By Jessica Frost
There’s not a lot that will make more of a statement than gatecrashing the scheduled show of one of Australia’s most prestigious designers on the opening night of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia. Luckily, designer Joshua Mullane knew to do just that when he created his own guerrilla style runway at the Opera House on Sunday afternoon.
His message was one of protest and free expression of talent and creativity, deliberately breaking the bounds of the notoriously difficult to break into fashion industry. His methods were controversial and whether you agree with his disregard of tradition and the rules of the Fashion Week schedule or not, you have to admit, his show made an impact and it got people talking.
So just how do you pull off a show like that? I caught up with model, Claudia Wilkinson, who was one of the diverse bunch of talents to take part in the takeover to give you the inside scoop from a models point of view.
So tell us, how did you first hear about the plans for the Pseudo runway show? How’d you become involved?
Josh, the designer is a good friend of mine. I met him about a year ago and he had the idea to start his own label. Although I had no idea about the Guerrilla style show he had planned.
Did your agency know you were participating in the show? How did they feel about you being involved in something so controversial?
I’m actually not with an agency anymore. I was with IMG up until last year, but I decided to take a different route and I’ve started studying interior design at Billy Blue College Of Design. Modelling is so much fun and I still do it whenever I have the time – usually just for friends that I met during my time in the industry. After that show I’m thinking of getting back into it.
What are the logistics of a show like that? Hair, makeup, getting dressed; how’d all of that happen? Where did you get ready?
The hair and make-up was done at Edwards & Co. Surry hills. We all arrived there in the morning and got ready and then got on a mini bus and headed down to the Opera House. It was so much fun! Adrenalin was pumping that’s for sure.
Staging a guerrilla style show is a pretty ballsy thing to do… did you have any nerves at all being involved or just excitement?
I was a little bit nervous, but only when we were about to arrive at the Opera House. Then my friend and the stylist for the show, Thom Townsend handed me the beat box and I was ready to go.
It was such a cool and diverse group of models! What was it like getting to work with such a uniquely talented bunch?
It was incredible. Everyone was so down to earth. I could tell that some of the models were a little nervous, as I can understand but now that modelling is not my main focus I was able to keep my cool. Josh did such an excellent job of getting us all in the zone and excited for the show.
We saw security guards ushering the models away from the area once they caught on to what was happening. What were you feeling when security got involved?
I was just having the best time. The security guards did not phase me one little bit. The energy that was around all of us that day made it very hard to pay attention to what was going on around us.
Designer Joshua Mullane said that he chose to show off schedule and in the way he did as a sort of protest against the current platforms emerging artists have to show their talent in Australia’s fashion industry, what do you think about his reasons for the show? Is it something you experience as a model in the industry?
I think his way of approaching the whole fashion week thing was amazing. Australian Fashion week has been much the same, year after year. Josh really stepped up to the plate and created something raw and beautiful and Rock’n’Roll. Which is so cool. I love seeing young designers thinking outside of the box. I love music. My dress was covered in bands and artist’s names; The Velvet Underground, The Rolling Stones and Bowie. I grew up surrounded by excellent music like that, my dad has always been into it and it certainly rubbed off on me.
As a model, do you prefer these kind of statement, artistic shows to mainstream fashion?
Definitely. As I said before, the energy that day was phenomenal. Josh created something very beautiful and very different to the norm of Australian fashion. I’ll remember the experience for the rest of my life.
And finally, what’s next for you in your modelling career? Where will we see Claudia in 5 days, 5 weeks and 5 years?
5 days….I will be holidaying with my rock star dad. 5 weeks…..I will be buckling down and studying as hard as I can, and possibly signing with another agency…….and in 5 years……living by the beach and as Ben Folds would say – Rocking the Suburbs.