backstage at DJ’s Spring/Summer 2011/2012 showcase on Wednesday night, hamming it up as just another one of the girls.
Frockwriter was backstage for the show’s duration and watched Kerr's antics with her old runway mates like Tiah Eckhardt, Stephanie Carta and Annika Kaban, as well as the crop of new girls who are rapidly rising up in Kerr and co's wakes (backstage portfolio of 73 shots, below - best viewed on the blog). Names such as Samantha Harris, Amanda Ware, Emily Wake – whose identical, non-model twin sister Elyse was standing backstage throughout the show, prompting more than one double take – and of course Rose Smith.
At last season’s DJs show in February, Smith had yet to work internationally. In the interim, she has been cast in no less than three Chanel shows (ready-to-wear, cruise and haute couture).
Another rising star on DJs runway: Claire Collins, whose modelling experience prior to July’s haute couture shows in Paris was one Australian fashion show. Collins was one of four Australian models booked by Chanel for its Fall/Winter 2011/2012 haute couture show, alongside Smith, Julia Nobis and another newcomer, Caitlin Lomax.
It might be the toughest Australian retail climate in half a century – with David Jones itself issuing a shock profit downgrade last month – but the runway and backstage vibe was upbeat. Setting the mood: some psychedelic, boho de luxe offerings from Sydney-based caftan queen Camilla Franks and Jets' sensational, colour-blocked swimwear. Shots of a pneumatic Kerr in Jets’ foxy collared maillot with plunging neckline were beamed across the world.
Also in the lineup: a few of DJs’ 60 fresh brand additions, including Lover, Carl Kapp and Ksubi’s new Kustom range of customised luxury denim pieces that are festooned with studs and graffiti - arguably the smartest business decision that the bad boys of Australian jeanswear have made in quite some time. The world’s economies are going to hell in a handbasket, but with luxury sales booming – and über efficient fast fashion powerhouses such as Zara giving consumers runway trends at killer prices - cash-cautious consumers, it seems, are more than happy to open their wallets for merchandise that they consider special.