PRIVATE SYDNEY

Jessie White

Focusing on motherhood: Shakuhachi designer Jessie White. Photo: Supplied

Two days before her label's Fashion Week show, Jessie White wasn't buried in last-minute graft, but in the unexpected arrival of her newborn son.

''He wasn't due for three weeks,'' the Shakuhachi designer told PS. ''We had a little surprise: out he popped.''

The 38-year-old had a Caesarean booked for two weeks later but barely made it to hospital in time for the natural birth.

Christine Manfield

Exit strategy: Universal's Christine Manfield with a favourite ingredient. Photo: Marco Del Grande

''I wasn't physically running around, but I was working - it was top of mind to not stress out too much. I employed a great team so I could take a bit more of a back seat than I usually would.

''I was just at home, on the phone to a friend. I said: 'I better get off the phone, I've got tummy pains'. Within an hour, he was in my hands.''

Busy focusing on adult clothes, White and partner John Hardy had not kitted out the nursery with requisite baby paraphernalia before the birth of Phoenix.

Col Allan

Making news: Col Allan. Photo: Supplied

''We didn't have anything. We didn't have any clothes. That was all going to be happening in the next few weeks. We found ourselves in the hospital saying: 'How are we going to get him home?'''

Based in Bondi, White has seen her clothes plucked up by the likes of singer Rihanna - who wore them in the TV series Styled to Rock - singers Rita Ora and Lana Del Rey, queen of reality TV Kim Kardashian, TV personality Nicole Richie, hip-hop star Iggy Azalea, British supermodel Cara Delevingne and model Lara Bingle.

With new stores opening in Melbourne, a move of her Paddington HQ, new sunglasses and swimwear ranges and A-list clients snapping up her designs in Britain and the US, the birth is made more poignant by White's emotional few years.

Candice Lake

Going home: Candice Lake is returning to London. Photo: Supplied

She said she has been ''pretty much pregnant for the last four years'', after giving birth to Bowie, who is nearly three, and then losing a second child a year and a half ago, shortly before reaching full term.

Walking the runway on April 11 for her were models of the moment Ruby Jean Wilson, Julia Nobis and Montana Cox, all of whom have made waves on the international circuit in New York, London, Milan and Paris.

Despite a smooth presentation, ''It was a bit of an effort,'' she said of the show. ''I was dubious that I'd make it, but got it together to make an appearance.

Hugh Jackman

Set to front the latest Paul Newman campaign: Hugh Jackman. Photo: James Brickwood

''I've ticked off the show, ticked off the baby and now I can focus on motherhood.''

 

Universal dishes up final farewell

The last of the famous Gaytime Goes Nuts desserts will hit tables this week before Christine Manfield's Darlinghurst institution, Universal Restaurant, closes its doors on Saturday.

Manfield, renowned for her love of Indian, has served the likes of Nigella Lawson and even taken the internationally-flavoured menu from her two-hatted restaurant to India's lavish Falaknuma Palace where she served deputy high commissioner to India Dr Lachlan Strahan, author John Zubrzycki and a host of other dignitaries, reports woman-about-town Rachel Olding.

''It's been a very empowering and liberating decision in that I had an exit strategy when I opened six years ago and I've stuck to my plan,'' Manfield told PS. ''I wasn't going to sit around and become obsolete.''

However, not all of Universal's last customers have felt the same liberation thanks to a set price introduced for the final month.

Some diners have turned up on a Tuesday night slightly miffed that they have to pay $125 for a four-course a la carte menu instead of eating - and paying - what they wish.

''It's just to standardise our systems for the last month, which has always been a recommended practice,'' Manfield said, adding that Universal has always been about the ''full dining experience''.

''That's what people are there for. We never set up as a place to come, have a share plate and run away. You go to a more casual place for that experience.''

After opening the legendary Paramount Restaurant, East@West in London and then Universal, Manfield says she has no plans for another restaurant, instead focusing on culinary tours, events, cooking schools and family.

''This is my swansong,'' she said.

 

Oz editor bagged for bomb flu

Col Allan - the lad from Dubbo who made it big in New York City - has yet again become the headline, not the man behind the headlines. American website Gawker has let rip about the New York Post editor-in-chief suggesting he may enjoy close relations with pigs and alcohol. Throw into the mix its questioning of his work skills and racial attitudes and you get the picture. The furious tirade follows a Post front page with the headline Bag Men. ''Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon,'' it continued. But the story was published before the Feds produced the real suspects and Allan's men were innocent bystanders. Never one to go down without a fight, Allan defended the story saying it never identified them as suspects. But Allan is no stranger to headlines. He's the man who took Kevin Rudd to a strip club and, when working in Sydney, earned the nickname Col Pot for his management style.

 

Lake's big break

Somewhere in south London, there is a very happy Mr Candice Lake.

His fashion photographer wife on Saturday arrives home in London after three months on the road, touring the international fashion week circuit.

''I'm sad to leave Sydney but very excited,'' the 31-year-old told PS. ''I'll be back with my neglected husband, who I got married to and then ran off from.''

Since tying the knot in January, Lake says she has spent less than a week with her architect husband, leaving him over the back-to-back stretch in the south London home he designed.

''I currently live in the airport, really. You know it's bad when you see a flight attendant and they say 'oh, hi!'''

The street-style blogger, whose work has appeared in British and Spanish Vogue, British Glamour and You, has been in the Hunter Valley working on a Louis Vuitton project that was driven by the fashion house's Paris headquarters. Louis Vuitton Icons will be out next month, cementing the blogger-turned-photographer's status among fashion-style setters.

''It's been really wonderful to come to Australia, I'm very proud,'' the Brisbane girl said of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. ''It really is the fifth fashion week. We were in Paris and then 10 days later in Sydney, it felt like a continuation. We're now on the international map and it's very exciting for Australian fashion. I heard that over and over again.''

Her recent online film, a collaboration with Westfield, was directed by Gracie Otto and co-starred the multi-talented football player David Williams. The short has been watched 125,000 times on YouTube.

 

NOYCELY DONE

Pauline Hanson may be taking the role as seriously as she possibly can but not all Hunter Valley brethren feel the same. ''She's a joke, is my personal response,'' said Wollombi's Noyce Brother Wines co-owner and film director Phillip Noyce of the Queenslander's push for the seat of Hunter. ''But she's welcome to come spend some money in the Hunter,'' the LA-based Noyce told PS on a break filming his latest venture, a TV series featuring Rachael Taylor as an FBI agent.

 

KNIVES ARE OUT

There comes a point in every reality TV star's life when it's time to mothball the ''dramality'' script and venture back into, well, reality. Word from the Channel Seven green room has it that My Kitchen Rules villains Ashlee and Sophia, booted out on Tuesday, may have let their on-TV personalities percolate a little too much into their off-camera characters. On Wednesday, Sophia complained about radio host Yumi Stynes after an interview with Mix 106.5. ''Yumi Stynes hates me but I stood up to her,'' she said, having bluntly accused the DJ of not watching the show. Simultaneously, her partner in TV crime, Ashlee, decided enough was enough while on the phone with a Hobart radio station, hanging up on air. They do know the knives can be put away now, don't they?

 

HUGH FUNDS FOR GRABS

Fresh from being rather ignominiously attacked with a razor filled with a clump of pubic hair at a New York gym, Hugh Jackman will be adding his Oscar-nominee clout to a push to encourage charities to apply for $969,000 funding. Joining Deborra Lee-Furness, the Les Miserables warbler is to front a campaign, launching on Monday, by the Newman's Own Foundation, asking Australian charities to throw their hats into the ring for grants of up to $75,000. Profits from the sale of the Paul Newman-founded dressings and sauces go to charity, with $US1 million set aside for Australia each year. Hollywood star and philanthropist Newman famously said his salad dressings were outgrossing his films; whether the same will be said of Jackman's Laughing Man coffee, its profits similarly funnelled to good causes, waits to be seen.

 

SKY HIGH QANTAS GALA

''You make me so proud,'' tweeted chef to the stars and skies Neil Perry when Qantas threw a gala dinner in a Sydney Airport hangar. Staged to mark the airline's new uniform and Emirates partnership, his menu had a nod to the Middle East in the entrees, but the controversy over pork and alcohol being sidelined as ingredients for flights to Dubai proved too tempting for MC Karl Stefanovic. The chef quipped that the evening's ''tiramisu is made with alcohol'' and Stefanovic declared: ''Who doesn't love halal food?'' Almost 1000 guests sat alongside an A380 including Ita Buttrose, Miranda Kerr, William McInnes, Alan Joyce and Leigh Clifford.Tina Arena belted out the old theme I Still Call Australia Home, while John Travolta posed for endless photo requests. The cost? Sky high, no doubt, so it's a shame no one went out and bought a new light globe because departing guests looked across the red carpet to Qantas' corporate headquarter's where the neon sign read QANAS.

Andrew Hornery is on leave.