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The power of positive clothes

Dressed for success ... The Voice winner Karise Eden.

Dressed for success ... The Voice winner Karise Eden. Photo: Supplied

Fashion designer Peter Morrissey is an old friend who tells many fantastic stories. One of my favourites comes from his childhood. Peter is one of six children raised by two madly in-love, positive parents. They brought up their kids in Sydney within very modest means. Peter talks of a small family home where they all shared bedrooms, bathrooms and a dining room table with only two chairs. His mother sometimes shopped for clothes at GoodWill and his brothers and sisters all wore each other’s hand-me-downs.

Each morning, Peter’s father woke his children with the same message: 'Kids it's time to get up and get dressed to go dreaming'.

I fear for Karise Eden. In Australia we seem to take down what we build up 

Every. Single. Day. Get dressed to go dreaming … what a beautiful affirmation.

The moral of this fashion fable is that Peter never once realised that his clothes were different from other kids because of the way his dad made him feel about wearing them. In his young mind they were just as fabulous as a Tom Ford tuxedo. He harnessed all that positivity and worked hard until the Fairy Godmother of Good Fortune turned the dream he dressed for into a reality. We should never underestimate the power of clothes. The optimism they can bring and the ability they have to transform when the human spirit struggles.

I was reminded of Peter’s story last night as I watched Karise Eden win The Voice. For a 19-year-old girl who just 10 months ago wrote her winning single from the adversity of a top bunk in a kids' refuge that black lace frock must have felt like it held magical powers. Power to make her feel special. Power to make her music heard. Power to dream bigger than she had ever dreamed before. Power to change her life.

I am of course leaving out the small fact that she was actually dressed by someone else to the fulfill the promise of the show's dream but ... either way that little black dress did its job.

I feel for stylists on shows like The Voice. It’s a hard gig. Every week they have to find outfits that not only look good on television but suit the artist, the song, the set and sell the dream. They have to contend with the very different body shapes, heights, egos and opinions of the talent and then deal with the public and what we think they should be putting our beloved contestants in. From the very first show the Twitter stream has been full of Voice fashion commentary. Every bit of sequins has been scrutinised. No one has been safe – judges, contestants, coaches – but by the finale we unanimously agreed that wardrobe got it right and picked a winner for the winner.

Looking at pictures of Karise covered in confetti on the front page of every paper yesterday I couldn’t help fear for the girl in the pretty dress. Outside the safety of the voting process, the protection of the judges and the army of stylists is the cold, hard industry in which not everyone is kind. The next part of the dream is going to be hard for Karise Eden.

Let's hope that whoever is surrounding this extraordinary young girl with an extraordinary talent guides her with love and prepares her for the fact that in Australia we seem to take down what we build up. Karise needs to be taught that once you realise the dream you must next learn how to dress to protect it.

I’m afraid she’s going need all the protection she can get.

Paula Joye is Editor of www.lifestyled.com.au or you follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

16 comments so far

  • You could sink ships with those necklaces she wears!

    Commenter
    Anna
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    June 20, 2012, 10:19AM
    • Great, Paula. Such a nice story about Peter Morrissey but totally meaningless once you got to the point. Which was not positive (so what was the point of the story? Name-dropping?). Paula leads the tall-poppy brigade, but in a very sneaky way.

      Commenter
      Putasockinit
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      June 20, 2012, 10:21AM
      • Just being realistic. In the "singing" industry it's important to have a great/world class voice, and of course Karise does, but it's almost just as important to have the "image" which includes the fashionable outfits. Maybe that's not fair, but if Karise wants to have a singing career (unless she wants to be an opera singer) she will have to deal with these facts.

        Commenter
        realistic
        Date and time
        June 20, 2012, 11:32AM
      • My gut tells me Karise will be well guided and looked after. And I think that Seal will provide a significant, ongoing role. I totally agree that she'll need the very best of the best supporting and protecting her, but I don't fear that it will go awry like the author does.

        Commenter
        Star in the making
        Date and time
        June 20, 2012, 12:25PM
    • I don't think the huge chunky necklace went with the lace of her dress. Someone could have done a better job of making her wear that terrible, cheap,horrible neckplate.....Just sayin'

      Commenter
      stupidgalah
      Location
      Toowoomba
      Date and time
      June 20, 2012, 10:35AM
      • It's what teenagers wear - taste is a personal thing and like body shapes we are all different.

        Commenter
        Gester
        Date and time
        June 20, 2012, 10:59AM
    • Hmmm...Karise deservedly wins so, predictably, out come the claws...some more subtle than others !!! If you don't realise it already, this girl's voice is world class...I pray that the world hears it...it will only get better !!!

      Commenter
      Sportsfan
      Location
      Oz
      Date and time
      June 20, 2012, 11:03AM
      • what did everyone think of Mahalia Barnes' skin tight extremely low cut outfit?????????????????????

        Commenter
        Joeseph
        Location
        Qld
        Date and time
        June 20, 2012, 11:45AM
        • I thought it was bleeding awful. She doesn't have the body type to pull that look off. She has a gorgeous pair of boobs but to match them with a skin tight skirt that left nothing to the imagination was off-putting. I almost didn't notice Jimmy joining them on stage because I was gob-smacked.
          Who is the idiot that thought that outfit was a good idea?

          Commenter
          Robyn
          Location
          Ballarat
          Date and time
          June 20, 2012, 12:18PM
        • Mahalia looked awful. But it was a fun performance.

          Commenter
          Tacky
          Date and time
          June 20, 2012, 12:21PM

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