Australia has always had a slightly awkward relationship with ‘fashion’. Problem is it’s freakin’ hot down under. Whereas in cooler climes, it makes sense that clothing comes into sharp focus. Australians generally prefer clothes that are practical first, ‘fashionable’ second. There was a brief period in time, during the late 70s and throughout the 80s, when a bunch of radical Australian fashion designers recognised the inherent nature of Australian fashion and sort to expand upon it, creating uniquely bold designs that caught the attention of fashion followers in Europe and the States. Designers such as Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson lead the pack with insanely colourful prints and vibrant motifs that were hard to miss.
It makes sense then that Vogue Australia pretty much peaked during this time. The late 70s and throughout the 80s was a uniquely experimental time in the magazine’s history. This was in terms of it’s photography, design and typography. It was during this time that Monty Coles [montycoles.com] helped define the look of modern fashion in Australia through his prolific work for the magazine.
Most well known for his cover photograph of Bryan Ferry that adorns the 1977 album, ‘In Your Mind’ (which was recently paid homage to by producer and artist, Tiga) [wikipedia], Monty Coles’ often used radical techniques to give even the most ordinary of assignments added vigour and verve. Messing with colour separations in camera or re-photographing video of fashion models were all techniques he employed before photoshop was even invented. In typically radical fashion Monty has taken up blogging of late [theloupe.org], recording various antics in Melbourne town with the odd special guest contributor.