- David Jones autumn-winter 2016 launch dispenses with bras and hails lace, tiers and length
- Five things to wear from David Jones this winter
- Myer goes upscale for winter inside Barangaroo's $15,000 a night venue
- Five things to wear from Myer this winter
- Review: did Myer pull off a 'magical' winter launch?
Myer Autumn launch
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Myer Autumn launch
Jennifer Hawkins and Shanina Shaik show off Myer's upcoming looks from local and international designers.
This is, primarily, what it's all about (no, really). Myer has gone for edgy with its launch in the sparse, sandstone-flanked Barangaroo Reserve, which was reflected in the dramatic Victoriana-inspired ranges of White Suede, Self-Portrait and newcomer and name to watch, Georgia Alice.
Models on mountain bikes, man-made rain and a stirring Spanish acapella opening all created drama, which has been missing from the Myer stable for some time.
But new standalone White Suede and Mimco "shops in shops" will give added individuality to the department store floor.
Trumpet sleeves, flares, monochrome and texture were seen in spades in both shows. Where Myer chose to showcase black (a nod to its spiritual roots in Melbourne?), David Jones' marquee display from its campaign features splashes of rich berry - more how Sydney does winter but universally flattering and a clever choice.
David Jones' show was more gender balanced and had a good spread of high-end and contemporary brands. Myer promises to complete the circle but customers will have to wait another month for the full picture to emerge.
The feverish presentation of David Jones' range – 230-plus looks versus just 100 for Myer's first of a three-part launch – inspires more instant shopping buzz but Myer's promise that everything on parade is in store the same day is equally beguiling.
WINNER: David Jones, by an inch of burgundy lace
Models in helmets wearing designs by sass & bide at Myer's autumn launch in Sydney on Thursday. Photo: Lucas Dawson Photography
Myer initially raised a few eyebrows by moving its winter launch away from Melbourne. But the opportunity to christen The Cutaway at Sydney's Barangaroo Reserve was too big a carrot to refuse.
A catwalk that was more a polished concrete town plaza, with 18-metre columns and a floodlit sandstone backdrop created plenty of excitement about the direction of fashion shows in Australia.
David Jones never fails to make its On Seven space at its flagship Sydney store look different at every launch. Last August, rock 'n' roll stage, this time, a dancers' carousel for the Camilla and Marc finale and a hall of mirrors feel that reflected the look of its season look book. What will they do next?
WINNER: Myer, for bagging the newest venue in town, and showing how you can create intimacy in such a cavernous space.
The sandstone walls made the winter colours pop for designer Yeojin Bae's outfits during rehearsal for the Myer AW16 Fashion Launch. Photo: Mark Metcalfe
David Jones knows how to do a red carpet. Everything from the seating desk to the entry hall, where the theme is unveiled after months of work (and a little subterfuge) runs like a well-oiled machine.
Cocktails, canapés, crowing and cooing must all be done with precision before the seating staff get too tetchy. It's a minglers' mecca, so much it's a wonder the patient ushers manage to get everyone seated.
And once they are, it's all about the "frow" (front row). Who's in, who's out, who's changed since last year. It's like the BRW Rich List with better shoes.
Almost antithetically, Myer's red carpet was an outdoor, relaxed operation, with the 100 guests kindly staggering their arrivals and the number of media present on the smallish side (only select media were invited to dinner, compared to David Jones, whose event is much larger).
If David Jones' launches are like the booming party you wish you had for your 30th, Myer is the exclusive wedding you wish your best friend would throw - for you.
WINNER: David Jones, because Sydney does party party better than it will ever do black tie.
Models and dancers shared the catwalk at the David Jones AW16 launch. Photo: Nic Walker
THE GUEST LIST
No envying the poor person who had to select just 100 people for the inaugural Myer black-tie launch.
75 media/influencers/designers, 25 celebrities, 10 Myer staff. No hangers on.
Yes, there were a few reality show contestants (The Bachelor's Tim Robands and Anna Heinrich, and The Bachelorette's Sam Frost - now a radio host - and Sasha Mielczarek) but overwhelmingly the celebrities blended in. A couple of footballers spanning both codes (Sam Burgess, Tom Derickx and Luke Ricketson if he still counts), actresses Jodi Gordon and Emma Lung and cricket WAG Kyly Clarke.
The long tables didn't inspire a huge amount of mingling but there were still plenty of opportunities for a chinwag.
Meanwhile, David Jones is one of the hottest invites on the summer social calendar, with designers, breakfast TV hosts, sports stars and bloggers all well-represented. Adam Goodes was undoubtedly one of the most photographed (and harangued) stars on the night, there in his new role as DJs ambassador. There was no Buddy Franklin this time but rock heiress Kelly Osbourne and Vogue cover girl Catherine McNeil created plenty of buzz.
WINNER: Myer, for risking the ire of many to create an intimate event for the lucky few.
Kelly Osbourne arrives ahead of the David Jones Autumn/Winter 2016 Fashion Launch. Photo: Brendon Thorne
With both events falling square in FebFast, there's always enough booze to tempt even the staunch teetotallers. For David Jones, it was the lychee martini, the quintessential Sydney cocktail. At Myer, it was matched wines with each of the four courses and finalising with an espresso martini (a Melbourne favourite).
David Jones does snacks on steroids, upping in size (and carb content) as the night goes on. Sliders, beef tartare on delicate rice crackers and roving desserts are always in abundance - no one leaves hungry.
Myer presented a menu befitting the dress code including yabby tail, foie gras, truffle - it was all there. And yet, it didn't pack a knock-out culinary punch. The rich chocolate and cherry dessert was the indesputible highlight.
WINNER: It's oranges and apples, so we'll have to call it a tie.
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The Age deputy news director Melissa Singer travelled to Sydney as a guest of both Myer and David Jones, respectively.