08 June 2009

Claude Maus AW09

Anthony Licuria APL Photography

Great Expectations

What can we expect from boutique Australian fashion this winter?
Claude Maus has a deft touch when it comes to androgyny. What is good for the boys in jumpers, coats and jeans translates across to the girls’ line. The winter collection takes cues from The Classics and we’re talking Charles Dickens here. There are tees that are layered and long sleeved with a kind of draping effect at the back; almost like coat tails. Another link with Victorian England is the austerity of the colours. There is a splendid tunic in a deep purple plaid that my sister-in-law called “an orphan’s tunic.” In a good way. The male version is more of the same fabric in a shirt length. There is much to do about natural fibre whether animal or vegetable; a stand out is what looks like a deconstructed vest made of kangaroo- it’s actually calf. The vest comes with a cropped soft leather tan jacket that slides on underneath. It’s a good take on the fuzzy faux fur coat that’s featured recently on New Yorkers and Parisians alike on The Sartorialist. There are dresses of panelled raw silk, which merely allude to being a dress shape and invite layering during the colder months. Another favourite was a vintage look leather skirt that would look sharp with tights and a turtleneck. Claude Maus’s collection has an ‘easy to wear’ air about it; there are loungey tracky pants which look like instant design student staples- as do the cotton jumpers with leather hoods. The coats are quite traditional, carrying a flourish or two from the classic Burberry trench in charcoal and black. Putting one on, you become aware of just how luxurious cashmere and wool is before noticing very modern tailoring that turns classics on their head.

For www.stylemelbourne.com

01 June 2009


When my mother was eight years old, with a black pinafore and giant white bow in her hair like every other Soviet girl, a stocky, porcine-featured teacher informed the class;

“The Vygovsky children are excellent pupils. It is a pity that their father is a priest.”

My mother, who is barely five foot tall as an adult, stood up to address the teacher.

“My father is a good man!”

After this, her older brothers would scurry off when they spotted her in the school grounds- too mortified to be associated with her. Several times my mother’s family had to leave a city after the local papers published articles denouncing them. To glean something more of my mother’s life I pored over black and white photographs after school, learning the names of uncles and ancestors I'd never met. Mama was born in China like thousands of other Russians escaping the brutality of the Soviet regime. Two years after her birth, Stalin died and her family was amongst thousands of émigrés that tentatively returned to their county. First settling in a large city in the Ural Mountains, they embarked on a tour of Central Asia, shunted around by the government who were afraid of the influence a priest could yield over a parish. The names of the cities my mother lived in read like poetry; Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan. Frunze, Kyrgyzstan. Abakan, Khakassia. Novosibirsk. Leningrad. Alma-Ata means Father of the Apples; my mother fondly recalls the unbelievably aromatic fruits of the region, the mountains and the bubbling melody of speech in bazaars.