Wheels & Dollbaby’s glittering jubilee gets its rocks off with tulle, tight skirts and ‘tude

By Jenna Clarke
Updated April 18 2018 - 9:15pm, first published September 28 2011 - 9:10am

Wheels & Dollbaby rounded out this year’s Perth Fashion Festival with more attitude than its famous t-shirt slogan “I’m with the f***ing band”.

Forgoing the traditional catwalk for a theatrical spectacle, the closing show was a cross between a rock concert and party at the Playboy Mansion.

The seven days and 40 events of the festival culminated at His Majesty’s Theatre with a supermodel strutting around in her knickers and a fiery redhead showing a group of pretty young things how to mosh along to ‘80s pub anthems.

To celebrate her label’s 25th anniversary, designer and long time “band-aid” Melanie Greensmith had some of Perth’s edgiest and vampish fashion and music stars return home to take the stage and teach good girls how to go bad.

Long time label ambassador Tiah Eckhardt opened the show with a reverse striptease in an opulent boudoir to the strains of Frank Sinatra’s The Lady Is a Tramp, before Little Birdy songstress Katy Steele took to the stage with Divinyls guitarist Mark McEntee and Paul Mulreany of Primal Scream fame.

After floating through the foyer earlier in the night in a striking green Ae’lkemi creation, Nicole Trunfio raced backstage and changed into a pair of the label’s black cottontail briefs and strutted on stage.

The whistles (and dropped jaws) could be heard even in the dress circle as the supermodel showed the crowd what she was made of, presenting her pin-up worthy pins and a vintage leather jacket originally made for Jimmy Barnes as Steele belted out a seductive version of Primal Scream’s Get Your Rocks Off.

Hits from the Divinyls back catalogue kept coming, I Touch Myself and I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore had the 500 strong crowd singing along, as did the looks from the latest collection, La Pin Up Deshabillable, which did not stray far from what was expected – form-fitting pencil skirts, 1950s rock chic, florals and corsets fit for a varga girl or burlesque queen.

A montage of images taken throughout the label’s 25 years profiled some of the famous fans including Deborah Harry, Kate Moss, the late Amy Winehouse and Michael Jackson, who ordered a bespoke leather jacket from Greensmith for his Bad world tour.

Perth Fashion Festival director Mariella Harvey-Hanrahan leaped out of her seat for a standing ovation as the Maj’s velvet curtain fell.

After Greensmith took her final bow, pulled the peace sign and blew a kiss to McEntee, the Dollbaby matriarch and her posse of coquettish models braved the rain and cold temperatures and descended on the upmarket King Street watering hole Wolfe Lane to party like rock stars.

To warm up the crowd, music lover Trunfio took over the decks in the DJ booth, raised a toast to Greensmith and McEntee and got the after party started.

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