Fashion Wars | Cheryl Fairclough

Fashion Wars

Cheryl Fairclough

For the Savile Row Row Award

Melbourne Gazette. Sat 30 April, 1938
‘Fashion and Folly’
by Dame B.F, a lady from Melbourne visiting London.

The restrained opulence of La Maison de Couture in the heart of Mayfair is the natural choice for the discerning ladies of Melbourne. Here presides The Chief of London fashion.

You will be delighted, ladies, to be ushered in by the Commissionaire and be seated – along with Duchesses, Ladies of the Realm, and even the wife of the Viceroy of India – on a brocaded sofa or Louis Quinze armchair for a viewing arranged by the Salon’s vendeuse. Fine Irish linens, handwoven Scottish tweeds, woollens from the best English mills – quality is paramount here. We can give no such assurance elsewhere.

The comic and the bizarre have no place at La Maison and there is none of that striving after sensation that mars the decadent European scene. Indeed, superb silks from Lyon are the only touch of the Continent allowed across the richly carpeted entrance hall. Compare this with the circus that has accompanied the pretender La Schiaparelli, who did not even attend her latest show in London, instead leaving her ‘press officer’ to ringmaster the models crowned with bull-fighter and clown hats. Such items are championed only by the young and brash, who remain uncultured even in the Mother Country.

So eschew the fripperies of the Continent and fill your steamer trunks with stylish outfits that represent the best of Empire, as befits your status as ladies of the premier business capital of Australia. You will thus be equipped to enter the 1940s confident in a bright and prosperous future.


Sydney Weekly. Sat 30 April, 1938
Fashion For a Young Nation’
By Hon B.F., a well-known Sydney girl in London.

That grey and dreary metropolis to the south may foist other designers on their drab matrons, but the little French genius Schiaparelli is the designer for Sydney to watch.

The Grosvenor Street Salon of the undoubted Queen of Fashion sparkled like our Habour as Countesses, aristocracy, debutantes, and the wives and daughters of colonial officials, were guests at London’s most fabulous dress show of the season. Overseen by the debonair Russian Count Koutousov, the Salon featured an explosion of the surrealism and gaiety that has for a decade so sustained the youth of Europe.

Setting the flamboyant tone, models with tiny frilled dogs, paraded a circus masquerade theme. Sprays of ostrich feathers adorned hats. Flowers overflowed from hem, pockets, purse, hats and straw bonnets. Shiaparelli’s creative European élan drowned out the more austere pedestrian whispers of her fashion rivals.

Certainly The Chief, Mayfair’s mercurial little dictator, fretting and pacing in his narrow terraced so-called ‘La Maison de Couture’, barking military commands at his poor staff (and smoking among all those delicate fabrics!) has little to offer in reply. Squared shoulders, severe jackets and straight skirts! He is the fashion of the Depression.

No ladies, it is the creative chic of Schiaparelli that is appropriate to the sense of expectation in our fine city which has celebrated the completion of that great engineering feat, Our Bridge. Let us, the young women of the premier city of the nation, embrace flowers and feathers and Schiaparelli as we prepare to greet the 1940s with confidence in a bright and prosperous future.

Savile Row Row Award

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