The Golden Fashion Ticket Money Can Buy

ONE of the most exclusive ‘money cannot buy’ experiences used to be a front row perch at a Paris fashion show.

Invited guests onto the hallowed ‘frow’ (aka, the front row) have always been magazine editors, global fashion media, all-important buyers, A-list celebrities and ‘friends’ of the brands.

But according to Sydney-based entrepreneur Karim Gharbi, the opportunity is now available for everyone. But it will come at a price.

“What once was only accessible to the rich and famous (and Anna Wintour) can now be yours,” says Gharbi, whose lifestyle concierge company, The VIP Sydney says it can make a front row bucket list wish come true.

“For those with a love of fashion, we have the ultimate experience at the Chanel prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear) show during Paris fashion week,” Gharbi tells

“This access is generally reserved for Anna Wintour, the Beckhams and Beyoncé. Our package includes luxury accommodation, personal chauffeur, front row seating at the show, followed by a personal tour of the apartment of Coco Chanel.

“Sure, there are always tickets for buyers and media at all shows but there are just a very few that are put aside for the top concierge companies in the world, so this is how we have been able to do it.

“If you are a lover of fashion, you can die happy after this once in a lifetime experience for a total cost of 10,000 euro.”

In our money that is just under $14,000, which, for someone with those kind of bucks to chuck around, isn’t actually too bad for what the package promises to deliver.

But if you’re planning on doing it soon, you’ll have to move quick as the Chanel show in Paris this season is happening next Tuesday morning.

After an expansion into the European market with the launch of The VIP Monaco last year, the boss of the Sydney based ‘lifestyle concierge’ company says European contacts and the new Monaco office have made the ‘front row’ experience possible.

The team from The VIP Sydney says it can assist clients from around the world to complete other ‘bucket list’ requirements and according to Gharbi, you could discuss Donald Trump during a private and intimate dinner with Bill Clinton or attend a one-on-one VIP meet and greet with Lady Gaga before her sound check.

“My philosophy is simple,’ ‘adds Karim.

“I believe that everyone deserves to be a VIP, how often is up to them. That’s why we are one of the only concierge companies without a membership as we want anyone to contact us at anytime.”

VIP Sydney ‘curates’ packages and experiences for their clients with Ghabi telling it has access to events as diverse as the Academy Awards, Met Gala, New York fashion week, Grand Prix races around the world, the MTV Awards, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show and Coachella.

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Source: Melissa Hoyer

Why I Had No Hesitation Letting a Man Mind My Son

EACH to their own when it comes to at-home policy … but this one has left many not-so-easily-outraged, well, outraged.

“Lovely gorgeous men in public that would never hurt a fly can be monsters in private and I am not prepared to take that risk with my children,” author Kasey Edwards recently told The Project.

Like many people, Kasey’s recent opinion piece, where she suggests not hiring a male babysitter or nanny minimises the risk of her daughters being “abused” really did shock me.

What do we do? Not send our children to schools with male teachers? Not send our kids to stores or pools manned by male staff? Not ever, ever leave our children alone with their fathers or older male friends?
Everyone, yes, everyone makes a personal choice, but this one does seem severe and extremely broad.
The assumption that blokes are abusers or bad, and that blokes will potentially harm children is a harsh one indeed.

But to typecast and stereotype the male species as potential abusers is a giant step backward in the gender game. It’s a stand that alienates and no doubt, angers men who repel the notion of child abuse along with the rest of us.

I don’t know Kasey at all, but she sounds like an incredibly thoughtful, loving and caring mother. So please, this is NOT a ‘let’s have a go’ piece about the choice she and her husband have made when it comes to bringing up their children.

The role of any parent is to protect their child from harm’s way. But in regard to this decision, we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

I have known plenty of hardworking families who have had male nannys (OK ‘mannys’) and male babysitters. Here’s looking at you, Billy and George, both of whom were ace at keeping my 9, 10, 11-year-old happily occupied when I had to be out.

Not for one minute did the thought enter my mind that because they were male they may abuse, harm or doing anything untoward to him.

I fear this kind of sexual profiling creates a kind of unnecessary parenthood panic. Sure, there is no denying statistics. In Kasey’s opinion piece, there is a stream of stats.

“According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the prevalence of child sexual abuse is 1.4-8 per cent for penetrative abuse and 5.7-16 per cent for non-penetrative abuse for boys and 4-12 per cent for penetrative abuse and 13.9-36 per cent for non-penetrative abuse for girls.”

Kasey says that in the the “best case” scenario, one in 20 boys are sexually abused. The worst case is that one in three girls are. And further, the “evidence overwhelmingly indicates that the majority of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by males.”

Sure, there is no question that when you read those figures, and as a parent, they do get you thinking.
But we can’t live our entire lives with “what if”s and “if only”s. We can’t live a life in fear of what may happen by shielding our children from interacting with an entire gender.
Telling that to someone who has lost a child or whose child has been victim of child abuse is difficult. If not, near impossible.

But every single one of us can only do our best to protect our children from harm. I don’t think that by segregating an entire gender, because of what could happen, is the way to go about addressing the horrific incidence of child abuse.

After reading Kasey’s piece I even questioned myself for a minute. But to be totally honest, the thought of my son being harmed, by any of the young men who looked after him when he was younger, never even entered my head.
Was that really dumb and naive on my part? I really don’t think so.

We shouldn’t allow our young children to develop gender prejudices. Or to be fearful of the male species. This kind of alienation can only breed contempt.
While no-one can be 100 per cent sure of the motives of anyone in our lives, gut instincts are usually a driving force.

I just don’t want to teach my son and other kids around me that men are always the baddies.
But as I said before, each to their own in the parenting game.

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Source: Melissa Hoyer

Is This the Greatest Fashion Sin of All Time?

I love a fashion trend as much as most. But sometimes we need to tread with caution.

Take the corset. The much-maligned wardrobe piece was essentially outlawed by feminists and women who wanted to claim back their bodies in the 60s and 70s, but as of now it’s been re-claimed by some fashion high-street stores. And straightaway that has set off alarm bells.

See, the organ-constricting, bone-crunching corset as an underwear-as-outwear look is NOT for everyone.

To me, the corset (circa 2017) is one that belongs on Kimmy K. It’s Hailey Baldwin, Rihanna, the Jenner’s and Gigi Hadid. It’s Nicole Kidman in Vogue. It’s a high-end runway and streetwear look that rocks on the bodies of svelte, gigantean models and in highly-styled, aspirational fashion editorial shoots.

It rocks. It’s cool. It’s a lust-piece.

But it’s just a bit too close for comfort and not for most of us.

I just can’t see awkwardly cinched T-shirts and oversized shirts making their way to drinks at the pub on a Friday night; a BBQ, to Saturday sport or even to the office (no matter how cool you think your office may be).

The whole reason women ditched the corset and the history that went with it — think of Gone With Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara being tugged and strapped into hers as she held onto a bed post so she could attain a perfect silhouette — was that they were just bloody painful.

The times I ever wore seriously corsetted dresses (a coupla Logie awards gowns spring to mind) left me feeling sick, in pain, with a bruised ribcage and just wanting to get back to my room and into a hot bath.

It was bad enough when we all discovered shapewear, in earnest, about a decade ago.

The stories about people fainting, not eating, having painful organs and just feeling like crap all night (albeit with a very smooth stomach and body line) are still an everyday occurrence.

So, with this corset revival, do we really want to/need to/intend to inflict any more pain on our bodies?

Don’t get me wrong, I still get the whole underwear-as-outerwear thing and that’s pretty much thanks to Madonna waaaay back in her Like A Virgin days and then in her Jean-Paul Gaultier -cone-bra and corset days.

I mean, the underwear as outerwear thing can be great. And sexy. Who hasn’t flaunted a little lace bra and boob action under a jaunty jacket, hey?

But according to successful Aussie high street fashion store, Witchery, “this season sees the corset move into outerwear; cinching and instantly transforming the traditional silhouettes of classic winter staples.”

Like taking a chunky sweater and making it look even more cumbersome by wrapping a corset around your waist?

When a high street store embraces such a – well – acquired and sometimes painful fashion trend, chances are the term “jumped the shark” may come into play.

Sure, the Witchery styles aren’t as earth-shatteringly strapped-on as those that were from a century ago, but I’m still not convinced.

It’s funny to think that the decades it has taken to rid ourselves from the structures of what was an unseen fashion item our great-great-great grandmothers used to wear has now done a turnaround, the corset now being worn on the outside.

It is as if the celebs, models and normal peeps who ARE wearing them as outerwear are giving the oppressive history of the corset the finger. Sure, they’re cool. They CAN look sensational. But it IS fashion. The corset can join other trends like patterned tights, babydoll dresses, leg warmers, MC Hammer pants, knicker-bockers, T-shirts over long sleeves and men in jumpsuits. They can have their moment and we’ll get over them.

So if you do plan to re-enact a scene from The Crown or channel your inner Marie Antoinette,

beware the possible consequences:

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Source: Melissa Hoyer

How Browsing Cheap Fashion Sites Led to a Downhill Spiral

ONLINE shopping is the norm for many of us, but if you don’t watch out it can easily become an addiction.

We can all buy something at midnight and if you are lucky it can be at your door, sometimes within less than 24 hours.

The problem is that customers (hello, me!) are at risk of filling their wardrobes full of “stuff”. It’s kind of like going into a fast food chain and piling your tray with food and leaving most of it uneaten.

I have never been a big shopper, having always preferred quality over quantity but when an ad for a cheapie fashion website popped up on my screen, I went through the choices available and baam! I became fluent in fast fashionese.

For $120 I had nine (yes NINE!) pieces of clothing winging their way to me. It wasn’t ball gown/cocktail party stuff — in fact, once delivered, four were just plain wrong in every way.

And you know what, I actually felt guilty about the waste. These four horrible ‘things’ sat there and were quickly dumped into the closest St Vinnie’s bin.

I had spent my money on crapola clothes that could have bought me one extra special, better quality, ethically-made, something or other.

But at that particular time (and I admit, a further two times after that) I was like a dopamine-fuelled addict. Why stop at one.

It really got me thinking. I wondered why I had done it and it boiled down to one, simple thing. The price of so much fashion is just ultra prohibitive.

I recently bought an Aussie dress that was originally $500 and was on a sale rack for $250. Not outrageously expensive in the greater scheme of ‘designer’ fashion, but hey, when there’s a mortgage, bills, going out and school fees et al, well, you know the drill.

Sure, it was just a crinkly cotton, floaty kind of situation but after just a few wears it is already looking like a rag. And someone was ‘meant’ to spend 500 bucks on it? That’s just ludicrous. And it isn’t even an established brand.

Of late, two longstanding Aussie designer names went into voluntary administration with 52 stand alone stores, 11 outlets and 140 concession stories between Marcs and David Lawrence.

Just yesterday — and while not Aussie brands but with a huge retail presence of 29 stores here — the underperforming Rhodes & Beckett and Herringbone have said hundreds of jobs are going to go. It’s this middle market of fashion that is doing it very tough.

Overall, Aussie designers are a really good bunch. They have their own signature style but competing on global and online stages is getting harder when all these fast turnaround cheapies are being churned out moments after a new ‘trend’ has hit the runway.

And then there are the likes of fashion commentator like me, sitting on the lounge, ipad in hand and credit card in the other.

While I have stopped (yes, I cut it off before it became full-blown) it did make me take extra note of what is really out there. Away from the ease of online.

Names like Zimmermann, Tome, Camilla, Toni Matecevski, Dion Lee, Strateas Carlucci, Camilla & Marc, by Johnny, Carla Zampatti, Rachel Gilbert, Alex Perry, Leona Edmiston, Romance was Born and Martin Grant (who has been based for many years in Paris) are still flying an Aussie fashion flag.

Having spoken to most of them in the past few months, they are all happy the way their businesses are going. But they are putting in the hard yards to get there.

And pricing is still an issue when they are competing with the online cheapies and the fast fashion chains.

What I have learnt through my digression is that quality wins over quantity every time and doesn’t take up as much room.

Source: Online Shopping

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Uber Model, Business Woman and Mum, Heidi Klum Her Latest Intimates Collection

YOU may think the uber model, TV host, mother-to-four, funny and creative director Heidi Klum had to stick to some ridiculously strong diet to stay in shape.

Having won, big-time on the genetic chocolate wheel, the 43-year-old has no qualms about eating and eating and cites cooking as he favourite pastime.

Klum stars in the latest campaign for Heidi Klum Intimates with the latest shoot marking her fifth year as the face and bod of the brand.

The pics were captured in Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands by photographer and Heidi’s longtime collaborator, Rankin.

“It was perfect way to celebrate our fifth season by shooting in such a magical location. We have introduced gorgeous modern pieces with an emphasis on my signature style” Heidi says.

This season she sees “a rich and saturated colour palette with deep reds and rich blues complemented with sunset tones in blush pinks and pastel lavender”. Fashion lesson over.

Heidi took the reigns from Elle Macpherson as the face of Bendon — the successful underwear and lingerie company that has garnered a national and international following. When the choice of Heidi was made it was a no brainer.

Back then, she was a star Victoria’s Secret model before she went on to host Project Runway, Germany’s Next Top Model and America’s Got Talent.

And put four children into the equation and she’s pretty much got the whole deal, recently admitting she’ll probably still go topless on the beach when she is 60.

OK, and yes, there’s a great, relatively new BF, 30-year-old Vito Schnabel in her life too.

With all of her achievements — she’s still listed as one of Forbes’ top-earning models — the one she cherishes the most is that of mother to her four children.

“They really are my world,’’ she told when we sat down with her on her last visit.

“I can’t wait to get home to them each night, and I always make sure I get there so I can cook, read with them and make sure I get them to bed.

“Sure, I do so many other things that I’m very organised, whether I am filming my television shows, travelling or doing numerous other things.

“But it really it is about my kids who I live and work for, and they my make it all worthwhile.”

In the same interview shot by, Heidi said ‘rejection’ was something models had to get used to: “Yes it can be painful and very depressing if you constantly go to castings and get told ‘no, no, no’ and that did happen to me a lot. I’ve been rejected so many times,’’ she admitted.

“But I just kept going and going and working really hard so wherever I’ve got I really think I have earned it, and I love where I am at this point of my career and of my life.”

Heidi says her life is very ordered, “I’m very German like that,’ she smiles “but I really have to do if I need to fit everything in as well is looking after my four beautiful kids.”

Source: Heidi Klum

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