Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Fashion Maketh the Man...

I have a very busy few weeks coming up with many panel shows and events I am involved in for the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival that has already kicked off this week.
I am very honoured to be included in the Makers of Melbourne's event 'Fashion Maketh the Man' coming up next Tuesday 11th March at ACMI in Melbourne.
It is an examination of modern menswear and will cover many topics specific to this sector of the fashion industry. 
I will be joining NGV Curator of International Fashion & Textiles Roger Leong, Roy Christou, fashion bad boy and founder of 'Honour Among Thieves', Meg Lukens Noonan author of 'The Coat Route, Tim Little CEO and Designer of Grenson Shoes and John Cutler of JH Cutler Bespoke.
Hosted by well respected journalist and co founder of Beggar Man Thief Sarina Lewis 
it promises to be a great look at what makes menswear tick in this country and globally from a cultural and industry angle.
If you love Menswear and want to hear from this powerhouse line up you need to book your tickets NOW! 

Friday, 28 February 2014


This is the second time in a few weeks I have written a tribute to an amazing lady I have known who has passed away. 
I am not here to write that Charlotte was my best friend or that I saw her all the time, I didn't.
I first met Charlotte Dawson when I appeared on a television show in 2007 called 'Runway to LA', a spin off of 'Australia's Next Top Model'. I had auditioned for the role of the stylist on the reworked "ANTM" and got the gig, (in the way television works) within a few weeks the production company had changed its mind and gone in another direction so I had been dropped. One of the executive producers of "ANTM' had taken a shine to me and wanted to have me make an appearance on the spin off show "Runway to LA' and as they were going to film in Melbourne I did the show.
This is where I met Charlotte, she was quite the star of television at the time especially now that she was to host this spin off show for Foxtel and the huge success of 'ANTM'.
I off course expected to meet someone that was like her on air persona, tough model judge. I really didn't expect her to even look at me, just film our bit and go onto the other scenes they needed to film.
She walked into our location came right up to me and used my name 'Hi Philip, so great to meet you. I hear you have some great clothes for us'. She was warm, professional and friendly to everyone in that room.
We went onto a second location and in the filming breaks Charlotte got chatting with myself and my partner at the time about our upcoming holiday to Queenstown in New Zealand, she spent time listing the places we had to go and chatted about lots of things she loved in Melbourne. Charlotte didn't need to do any of that, it was a busy filming schedule and she had details to remember and producers to work with. I always remembered how kind and giving she was to both my partner and I and how she was nothing like her TV persona, just a friendly person.
I really didn't think I would meet her again but was happy to have met just the once to experience her warmth.  

'Runway to LA'

Nigel and Charlotte

The producers of 'ANTM' contacted me a year and a half later and asked me to appear on an episode of 'ANTM' where I was to be part of a challenge for the contestants as a super nasty stylist to test their professionalism. Sarah Murdoch had taken over as host and my close friend Nigel Stanislaus, (who was the Australian make up director of make up brand Maybelline) had the role as a judge and on air make up chief who would appear in my scenes with me on location where I would be hideous to the model contestants. I off course did my best to be the most awful and nasty stylist I could as well as treat poor Nigel dreadfully just to see what these budding models would do. I'm pretty sure the producers wanted me to make the girls cry. At the end of my scenes Sarah Murdoch was to return after earlier introducing us to let the models know it was all a test and I was acting being nasty. 
I did have a few choice lines that of course did make the editors of the show happy, one was to a girl in a tweetie bird costume ( the youtube clip is attached to clear this up) who had just asked 'what am I meant to be?' I answered very dryly 'A bird, a very ugly bird'. 
Cut to the glamorous launch night of the new season of 'ANTM' later that year that I attended with Nigel in Sydney at Luna Park and we saw Charlotte on the red carpet and she shouted "Oh my god its one very ugly bird!!!' She had loved my 'bit' on the show and decided she was going to continue to call me 'Ugly Bird'. 
Nigel had become very friendly with Charlotte while filming the show in the outback and in Sydney and had begun socialising with her outside of the show, in a few visits to Sydney I had some brunches and breakfasts with Charlotte and Nigel which were always fun and in her usual manner she enjoyed meeting people and collecting friends finding out about what they did in their life.

'Australia's Next Top Model' Cycle 5 Episode 5

I remember a day when Nigel and I were having coffee and Charlotte called and said she was in Melbourne and had heard that Nigel was too, she was  about to get ready for the Logies and she asked would Nigel do her make up. He mentioned I was with him and she said 'quick come to the hotel and lets get together and get me ready for the red carpet'! We had a fun afternoon and she looked gorgeous in her custom made sequin gown by her good friend designer Alex Perry. She had even said in her usual self deprecating way 'God I look like a silver Logie!!! 

A little later in that year I had a call from Charlotte who was in town and she said she wanted a big shopping spree in Melbourne and would I pick her up from her hotel and take her to the best stores in Melbourne. I picked her up in my vintage Mercedes (which she loved) and my partner at the time and I had a great brunch and catch up with Charlotte and a great day shopping showing her my favourite stores and hidden gems. 
It was at this time she had just started to use Twitter and every opportunity was taken to update and share her life with her followers. I had been on Twitter for a while and hadn't found it to be addictive but I sensed that it was becoming a little for Charlotte but didn't think much of it, this was early on in her use of the social media platform and we could never have foreseen the kind of hideous abuse that she would go through years later from those vile Twitter trolls.

Over the coming years I would see Charlotte at parties and events as well as the odd catch up lunch and she would call me particularly when she was writing an article for a newspaper or magazine and wanted a Melbourne fashion angle, whether it be for the Spring Racing Carnival or one particular time when she would ring many times to be updated about the story of the Gasp store here in Melbourne who's bad retail experience had gone viral around the country. 
Nigel had talked with me many times about Charlotte sharing her depression with him, how helpless he had felt and how could he help her. It is the most awful feeling to know someone you know is going through this, I have had experience with partners dealing with depression and even suicidal tendencies from my early 20's, it is heartbreaking and the continual feeling of helplessness is something you don't forget, ever.  
It is probably why in some sub-conscience way I decided to align myself with the Prahran Mission Charity here in Melbourne that works with mostly people affected with Mental Health issues through my PHILIP BOON PRESENTS: charity events. 
It is something that 1 in 5 of us in this country will go through in our life and I applaud the Prahran Mission's charter to de-stigmatise mental illness. We will all know someone or will be someone that deals with this, we have to embrace learning more about mental illness and  be not afraid to talk about it openly. I believe when you shine light on something it comes into focus and you can hopefully understand it a bit better. Charlotte did this continually in the last few years by letting us share her illness, shining a light on it and bringing it to the worlds attention. It was tough to hear her going through such awful depression but it seemed she was strong enough to keep it at bay.
She wasn't, and she took her own life last Saturday.      

This above is the last photo I have of Charlotte and I together at the launch of designer Matcho Suba's collection a while back, as I said at the start of this post I was far from her best friend or even a close friend. I loved every time I got to see her either randomly or planned, I loved chatting about 'fashion things' on the phone and feel very lucky to have even got to see her again after that first meeting on 'Runway to LA'. 
She was as everyone, friends, colleagues and family has said in many articles and on television, a kind sole that was always giving and there for you, even if you knew her for a day. 
I'm sure she would hope that we would start to talk more about depression and the anti bullying campaigns she was so passionate about as well as being more gentle and kind with each other as she was to all she met. 
She would also want us to laugh more, her laugh was infectious.
Goodbye Charlotte, I hope you are rocking that red carpet in the sky in your usual style and are at peace.

If you would like more information about the work the Prahran Mission do please go to:

If you or someone you know is needing help:

Lifeline Australia     13 11 14
Suicide Call Back     1300 659 467
Kids Help Line         1800 551 800

Monday, 17 February 2014

A hark back to Interior Styling

By no means am I an interior stylist anymore but many years ago when I started in the styling industry I did work on many such shoots. Most people probably don't know that I have renovated many properties, I really enjoy working on real estate projects both from a styling and building angle.
I recently offered my services to a friend who lives in New York to style and project manage a renovation of his apartment that he owns here in Melbourne. His plan was to sell this apartment to finance other opportunities in the US and has rented it out for many years. 
As it was tenanted out it had lots of wear and tear but had a great layout and was in a great location.
I had designed the bathroom for this apartment a few years ago and this part of the property still looked great but the kitchen and the living areas needed a major spruce up. It also needed to be property styled for the real estate market and to pinpoint the right inner city buyer.   

It needed to appeal to the young urban professional or savvy investor and so I set about to give it a youthful feel that wasn't too personal but still stylish and fresh. When you buy an apartment you buy into a lifestyle and so that has to be the first thing you feel when seeing a property.

Like most people getting ready to sell a property we didn't have a huge budget so a lot of the pieces are sourced from my personal collection of furniture and artwork. The rest has been hired in from the lovely Daniella and Marcus at Surround Interiors who have beautiful furniture and homewares at their store at 3 Inkerman Street in St Kilda.

The kitchen needed a major renovation and was completely demolished and a new custom made kitchen fitted. I wanted the feel to be very open and almost scandinavian. The person who buys this great apartment will have a completely new (never cooked in!)  kitchen to enjoy.

The designer bathroom as I mentioned was renovated to a high standard a few years ago but is still totally contemporary and in great condition. I just styled it with plants, foliage and a few Missoni Home pieces.

I very much enjoyed project managing this renovation and property styling opportunity and as I have said for many years that an understanding of design principles and good styling can work across a lot of  different platforms of the aesthetic industries. I enjoy interior design and decoration/styling very much but am happy to leave it to the many talented interior stylists out there who work on this everyday.

If you are interested in buying this apartment it will be auctioned on 8th March, you can find the details here 

Or contact Michael Kurts at Biggin & Scott Prahran on 0418319811

Monday, 10 February 2014

Mary Lipshut, A tribute to an amazing lady of fashion.

I write this post through tears and joy, remembering an amazing lady and friend who passed away on Saturday who I've been very lucky to have known and share a small part of her life. 
Her name is Mary Lipshut and I met a few years ago when I was asked to curate a fashion exhibition for L'oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival with her extensive vintage collection of Missoni, Pucci and Courreges. The fashion exhibition never went ahead but I came to know how much Mary wanted to showcase her amazing collection of designer vintage clothing in a fashion show or exhibition. Mary's collection was unique because it was all brand new and had never been worn making it a significant archive and probably the only such collection in the world. The scale of the collection and the passion that Mary had for her 70's & 80's designer fashion left a lasting effect on me and as I got to know Mary more and spend more time at her showroom (ML Vintage) I knew I had to do something to celebrate Mary's work. 
I set about to somehow create an event that would celebrate Mary's collection but more so make her happy that she would get to see all of her best pieces shown in an authentic event. 
But before I tell you about that event I want to let you know about Mary and how much of a trailblazer she was.   

Mary Lipshut looking great in 1974 

A lot has been written in many newspapers and magazines of Mary's story but an overview is that she  came to Australia while still a baby with her Polish parents, her father eventually went into the elastic business and made a fortune. She studied bacterial science but during her studies met her husband Philip Lipshut and things changed. Philip's family were in the fashion industry and she went along with him on a business trip to Japan in the 1960's, they stopped off in Hong Kong and she bought beaded knitwear and said to him 'It might be nice to have a hobby'. Mary went on to import the knitwear successfully and then set up a wholesale knitwear company with her sister Edith called 'Meredith', a mix of their names. This was the 1960's, woman were still very rare in business let alone the fashion industry but Mary was a total trailblazer creating a wholesale business that still lives on today with Meredith. 

'The Internationals' boutique in the 1970's at Myer department store

In the 1970's Mary went onto be a buyer for in-store boutiques in Myer and Georges called 'The Internationals', being the first person in Australia to bring in Pucci, Missoni and Courreges and then after one of the department stores decided they didn't like her direction stylistically told them that she would leave and set up her own fashion boutiques selling all of the designer clothing she had sourced and discovered while on her buying trips in Europe.
In those days in the early 1970's she met and became friends with the fashion elite of the time, Gianni Versace, Rosita and Tai Missoni and iconic fashion editor of Italian Vogue Anna Piaggi. She bought clothing from Gianni Versace when he was designing for italian brand Callaghan and remained a friend until his death in 1997, the Missoni family supplied her boutiques in the 70's too and she spent time with Rosita and Tai on many trips to Milan. 
Anna Piaggi became a great friend, one that gave Mary a great piece of advice when after the French bombed the pacific in the early 70's and everything French was black banned in Australia for two years. Mary's new shipment of Courreges sat on the dock for many months and became out of date. 
Mary asked Anna "What should I do with this huge shipment of outdated Courreges?'
Anna advised 'Pack it up and put it into storage because in years to come people will open fashion galleries at museums' Mary took this advise and did so, thereby creating an extensive and unique vintage collection when the term 'vintage clothing' hadn't even been thought up.

Mary with one her favourite Pucci outfits

This advice would prove to be very wise when more than 25 years later Mary decided to share her extensive vintage designer collection with the world in a showroom she later called ML Vintage. She had added to the initial Courreges with Missoni, Pucci and many other international labels that had been on sale in her boutiques, more than 4000 garments and hundreds of accessories.
ML Vintage reigned supreme in the last decade or so as the place to find the perfect vintage piece for stylists, fashion editors and celebrities, Mary had sold her vintage all over the world and many of her garments hang in galleries and museums from Boston to the Smithsonian as well as the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and the NGV here in Melbourne.
Always a patron of the arts Mary and I went to the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) recently where the head curator of International Fashion and Textiles Roger Leong took us on a private visit of an upcoming exhibition where one of her acquired pieces from the 80's sat on a mannequin in all its glory. Mary's face beamed with pride and it was so nice to see her see this.     

Mary Lipshut photographed by Marnie Haddad

So back to creating an event that would showcase the great Mary Lipshut's vintage fashion collection. I have worked with the my good friend Erica Myers Davis (General Manager of Fundraising) at the Prahran Mission Charity on fundraising events for many years and had come up with the idea of fashion charity luncheons that would bring my network of fashion folk together with my chosen charity to raise funds for their great work in the community under the banner, Philip Boon Presents:.
We decided that Mary's collection was to be the feature of my next charity luncheon event and set about to create this with the help of Erica and Joshua Koko from the Prahran Mission, knowing that hopefully I could give Mary that show she always wanted to see.
My first idea was to promote it and to do so through an 'Advanced Style' (the blog, book and soon to be documentary by New Yorker Ari Seth Cohen) inspired photo shoot with Mary and two of her close friends Shirley Strauss and Lola Schattner, glamorous woman in the high 80's who had better social lives than me or anyone half their age! They were all to wear Mary's designer vintage pieces. 
I asked celebrated art and fashion photographer Marnie Haddad (family friend of the trio) to photograph the three vibrant octogenarians at Shirley Strauss' home, an apartment that was designed in 1976 by a top interior designer of the time and had not changed a bit from that time, still a glamorous 70's abode in immaculate condition. 
We had a magical day of laughing, chatting and story telling that I will cherish forever. Josh Koko had asked respected journalist Janice Breen Burn to attend the photo shoot and write a story for her new venture about these marvellous women.
I styled the three in different parts of Shirley's extensive home adorned in ML Vintage, the photos were to be used for publicity as well as have the original images sold at the charity luncheon weeks later.

Shirley Strauss photographed by Marnie Haddad

The photos caused quite a stir and were picked up by many media outlets and newspapers, suprised to see three stylish and vibrant women in their 80's dressing up and enjoying their lives when most at that age are quietly slipping away from society. I love these images and have to say how much I admire Ari Seth Cohen in New York who has brought to the worlds attention women over 50 living life to the fullest.

Lola Schattner photographed by Marnie Haddad

Onto the event, PHILIP BOON PRESENTS: ML Vintage and I prepared to bring Mary's ML Vintage collection to life on models in a beautiful contemporary setting at the stylish Melbourne restaurant 'Circa at The Prince'. I wanted the whole experience to hark back to Mary and my favourite decade of fashion, the 1970's and so worked with my great friend and make up artist Narelle Hall on a 70's inspired make up palette also with hair masters Frank and Helen at Hair By Ciccone to create the perfect 70's frizzy do! We even had a 1970's soundtrack for the models to walk to creating that total 70's salon style show.

Narelle Hall working her 70's magic on model 

Helen Ciccone frizzing that 70's hair

Model wearing 70's Courreges


Model wearing Courreges

70's Pucci velvet 

Velvet Pucci

One of Mary's favourite Pucci outfits

In my quest to make the whole event as authentically 70's I invited Australian supermodel of the era Wendy Bannister to walk the runway again in a wonderful Missoni creation, still a stunning model she stole the show with her twirls and smiles! Thank you Wendy!

Missoni in neutral

Layered Missoni 

Stunning Missoni

The remarkable Mary Lipshut

Celebrated photographer and family friend Marnie Haddad with one of her images

General Manager of Fundraising at Prahran Mission, Erica Myers Davis in Vintage Courreges from ML Vintage

All photos of the charity luncheon Philip Boon Presents: ML Vintage by Meagan Harding Photography

I am so very happy to have given this fashion extravaganza to Mary and celebrated her beloved vintage. We raised money for the great work the Prahran Mission do and had a wonderful and successful day that I'm sure Mary enjoyed.

To Mary, who I was lucky to have seen before her passing in hospital and tell her how amazing I thought she was as well as let her know that she will never be forgotten for all the fantastic things she did in her life, I will miss our many chats about our mutual love of the 1970's, I will miss our lunches and meetings about where to take your business next, I will miss your vibrancy and love of life, I will miss your never say die attitude in the face of cancer and mostly I will miss your stories of the fabulous life you led in fashion where there was no difference in our ages and you appreciated my opinion even though you had decades more experience than I. 
I will miss you Mary but you will always be there in my fashion heart. 


Thursday, 30 January 2014

A Fashion Media Whore!

As a continual process I am posting about some of the many projects I have worked on recently and none was more fun or more satisfying creatively than the collaboration between Fashion Torque (Australia's ONLY live fashion chat show I co created & co host with the legendary Jenny Bannister) and talented emerging fashion film maker Hinny Tran. 
So in this post I share with you some of the background imagery of this great experience along with some official film stills as well as the process and thinking behind such a creative undertaking. Please scroll down to the bottom of the post to watch the stylish and hilarious outcome so wonderfully edited and directed by the wonderful Hinny Tran! 

The incomparable and legendary Jenny Bannister

In my role as creative director I challenged Hinny Tran to step out of his comfort zone of dark, moody & minimal fashion films to create something bursting with colour and movement that echoes Jenny and my over the top profile. Hinny more than filled the brief by producing the right balance of both comic fashion scenes with stylish cutting edge snapshots on high fashion models giving a unique international feel that showcased the best of Australian independent fashion and accessories designers in a stylish, lively, colourful and comical fashion film.

Models Olivia & Anissa of London Management wearing Lui Hon 

I asked Jenny if we could use her amazing home to shoot our fashion film in and she very generously said yes, so we went about creating this backdrop to our concept. I wanted to get the look of space and grandeur with a big dose of quirky over the top glamour. 

Model Anissa wearing Neo Dia

Fashion Torque have always supported emerging and established Australian designers from the show’s inception and we like to think we continue to show our support in this stylized high fashion presentation that hints of ‘Absolutely Fabulous’, Jean Paul Gaultier’s 1990’s “Eurotrash’ television show and the most colourful woman in fashion today, Anna Della Russo (well, aside from Jenny) all while making comment on today’s media grabbing fashion set that attend event after event in the hope of being the ultimate ‘Media Whore’.

Model Olivia from London Management wearing Lui Hon alongside the 'Queen of Colour' herself Jenny Bannister!

We were so lucky to find two perfect models that totally got our concept and conveyed a great international feel but still understood the comic style we wanted for the fashion film.  

Jenny doing her best 'Beatnik' impression wearing her own design leather ensemble alongside amazing silver plated actual crocodile foot necklace' by Ott by Lia T

I seem to very 'seriously' wearing a pair of Jenny's vintage sunglasses

The beautiful Anissa of London Management wearing hat by Richard Nylon for Lui Hon and stunning red leather Lui Hon suit with me, again serious!  

A comic clip from our fashion film 

Model Anissa in emerging designer E.R Emslie & Millie Mosca outfit 

In Jenny's stunning vibrant yellow hallway, Jenny looking slightly 'flat'! 

 Anissa modelling Lui Hon top with accessories by the amazing Alexandra Blak in a clip from the film

Jenny wore some of her fabulous archive designs accessorised with her more recent plastic fantastic creations with Courreges headband and vintage sunglasses.

So you were talking about some 'out there' sunglasses?

Myself and Jenny in a shot from the film, Jenny wearing her own design with gold plated actual croc foot neckpiece by Ott by Lia T, both of us wearing Jenny's vintage sunglasses.

The fashion presented in 'Fashion Torque Media Whore' shows Australian designers who have had high profile international and national success. Well respected fashion designers Lui Hon( Harpers Bazaar), Neo Dia (Vogue Italia) along with emerging designers A.R Emslie & Millie Mosca join up with accessories designers Alexandra Blak (Grazia Paris) and OTT by Lia T (Vogue UK) to create a vibrant explosion of current fashion. 

 ‘Fashion Torque Media Whore’ by Hinny Tran

Please check out 'Fashion Torque Media Whore' on YouTube

HUGE thanks to Hinny Tran, Jenny Bannister, Anissa & Olivia of London Management Iain Murton, Narelle Hall, Andrea Plowman and all the amazing designers featured in the film.