ANDREW HORNERY July 07, 2012
Shining star … Miranda Kerr at a New York photoshoot. Photo: Freddie Baez/startraksphoto.com
THE ''chic'' is hitting the fan in Sydney's modelling world this week.
The question on some of this town's most immaculate lips is whether the supermodel Miranda Kerr is about to cut ties with her local modelling agency, Chic Management, to sign with the global juggernaut IMG, which is poised to open its doors in Sydney in a matter of weeks.
PS hears lawyers have already been called in following the surprise resignation a fortnight ago of Chic casting agent Danielle Ragenard, who is heading over to IMG and is expected to start work on the new agency next week.
Ragenard was formally reminded of her legal obligations to Chic, receiving correspondence instructing her she was banned from working for any other entity until midnight last night, when her contract with Chic expired.
Publicly, Chic's Sydney executives have hosed down any threat the arrival of IMG would pose to its business, even welcoming the competition.
However, behind the scenes, the agency's founder Ursula Hufnagl, has expressed her bewilderment at Ragenard's defection, going into extreme damage control. Hufnagl personally handles Kerr's account and has told colleagues that unless she is told otherwise, it's ''business as usual''.
Chic takes a 20 per cent fee from Kerr, and charges clients wanting to use the model an additional booking fee of up to 15 per cent.
Kerr is one of the world's hottest models at present, shooting in New York last week for Vogue Italia and featuring in the current Australian and British editions of Harper's Bazaar.
She is undoubtedly the biggest name on Chic's books at present.
Kerr's big Australian contract is the million-dollar-a-year David Jones deal, equating to about $350,000 in annual revenue for the agency.
Losing it would be a big blow indeed.
Kerr is contracted to DJs for another year. Her time with the department store was extended when she took maternity leave after having her son Flynn to husband and Hollywood heart-throb Orlando Bloom.
However, as PS previously reported, negotiations with the chain are expected to be fraught because the model is a much bigger star now than when she first signed with DJs.
IMG already handles Kerr's international modelling deals with the likes of Victoria's Secret. Her alignment with the agency locally would make considerable sense commercially, especially as she heads into negotiations with DJs.
FOR years Edwina McCann and Kellie Hush were the best of friends, but now the newly appointed editors of Vogue Australia and Harper’s Bazaar are busy drawing battlelines after weeks of dramatic changes within their respective glamour magazines.
Inside the battle-weary offices of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, it’s all about the September issue, and this year’s are shaping up to be a couple of doozies.
Newly installed Vogue editor-in-chief McCann, who famously defected from Harpers, is busy nutting out final details for her September cover, due out early next month, which will be her first for the prestigious title.
Details are being kept under tight wraps, but PS hears no expense is being spared to make sure McCann makes her mark with the magazine, and is planning a complete overhaul of the title in November.
However her replacement at Harpers, the former Sydney Morning Herald fashion editor Hush, won’t show her first cover until November as McCann had already stitched up the magazine’s September cover before she left. PS hears it was too expensive to scrap. It presents a frustrating situation for Hush, who is no doubt keen to show her mettle.
Another headache left behind by McCann for Harpers was a big promotion being planned to launch the September issue, one of the magazine’s biggest in years.
Harpers had commissioned a special film called Being Bazaar to be screened in a Sydney cinema to celebrate the issue.
The film features such luminaries as Karl Lagerfeld talking about all things fashion.
In the original version McCann had a major starring role in the film, presenting an embarrassing situation for the magazine now she is heading the arch-rival title Vogue.
However, PS hears McCann has since been edited out, replaced with fresh footage of Hush, filmed just last week.
A PIECE of steamy Sydney history will go under the hammer tomorrow when Vickers and Hoad auctions the contents of the now closed gay sauna Ken's at Kensington.
''It is a pretty varied mix of stuff, lots of designer furniture and interesting light fittings, steel lockers, day beds and the illuminated Ken's sign,'' auctioneer Colin Vickers informed PS.
Coincidentally Vickers lived next door to Ken's for years, describing the venue operators as: ''very good neighbours, we never had any problems with them, they were discreet and caused no issues for us.''
Vickers ventured into Ken's for the first time in its 40-year history to see what could be auctioned.
''I had never been in there before and it was a very dark place, with lots of nooks and crannies. The boys wanted us to see what we could do with some of the contents and I think it will do pretty well … and yes, the lockers were all empty,'' Vickers said.
As Vickers spoke to PS, his wife, Pauline, could be heard in the background, enthusiastically encouraging her husband to ''tell him you're married … make sure that's clear!''
Yes Pauline, received loud and clear.
On the site of one of Sydney's first gay pubs, The Purple Onion, Ken's had been a meeting place for the Sydney gay community for generations, where even the powerful and famous got a little steamy in relative obscurity.
Well, that was until the former minister for police, and married man, David Campbell was filmed leaving the joint in 2010 and ''outed'' on Channel Seven news.
The sex-on-premises venue on Anzac Parade started life in 1973 after original owner Ken ''Kandy'' Johnson established the business, originally known as Ken's Karate Klub, then Kensington Karate Klasses, an in-joke at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in NSW to explain why there were rubber mats all over the floors.
And in true Sydney style, PS hears the site is to be redeveloped into apartments.
SHOCK OF THE NEW
WITH so many big-name restaurants closing in Sydney, it was reassuring to see one of our dining institutions reopening this week. Paddington's Claude's, which opened in 1976, served its first lunch on Tuesday after a major renovation overseen by owner and chef Chui Lee Luk. The restaurant's new, so-cool-it-hurts interior, is by Melbourne designer Pascale Gomes-McNabb, and was somewhat distracting during the luncheon for winemaker Peter Lehmann, in that it came complete with an intimate performance by Australian Chamber Orchestra violinists Helena Rathbone and the diminutive Aiko Goto (who travels with her own, customised pedestal for greater height). With its jagged, lightning bolt mirror wrapping its way around multi-coloured psychedelic walls and Frankenstein-esque light-fittings, the new Claude's looks very (gulp) different to the old one.
THOMAS STEPS UP
HAVING survived her share of boardroom stoushes, reality television dramas, catwalk catfights and magazine mayhem, Deborah Thomas, pictured knows a thing or two about political machinations. The former model and editor of The Australian Women's Weekly is putting those skills into action, running in the September Woollahra Council elections as a Liberal Party-endorsed candidate. Thomas will be the No.2 on a ticket being led by Woollahra's existing deputy mayor Toni Zeltzer, setting their sights squarely on toppling the mayor, Susan Wynne. Thomas has been mentored in the black arts of politics by her Point Piper neighbour and good mate, Federal Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull.
A MUCH slimmer James Packer, spotted on the French Riviera last week after dropping about 35 kilograms since undergoing gastric bypass surgery in Los Angeles late last year, has been embracing the British polo season with gusto. Packer's team Ellerston beat the ''highly fancied'' El Remanso at Cowdray Park in the 2012 Gold Cup, with the final match being played on July 15. Packer's Ellerston goes into the semi-finals this weekend on a high, having recorded their first British high-goal victory in three years. Ellerston last competed in the Gold Cup in 2009. Packer, his pregnant wife Erica and their children Jackson and Indigo, have been revelling in their new English estate following £20 million worth of work to transform it into a state-of-the-art polo centre in the West Sussex countryside. Packer's Manor Farm near Midhurst is not far from his late father Kerry's beloved Great House Farm, a 38-hectare polo complex at Stedham which was later sold to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. The new estate reportedly comprises two polo playing areas, a horse walkway and all-weather exercise track.