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This Week's HipBites

Down Under Comes Up

Every season, fashion announces a new "black".

Right now, "Australian" is the new "black".
Our quick and dirty will tell you what's what in all trend categories:

IN MUSIC:
Kylie Minogue, Delta Goodrem, The Avalanches, The Bumblebeez, Keith Urban, J Weiss, Powderfinger, Sia, Cat Empire, Rogue Traders, The Sleepy Jackson, Paul Mac.
The Avalanches, a 6 member strong dance band and fans of fellow Aussie pop-head Kylie Minogue, are most known for 'Since I Left You'. The band that wishes they could sample Rogers and Hammerstein (but can't for licensing reasons) is headed by frontman Darren Seltmann. Popular at festivals, they dream of doing film soundtracks, but instead find themselves currently making a comedy record filled with tunes like 'Crazy Billy Light Bug' (a song about moths). In Canberra, Australia's capital, there's not a lot to do amidst the government buildings and so, as with all cities like it, an inordinate number of raw and good musicians and artists spring from the underground. The result is a band such as The Bumblebeez. The three teens from Canberra, who's rock/hip-hop sound reflects their lead singer Chris Colonna's work at Astralwerks and school experience at Pratt and The Canberra School of Art, have already remixed the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and find themselves being chased for a big record deal since the release of their first EP "White Printz" on ABC's Fly TV label.

IN FOOD & RESTAURANTS:
Sunburnt Cow, Eight Mile Creek, Public.
We think that The Outback Steakhouse is a crime against food. That said, be on the lookout for real Australian and New Zealand inspired dining as the latest to jump the pond, Peter Gordon's restaurant Public, with partners Brad and Adam Farmerie, has taken off. Gordon set up The Sugar Club in Wellington, then took it successfully to Notting Hill and West Soho, London. Originally from Wanganui, he opened The Providores and Tapa Room in '01 and spreads his influence as far as Istanbul where he consults to Changa Restaurant. Also following in the footsteps of Eight Mile Creek, which was the first Aussie kitchen to open in the U.S., is the more casual Sunburnt Cow, offering up the classics, such as meat pies, to homesick kiwis. To accompany the food, this years "it" wine, with vintners and us, is New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region. In '93, the Australian wine industry agreed on a plan to more than double its wine production and worldwide sales by the year 2010. It's working. But for those who can't bear white and must go red; our personal favourites are the Leasingham Shiraz, and d'Arenberg's version, from the McLaren Vale region.

IN FASHION & SHOPS:
Ugg, Sass & Bide, Roy, Lover, Jaclin Chouchana, Ben Smith, One Teaspoon, Akira, Jain, Toni Maticevski, Pervert, Lincoln Mayne, Marcs.
You who prefer Quantas Upper Class, keep an eye on Toni Maticevski. In '97 after he won an FGI award, he landed at Donna Karan New York and Cerruti in Paris. Now with his own label, hand-sewn pieces from Mom's ratty old bedsheets and leather jackets (both feminine and rock at once) have made him the one to see at Australian Fashion Week (going on right now). There's talk of him reviving a crusty old fashion house as he's packed his boxes for France already. For those still flying Cattle Call Coach, there's the club- happy, Melbourne- based street label, Pervert. Also newsworthy is Lorena Laing, the designer who specialises in showcasing sharp edges and highly tailoured jackets and shirts. Her designs can be found stateside at New York shop, Elizabeth Charles.

IN ENTERTAINMENT & FILM:
Cate Blanchette, Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Hugo Weaving, Geoffrey Rush, Baz Luhrman, Peter Weir, Martin Henderson, David Wenham.
Two actors you'll be seeing a lot more of are Martin Henderson and David Wenham. Henderson, who's just done "Torque", "Windtalkers", and "The Ring" will be seen soon in "Bride and Prejudice", the Bollywood version of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and the upcoming "Little Fish" with Cate Blanchett. Wenham who played Faramir in all three "Lord of the Rings" and Audrey in "Moulin Rouge!", can now be seen as Carl in this year's "Van Helsing". At critical mass, Australian sitcoms are now cable-ready as well: "Neighours" can now be seen on the Oxygen channel and next up is mockumentary "Kath & Kim".

If all this wasn't enough proof that Down Under is taking over the U.S., on our way out of the (Australian label) Jurlique day spa, we ran into the new face of Bonds, Aussie Sarah Murdoch, (aka Sarah O'Hare, the original Wonderbra girl and wife of Lachlan) who's just taken up residency in New York...



IN MY CLIQUE:
Anyone who knows me knows I run around like a chicken with no head and a gimpy leg. Bloomingdale's Soho opening. Dunhill party. Bogart's cocktail. Drinks with Lesly at his Taj.
Huff huff. Oof oof.
So these days, I'm recovering at Ajune spa. Want to find me? I'm under a Comfort Zone wrap. There's nothing in the world like them, Baby Bees. Nothing.
www.Ajune.com

Love & honey
~ST

('In My Clique' will highlight whatever our Queen Bee is loving right now.)



above Elizabeth Charles in her eponymous shop, wearing fellow Aussie Toni Maticevski's designs.
Photo by Joshua Silk





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