Vivid LIVE shines off-stage at the Opera House

A glamourous retro pop-up bar, intimate musings from legendary rapper Ice Cube, exclusive Backstage Tours and hearty food with a view. Vivid LIVE’s 10th anniversary year will give contemporary music fans countless ways to drink in the atmosphere under the sails from Friday May 25, as part of Vivid Sydney, the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas.

Goldie’s Music Hall, a pop-up bar from the team behind bluesy Newtown local The Midnight Special, reaches back into the golden era of ‘60s and ‘70s funk, soul and R&B transforming the Concert Hall Northern Foyer into a gleaming world of black and gold.

Warm light from beaded lampshades, plush furnishings and majestic peacock chairs will envelop guests in flamboyant excess, set to the soundtrack of Sydney DJs like Gonz, Rusty and Boonge, and Mama Disquo spinning timeless records you won’t find on Spotify.

Goldie’s will team up with Aria Events to offer specially-made cocktails like the ‘Golden Years’ – cognac, rye whiskey, amaretto, whisky barrel bitters and orange zest – and a drinks list championing local brewers Grifter Brewing Co. and Young Henrys. Best served with a bite from their decadently nostalgic menu and sparkling Sydney Harbour views. (Open from 6pm til late, from 25 May to 4 June.)

Ice Cube – legendary West Coast rapper and founding member of pioneering rap group, N.W.A. – will appear in a rare and intimate one-hour discussion with beloved Double J music presenter Zan Rowe ahead of his final Australian-exclusive Vivid LIVE performance.

Join the self-confessed, mega music fan for a live recording of her iconic Take 5 segment in the striking surrounds of the Joan Sutherland Theatre as she invites one of the greatest rappers of all time to tell stories from his expansive 30-year career. (Monday 28 May in the Joan Sutherland Theatre, 5:30pm. Tickets $19 per person.)

The Vivid LIVE Backstage Tour is an intimate experience run exclusively during Vivid LIVE, offering a glimpse into the passionate, exciting and demanding world of the acts who grace the Opera House’s world-famous stages.

Step behind the curtain just hours before the evening’s Vivid LIVE performances to discover what really happens backstage from sequins to sound-checks and the nooks and crannies usually off limits to the public including the internal Broadcast Studio. The two-hour experience concludes with drinks and dinner in the Green Room – the private hang out of crew and performers. (Tour runs at 5:30pm nightly from 25 May to 4 June. Tickets $175 per person.)

Hearty winter favourites and playful cocktails inspired by Sydney’s kaleidoscope of colour and light will warm nights of Vivid Sydney exploration across the Opera House precinct. Portside Sydney’s outdoor Illumination Bar menu features pulled brisket brioche sliders, spiced lamb pasties and signature Vivid cocktails like the bittersweet citrus-infused ‘Trip the Light Fantastic’ (Open 5pm til late).

If you’re on the go, Portside’s Ilumaburger pop-up on the Forecourt has you covered with gourmet toasties, sweet treats and burgers like the ‘Southern Belle’ with spiced chicken and slaw (Open 6pm til late).

Opera Bar nights will be filled with neon light, with colourful Vivid Sydney-inspired cocktails ‘Electric Blue’, ‘Red Night’ & ‘Orange Glow’ accompanied by a neon trio of beetroot hummus, kalamata tapenade, rocket and spinach pesto dips. (Available 25 May to 16 June.)

The Four Worlds brings the haunting ambient music of electronic producer Mark Pritchard to life in an outer-worldly 13-minute film experience. Immerse yourself in psychedelic sonic landscapes created by award-winning visual artist Jonathan Zawada whose captivating cosmic designs will grace the Opera House sails in Metamathemagical.

Meet the minds behind this mesmerising collaboration as Zawada and Pritchard join Opera House curator Sarah Rees in a special in-conversation on 27 May. Screenings of The Four Worlds will alternate with a 10-year Vivid LIVE retrospective showcasing stunning imagery of the provocative and ambitious acts who’ve made the past decade of Vivid LIVE unforgettable. (Free screenings of The Four Worlds in The Samsung Lounge from 25 May to 16 June; Free in-conversation in the Concert Hall Northern Foyer, 27 May at 5pm.)

Source: Sydney Opera House Vivid LIVE

Take a peek inside the biggest parties this week - for Vogue Australia

The GQ Gentlemen’s Ball, Melbourne
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, GQ Australia welcomed guests to The Ormond Collective in Melbourne for its first ever Gentlemen’s Ball. Presented by Penfolds and supported by Harrolds, BMW and Paco Rabanne, the event was hosted by The Project’s Hamish MacDonald and welcomed game-changing Australian men including Earth Hour founder and CEO of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, Andy Ridley and Olympic gold medalist Mack Horton.

Teresa Palmer attends the GQ Gentlemen’s Ball. Image credit: Supplied

The evening also saw actress Teresa Palmer, husband Mark Webber and Vogue Australia, Vogue Living and GQ Magazine’s editorial director, Edwina McCann take to the stage for a panel discussion on the global HeForShe campaign. Fashion designer Lukas Vincent added that authenticity and compassion will define the next generation of gentlemen during a panel at the ball. He was joined on stage as part of a panel with entrepreneur Jack Delosa, Andy Ridley and Mack Horton, who sat down to chat about what it meant to be a successful, productive gentleman in the social climate 2018 presents.

Vogue Australia, Vogue Living and GQ Magazine editorial director Edwina McCann attends the GQ Gentlemen’s Ball. Image credit: Supplied

When talking about his initial waves of inspiration, the Ex-Infinitas frontman said, “I’m a kid from the peninsula, I was working out of the bedroom of my mother’s house with a single bed. Being a designer, people always want to see authenticity, and that’s a phrase that gets thrown around a lot. My process was to bring bogan culture to Paris, but in a way that’s more elevated and polished.”

The three course dinner created by Shannon Bennett was followed by an after party where Client Liaison and Kayex played and much dancing went on until the early hours. Guests included supermodel and activist Jarrod Scott, Olympic snowboarder and bronze medalist Scotty James, actor Jackson Gallagher, designer Toni Maticevski and sports stars Cameron McEvoy and Dylan Alcott.

Craig Hall, Lily Sullivan, James Marsden and Sarah Wiseman attend the Westworld party hosted by Foxtel. Image credit: Supplied

Westworld party hosted by Foxtel
James Marsden, who plays Teddy in the hugely successful reboot series of Westworld, zipped into town just in time for the beginning of the second series of the show. The Foxtel-hosted party for Oklahoma-born Marsden, on the rooftop of the Museum of Contemporary Art, was a very sleek affair with Foxtel TV faces and quite a few fans on hand as he talked about the series.

Melissa Hoyer, Guy Binder and Amy Cooper attend the Westworld party hosted by Foxtel. Image credit: Supplied

Even though he stars in a high-tech series, he says he keeps his life relatively low-tech, using a landline and driving, wait for it, a manual car. Faces included Patrick Delany, Brian Walsh, Darren Davidson, Stephen Baldwin, Nick Tabakoff and Andrew Hornery.

Inside the launch of A Mother’s Choice. Image credit: Supplied

A Mother’s Choice book launch by Elle Halliwell, Café Sydney
In May 2016 Elle Halliwell, a journalist who I have worked with, was diagnosed with leukemia. It was just a few days after that, she found out she was four weeks pregnant. Halliwell faced one of the most heart-wrenching situations a young woman could ever find herself in as the doctors asked her to choose between terminating her unborn baby and beginning treatment.

Or, continue with the pregnancy and delay effective intervention for her cancer, a course that could lead to her death. This brave mother-to-be chose to keep her baby, what she later came to understand as ‘a mother’s choice’. Elle’s memoir details her illness, her pregnancy, and against all the odds, the ultimate triumph of giving birth to her son, Tor and what a happy and love-fueled launch it was.

Inside the launch of A Mother’s Choice. Image credit: Supplied

Surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, Halliwell can’t help but get emotional when talking about her life and when looking at beautiful Tor, everyone couldn’t help but beam. Now on the road to recovery, Halliwell has discovered a new passion for nutrition and a life free from anxiety and despite the physical and emotional pain, she’s more determined than ever to live well and enjoy life to the fullest. A Mother’s Choice is in equal parts moving, compelling and inspiring.

Inside Christopher Hanna’s soft salon opening, Image credit: Supplied

Christopher Hanna’s ‘soft’ salon opening, Sydney
A CBD hair salon with a copper clad bar and a cosmetic clinic has opened. The $3.5 million hair, beauty and lounge bar concept is the first luxury space of its kind and will see customers pampered in a lavish five-star deluxe salon and sophisticated lounge bar where caviar and French champagne go hand-in-hand with tousled curls and cosmetic treatments.

Celebrity hair stylist Christopher Hanna presides over the 24-seat salon featuring Belmont chairs and large handmade black steel mirrors. Exquisite interior design complements the customer experience—from the world’s best barber chairs to Versace wallpaper, marble walls and a $1 million handmade copper bar—CH Sydney is dazzling in its opulence. CH Sydney marks a decade-long dream come true for Hanna and the luxury salon’s co-founders Sam Badawi and Guy Binder.

“We have succeeded in creating the ultimate first-class salon experience,” said Badawi, managing partner of design and construction company SGB Group. “The idea was to combine hair, cosmetic beauty and a lounge bar all under one roof but in a way that had never been done before.  This is a place where people are pampered to the max, feel relaxed, have privacy, and everything just flows from the food to the treatments to the cocktails. Whether you’ve booked in for hair styling or having injectables or laser, we’ve designed it so your husband or your friends can be waiting for you in the bar or lounge—or you can have a drink and fine food while you’re having your hair done.”

Inside Christopher Hanna’s soft salon opening, Image credit: Supplied

CH Sydney nestles inside historic Bridge Street premises now transformed into a chic design space with the help of Sydney’s Melissa Collison and hospitality consultant Mikee Collins. Lavish fittings blend seamlessly with restored heritage features including a dramatic Bunning and Madden 1950s copper sculpture. A sweeping circular staircase leads to a mezzanine and a row of hair basins behind state-of-the-art leather massage chairs.

Plush velvet seating lines the walls of CH Sydney’s sophisticated lounge bar where patrons relax below backlit cabinets displaying one of the finest and largest ranges of premium liquors catering to the most discerning of customers. Nitro Espresso martinis flow from the nitrogen-charged cocktail unit while the elegant bar displays more than 40 different types of whiskies, gins and tequilas along with rum and vodka.

“This is one of the most important heritage buildings in Sydney’s CBD and we are really very proud of what we have achieved here,” says Badawi. “We have created something very special, completely unique and aesthetically pleasing.” Hosted by Tiffany Farrington and VIP Sydney’s Karim Gharbi, industry guests got pampered while sipping French champagne and nibbling on delicious food by New York chefs from The Lucky Bee, Matt and Rupert Noffs. There’s soon to be a grand opening party, so stay tuned.

Inside the MAAS Reigning Men exhibition. Image credit: Supplied

MAAS launches exclusive fashion exhibition: Reigning Men
The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) launched its exclusive fashion exhibition Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear 1715 – 2015 in partnership with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The cocktail gave guests a preview of Reigning Men, the world’s largest exhibition of men’s fashion featuring some of the world’s most iconic examples of menswear spanning over 300 years and traversing the globe.

Guests including MAAS’ Reigning Men of Sydney ambassadors Justin O’Shea, Kelvin Ho, Roberto Malizia, Benji Hart and Jimmy Niggles and were joined by arts and creative industry peers including Kit Willow, Jenny Kee and Marc Freeman as they took in the exhibition sipping Goldy Gin served by Icebergs Bar.

Inside the MAAS Reigning Men exhibition. Image credit: Supplied

Guests were greeted by a multi-million dollar display of three exclusive Ferrari Tailor Made cars to mark the exhibition’s opening. Two of these cars, never seen on display in Australia before, represented the limited edition capsule of just 70 unique Tailor Made cars produced by Maranello to celebrate Ferrari’s 70th anniversary in 2017. As part of the exhibition programming, there was a creative industries seminar series called Industry Threads: First Edition which also unveiled an Etihad Airways Mentorship.

Models backstage at the Aje resort 2018 show. Image credit: Supplied

Aje resort 2018 show in Wendy Whiteley’s garden
Cult Australian label Aje united with Brett Whiteley Studio Collections and his muse Wendy for a 10 year anniversary resort show. Already a huge commercial success, Aje marked their 10 year anniversary by collaborating with and working within the archives of one of Australia’s most prolific Sydney-based artists, the late Brett Whiteley, and his longtime love and muse, Wendy Whiteley.

Like Aje, Whiteley had a very unique handwriting and an unconventional voice. He used his art to articulate many things—emotions, sensuality, conformity, liberation, political views, social views and philosophy—but it was his wife Wendy who was his constant source of inspiration as figurative muse, lover and curator.

Models backstage at the Aje resort 2018 show. Image credit: Supplied

Aje drew inspiration not only from the artworks—five works carefully chosen from different series—but from the force of Wendy Whiteley as her unique personal style informed many of the silhouettes within the collection and served to strengthen the correlation between the art and fashion.

Throughout the collaborative process, Adrian Norris and Edwina Robinson worked with Wendy and Brett Whiteley Studio, the custodians of Whiteley’s archive, to ensure that the integrity of Brett’s artworks would be preserved during the transformation into wearable form. The collection was launched in Wendy’s secret garden to a coterie of cult Aje supporters and names like Edwina McCann of Vogue, Kate and Hoda Waterhouse and Wendy Whiteley, of course.

Guests attend the Eastlakes Live launch at The Star. Image credit: Supplied

Eastlakes Live launch, The Star, Sydney
The Crown Group unveiled its much-anticipated $1 billion development, Eastlakes Live, at a star studded red-carpet event at The Star which was attended by more than 1,300 people. The evening was a celebration of innovation and design and was attended by guests including actress and singer Natalie Bassingthwaighte, former Bachelor and fitness coach Tim Robards and Roxy Jacenko.

Guests attend the Eastlakes Live launch at The Star. Image credit: Supplied

Guests were treated to a red-carpet arrival, live entertainment and unique brand activations with the night’s festivities all building towards the unveiling of Crown Group’s largest ever model which was dramatically revealed to officially unveil Eastlakes Live and the surrounding precinct. The evening was sponsored by Moët & Chandon Champagne, Coco Republic, Micos Group and Chic Republic.

Alisha de Graaf and Laura Byrne at the ToniMay flagship store opening. Image credit: Supplied

ToniMay flagship store opening, Paddington
Sydney’s style set join TV personality and jewellery designer, Laura Byrne and her sister and business partner, Alisha de Graaf to celebrate the launch of their first Sydney flagship store, ToniMay on Oxford Street in Paddington. True to the brands bohemian aesthetic, guests stepped into the polished yet inviting store where they marvelled at Byrne’s unique designs and interior styling that drew inspiration from her previous travels and adventures across the globe.

Bella Varelis and Florence Alexandra at the ToniMay flagship store opening. Image credit: Supplied

The official opening marked the launch of ToniMay’s men’s and finery collections, a premium range created for the girl who prefers a non-traditional engagement ring. The bespoke 9-karat and 18-karat white and yellow gold designs feature hand-picked stones such as grey diamonds and aquamarine.

The guest list included Byrne’s loving and supportive partner Matthew Johnson, as well as previous The Bachelor contestants Luke McLeod and Florence Alexandra, model and TV Presenter, Madeline Cowe and key fashion media and influencers including Amelia Strofield.

*Melissa Hoyer was a guest of GQ at the Gentlemen’s Ball in Melbourne.

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Tiffany & Co. Debuts New Campaign Featuring A$AP Ferg & Elle Fanning

Tiffany & Co. unveils its “Believe in Dreams” campaign, infused with an unexpected combination of incredible talent.

The campaign film opens with American actress Elle Fanning appearing in black and white as she peers into the Fifth Avenue flagship windows, a nod to the opening scene from the 1961 classic film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Elle’s reality then transforms into a dreamlike rush of music and color flooding the streets of New York to the soundtrack of a reimagined “Moon River,” featuring Fanning’s ethereal vocals with original lyrics by New York City native and hip hop artist A$AP Ferg.


As free spirits and innovators, the actress and musician duo represent a basic Tiffany ideal: that New York is a place where anything can happen, and Tiffany is where dreams come true. The campaign marks the first time Tiffany & Co. has ever created a song, which will be available for streaming exclusively on Spotify beginning May 3.

“We wanted to take a fresh approach to the campaign, juxtaposing something visually extraordinary with a song that is a nostalgic nod to the past combined with something wholly unexpected and of the moment,” said Reed Krakoff, chief artistic officer, Tiffany & Co.

Hunger Games director, Francis Lawrence, best known for creating some of pop culture’s most iconic music videos and films, directed the “Believe in Dreams” campaign film. Through his creative vision, the streets of New York City become a magical backdrop for the city’s bold style and non-stop energy, embodied by Ryan Heffington’s choreography, spotlighting Maddie Ziegler in a featured role.

Source: Tiffany & Co.

The Australian Ballet opens its production of The Merry Widow

The Merry Widow returns to the stage in 2018 with a whirl of fabulous frocks and a generous splash of champagne. The tangled tale of love and diplomacy will be delighting audiences in Sydney from 28 April to 19 May 2018, Canberra from 25 to 30 May and Melbourne from 7 to 16 June.

Celebrating works created for The Australian Ballet this season, The Merry Widow was the first full-length production directed by Sir Robert Helpmann and commissioned by The Australian Ballet in 1975, and has since become a modern classic.

Staged by ballet companies around the world, the original score was arranged and orchestrated by former Musical Director of The Australian Ballet John Lanchbery. The production captured international attention when the company toured The Merry Widow in the United States in 1976.
While touring the United States, The Australian Ballet was delighted to welcome the great Margot Fonteyn as a guest artist playing the role of Hanna and also welcomed her once again to play the role in Melbourne in 1977.

Commenting on The Merry Widow, The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director David McAllister said: “I remember the first time I danced in The Merry Widow in 1985. I was so proud to be involved in a ballet that holds such a special place in The Australian Ballet history.

This season, we will see a new generation of dancers experience that same thrill. 2018 is all about the Power of Imagination, and I’m looking forward to seeing our talented dancers embody this and interpret the joy and romance of this glorious ballet in their own unique way”.

The Merry Widow unfolds in Paris in 1905 in the Embassy of Pontevedro, where a plot is afoot to marry Pontevedro’s wealthiest subject, Hanna Glawari, to a compatriot, thereby saving the state from certain bankruptcy. When it is revealed that the intended match, the dashing Count Danilo, once broke Hanna’s heart, the plot quickly unravels and mayhem ensues.

The Merry Widow combines the romantic antics of a French farce with the manners and elegance of Parisian high society. The choreography by Ronald Hynd evokes the serious frivolity of each decadent soiree with waltzes, cancans, polkas, and romantic duets.

Desmond Heeley’s opulent set and costume designs capture the glamour of the Belle Époque. Exquisite frocks in silk and velvet are detailed with lace, jewels and spangles, and matched with magnificent feathered hats. Lavish Art Nouveau ballrooms and salons come complete with enormous chandeliers and elegant staircases.

The Merry Widow ballet is an adaptation of Franz Lehár’s beloved romantic operetta of the same name, which first appeared in 1905.

Former Musical Director John Lanchbery arranged and orchestrated the original score which buoys the action onstage with its theatricality and beautiful, hum-along melodies.

A landmark production in the history of The Australian Ballet, The Merry Widow is both testament to the creativity of the company and a rollicking good night at the theatre.

Source: The Australian Ballet

Westworld star James Marsden to visit Australia

Leading Hollywood actor and star of HBO’s smash-hit series Westworld, James Marsden, will visit Sydney from April 30 to May 1 to promote the launch of the highly-anticipated second season of Westworld on Foxtel.

The internationally-renowned actor has enjoyed a hugely successful career spanning over 25 years, with credits including The Notebook, Superman Returns, Hairspray, Enchanted, 27 Dresses, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, The Best of Me, The Butler, Bachelorette and X-Men, where he played the character of Cyclops across the entire X-Men franchise.

Marsden’s latest role sees him play lead character and mysterious android host Teddy in the Emmy- nomated television series Westworld – a handsome transient with a quick draw and a dark past, who longs for a simpler life. He joins an exceptional cast including Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris and Thandie Newton.

Set in the not-too-distant future, Westworld is a futuristic adventure park modelled after America’s Wild West and populated by human-like android hosts. Paying guests immerse themselves in the Westworld universe, where every detail and scenario have been planned, scripted and executed by a team of brilliant scientists and programmers working in close proximity to the park. However, a group of the android hosts soon begin to deviate from their programmers’ carefully planned scripts, in a disturbing pattern of abnormal behaviour.

Source: Foxtel