Stylish success for Sydney's 'Le Diner en Blanc': video & pics . . .

From all accounts, a huge crowd turned out in Sydney on Saturday night,  dressed in white, for the first Le Dîner en Blanc in Australia.

More than 1500 Sydneysiders, converged on the forecourt of the Museum of Contemporary Art for Sydney’s inaugural Dîner en Blanc, a mysterious, impromptu and quite spectacular evening picnic.


From 6pm on Saturday evening, Australia’s global city put on fine weather, great tunes, delicious food, wines, plenty of white and some festive dancing in the shadows of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. And as soon as it started, it seemed it had gone – with the whole affair packed up and moved on before midnight.

Take a look at this snappy video wrap of the night:

Dîner en Blanc was launched by a group of friends more than 20 years ago in Paris (one of the events in Paris pictured above, outside Notre Dame) and now brings together more than 15,000 people each year, to some of the world’s biggest cities such as New York, Vancouver, Barcelona, Mexico City, Singapore and many more.

The event was supported by the NSW Government through Destination NSW and Santa Vittoria and swas part of the Crave Sydney International Food Festival. Other partners included Pol Roger champagne, Terre a Terre and Spinifex wines.



Back-end stares and whispers? Didn't give a stuff when given the chance to test drive an Audi R8.

I have never, ever been in a car that has garnered as many stares and whispers as this one. And to be honest, it's not a bad feeling to have a heap of admirers -- mainly men, skater teens and small boys -- staring at your back-end with smiles on their collective faces. Obviously, it's the R8's exposed (rear) engine that gets them in. As well as its smooth noise. And clean lines. And sleekness. and damn sexiness. Need I go on?

This mighty fine specimen of A-list, hand-crafted aluminium was 'loaned' to me for a weekend, fulfilling one of my son Connor's (oh, and my) dreams. And sorry, son, we cannot afford one. The kid knew more about our R8 and was more protective of it than he would have been a pet python. That drew me to the conclusion that everyone should, at least once, drive – or even test drive -- a damn sexy sportscar. Which, in turn, led me to the next conclusion that my next car is going to be some/any kind of sportscar. Which in turn led me to the final conclusion that I need to get rich. Quick.

The precisely put-together R8 is nowhere near as ubiquitous as my trusty ole VW Golf -- there are just a double digit amount of R8's in Australia. But after our acceleR8-ing experience (the son made that little term up) I have now been officially spoilt. It will be hard to go back now.

The Audi R8 was designed as the German car company's city-drivable answer to a Porsche. And when it was unveiled in 2008 it had an engine based on the one in the Lamborghini Gallardo which -- like torque, downforce, kilowatts and ABS -- doesn’t mean a whole lot to me. All I know is that this car definitely has fire in its belly. It wants to go faaaast. And I could, quite possibly, have found a hot-wheeling husband with a passion for fast cars, IF I had continued driving it for the rest of my life.

Audi says its R8 can go from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in around 3.9 seconds and 97 to 200 km/h in 8.1 seconds. Shame the zillion school zones and residential zones we found over the weekend didn't let any of us fulfil the latter potential. But a drive from Sydney up along the northern beaches gave me all the ammo I needed to know this vehicle was the crème de la crème of cars.

There are all-LED headlights; a killer Bang & Olufsen 465 watt sound system and a body that oozes as much sex as a Victoria's secret fashion show. Or Mila Kunis. Simply, the R8 is an incredibly sexy car. Even sliding into it (and you verge on performing a limbo manoeuvre getting into the cabin) makes you feel like you have hurled yourself onto your wedding night hotel bed. If you get my drift.

The V10 engine would probably chew through the fuel but hey, who’s worried about the price of petrol when you've forked out enough bucks on a car to buy an inner city bedsit?

To be honest, the R8 is not an everyday car. You want to go full throttle but those pesky (ok, ok, much needed) 60km/h zones thwart that full teleporting acceleration experience. The B&O sound system is quite extraordinary. I felt like I was at a live gig each time my tunes were switched on. The transmission is S-tronic, which is chic Audi-speak for automated-manual, with the engine changing gears when it should. There are a number of ways you can ‘drive' the R8 but I opted keeping it in 'A' and it did all the gear-changing for me.

Look, I could have put more effort into actually driving this magnificent specimen of car-hood, and experimenting with the auto gear change system. But I was much too busy enjoying having my rear end (with the magnificent engine exposed under a veil of glass) checked out -- and waving to appreciative car fans with that "this is my car" confidence that only comes with driving a pricey but shockingly chic set of wheels. Simply, I loved it.

Footnote: a new Audi R8 will set you back well into the, gulp, $300k mark ... so get saving. Or find someone rich who'll buy it for you. As a gift. Let's wish.

(This piece first appeared in a similar form on



Alexander Skarsgard, Lara Stone & Calvin Klein: a perfume campaign with unresolved sexual tension. But where's Brad Pitt?

"a story of unresolved tension and desire. a man who knows what he wants, and remains in control. the mystery unfolds with infinite possibilities. ENCOUNTER Calvin Klein: masculine. intriguing. seductive." (NB: the lower case situ is a CK media release thing . . . )

Since Brad Pitt appeared in that recent Chanel No. 5 ad campaign, where he reels off a series of words, phrases and various states of mind (that, let's face it, don't make a whole lot of sense, but who cares?) any perfume media release that arrives has made me laugh that little bit louder.

Enter Alexander Skarsgård and Lara Stone, whose campaign for Calvin Klein's latest is a modern take on classic film noir – 'the dark and mysterious creative unfolds through a complex game in which the man ultimately remains in control of his desires, leaving the story open to infinite possibilities.

"Encounter Calvin Klein is an addictive blend of crisp spice, warm cognac and sensual woods. a contrast of freshness and warmth makes the men’s fragrance a new, distinctive expression of unapologetic masculinity.'

"Notes' (that's scent-speak for the smells of the perfume) of Encounter include mandarin, cardamom, rum, pepper, egyptian jasmine, patchouli, cognac, agarwood, atlas cedarwood and sexy musk.

Look, I haven't even smelt the stuff yet, but judging by the success of most Klein scents (Obsession, cK anyone?) this will probably do the same biz.

ENCOUNTER Calvin Klein: available from 28th October at Myer & David Jones& from November  25, at selected pharmacies. Stockists, call  1800 812 663.



Too scared to take it off, it's jewellery I've even slept in: LK and Crown gear up for Melbourne Cup madness . . .


You now how to read about red carpet regulars 'borrowing' jewels before they rave all about them on various Style Squad and Fashion Police awards wraps?

Well, when I have EVER been fortunate enough to be afforded that opportunity when I am  shooting for media stories, I've actually slept in them. And nothing else. I've put them under a pillow; clipped them (somehow) on a PJs pocket or stayed (much) of the night making sure (yes, yes there is usually a safe in a smart hotel room) bit then I still worry that will be broken into. Mad, I know.

So, I was more than excited to see the offering for Victoria’s 2012 Spring Racing Carnival from the LK Boutique in Melbourne, who will host an exquisite pop-up Emporium at CROWN from now until November 11th, capturing all the refined elegance of the horse season.


The month long event recalls a bygone era when sourcing timeless jewellery and stunning millinery to complement a race day outfit was an essential and fun highlight  of Melbourne’s style calendar.

A unique shopping experience, it will allow visitors to discover the best ways to style their accessories according to their race day outfits during a personalised styling session with fashion experts such as celebrity milliner, Richard Nylon.

Focusing on the Victorian era of racing, but with a Mad Hatter’s twist, the design of LK Boutique’s pop-up store will be delightfully eccentric.
Swathed in a harlequin pattern with pink highlights, a gold arched trellis and stunning floral display will entice CROWN guests, LK Boutique VIPs and the general pubic through a giant keyhole on the front door into a topsy-turvy wonderland.

Inside, furniture will perch on the ceiling, grass will grow on the floor and walls leading to a sideways tea party. LK Boutique’s exquisite range of handpicked jewellery will be beautifully displayed in delicate china teacups and teapots. Adding to the anticipation exclusive, high-end brands Pasquale Bruni and Giovanni Ferraris will be amongst the selection of unique pieces on offer in the emporium.


Hatboxes and old fashion hat stands will feature quintessential Richard Nylon couture headwear, designed specifically for LK Boutique’s event. Using a range of self-taught techniques, Nylon’s original pieces are hand-manipulated wearable art – sculptural creations of innovative design and imagination. His designs are extraordinary, blurring the line between fashion and art.

Sponsor, Hendrick’s Gin will provide liquid refreshments served up in gorgeous branded teacups. The brand is a perfect match for the pop up event, conveying as it does all the refinement and exquisite taste of the Victorian style.  Get down and have a look . . I certainly will . . and if I am lucky enough will get to sleep in some . . .


Jennifer Lopez: now we know why she is glowing...


In the big wide world of 'branding', so many celebrities and performers have really embraced the perfume market to 'up' brand awareness.

Enter, Jennifer Lopez, who ten years ago had a #1 album, #1 movie, and #1 fragrance. and Today her 'Glowing' scent celebrates ten years and is, again, unveiled in Australian stores.


Today, J-Lo remains one of the hottest talents of our time. A reigning diva, her star power commanding legions of devoted followers. She is on top of the charts. All over the media. All over the world.

In an olfactory sense, Glowing by JLo is a 'Floral Woody Amber' that embodies the aura of Jennifer in her most flawless form: modern, sexy, wet skin. Sounds mighty sexy when you put it like that . .  .

Inspired by her favorite candle, the fragrance opens with a sophisticated blend of florals and citrus fruits that reflect Jennifer’s bright persona, then a luxurious drydown of deep musk, vanilla, and sandalwood leave a trace of her signature sexiness. The perfume ' notes' include Bergamot, Mandarin, Cypress, Orange Flower, Muguet des Bois, Cassia Flower, Sandalwood, Amber Sultan, Vanilla, Vetiver, Patchouli, Cashmere Musk. Mmmm, busy scent indeed.


There is a new illuminating fragrance bottle: a simple cylindrical shape with deep-cut vertical glass facets. The Glowing by JLo bottle was inspired by the lines of Baccarat crystal. The crystal lines create the perfect backdrop for an innovative dance of reflective lights: When the atomizer is pressed, the bottle beautifully illuminates for 15 seconds.

The Glowing by JLo carton is a shiny silver box with hits of a nude wash of color on all sides and an image of the illuminated bottle appears on the back panel. The Glowing by JLo logo is stamped in a deep purple. A 'Coty' scent, it's priced from $45 an up to $85 for the Eau de Parfum, all available from today.

Watch a bit more J-Lo action . . .

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