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TOASTING AUSTRALIA: Sydney is a long way to travel to launch a European magazine, but when your March edition is dedicated to Australia, it wasn’t too left-field a choice for L’Uomo Vogue editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani. Three hundred people joined Sozzani and six members of her Milan team, along with officials of Australian Wool Innovation, at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art on Thursday night to toast L’Uomo Vogue’s “Powerful Australia” issue, which has dual antipodian cover stars: an Armani tux-clad Cate Blanchett and Baz Lurhmann.
Nearly 30 Australians are profiled in the issue, including other members of Hollywood’s “gumleaf mafia,” such as Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Ryan Kwanten, Abbie Cornish, Hugh Jackman, Chris Hemsworth, and Joel Edgerton, as well as musicians Nick Cave and Xavier Rudd, rapper Iggy Azalea, artist TV Moore, swimmer James Magnussen, designer Marc Newson, Paris-based chef James Henry, several woolgrowers and a posse of fashion designers. These include Dion Lee, Josh Goot, Michael Lo Sordo, camilla & marc and Christopher Esber; examples of their work were showcased in an adjoining installation.
Although light on actual Oscar winners, local fashion and TV names who braved the week’s unrelenting rain to join the party included Brooke Satchwell, Glenn McMillan, Emma Lung, Zippora Seven, Alice Burdeu and Jordan and Zac Stenmark.
Sozzani arrived at the MCA by way of an umbrella tour of some nearby luxury flagships that had taken part in the evening’s joint “World Wide Wool” shopping night promotion.
Although it was her first trip to Australia, the Italian is almost an honorary Aussie these days as a member of the judging panel of the International Woolmark Prize for the past two years – and having just been appointed an international ambassador for the newly-minted Australian Fashion Chamber.
Australian wool and its importance to Italian fashion - notably Biella, the epicentre of Italy’s wool industry - was in fact the impetus for the issue, said Sozzani, who has dedicated previous issues of the magazine to Africa and China.
“We travelled from London to Los Angeles, New York of course, even Singapore, almost everywhere,” said Sozzani of L’Uomo Vogue’s journey to document Australia’s creative diaspora. “If you put together how the wool is a strong and important business around the world and the first contest that they did [the International Wool Secretariat competition, 1954] – the winners were Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent – and when you realize how many famous people Australia has around the world, it’s a powerful country,” she said.