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NaraCamicie Flagship Store Opens In Paddington – Meet The Owners

December 5th, 2012

It’s finally here in Australia – and here to stay and spoil us rotten with quality, Italian style and design.

Naturally I’m talking about NaraCamicie, the Italian label which has taken most countries of the world by storm!

Right here in Paddington, Sydney, store owners Angela and Alex opened Australia’s flagship store. It’s an edgy and funky store with everything so easily to see and feel – it’s quite a sensory experience.

I caught up with Alex and Angela at the store to talk all things NaraCamicie and fashion.

How NaraCamicie start and why did you decide to launch the brand in Australia?

We came across the brand while honeymooning in Italy and specifically Venice in 2006. We were instantly captivated by the quality, styles and price range. We ended up purchasing many shirts and after arriving back to Australia we were continuously receiving positive feedback every time we wore a Nara shirt. It was obvious to us that there was a gap in the Australian market for European style shirts. After many visits to Italy we decided that it was time to take the big step to launch the brand to the Australian market in 2012. We carefully studied what other brands were offering and again it was very clear that Australians were in need of something different. This was what prompted us to launch.

 Where is NaraCamicie stocked overseas?

There are over 600 stores worldwide. All over Europe, Asia, North and South America as well as Africa. There are more stores opening monthly in every major city around the world.

Do you think it will have the same success here in Australia?

Our sydney flagship store has been open for 2.5 months now and the response has been fantastic. NaraCamicie has been a success all around the world and we truly believe Australia will be as well. Many Australians that have travelled abroad have come in the store or contacted us via email and phone, expressing their excitement that finally their favourite shirt brand has reached the Australian shores. It is only a matter of time that NaraCamicie becomes the authoritarian in the shirt industry in Australia.

There has been a positive reaction to the brand with stylists and celebrities visiting the store. Why do you think the brand is attracting these influential people? What is the ultimate goal for the brand?

They are attracted because simply Naracamicie offers something unique and the styles and cuts are very European. There are over 200 styles of shirts offered per season from casual, business, evening and formal. Nara has been for many years present in all major publications around the world, numerous fashion shows and has been established in the fashion world for 28 years.

Are you planning on opening more stores in Australia? When and where could we expect to see them?

We are planning on opening in every major city in Australia in the next 5 years. New Zealand is also of interest.

How do you think the fashion industry differs to that of Europe?

Australian fashions tends to be more conservative and simple. There is however a desire for different styles that are more colourful and edgy. Nara offers exactly that.

The store fit-out in Paddington is very modern and edgy. Do you find that this is reminiscent of the exceptional European style and design?

The Nara store concept is the forefront of designer shop fitting. Designed by a leading Italian architect, it is simple and elegant, modern and edgy and gives emphasis to the beautiful shirts displayed. The comments we have received from customers and other retailers is that they have never seen anything like it!

Reasonably priced fashion, excellent quality and Italian made – do you think these are the three things that shoppers in Sydney look for? What else do Sydney shoppers look for do you think?

We believe that Sydney shoppers are continuously searching for something that is priced correctly, is of outstanding proven quality and at the same time unique. We have had customers come back to tell us that the feedback they received when wearing one of our shirts was amazing. Whoever wears a Nara shirt is noticed simply because the patterns and fabrics of a Nara shirt is fresh to the Australian market.

What styles and colours will we expect to see in the new season?

Our current spring/summer collection focuses on bright colors and flora prints without stemming away from the traditional whites.

For our upcoming autumn/winter collection darker hues and simple black and whites are back in. Grandpa collars for men and satin prints and frill shirts for women will be evident.

Over 150 styles for both women and men will be available.

What is your personal style, when you are socialising or at events and not in the store?

Smart casual, chic and edgy. We do not only sell Nara shirts, we also love wearing them!

What is a MUST HAVE item for guys and girls this season from NaraCamicie?

Guys: definitely short sleeve grandpa collar shirt

Girls: 3/4 floral print shirt

For more information or to buy online, visit www.naracamicie.com.au

Store address: Shop 1, 412 Oxford Street, Paddington NSW.

For media inquiries, please contact Pink Pony PR - www.pinkponypr.com.au

Amazing Online Shopping Experience With Avenue 24

April 17th, 2012

One of the best, if not the best websites I’ve ever seen is a popular fashion hub which I’ve recently come across, www.Avenue24.com.au.

This website was launched in 2011 and is a shopping platform which is interactive and cleverly animated, containing all of the fabulous elements of a boutique shopping experience in some of Sydney’s very best locations.

You can browse and purchase quality and luxury items from these boutiques, which make you feel like you are virtually there.

It needs to be seen and experienced to be believed. It really has so much attention to detail, plus awesome products and specials that everyone can be a part of.

Be sure to see for yourself – www.Avenue24.com.au

MARIA VENUTI Performing at Slide Bar & Cabaret – May 12th

April 28th, 2011

MARIA VENUTI TO PERFORM AT SLIDE BAR & CABARET – THURSDAY 12th MAY

“I Am What I Am”

Following the launch of her memoirs ‘A Whole Load of Front’ and the celebration of her LXX birthday, Maria Venuti, will once again grace the stage of Slide Bar & Cabaret on Thursday May 12, 2011.

Maria Venuti’s production I am what I am, will see Venuti centre stage accompanied by her live band. Even the party girl, Venuti will illuminate the stage sharing songs and anecdotes from her glorious fifty year career. With her keen wit, glittering stage presence and exuberant character this extra special performance will keep the audience enraptured and is certain not be dim.

I am what I am performed by the flamboyant Aussie showbiz icon, and her live band will be part singing, part comedy, all entertaining! Thursday May 12 is a marvelous opportunity to witness one of Australia’s most talented and colourful performers up close and personal.

I am what I am at Slide Thursday, May 12, 2011. 41 Oxford St, Darlinghurst.

Two course dinner and show: $70 OR Show only: $30 - Doors open at 7pm for dinner, show to commence at 9pm.

Book now!

Online at www.ticketek.com.au, phone: (02) 8915 1899, visit www.slide.com.au OR email: bookings@slide.com.au.

The Beautiful Fiona Paxton Creation

June 15th, 2010

With the FIFA World Cup in South Africa dominating pretty much everything at the moment globally, I thought I would display a piece that to me has a little bit of a tribal African twist.

The beautiful Lyon necklace is by Fiona Paxton which is metallic and has a range of metal beads, coral beads, curb chains, rhinestones and draped 18k gold plated chains all on a leather bib. It’s an attractive eye-catching piece which will always get complete attention.

The stunning piece is hand made in the UK and has been worn by some of the biggest celebs like Drew Barrymore, Hilary Duff, Maria Sharapova and Isla Fisher.

This stunning limited edition piece is available for $429 at Trilby Phoenix – Shop 2, 168-174 Oxford Street, Paddington – (02) 9356 3030

Maria Venuti “I’m Still Standing” At Slide Bar

June 4th, 2010

My favourite Mama of all is throwing another party for us to prove that she is “Still Standing”.

Maria Venuti is holding a cabaret show called “I’m Still Standing” at Slide on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst. She is one of the most recognisable Australians with one of the most distinct shows you will ever see!

Make sure you book tickets ASAP to see Maria sing some of her favourtie songs in the live and intimate show with musical director Trevor Ashley and a three piece band.

Slide Bar, 41 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

Wednesday June 16th

- 7pm Dinner & Show $70pp

- 9pm Show Only $30pp

Tickets: (02) 8915 1899 or www.ticketek.com.au

Will Fennell – Perfectly Groomed And Stunningly Distinct

May 31st, 2010

I walked into Bondi Junction clinic, WillandPeta to meet television personality Will Fennell, who owns the clinic with business partner Peta Friend.

Greeted with an enormous smile and strong handshake, the strikingly brawn Will Fennell welcomed me into his clinic with open arms.

Will stands tall, perfect posture, tightly toned and immaculately dressed. He reminds me of a robust Gladiator. He speaks well, so polite and so refined. He has a pleasant and calming nature which is warming and gentle. I felt comfortable talking to him.

As mentioned above, he owns an amazing clinic called WillandPeta which does everything to make you and your skin look and feel it’s best. He is also a prominent television personality, columnist in magazines and also travels the world hosting events. But I’d like him to tell you all about it!

Popping over to the café across the road, I got to have a great chat to him about everything in his life…

Is there anything you are currently working on, or working on in the future that you’d like to tell us about?

Well, ‘hypothetically’, I’d love to do a book. I would love to contribute to a book on my philosophies and my philosophies of skincare. I’ve really changed over the 15 years of doing what I do away from taking my business from just doing fluffy facial treatments to using only cosmosutical products in my skincare clinic, where it is all results orientated, so the concept is that you can change your skin by using skin care and skin treatments.

I’m also working on a skincare range that I’m formulating at the moment. With skincare, you can go in two directions. You can get someone to formulate it for you, so you throw money at them and say you want a skincare range, they will formulate it, but they will own the formulas themselves, and you produce this product. Or you can go the other way, where you develop the formulas and I will own them, and they will be mine. So I can take them anywhere I want and do anything with them because they are mine. It just takes longer. I am working with my chemist to formulate the skincare range.

I have also joined the Mr. Gay World organisation, so I hosted Mr. Gay World in Oslo earlier in the year, and so I am going to Europe in September to host Mr. Gay Europe, I’m excited about doing that!

Last year I did too many things, this year I said I would only do three things. That’s all I will do, just these three things.

Who or what influences you most in fashion?

In fashion, it would be Tom Ford, with out a doubt. The classical thing about Tom Ford is that it is all incredibly simple; it’s just executed beautifully and flawlessly. All the man has to wear is a crisp white shirt and a black suit. Everything about him is incredibly simple, all of his designs are simple, and that’s me. I love that. I would prefer uncluttered and attention to detail.

What is your favourite piece of clothing or accessory?

I love Calibre clothing, Calibre make the best jeans. I love them. I’d sleep in them! When you are getting older, in your mid-thirties, you can’t wear skinny jeans anymore. You still want to wear jeans that fit you nicely, without having that skinny look. My classic look is jeans and loafers, I wear jeans and loafers all the time, that is what I feel comfortable in. Calibre makes beautiful tailored jeans that are nice enough to wear to a business meeting, but comfortable enough to wear and be semi-casual.

Is there a feature of your home that you love most?

My partner and I have a balcony outside area that overlooks Elizabeth Bay. We live in the most densely populated suburb in Sydney, but yet we have this balcony, which overlooks this little body of water, and you wouldn’t have any idea where you were. I need to see water. I don’t need to see lights of the city or anything like that when it comes to views, but if I can see, hear or smell water, that’s all for me. Water has negative ions, so it’s calming. The closer you are to sea level, the calmer you are.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Travelling. It’s something that we like to do, we like to do a country and not do this whole 7 countries in 3 weeks thing. For instance, when we go away to another continent, people ask what countries we are going to, we like to keep it quite minimal and focus on only those countries. We’ll get a train from city to city. Countries I’ve never been would be my biggest extravagance.

How did you get into what you do?

When I was about 15, I had really bad acne, so I started to see a skin therapist and I couldn’t really afford to have the treatments. She was lovely, so she said come in and visit me, and help me and in exchange I’ll give you treatments, so I knew it’s what I wanted to do. When I left high school, I was too scared to tell my parents that I wanted to be a skin therapist, so I went to University for a year, then at the end of that year I said to my mother that I am going to go to beauty school. She cried and carried on.

At that time my father had left us and I had no contact with him. At that time, my mum and I were very poor and there was no way she could afford to put me through beauty school, but then my fathers mother died, and she left me money. I got this phone call one day from a lawyer saying “you’re grandmother has left you X amount of money” and all of a sudden I had the money for beauty school. It all happened in this short period of time.

I worked my whole way through college, first off at a nursing home, then at a beauty salon in Darlinghurst. I met my business partner there, and then the following year we opened out first salon, which was called Baby Blue. I was 20, so I was the Baby, and she has the most beautiful blue eyes, so she was Blue. That’s why we called it Baby Blue.

So how did the TV career come about?

10 Years Younger In Ten Days came through DNA, one of the executive producers of the show read the magazine, and she called me and asked if I wanted to do an audition.

After Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, the salon was doing really well and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it again, but I went along anyway, went to the audition.  They rang and told me to be at the audition, but I couldn’t get to it because I had a job I was contracted to in Germany and couldn’t get out of it. So that was that and I didn’t hear from them. I went to Germany, had a great time. I came back, and they rang me, and asked if I wanted to shoot the pilot. It was great because there were no nerves involved because I didn’t think it was going to happen.

Queer Eye For The Straight Guy was in 2004, the problem with that was it came about too late, they took too long to create it over here, the American version was barely getting 700,000 viewers a night, so the hype was over, resulting in just one season. From first auditions, to going to air, it took two years – that’s a long time!

Favourite place to relax in Sydney?

We live very close to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair. It would have to be one of our favourite places ever. I run around that head, it’s funny, because there’s this bit that faces Woolloomooloo where my heart starts to get this thing there, as I approach the corner, and I see the bridge and everything at the end and it’s like… I don’t know, I just get this amazing feeling every time, it never changes. This is the most beautiful place ever.

What are your thoughts on Australian fashion in comparison to International fashion?

There’s always this idea that we are a season behind. That we are a step behind it all. I don’t think that’s the case anymore. We have some fantastic designers. As I said before, I’m a jeans and t-shirt type of guy. I have a few beautiful suits, I have less lots of clothes, instead some beautiful, maybe 6 or 8 beautiful shirts.

I think the idea of us being some little country at the bottom of the world that always has last season is gone, our designers have shown the world that they can go to Europe and mix it with the best of them. I don’t think we’ll ever be taken as seriously as French Couture or Italian, I don’t think it’s in our culture as much as it is in theirs. It’s in their culture.

What’s one thing you can’t leave home without?

I have a lip balm in every single pocket in every single garment! Sometimes my partner will be like, “So which one is it today? High gloss, shimmer, lip-pumping…”

I have this great Christian Dior lip-pumper, and because I love them [lipgloss], I’ll try anything. I put it on and then next minute it works, because it has all these irritants to the skin, next thing I had these massive lips, my partner was so embarrassed by me!

There’s this idea that if you start using it, you will rely on it. The thing is, lips have no sebaceous glands, and so by nature they are incredibly dry. They still produce hyaluronic acid, meaning that they have the capability to moisturise themselves, but they have no capability of keeping the moisture in, because they have no oil glands. So you need to moisturise and you need to protect them.

Favourite beach in Sydney and why?

I’m so protective of my skin and the sun, that I don’t go to the beach all that much. But if I ever do go out in the sun, it would be Boy Charlton pool at Woolloomooloo, I love it there.

But if I had to pick a beautiful beach, it would have to be the smaller beaches on the harbour like Parsley Bay and the Eastern suburbs.

Three pet hates…

1. Gossiping.

2. Hairy ears. BIGGEST faux par.  Hair coming out of noses and ears. It’s so easy to remove. You can take a really handsome man and ruin everything with just a little bit of ear hair.

3. Body clipping and shaving on men. The days of men removing all their hair, it’s over now. Trim it back if you want to keep it all nicely contoured and all neat and tidy, but a big no to shaving. Imagine rubbing yourself up against someone who has just shaved, it’s like having a cheese grater on you.

How often do you eat out? Or cook at home?

I love Japanese. Japanese would be one of my favourite meals to eat out I suppose. There are some great Japanese restaurants in Potts Point, so I eat a lot of Japanese out. Apart from that, we cook most nights at home. We have a BBQ on our balcony. My partner would BBQ anything and everything if he could. He’s American, so he is used to using a big BBQ. We eat at home about 5 nights a week. We eat pizza, eat at home, or eat Japanese.

If you were Clover Moore, what would you inject money into fixing in Sydney?

We used to have a business on Oxford Street in Darlinghurst. Ten years ago we moved away because I could see it was starting to decline. And I know that she is doing her best to somehow improve Darlinghurst, the feeling on the street, the safety, you walk down at night and I don’t know how much you can do to help this, but it’s not a place I would think of going anymore. I wouldn’t think of going there to shop or for dinner or go to Darlinghurst anymore. It’s, I think, it’s lost a sense of village and anything it used to have. It doesn’t exist.

Where would you go for drinks with friends then?

Lotus bar, I love Lotus bar. The best thing is you can just ask a waitress to grab you a drink and they just do it, they’ll know what you like, or they’ll just make one for you. I drink very little, but I’ll have one cocktail. They are amazing and it’s chilled, it’s an early, not a late place, so you don’t have to head down there late. I’m not really into the bar thing so much, but a cocktail bar is nice.

What is the thing you would change most in terms of men’s mentality in grooming?

Men think it’s too hard. That’s the first thing I come across – that it’s too hard.

The reason that’s happened is because the women in this industry have made it too hard. You have these women that have all these products, which they put on before going to bed.

All you need are 3 steps in the morning and 3 steps in the evening.

You cleanse and scrub in the shower, then put moisturiser on. It seriously takes 30 seconds. It’s not hard and it’s not time consuming. The way I have programmed my clients and the procedure of using my product is making it really simple in just 3 steps. You prepare the skin by cleaning it. You treat it by using active ingredients and you moisturise it. So I think that’s it, the main thing is it’s not that hard and it’s not time consuming, and the benefits you will see in the long run are enormous.

If you start in your 20’s or 30’s looking after your skin, wearing sunscreen and using exfoliant, you will get to 40 and look in the mirror and not think someone has walked all over your face. It’s easy, wear sunscreen. Most creams reverse ageing, the only one to prevent is sunscreen.

www.willandpeta.com

CC Skye’s Gold Feathers

April 20th, 2010

CC Skye’s gold feather cuff is a girly and attractive accessory which is perfect for anything from afternoon drinks at Woolloomooloo in a Camilla kaftan to dressing it up with a sexy black Michael Lo Sordo dress and high heels for dinner and drinks at Aria.

The cuff is 18k gold plated and available at Trilby Phoenix in Paddington. Worn by a range of fabulous celebrities like Kim Kardashian (who was seen at the store yesterday!), Lauren Conrad, Rihanna, Hilary Duff, Mary-Kate Olsen, Fergie, the list goes on…

Take this home for $230!

Shop 2, 168-174 Oxford Street, Paddington – (02) 9356 3030

Southern Thai Food At It’s Best At Rambutan

April 8th, 2010

As I stepped over vomit on the colourful Oxford Street, I wondered where the hell my friend Eve was taking me to dinner.

Walking up the street towards Paddington, I notice a shop front with dark bronze curtains in the window and deep lighting through them… That is where we are going – Rambutan.

We cross the road and walk into the dark and arcane looking restaurant you are immediately greeted by a sweet maître d’, who asked what name our reservation was under. “Your table will be ready shortly, please take a seat downstairs in the Tiki Lounge and we will come and get you once your table is ready”. We accept and happily move downstairs into the stunningly appointed Tiki Lounge. Quite often when you are asked to wait at a restaurant, you get a bit impatient, you might Visit FoxyBingo or get out a book to read. In this case because the maître d was so charming and the atmosphere was so welcoming we didn’t think twice about waiting. Passing the kitchen, you smell fresh ingredients. A Rambutan & sorbet bellini and a coconut & kaffir lime daiquiri carnavale coming up! Amazing cocktails by some of the best bar tenders I’ve seen work their magic behind the bar.

After a quick catch up with Eve over cocktails, we are called to our table. A cosy little table in the front window.

The venue is packed, but it’s not feeling like it’s over-crowded. It’s noisy, but it’s not unbearable. It’s the perfect environment for the moods we were both in.

So what kind of food do the attractive owners Joe and Milena serve at Rambutan? It’s Southern Thai food. The décor really throws you off as it actually looks nice (where most Sydney Thai restaurants look pretty cheap).

Looking over the menu, I read each item and take notice of the interesting ingredients. The meals are designed to share, so Eve and I pick a couple of entrées and a couple of mains.

Entrée -Betel leaves (Miang) with smoked trout & grilled chilli eggplant relish and steamed dumplings with chicken, prawn, sweet corn and plum sauce.

Main - Wok fried King prawns with pong gari coconut cream, baby corn and curry leaf and Braised wagyu beef, flat noodles, Vietnamese mint and black vinegar sauce.

The Betel leaves were carefully constructed, and superbly presented. Spicy, yet manageable. The relish works perfectly with the spice and the trout – it was so easy to eat, and so flavoursome. Not a huge portion, but very huge in taste. The steamed dumplings are so delicious too. As it is, I love chicken, prawns and sweet corn, so mixing them altogether and adding a sweet plum sauce with it, was just heaven for me. I would have been happy having this as my main, just alot more of them!

The pong gari coconut cream has an intricate flavour. Pong gari has something like 6 or 7 spices in it, so mixed with the coconut cream, they complemented eachother well, giving a wholesome texture for the king prawns, which for me take alot to fill me up! For something different, we got the Wagyu beef. The amazingly marbled meat was tender, with the taste of mint, but there was a spice in there that I just couldn’t guess. Whatever it was, completed the dish. It tied the sauce, the beef and the noodles together.

Of all the dishes, I most enjoyed the dumplings. I could have had them as a main and the king prawns as an entrée and feel perfectly filled.

Leaving space for dessert, I had a look at the menu again. Only three desserts to choose from? That suprised me a little, considering some of the restaurants I’ve been to lately have a huge range of desserts. I ordered the young coconut jelly with vanilla bean and passionfruit. It was then I realised it’s about quality – not quantity. This dessert was just incredible. The thing I loved most was the way they worked with the texture to get the most out of the presentation and the teaming of ingredients. In my mouth, its felt as good as it tasted.

Will I go back? Yes I would. It’s great for after work drinks and dinner, watching people rushing around after work down below and relaxing with friends in a contemporary venue.

Pros: Communal and tight layout makes you feel cosy, design and décor, service and bar tenders.

Cons: Such a great restaurant in such a dodgy part of town – but maybe that’s what adds to the charm of it? Sort of like the best house in the worst street. Expensive for Thai food, but it’s justified once presented and tasted.

Pricing: Entrées from $4 to $25, Mains from $8.50 to $34 (then there’s the market price whole fish), Desserts from $9 to $12. Cocktails are all around $16, with some exceptions, Sangria – $36. White wines from $36 to $64 a bottle, Red’s from $48 to $64 and Champagne $108 to $340 a bottle (or $18 for a glass of Mumm Cordon Rouge NV).

Final Say: Cool, calm, communal and collective. Unique and enjoyable food. Catch up with friends sort of place. Maybe not a quite date, but definately a second or third date restaurant.

Rambutan – 96 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst – (02) 9360 7772

Rambutan on Urbanspoon

Kate Sylvester – New Zealand Fashion

March 19th, 2010

Kate Sylvester is one of the newer additions to Paddington, displaying her men’s and women’s fashion in one of, if not the best looking store on oxford street!

You will notice it because of the huge curved glass wall out the front. When you walk in, it’s the brawn stone flooring and light timbers which lead you through to the back of the heavily sunlit store. At the back are the changerooms with an architecturally designed display cabinet with little nik naks to look at. The carpet is long and plush. It’s a very beautiful store, designed by her architect husband.

But more important, it’s the fashion! There is a small meswear rack at the front of the store, but there are some great natural toned garments to choose from. Two of my favourites are the Livingstone cardigan and David Vest pictured above. I also love the Bobby singlet and Stanley t-shirt pictured below.

Kate Sylvester is a well known New Zealander, who predominately makes womens clothes, but has ventured into the mens domain. She captures something very natural and comforting, but also cutting edge in stylish street wear.

Together Kate and her husband create a wonderful flagship store here in Sydney.

168 Oxford Street, Paddington – www.katesylvester.com