Luke Dearnley: The Conductor

Words and Photos: Reef Gaha | In conversation with Sydney’s venerable electronic music maestro and underground intelligentsia, Luke ‘Snarl’ Dearnley

To those familiar with the electronic music scene in Sydney over the past 30 years, Luke Dearnley of sound system duo Sub Bass Snarl (https://www.snarl.org/v3/) will need little introduction. His own twitter bio portrays him as a ‘programmer, webnerd, live sound engineer, deejay, cat fancier, hobby aquarist, science enthusiast, [and] lover of sub frequencies’. He is indeed, all those things. What this modest description may not convey is the fact that Luke has been something of a prime mover and pioneer in the realm of electronic music in Australia, having worked to bring emerging sonic arts to the notice of the Australian public since the early 1990s. He’s also a conduit for vast amounts of knowledge and information on the subject; assiduously and meticulously illuminating the often-mystifying intersection where electronics, infotech, music, and visual arts meet. For those that would like more of an introduction, a brief biography follows the short interview, below.

Meanwhile, I spoke with Luke recently to find out how he spent the last few years, and to find out what shows he has coming up in the not-too-distant future. There’s one on September 29th, for those in Sydney town…

What have you been working on lately?

‘Well, I’ve been putting together a solo live set for a gig. Phil Smart (https://ra.co/dj/philsmart/biography) is running a weekly night called Tempo Comodo (https://www.facebook.com/tempocomodoclub) and the idea is that all the music should be under 120bpm, which I found an intriguing concept. I boldly suggested I could do a live set down there, and he has me down for late September – it’s good to have a deadline to work to, or I’d never get anything done. I’m going to try and use a modular synth setup and do it all out of that. Playing solo live is quite new thing for me, so we’ll see how it goes. Lots of work to do yet.

I’ve also been slowly working on a few of my own Eurorack modular synth module designs, and plan to launch them, hopefully later this year.

Last year I did a brief run of eight Thursday nights of live electronic performance called Vitalise, in the Rocks, at a 2-month pop-up venue called Good Space (https://goodspacesproject.com). For those who remember the old days, I suppose it was a bit like Frigid [which Luke ran with Seb Chan, Shane ‘Sir Robbo’ Roberts, and Dale Harrison]. This time, it was quite tricky to do by myself. I roped in a bunch of awesome helpers, but it was still a big workload. So, I have expanded the team somewhat and there have been a couple of spot gigs here and there. Good Space will be returning with an even bigger complex of pop-up venue spaces in Summer, and Vitalise may well appear there again in a weekly capacity.’

‘Of course, with gigs returning, my work with bands such as Hermitude has started up again, with a short album tour under our belts, and some festival shows on the horizon.’


The last couple of years (pandemic lockdowns, etc) have impacted music and the arts heavily. What changes did you observe within the arts, and electronic music scene?

‘Things lurched to a sudden halt almost overnight. People I knew with 6 or 9 months of [gig] bookings suddenly had everything cancelled, and zero chance of earning any income; not just the performers, but the sound engineers, tour managers, lighting operators, roadies, veejays, hire companies, venues, merch sellers, and so on. The impact was huge. Way bigger than many people realise.

So, people started coming up with ways of ‘carrying on’ such as streamed live gigs…
Please no, I just spent all day on Zoom at work…

And then when things (repeatedly) opened up a bit? Sit down gigs. Umm… No.
Really, no. These things were all terrible, and hopefully go away, and don’t come back.’


Now that restrictions have eased and all bets are off, what have you seen emerging in music and the arts?

‘Now gigs are back it is really, REALLY hard to get crew, presumably because many such people shifted into other lines of work when COVID killed their existing income streams. I’ve [recently] been to some gigs where the crowds were oddly small. I’m not sure if it’s because there are way more gigs on all of a sudden, or that people are still nervous about going out, but it’s pretty crazy. More uncertain than usual when putting on a gig. Also, I’ve found going back to the juggle between a day job and gig work a lot more challenging than usual, both time management wise, and stress level wise.’


How did you weather the ‘pandemic years’ yourself?

‘I’ve always had a blend of ‘normal job’ and music related stuff – be it deejaying, putting on gigs, touring with bands doing sound, or whatever. So, I simply retreated into the former, since there was for the most part, no option for the latter.

There was an odd 2 months [during 2021] where I put on [the aforementioned] Vitalise, with weekly electronic music performances, which seems surreal now. But yeah, generally no music stuff apart from occasionally noodling round at home with my modular synths and other gear. ‘


Tell us about the music you’re making at the moment.

‘So, I mentioned before the upcoming live set at Tempo Comodo. A few weeks back Seb and I did a ‘ye olde’ Sub Bass Snarl set at a ‘ye olde’ Swarm party. Sub Bass Snarl gigs are pretty rare these days, as Seb lives in Melbourne [Seb Chan is currently the director and CEO of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image] so it was great to get an opportunity to do a set again.
This is the recording: https://www.mixcloud.com/lukesnarl/sub-bass-snarl-at-swarm-18-june-2022-sydney-australia/ 

I’ve also participated in quite an unusual ‘shared’ process of making tracks using modular synth, called Modular Theme Time Sessions. The original idea started in Melbourne where a bunch of modular synth artists would get together, jam and end up recording an EP. But when COVID hit, the idea went online. The participants are put into groups of three to four people and given a theme. The first member of the group records a sound and uploads it, the next person in the group downloads that and adds a sound, and uploads the result. This goes on until you loop back ‘round to the first person again, and keeps going until as a group, you consider the track finished. Each group submits their track, and that becomes the release on Bandcamp. They are mixed and mastered by the organisers.’ https://mtts.bandcamp.com/


What’s changed in your music practice over the last, oh, 30 years?

‘Ha, good question. Well, focus on or interest in particular sounds and genres has shifted over the decades, but always seeking out new and interesting sonic territories. I’ve certainly been able to afford equipment more readily as I’ve gotten older. And in the last (nearly) decade, I’ve been more and more interested in modular synths, and their uses and techniques. 

Within the confines of the Sub Bass Snarl duo Seb and I form, the techniques have been the same, but the hardware I use to realise them has changed. I’m always sampling Seb’s deejaying, looping bits, mangling, chopping, changing, and putting them back in the mix, adding effects, and adding layers of synth. Just focusing on the sampler part of it, I originally used a borrowed Mirage 8-bit sampler from my flatmate at the time, then an Akai S950, also borrowed. I then bought a second-hand Prophet 2002+ rack sampler, then got a Yamaha SU700 in the late 90s. I used that for ages, then tried out an Octatrak but it didn’t really work for me. Now I use various Eurorack modules. A lot has changed over the decades, and of course the gear you use influences how you do what you do, but it is all still improvised.’


What do you think has changed most in live electronic music audiences between the ‘90s and now?

‘Hmm. Well, the number of people over 30, 40, 50 (and even older) in attendance at any gig has certainly increased. And the rise in music festivals has meant local electronic acts can play to much, much larger audiences now than in the 90s.’


Venue lockouts preceded pandemic lockdowns in NSW. How much has government policy helped or hindered the emergence of new musical cultures here over the past couple of decades? 

‘In NSW in particular, we seem to have been on a largely downward trajectory over these decades. Licensing of venues has meant very few could trade through to dawn, which was the norm for many places in the 90s. 

The poorly aimed lock-out laws made things worse, and the pandemic worse still.

There seem to have been very few opportunities or spaces for people to experiment, try new works or forms, test ideas in front of a crowd, cross-pollinate, mingle, challenge each other, share ideas, and so on. I was trying to address this somewhat with Vitalise, as it had no proscribed limits around genre, or how long you performed, or what with.’


Fondest memories from the electronic music scene over the past 30 years or so?

‘Oof. There are many. Very many!

The Cryogenesis daytime chill-out picnics we (the Frigid crew) used to put on, on one of two islands in Sydney Harbour, were pretty lovely.

And the multi-room all-night dance parties, Freaky Loops (https://www.snarl.org/v3/?page_id=20) we put on (with a HUGE team of helpers) as benefit gigs for 2SER were extremely memorable.

Can’t forget Frigid. From just the week-to-week, seeing a great crew of punters turn up to socialise and check out the acts, to the big parties like Squarepusher playing live for the 5th birthday, and the Dung NYE series.

Also seeing my talented Elefant Traks friends grow and thrive, and being able to do my small part to help out in the live aspects of some of that, has been really rewarding.’

Luke and Lyddy


Top three artists to listen to right now?

‘I enjoyed the first release from Sydney modular dub techno duo 80T: https://eightyt.bandcamp.com/

After 20+ years of making tunes, Deep Child’s first outing on Mille Plateaux called Fathersong is a must listen: https://forceincmilleplateaux.bandcamp.com/album/fathersong

And the raw energy of Haiku Hands: https://haikuhands.bandcamp.com/music
I gotta admit – I’m a huge fan of Haiku Hands – absolute powerhouses of awesomeness.
They will go far.’

Catch Luke performing live at Tempo Comodo, Club 77, on Thursday the 29th of September: https://www.facebook.com/tempocomodoclub


Luke Dearnley: A Brief History of Bits (and Bleeps)

An early version of Luke (photo: FB)

Scratch the surface, and it’s clear that Luke’s industrious, even scientific approach to electronic and dance music, is no accident.

Growing up around Bondi and Coogee, Luke attended school in Sydney’s Surry Hills. His interest in electronics began at an early age. His dad worked both authoring and teaching the electrical engineering course at TAFE, so naturally, young Luke grew up helping him repair electrical things around the house, or for family friends. Luke recalls his dad, Dave, getting him to read out the colour bands on resistors so he could tell what value they were. Soon, as computers evolved from being cupboard-sized things used as business machines, to becoming the kind of device most homes would eventually possess, TAFE decided they’d best get their workforce familiar with the new-fangled devices, and Luke’s dad came home with an early ZX80 to brush up on.

Luke and Harry (photo: FB)


At some point Dave loaned Luke a book called ‘Teach Yourself BASIC Computer Programming in Eight Hours’. Luke read it, and at the ripe old age of ten started writing what he refers to a ‘probably very naïve’ computer programs in an exercise book. A few years later, Luke and his brother Ben would receive a Commodore 64 for Christmas, and Luke got stuck into that in a big way, not only coding in BASIC but also at a lower level in machine code, pulling apart games to see how they worked in calling up processor threads, memory, display adapters, and one other crucial piece of hardware attached to the computer’s system board…

Luke and Dave (photo: FB)

Luke remarks that amazing thing about the C-64 was that it had the SID (Sound Interface Device) chip built in, dedicated to doing audio, so all the games had amazing soundtracks. ‘The designers of that chip made it like a mini synth. [It had] 3 oscillators with selectable waveforms, 3 ADSR envelopes, an analogue filter, and so on. The designer went on to co-found Ensoniq.’
At this point, Luke discovered that there was a link between programming computers, and making music. ‘At the same time there were monthly electronic magazines that would come into the house – Electronics Today International I think was one. I remember reading a series of articles in it, that detailed the design of a mixing console.’

Luke’s C64 Mini

Luke did well enough in school to get into the Elec Eng/Comp Sci double degree program at UNSW, and it’s while studying here that Luke would go on to eventually meet Seb and also key founding members of Elefant Traks socially.

Luke recalls ‘I was at uni for a lot of the ‘90s. Seb and I met at uni, but only because we recognised one another from going to the same ‘alternative’ clubs and band gigs. He was in a completely different faculty and degree [and] started a few years later. Eventually we were like “Hey weren’t you at PWEI [Pop Will Eat Itself] last night…?” – I forget which [actual gig] it was.’

During this time, a lot of the crowd would hang out at the now defunct UNSW café know as Esme’s. I even recall a mutual friend remarking at the time, that Luke and co pretty much had the coffee shop annexed on any given day. Luke concurs that once the café made the move from indoor smoking to fresh air and outdoor tables, with a vantage of campus rolling down toward Anzac Parade, ‘sitting at Esme’s and drinking coffee with whichever mates were around between classes was very common.’

By the late stages of his double degree, Luke was working full time at the Uni in IT support and systems administration, and trying to finish uni part time. At the same time, Seb and Luke were DJing several nights per week, and were running the earliest iteration of Frigid, publishing Cyclic Defrost (https://www.cyclicdefrost.com/), putting on the Cryogenesis outdoor island gigs, and running Freaky Loops benefits for 2SER, where they also ran a weekly radio show. In Luke’s words, ‘The uni was quite rightly hassling me for not getting through [the double degree program] fast enough and failing the odd thing here and there.’ It was eventually proposed by UNSW that ‘they would take me out of the double degree program with Elec Eng and Comp Sci, but I was closer to finishing Comp Sci and more interested in that than electronics at this point, so I asked to finish the Comp Sci component!’

Sometime during uni, Luke became involved with Clan Analogue, an ‘Australian record label which started in 1992 as a collective by a number of individuals interested and active in electronic music and with a shared passion for analogue synthesisers and digital culture.’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clan_Analogue)

‘I think with Clan Analogue, I met one or both founders [Brendan Palmer and Toby Kazumichi Grime] at a gig, and was given a flyer to a ‘Clan meeting’ and went along. Since Sub Bass Snarl were/are a combination of deejaying and live hardware, I was interested in meeting others using electronic hardware and making music in their studios or live, so I could learn from them. It was also a way to access people making dance music, whether for deejaying on the radio, solo, or with Seb. Until then I was playing almost 100% overseas artists, and so wanted to find and play local stuff.’

Luke, circa early Frigid era (photo: FB)

By the mid 1990s, Frigid was well on its way to becoming an institution within the Australian electronic music scene. In a time prior to most forms of online social media, it not only gave a platform to emerging artists from Australia and overseas, but also served as a hub for the community. Prior to Frigid, however, there was Cryogenesis, existing in two forms. At first as ‘a fortnightly Sunday recovery, in the back room of now demolished pub in The Rocks [Sydney]. It overlooked this incredible rusting industrial crane yard, which went amazing colours at sun set. Probably all gone for apartments and casinos now.’ By 1994 Luke and Seb were playing a lot of “proper chillouts” at raves, rather than in the main room, and purveying ambient and downtempo electronic music.  ‘The idea [for Cyrogenesis] was spawned because people were putting on Sunday gigs and falsely calling them recoveries, when in fact it was up-tempo dance music being played. We were incensed, and decided to put on a PROPER [rave] recovery. We teamed up with specialist chill out crew Punos [designers of chillout spaces in the early Sydney rave scene] and each fortnight would have to drag all the furniture out of the back room of this pub, to be replaced with the famous Punos cushions! We’d set up some decks, a TINY sound system, and charge folks five bucks.’

We asked some people, who to us were really big names at the time, if they wanted to play. People like Phil Smart and Sugar Ray. I never thought they would say yes as we couldn’t offer much pay, but they actually jumped at the chance to play tunes [outside the dancefloor context] for a change.’

‘That was our first regular event. It was a lot of hassle and people were always confused about which Sunday of the fortnight it was on. But it did OK and went for a while.’

Cryogenesis then did several one-off events, renegade-style in parks, which would occasionally attract the attention of rangers, ‘but I don’t remember one actually being stopped. I mean it was a bunch of ppl picnicking in the park, where we played very quiet, very relaxed music, hardly a violation of the concept of ‘park’. ‘

Luke recalls that at one of these events, Dale [Harrison, bass player and later DJ, Elefant Traks co-founder, and member of the Frigid crew] ‘pointed at one of the islands in the harbour and said, ‘you should do one out there’, half as a joke I think. Seb, being the tenacious bugger that he is, contacted National Parks and Wildlife and found out you could rent the islands for functions, but you were not supposed to have amplified sound.’

So wisely or not, the group went on to do a Cryogenesis on the island, and moved on to doing roughly two such events per summer, either on Rodd Island or Shark Island. ‘They were daytime chill-out picnics, where you were trapped on the island all day, and had to bring supplies with you or barter with other attendees. Glorious times! Eventually we had international acts play, and everything.’

What happened next was pivotal in giving genesis to the ‘institution’ that was soon to follow.
Luke recalls that ‘in mid-96 we needed to raise some cash for a deposit on one of these islands and decided to run four weeks of Sunday fundraiser shows in the ground floor [Chapel] bar at Kinselas.’

‘Toward the end of the four-week run, people were telling us the night was great and that they didn’t want it to end. As a result, we ended up running a Sunday night called Frigid for ten years from 1996 until 2006. It ran across five venues around Sydney over the years.’

‘Those four weeks of fundraisers were done in collaboration with another crew, maybe called ‘All Funked Up’ or something like that. Sir Robbo (DJ and subsequent member of Tooth and Astronomy Class) from that crew ended up sticking around, as one of the four of us who ran Frigid;
Seb, myself, Robbo and Dale.’

Through Frigid, the group had the opportunity to offer DJs and musicians live gigs, and went on to host interstate and overseas acts, as well as locals. There were also regular album launches, label nights, film screenings, live visuals, turntablism exhibitions and a lot more besides.


I ask Luke to recount any particularly memorable experiences from the Frigid years. ‘One was when some guy called Kenny Sabir said he had a compilation CD he’d burnt copies of, and wanted to launch it [at Frigid]. Apparently, he was ‘starting a label’ or something. A lot of people were starting their own independent labels in the late ‘90s, as the majors were ignoring interesting and electronic stuff. So we said ‘sure, come back to us with a line-up of acts’ probably expecting 3 or 4 live acts for the night.

He came back with a list of 13 live acts! It went down in history as the biggest Frigid we’d ever had, with around 600 people paying the massive $3 cover charge at the door.’

This was of course the start of the now renowned Elefant Traks (https://www.elefanttraks.com/) record label.

Later on, as bands from the label such as The Herd started to tour nationally, Luke was asked to go along as their live sound engineer. ‘I think at the time [early 2000s] I was the only person they knew who did sound. I was quite new to it, and inexperienced back then. But I learned a lot on the job, and have now done sound for a lot of the acts on the roster, and toured all over the place, from the US to NZ, to the UK, and Asia.’

This kept Luke pretty busy.

‘A downside of this was that I sometimes had to turn down DJ gigs with Seb when tours came up, but we were getting less opportunities to play anyway, as new event and club promoters came through and booked their mates.’ Such is the cyclical nature of emerging culture.

Whilst with Elefant Traks, Luke also worked with Urthboy, Astronomy Class, Horrorshow, Hermitude and more.
‘Throughout the 2000s, there were national tours when records came out. Hermitude have probably kept me the busiest. In 2011, they asked me to tour with them as sound person, production manager, and to do their live vision switching, which was a handful. 2012 was crazy busy; I was working full time, and did seven back-to-back national tours that lasted eight months – four [tours] with Hermitude, and in between [one each] with The Herd, Urthboy and Horrorshow. That was wild!’

Also in the mid-to-late 2000s, Seb and Luke were frequently asked to play at a night called VOID (https://www.facebook.com/Voidsound), which showcased a range of new (at the time) UK bass genres, such as Dubstep. ‘This was a pretty vibrant and exciting time, with new sonic adventures and PA systems being pushed to their limits with the sheer amount of deep subsonic frequencies in the tunes!’

‘VOID ran for about 5 years, touring a multitude of international DJs then went into hiatus, until around 2016/2017 when it started up again, at which time they invited myself and Vaughan Healey to co-run it with the others.’

This is where the trail goes a little cold…

You see, what happened next was precipitated by a little outbreak, that eventually became a pandemic, which all but put paid to live music performances for a few years, bringing us neatly to the Vitalise series of shows Luke organised during 2021, touched upon in the interview above.

And the rest, as they say, is history? Here’s to the next chapter.


For more information:
https://www.snarl.org/v3/
https://www.facebook.com/tempocomodoclub
https://goodspacesproject.com
https://www.mixcloud.com/lukesnarl/
https://mtts.bandcamp.com/
https://www.cyclicdefrost.com/
https://www.elefanttraks.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Voidsound
https://ra.co/dj/philsmart/biography

What Will 2020 Be About?

Interviews and Photos: Reef Gaha A New Years Vox Populi |

In 2018, Caramel Animals began an annual series of vox-pop interviews, seeking predictions from Sydneysiders on what the coming new year would hold. Prognostications were sought, fortunes told, and general portents decided. As we spoke, recurring themes of conflict, resolution and the culmination of a decade became apparent. We remarked on the pervasive cultural influence of world affairs on this small nation and found that even though our respondents seemed to share strong interest in the urgent geopolitical and environmental crises our planet was facing, they also shared an almost universally optimistic outlook; cautiously hoping that society and their own lives would change for the better. This year, we’ve taken to the streets again, this time to ask ‘What will 2020 be about?

Over the 2019/2020 holiday and new year period, we roamed inner Sydney searching for answers. It’s important to acknowledge that at this time, much of Australia was in the grip of a worsening bushfire crisis that has so far seen thousands evacuated from their homes, with 500 homes lost entirely. At printing, 19 people have tragically perished in that fight. Deaths among the animal and wildlife population are estimated at over half a billion.

As we recorded the following interviews and snapped photos, Sydney was veiled by an almost perpetual smoke haze, filtering sunlight into a darker hue and seeming to keep issues of environmental management and climate change foremost in people’s minds.

Whereas last year’s responses were broadly optimistic and upbeat, this year’s answers were still hopeful, but tempered with a slightly more nebulous and foreboding tone.

Of course, none of us know with certainty what 2020 will hold but once again, rather than consulting astrologers or soothsayers, we present you with a round of educated, speculative and candid guesses from those friends and strangers brave enough to give an answer for these pages. We’ve also re-visited a few of the folk who were kind enough to participate in the 2019 story last year, and asked them to remark on the predictions they made back then. Much like the new year, hindsight is supposed to be 20:20 (ouch) right?

What will 2020 be about?

| Elle Hunt|

Globally, I think 2020 will be about being more responsible. I think I’ve seen this change a lot in 2019. Not just in small stuff like decreasing the use of plastic bags, but in people individually trying to make a difference with the environment, and with one another. So, being kinder to one another and the planet because, especially here in Australia, the massive effect we’re having is obvious at the moment; we need to lessen that [effect]. It’s about responsibility and accountability.

How about for you personally?

For me personally, I hope 2020 will be more about family. Seeing my family more, whether that be my close friends or my immediate relatives. You see, 2019 was a big year of study and focusing on myself and that’s very draining. I’d like to focus on others.

You did this interview with us last year and talked about what 2019 would be about. How do you now feel about what you said this time last year?

I definitely fell into a whirlwind of education. I learned a lot about myself and about other people. I met new people and made new friends, which is amazing [if you can do that] in any year. Personally 2019 was a really great year, but a lot of hard work as well. Globally, I talked about resolution to rights for people, but I don’t think I’ve seen that locally or globally as much as I’d hoped, though I guess progress has been made, a little in the USA and a little with youth climate strikes all over the world. There has been change, but I’m not going to say that there’s been resolution. We’ve definitely had more of a say.

The best predictor of the future is the past. Hopefully things don’t get too much worse before they get any better though, because without proper leadership (which is something that a lot of us in the Western world are lacking) it’s going to get really, really bad.

|Tim Dean|

I’ve been thinking a lot about where I was in 1999 and 2000, and thinking a lot about what I thought; not just about what I’d hoped, but expected 2020 to be like. When I think about 2020, I can’t help but look back and contrast the way the world is now with the way I thought it would be or, hoped it would be. And when I do that, I feel a bit disappointed.

But when I think about 2020 I also think about how fatigued we all are, and how fatigued I am with all the noise, drama and bad news. I think there is a groundswell of energy now among a lot of people to do something, to change things. We are now 20 years into this millennium and we’re not happy with where things are, and we’re not going to put up with it anymore. I wonder if this year (or maybe 2021) is going to be the year with the generational change, with generation Z emerging (as we’ve seen with Greta Thunberg). Maybe this is the year when we see a crack in the veneer of the assumed normality with which we’re all so dissatisfied.

You were kind enough to do this interview with us last year at this time. In retrospect, what remarks might you have about the forecast you gave for 2019?

Yeah. I said that ‘19 was going to be a year of change and I think, a year of change it was.

I remember you saying things might have to get a little worse before they can get better.

Yeah. When there’s a change in a system, it often needs to be destabilised first. You need to rock the boat a little bit so there’s room for new ideas to come in. When everything’s crap but stable, it’s really hard to inject a new good idea in, because it’s all just fitting together in a crap way.

I think the world is pretty shaky at the moment, or at least I think it’s safe to say just about everyone thinks the world is less stable than it either was or should be. And that feeling of instability is the opening for change.

For you personally what might 2020 be about?

I’m feeling a bit more fired up this year to pursue a couple of projects that were more embryonic in 2019. So, I’m going to try to carry that energy and momentum to do some big things. The last few years were about getting some stuff sorted out, experimentation. I found some stuff worked, some didn’t. I had a couple of really amazing experiences that have opened new doors and so this year, I’m going to try to reach forward and do some big things.

|Eva Windirsch|

Hi, my name is Eva. I’m from Germany, and I’ve lived in Sydney for four weeks.

Awesome. Welcome to Sydney!
So the question I’m asking today is, what will 2020 be about?

I think it will change a lot, because people aren’t that selfish anymore. I mean, a lot of people have taken to the streets for climate change and things like that. But at the same time, I think there will be a lot more trouble because of new problems (or are maybe old problems) because of displaced people. I’ve seen people take the [refugee] problem to make more trouble out of it, which is not necessary.

For example, in Germany it’s like many people have taken to the right side of politics because of the refugees. But because of that, there are many people have come out against them, and the atmosphere has changed. People aren’t relaxed. I think the people are, I don’t know how to say, they want to change things but there are many conflicts that may arise out of that.

So the things in general are becoming more political?

Yeah, for sure.

Okay. How about 2020 for you personally?

Oh, I think that’s about change too, because I am 19 years old and just finished my school, and now I can start with real life! I want to study in Germany, but before that, I’ll travel around Australia. I think it’ll make a change in my personality; I’ll experience something that I had never experienced before. I’m curious about that.

Any specific plans for study?

Yeah, I want to study ethnology.

| Bud Petal |

I think the main issue is going to be the climate change emergency, and I think more activism will pop up in many other areas of society. I think more high school kids will get involved, and more university students and older people. I think it’s going to get bigger, into a groundswell hopefully, that will get more people involved in trying to make a change around that issue.

Awesome. What about you personally?

I guess that’s the same as always. I have a handful of ongoing projects. We’re still doing some new Bud Petal music. I’m working on a novel, set in Sydney, that I’m trying to finish at the moment, and then some academic work.

You were kind enough to do this interview with us last year. In retrospect, what remarks might you have about what you forecast for 2019?

I guess the main lesson from this past year for anyone on the left is, many people have lost the illusion of being able to change the system from within the system, for example, with the election here and Labor losing, then Labor in the UK also losing. I think people have finally understood that the problem is not going to be solved by voting or organising within the system. The problem is structural, within a capitalistic economy. That is the cause of the problem.

I think that’s why a lot of activism is now happening outside of electoral politics and why all of this climate action is happening, organised from below.

That’s the main lesson from this past year; that it’s an illusion to think we can change the system from within. Because people in power are not going to give that away without people outside forcing them to do so. The challenge now is just getting people to understand their own agency and to understand that change is really easy in wealthy places like Australia. That’s the main issue I think now.

We actually can change things?

Yeah. There are studies where people have looked into this. One of the main aims of the capitalist media is to remove a sense of agency from the mass population, to have them…

Just consume?

Yeah. Passive receptacles for propaganda, thinking the only agency they have is in consuming and voting while the rest of the time, they’re not allowed to be engaged in society. The main thing we need to bring back into society is [the idea] that people can easily connect to change. There are so many opportunities for action in a free society like Australia. On the climate issue, there are organisations you can get involved in. You can join your union. You can start going to protests. You can organise in your community and have veggie patches. There are endless opportunities here. It’s not China or Siberia or whatever. Yeah.

| Sophia Grant|

I think for 2020, I mean, I live in the UK and the end of 2019 for a lot of people was pretty deflating, with the results of the election going so heavily in the direction of the Tory party.

I guess since 2016, Brexit has been looming and even in the run up to this election, there was this hope or tiny possibility that it wouldn’t happen, and that we could still be part of a wider community; that we could still be more international rather than, a ‘little England’ of isolationists, looking inwards and othering foreign people. I guess being an immigrant myself (I’m from New Zealand and Germany) it’s like you’re an outsider, even though the overt racism isn’t directed towards people like me, because I speak the language as a native.

With 2020 for us, there’s the difference that Brexit is happening, but there’s still the old uncertainty about what that will actually mean. For me as someone who has recently bought a house in the UK, I don’t know if that will spell disaster for the economy? Will that mean that my house price will completely drop through to the floor? Will the pound completely tank? There are all these different considerations that you think about if you’re not based in the country for the rest of your life.

More generally for 2020, I hope it will be a year where people wake up and smell the coffee in terms of climate, and in the event that Brexit does bring disaster for the economy; I think my dad spoke about… It was like Turkeys voting for Christmas. I guess if people realise that all the things they were promised aren’t materialising, maybe they’ll need to believe in something else.

Yeah… what’s it going to be?

Yeah. What’s next? What is post-Brexit? With politics in the UK, it’s always framed as ‘left versus right’ and ‘socialism versus something’.  Today, it’s not so defined along ideological terms anymore. If you think about what we need in the future, there’s all this technology, people losing their jobs, and actually there’s a lot of opportunity too. New jobs are being created, like by the green economy. There are more creative jobs because machines can’t do those jobs. There will be all these areas of opportunity that we could be moving into.

How about for you personally?

For me personally, there’s a lot of optimism for 2020.

2019 really laid the foundations. I achieved some things and I want to hold onto some successes. I guess there’s this personal optimism, but you have to balance that with concern for wider society because of the way politics has gone in the UK; that the party who got in doesn’t tend to be concerned for wider society, they’re more concerned for their own social class.

Especially where I live in Glasgow, which is a city that has a lot of deprivation. Money and deprivation kind of side by side. How can I make sure disadvantaged people aren’t being left behind?

| Ian Watson |

I hope that 2020 will be about finding a bit of hope and you know, meeting in the middle. Compromise and getting somewhere, because I think 2019 has felt a bit bleak at many points and people get tired of that after a while. I mean, even as much as we love the angst, hopefully people get a bit tired of it and move on. Perhaps I’m just being hopeful? I don’t know.

Sorry? You’re talking about resolution?

Yeah, resolution of differing camps, I guess. Hopefully without anybody getting into any serious strife in the meantime. Definitely, the last year for me personally has been a bit turbulent. I’ve come back [to Australia] from the UK and you know, they’re going through a bunch of stuff over there at the moment.

And I suppose personally so am I, because we’re relocating and trying to work life out. That’s kind of thrilling for a bit, but you get tired of it after a while and you want to get on with things.

That’s fair. So for you on a personal level then, what will 2020 be about?

I’m hoping to do all the things that I never did because I had something else to do – which is quite a lot of things! I probably won’t get them all done. I suppose in 2020, I’d like to get things a bit better sorted out with how much work I’m doing; with how much is for work, and how much work I’m doing for myself.

I’d like to shift the balance towards ‘me’ work as opposed to demanded work. That’d be nice. At the same time, I’d still like to get paid. It’s all about finding the balance.

| Erin Webster |

I’ll sound very pessimistic and I’ll say much of the same as 2019 was. I was thinking about it last week and looking at who’s in power, looking at how they act. I don’t think they’re going anywhere. I think we’ll just keep hearing about ‘get Brexit done’ and it was ‘make America great’, but now it’s ‘keep America great’ because [apparently] they think they’ve made it great already. I don’t think we’ll see anything new and radical. It’s going to be what it is for the next year. Who is running the world and how do they run it? They don’t want it to go anywhere. They’re pretty much settled in.

We’ll keep hearing about climate change. We’ll keep seeing protest about climate change. There might be something small done about it, but yeah, I’m very pessimistic. I’d like to see something done about it. It’s just that the people who can make the choices, decisions and changes haven’t made them yet.

You’re a realist.

Yeah unfortunately.
Globally, as much as I’d like to see change, I just can’t anything great happening.

So moving more specifically, what about you? What will 2020 be about?

Less about me I hope. I tried to get into some volunteering last year but got halfway through the process and didn’t find anything, which was probably a bit slack. Maybe Meals on Wheels deliveries once a week or volunteer at Ted Noffs. I’d like to do something like that regularly. I’d also like to get my motorbike license.

| Jacqui Munro |

I think 2020 holds the promise of a decade. I speak to people who are really optimistic about, not just the next year, but also the years to come. And for me, that inspires a great sense of work ethic and hopefulness.

Do you see certain things moving toward resolution or perhaps toward conflict in 2020?

I’m not sure that there is ever an end point in resolution and conflict. I think there’s always change. Part of that means working together to address problems, and being able to see lots of different ways to address problems. Because there’s never one answer to a challenge and we all have a part to play.

Do you see any hot button issues in the next year?

Climate change is clearly an issue that we need to address, individually and as a society at large. And politics has a really important role to play in that, in my opinion.

How how about for you, personally?

I have some challenges ahead in politics. I need to challenge myself to be more aware of issues. Including climate change, where the detail is becoming more and more important. It’s not enough anymore just to hold an opinion casually. I think it’s now the time that I have to take responsibility to understand those issues more deeply, so that I can speak with more authority, and also converse and understand the opinions of others with more clarity.

I guess that you’re saying that on a personal level because that’s what you do for work?

Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s also something that’s valuable for lots of different issues. It’s not just climate change. There are local issues around me here in Sydney and Darlinghurst, to do with drug and alcohol rehabilitation in particular. I think that there is a lot of hopefulness for people to start this decade and year. Part of that means being able to offer services that are useful for people who are seeking help.

It would be nice if we had governments that were a little bit more focused on social safety net, rather than social and fiscal conservatism, and that kind of thing?

Well, I have to say that I think we have a reasonably good system. And I think systems like the NDIS are being rolled out with care and things don’t always go right immediately. But seeking to improve systems is very important to me. Not throwing out the baby with the bath water. For me, I think liberalism and economic liberalism is quite important. That means being efficient, but being able to be effective with those services, so we’re able to give as many people as possible the help that they’re seeking.

| Angus Cornwell |

What will 2020 be about?

I think that there’s a tendency among people of our age or milieu, to believe that it’s going to be quite a starkly apocalyptic. And I don’t think it necessarily is; I think it’s going to be banally apocalyptic. I think we’ll probably continue to develop and improve the technologies of evil in such a way that we can practice evil without necessarily noticing that we’re doing it, ever increasingly, more intensely and faster. And I suppose, in Australia you might think that would manifest itself in terms of the erosion of civil liberties and the rule of law to which we’re acclimated. I think we’re very badly prepared for what reality could look like when those freedoms are gone.

We see it. We see our footprint at home and overseas. As Australians overseas, you might think about it as something like the way we treat asylum seekers who are intercepted in the water when coming to Australia by boat. In the past, even holding people in tropical prison camps on Nauru and Manus Island, at least those people were afforded some freedoms. But now we have about 50 people in Papua New Guinea who don’t have any contact with doctors or lawyers. They’re forbidden to have mobile phones. This is a very extreme kind of control, which I hope (but doubt) that 2020 will reflect very poorly upon.

So things are going to get worse, rather than better?

But they’ll get boringly worse, not interestingly worse.

Okay. Now how about for you personally?

I have a stack of boring business development goals. But to be honest with you, I think in the last year (and hopefully this will just be in perpetuity now) I’m quite happy with the person who I am. I like myself and I’ve made peace with myself. I feel like I want to keep a respect in the way that I talk to myself, the way I think, and the way that I talk to other people; here I want to keep doing more of the same.

| Alex Staples |

I think 2020 will be all about climate change and the environment, and hopefully taking action. I mean, I see a bit of a new revolution, a bit like how people are protesting a lot lately. Sort of like a resurgence of what was kind of happening in the 70’s.

For me personally, I think a career change in 2020.
Moving apartment but staying in Sydney.

Did you consider leaving Sydney at some point?

I mean, I was thinking about moving overseas, but I think I’ve made the decision to stay.

| Anna Blum |

Well in the US, I think it’s going to be very politics heavy in 2020. I think there’s going to be a big focus on the November election and whether Trump will be re-elected.

I think climate change is going to be a major talking point and focus point in the world. I don’t know what’s going to happen with that; I don’t know if it’s going to be too little, too late.

For me I hope it’s going to be about finishing my thesis. It’s in applied ethics. I’m looking at new technologies, how they should be brought to market, what the clinical trial landscape should look like, and arguing for the inclusion of vulnerable groups into research. So that’s my focus. I hope there’s going to be a place for that, and I hope it’s going to make an impact in the world.

| Will Gilbert |

Every year starts with setting new goals, hitting some of them and getting close to others while totally missing a whole bunch of them as well. But it’s nice to set them and try to find directions you want to go in, and how far you want to push what you’re already doing. And that’s always an exciting time, trying to think about what’s what’s possible in the next year. But, more broadly?

Globally? I think it’s been fascinating being in this sort of ‘post-truth’ era of global media and politics. I think 2020 might be about moving into an era of acceptance of that media landscape. Different sorts of communities and publications, and people finding that they can do their own thing, find their own truth and activity, and progress away from the bigger media movements. It’s very interesting seeing the social media landscape, which… puts people in political bubbles, and which can end up being quite isolated. I would hope that 2020 is going to bring some changes to that landscape and people are going to start realising that they have to break out of those roles.

Maybe more people learning how to research stuff by reading actual scientific journals?

Uh, yeah. Yeah.

I’m kidding.

Yeah, too optimistic, I would say. I think there should be at least be a better kind of public awareness of the way that all of those things are working and how to deal with them.

| Minh Tran |

In general, I feel like in 2019 people were starting to realise that they do have a voice, and that they can be a reason for change. I think now with 2020, people are going to use that power, hopefully for good, to make positive changes. I think now people can see that they are supposed to challenge things, question things and hopefully they can exercise that power however they see fit.

How about for you more specifically?

I guess in 2019 I took some chances and I took risks I didn’t think I would ever take. 2020 is all about seeing how it’ll unfold. I’d like to think that these risks will lead to good things. We’ll just see if that’s what will actually happen.

What kind of risks are we talking about?

I guess just stepping out of my comfort zone and just being more open.

[Humorously] I mean, last year my favorite fast food chain came out with a limited-edition burger, and I was a little apprehensive that it might not meet my expectations, but I gave it a try and it was actually really good! I’m hoping they bring it back again this year! [Laughter]

So there you have it.

Prognostications sought, augurs consulted, fortunes told and general portents decided. For the second year running, we’ve seen recurring themes of conflict, resolution and the turning of corners, with hope for the beginning of a decade and the undeniable weight of political and environmental issues both at home and abroad. Similarly to last year, it’s worth noting that all our respondents share a strong awareness of the urgent geopolitical and environmental crises our planet is facing. This time however, the almost universally optimistic outlook of last time has been tempered with a stronger sense that we need to do even more to urgently change for the better, and avert the possibility of impending cataclysm. Again, on an individual level, although most here acknowledged that the world is in the midst of an ‘almighty shit storm’, all appear to be maintaining focus on their own trajectory whilst working toward fulfilling their own goals.

Though only the next 12 months can truly answer us with certainty, we’d like to thank everyone who has generously thrown their hat in the ring and participated in this little discussion, and for providing us with a remarkable round of well-informed contemplation and homespun futurism.

May we all in good health enjoy the ride this year will offer.

Happy New Year from Caramel Animals.

Links to some of the wonderful people in this article:

Elle Hunt: https://www.instagram.com/smellydemon/

Tim Dean: https://twitter.com/ockhamsbeard/

Bud Petal: https://www.instagram.com/sandwich.mcneil/

Erin Webster: https://www.instagram.com/studioeau/

Anna Blum: https://www.instagram.com/blumin_anna/

Minh Tran: https://www.instagram.com/antiquitease/

Jacqui Munro: https://www.instagram.com/jacquifunro/

Reef Gaha: https://www.instagram.com/caramelanimals/

 

 

The Annual Caramel Animals MBFWA Highlight Review 2019

Words and Photos: Reef Gaha Runway and Backstage at Resort ’20|

Caramel Animals presents a retrospective and alternative look at Australian Fashion Week, Resort ’20.

Now that the stardust has settled, we bring you this irreverent and non-comprehensive look back at ten Resort ‘20 collections, traversing news and interviews from backstage at seven shows, where we conversed with our favourite hair and makeup directors as they worked to embody designers’ visions in follicular and maquillant form. As usual, in our quest to decode the concept and inspiration behind each collection showcase, the creatives at the nexus of couture, hair and makeup often provide the richest, most eloquent source of insight.

You’ll see every look from the runways we’ve covered and bear witness to frenetic, candid moments backstage. This year, our reviews are presented alphabetically, rather than in order of appearance.

This year’s review covers Alice McCall, Carla Zampatti, Double Rainbouu, Emma Mulholland, Lee Matthews, Leo and Lin, Mariam Seddiq, PE Nation, Tigerlily and We Are Kindred. 

 

| Alice McCall |

Resort ’20 marked 15 years of Alice McCall’s eponymous label. The designer synonymous with playful rock chic, bohemian glamour and effortless vintage references sent the latest evolution of her signature style down the runway with the ‘Cosmia’ collection. McCall brought delicate fabrics of varying weight and transparency together, in pieces ranging from short play suits to two-piece sets and full-length gowns. Retro vintage prints gave way to mauve, fuschia, pink and coral. Layered ruffles were followed by meshy sheers and shimmering metallic gowns.

| Backstage at Alice McCall |

Backstage, we chatted with MAC Cosmetics Makeup Director, Nicole Thompson.
‘Today we’re doing 60s girl with a little rock and roll twist. It’s all about lashes today. We’ve actually got three sets going on; top, bottom, in between. We’re doing strips. We’re doing individual. We’re basically making it look so lashtastic, making their eyes look huge, but we’re fitting it to each girl. The lip is a beautiful nude; a dirty nude. It’s called Act Natural. I say a dirty nude, because it’s not peachy and cute. She’s not peachy and cute; she’s had too much of a good time. This is a couple of hours into the night kind of make-up.’

I ask Nicole for a little insight into who the Cosmia girl is.

‘I always feel like there’s a little bit of a 60s reference in Alice’s work. The last few times I’ve worked with her, there’s always like a little 60s thrown in. You know what? Today, we’re somewhere in between Twiggy and Jane Birkin. It’s that effortless beauty that Jane Birkin had, but then pack on those lashes and we’re heading more towards Twiggy.’

Wella hair director Keiren Street corroborates. ‘It’s all about a cool, kind of lived in, slight nod to the 60’s teddy girl. It’s a little bit sweaty, a little bit gritty. It’s a little bit of fun. Some of the girls have fringes plonked in there, to give them a kind of fun, effortless movement.’

 

| Carla Zampatti |

To say that Carla Zampatti is an icon of Australian fashion design would be an understatement.

Regardless, her enduring influence is as much a product of her everlasting flair for style, as it is her formidable acumen as a businessperson. In 2019, her signature look remains as contemporary and up-to-the-minute as ever. At Resort ’20, that signature was ever-present in a silhouette defined by strong shoulders, a taper at the waist and elongation of form to the ankles.

Clean lines abounded, with staples in warming indigo, a tiger lily print, suits and gowns in blacks and primaries followed by geometric and animal black and white patterns, culminating with the appearance of a balloon-sleeved number with narrow split skirting.

Zampatti was given pride of place in closing MBFWA. She chose to do so by bringing in the Brandenburg Orchestra for musical accompaniment, combining her love of classical music and fashion.

| Backstage at Carla Zampatti |

Backstage, we spoke with Lara Srokowski, Director of Artistry for Lancome Australia.

‘The makeup look for Carla Zampatti was all around architectural eyeliner, really pushing the boundaries of makeup. Really quite defined eyes.

Lancome is always about really natural skin, so we’re using that to compliment these quite structured eye looks. There’s been a lot of architectural eye liner this year at fashion week, which has been great to see, really. It’s my signature eye liner, so it’s great. I really love designing eye liner looks.’

The makeup look was also a statement on Zampatti’s signature style…

‘Definitely. This is a 60s and 70s inspired winged eyeliner. That was the trend back in the 60s and 70s, so it’s cool to kind of modernize the wing liner a little bit and to take it a little bit more edgy. We’ve made it triangular in the outer corner and done that splash of gold, for a more modern approach on that wing.’

We also spoke with Goldwell’s John Pulitano about the hair concept.

‘I feel like Carla’s work is so high end and beautiful. Today she has these beautiful pants suits, lots of prints. It’s definitely expensive, but what we want to do is bring a softer, freer element to the hair, more like a rock chick inspired look. That gives it a bit of toughness and a bit of an edge. The whole idea is to keep it flat and more head-hugging, no volume at the roots, because the more volume, the more beautiful a look becomes. Spray your double boost on the roots. Blow dry flat. Blow dry the deep side part over the face, because we want hair covering one eye when the girl comes out. Blow dry that all forward, and then we are going to take a round brush, and we are just going to put a little flick in it, but all we want is a bend. We don’t want to make it retro. How do we take a ’70s inspired flick and make it now? We put a little bend in it, so when girls come out they might have a little right angle, and then the hair will just billow out to the side, and that will reference a nice ’70s inspiration brought into the now.’

 

| Double Rainbouu |

This year, Double Rainbow’s off-site collection showcase took place in the Chinese Garden of Friendship alongside Sydney’s Darling Harbour.  Designers Mikey Nolan and Toby Jones chose the gardens for the way they ‘present an idealised microcosm of nature where all elements are balanced in harmony […] The garden is a moment of peace and tranquillity within the concrete and chaos of the city’. The ‘Synthetic Leisure’ theme, emblematic of last year’s collection has given way to a zen-like embrace of nature. The fabrics are softer and feature ‘gi’ style two piece sets, some carrying Japanese style prints harking to ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’. Macramé towel carriers and slide footwear speak to long summer vacation days, but Double Rainbouu’s psychedelic and Nu-Rave influences are still evident; These garments will be as much at home on warehouse party dance-floors as they will be on the beach.

 

| Emma Mulholland |

Emma Mulholland’s ‘Holiday’ breakout label has been characterised by collaborations with artists and photographers, and by Emma’s interest in the souvenir. We asked Emma herself for a little insight. ‘I’ve been working at Paramount Hotel on a collaboration. I wanted this event to be just a lot of souvenirs. I’ve worked on about 8 different collaborations with Sydney artists. And yeah, we’re just kind of having a party and there will be a bunch of people dressed up in the clothes and stuff as well.’ For her Resort ’20 event, Emma decked out the foyer of Paramount House Hotel as a pop-up Souvenir shop – the kind you might find at a regional holiday destination – and put on a party. Soft toys, homewares, totes, t-shirts, caps and hoodies filled a space decorated with palm trees, neon lights, wax fruits, and Mulholland’s key checkerboard thematic. Models and various guests at the party wore pieces from the Holiday collection, resplendent in those checks, pastel pinks, bright greens and logo prints.

 

| Lee Matthews |

Matthews celebrated 20 years of her label this year, and for part of this collection, drew on influences from her earlier work. Sheer fabrics, draping, utilitarian sensibilities and an ‘LM’ monogram print all made an appearance as Lee along with head designer Natalia Grzybowksi hewed from the elegant yet utilitarian sensibility the house has become known for. Separates in sustainably sourced linen and cotton met statement dresses in luxurious silks. A palate of black and white was punctuated by dark reds and soft pinks, all set to a soundtrack that concluded with a Cocteau Twins finale.

| Backstage at Lee Matthews |

Backstage, we spoke with Nathan Gorman, Hair Director from Kevin Murphy, about what inspired the hair look. ‘Lee Matthews has a really effortless appeal, and we wanted to actually fold the hair in a way that didn’t resemble a bun, but was unique and reflective of the folds in the clothing that Lee actually does. So, Lee’s quite famous for using lots of different kinds of fabrics and draping to create that beautiful shape and flow. We wanted to highlight and actually make the hair disappear. So we folded it, we tied it, and we’ve used a hairband around the face to elongate the neck and to really hero the face and the neck, and the shoulders of the clothing.’

Claire Thompson directed the makeup design. ‘There’s always a freshness to the Lee Matthews woman. She’s never overdone, never tacky. In a time of contour and wet highlights, I feel the Lee woman is an in-between. It’s not matte skin, but it’s not wet or glossy. It’s a creaminess now to the skin that we’re seeing, which I think is a lot more elevated; more expensive looking.’

Claire continues.

‘She’s travelled, and there’s a little flush on the cheeks to tie in with those beautiful fabrics that indicate travel, and that indicate you’ve been having a good time. Beautiful brushed-up brows. She’s elegant.’

 

| Leo and Lin |

Leo and Lin’s sophomore outing at MBFWA made a marked departure from the sweet ‘Ms Moonlight’ collection that debuted last year. Romance was still writ large, but this time the creative vision expanded into an eclectic toughness and worldly versatility, evidenced by the adoption of botanical prints, revealing sheer and mesh fabrics, and a nomadic, gypsy-like flourish to the styling. This, with a touch of the Asiatic, and even the frontier. Flowing printed silks and scarves met with structured lace gowns, tailored separates and even a see-through rubber half mac, while brocaded black lace spoke of a darker European sensibility. Leo’s collection has stepped off the silver screen, donned its travelling boots and taken to the four corners of the globe.

| Backstage at Leo and Lin |

Backstage, we spoke with Jo Smith, an Artistic Director for Toni & Guy Australia, and salon owner for Toni & Guy Georges, in Melbourne. ‘We’re working with clothes that are elegant, strong, and romantic. So that’s what we wanted to bring out in the hair. We’ve got three hair looks that we’re working with. Our first look is a soft wave, something that’s got a nice stressed feel to it, but looks effortless. Second, we’re working with a low ponytail that’s going to be a textured, dishevelled knot but again, working with a very soft outline, so you get that romantic feel coming through.’

‘Our third look is going to be more of a slick, lived-in and slightly grungier, but still a very beautiful, elegant feel. Working with a soft wave and working its structure and definition around the face.’

‘With the mood board, something that was very apparent were romantic, wispy, soft references. But something that still had a very strong structured feel to it, which I think is going to complement the Imperial collection so beautifully.’

Kelly Bowman was Makeup Director, with sponsorship from Natio. ‘I’m keeping all about the skin. It’s going to be pretty, femme, nice and dewy, and luminous. It’s going to be a soft focus on the eye. We want to really extend everyone’s eyes, but really softly. So we’re using really warm, natural tones. Earthy tones. The brands’ quite femme and soft, so we’re trying to keep it that.’

 

| Mariam Seddiq |

Mariam sent her Resort ’20 collection down the runway to the remixed strains of Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’. The attitude conveyed was one of power chords, rock chic and glam. Silver and gold metallic fabrics met smooth tailoring, with the volume turned up to eleven. The styling harked to 80’s hard rock videos and a Motley Crue sensibility, but none more than the sheer black dress and blazer look, shown third in the order.

| Backstage at Mariam Seddiq |

Backstage, we spoke with Lara Srokowski of Lancome, who directed makeup for the show.

‘Today’s makeup look is all about empowering women, so we really wanted to empower the woman with their skin, and keep it really natural. Mariam Seddiq is all about women and empowerment, so we thought it was a perfect partnership with Lancome because that’s our mission as well. Then we’ve gone for quite an edgy twist of the eyes, to match the intensity and patterns and fun of the outfits. So we have that really structured, almost graphic eye; an architectural eyeliner really helps to add that pop to it.’

Diane Georgievski directed hair for Redken.

‘Today, the hair is based on that Parisian woman, that really lived in hair, beautiful texture, to really accentuate unbelievable gowns that are walking down the runway today. We want the hair to look effortless, but in fact it’s very structured. This is a complicated woman, but she wants to feel and look like she isn’t, and the hair needs to emulate that. Three days, four days strolling around, just absolutely sexy.’

 

| P.E Nation |

Resort ’20 marked P.E Nation’s first solo runway show, but the buzz surrounding the ath-leisurewear brand established by Pip Edwards and Claire Tregoning has been bubbling up at ground level with a momentum spurred on by how readily women have been adopting this label; taking it to their hearts and wardrobes. This is street and sportswear equally adaptable to action or lounging, with a graphic presence and attitude that has seen it equally ratified by nightlife and subculture. Makeshift stadium bleachers were set up to seat audience members at the show, and the finale showcased a swimwear collaboration with Speedo which saw models walk out to bathe in an ‘aquatechnic’ indoor waterfall.

| Backstage at PE Nation |

Backstage, Carol Mackie, global artist for MAC Cosmetics took charge of makeup. We asked her about the concept. ‘So it’s really quite organic. Not really a contrived makeup, if you like. It’s organic in that we’re using product that is really a ‘staining’, so staining on the eyes, staining on the lips. Quite monochromatic in that we’re using rusty tones, earthy tones. But then what we’re doing is adding a touch of what you might call armour if you like. It builds strength in the inner corner [of the eye] with that little fleck of gold.’