The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on October 8, 1985 · Page 44
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The Sydney Morning Herald from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia · Page 44

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Issue Date:
Tuesday, October 8, 1985
Page 44
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f hciibun) fHommaJjetalb Cg(o)(oi i mm City slickers like the outback look i aW n 'RoSf&A SHAW Jj0 sipg5of Aussie J jJj. TONIGHT, if all else fails, those at the Black and White Ball can fantasise that NSW Chief Justice Sir Laurence Street is the Queen. Which, as Lieutenant Governor standing in for Administrator Sir James Rowland, he is, in a Second XI kind of way. Anyway, he is the nearest there is to royalty at this year's clutch of balls. No one takes seriously the former Princess Luciana Pignatelli, who collects shoes by the gross and plucks her legs with eyebrow tweezers. Prince Lorenzo Giustinini Montesini was a Qantas air steward. That's no crime. Neither is living in squalid Woolloomooloo. But, as everyone knows, no royal worth his tiara puts Prince on his card. No one takes ' seriously the Czechoslovakian-born Baron and Baroness Boyd either. Still, if anyone deserves blue blood or, as is the case tonight Sir Laurence Street and his medals, it is the Black and White Committee. They have slogged at balls for 49 years, doing good works for the blind, and it has just dawned on them that, golly, 1986 is their Grand Golden Oldie. At S42 a ticket (booze extra) and held in the Sydney Town Hall not exactly everyone's idea of a glamour spot it is the cheapest, rowdiest, largest and ironically the snobbiest ball of all. Even in the days of BYO at the Trocadero when the cream of Sydney society turned up in their elegant clothes clutching carrier bags and Eskies, it was considered the ball to end all balls. People still remember Sir Frank Packer in his white tie and tails holding a departmental store carrier bag full of beer bottles, and Sir Les Hooker, the property magnate, staggering in clutching a white Esky. It still is a Grand Social Event. "People seem to think so, it has an aura," says deputy president June Gollen modestly. "Some drop off, but an enormous number keep coming for years." So enormous they grew out of the Sheraton-Wentworth, which restrict its balls to 500. A thousand is a IN K-PAUL'S Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans, there's a caricature of Paul Prudhomme bearing the legend: "God is Cajun". It's no joke. On the American food scene, the big chef from the bayoux is hotter than a Louisiana boudin a spicy sausage fiery enough to be in danger of spontaneous combustion. The Cajuns are descendants of the early French settlers of Acadia (Nova Scotia), who were deported from Canada in the 18th century. The bulk went to Louisiana where southern sultriness slurred Acadian into Cajun. But so many other ethnic spoons, most notably African, Spanish and Indian, have stirred the French provincial pot over the past. 200 years that no Cajun dish bears any resemblance to true French cooking. Pure Cajun cooking is hot and spicy and leans heavily on seafood, chicken, pork, game and rice. But today's revivalist version isn't hard core. According to Prudhomme, the majority of restaurants flying the Cajun banner are actually serving Louisiana food a hybrid of Cajun and Creole, the other . DAPHNE GUINNESS previews Sydney's drop in the ocean for the cavernous Town Hall. Tonight the whole of Double Bay and a sizeable chunk of the moneyed North Shore will wear their formal black and whites and go weak at the knees as Sir Laurence leaves the Northern Crush Room where, in strict proto order, he will have pressed the palms of those Hard Workers deserving of his attention. Then, to the strains of Advance Australia Fair ("or whatever," says June Gollen), he will sail down the red carpet strategically placed through Hard Worker Dell Aldritt's dazzling decor (this year Roman, last year Greek) until he reaches the official table where he will sit and never be seen again. Not, that is, until he sails out in reverse and departs. For their S42 the revellers will be served seafood, spatchcock, brandied apricots yum-yum they will battle for their booze, win prizes for this and that, dance, and then be roped off for the Derby. According to the program, 32 Beautiful Girl Jockeys will appear for Distinguished Owners (who pay $200 apiece for the honour) and will race wooden horses across the floor. This event takes 45 minutes or less if June Gollen can swing it, but it's a major performance. What with false starts, stewards with whistles, and a thousand tanked-up socialites straining against the ropes, her chances are minimal. Other ball-givers, pea-green with The cuisine that's ELISABETH KING tracks down Cajun big gun in the New Orleans culinary arsenal. Basically they use the same ingredients but Creole is city cooking and Cajun is country. The former is more ' European in presentation and formal, the latter more casual and "native". Says Prudhomme: "All lines have been crossed with no inhibitions and we've come out with such a mixture that we've created a brand new style, albeit a heavily traditional one". Not surprisingly, the jambalayas and various gumbos have sashayed their way on to the Sydney scene. The gamut runs from "nouvelle" Cajun to down-home. Take one part Creole and one part Cajun, fuse it with cuisine moderne, and you have Jeff Glowski's brand of haute Creole-Cajun. Formerly of Ste envy at the Black and White's success, have had to fight a different kind of battle. Put it another way: the opening this year of the Hotel Inter-Continental in Sydney has stirred things into a frenzy. Everyone wanted their ball to be held there. Everyone wanted to be first. Well, not exactly everyone. The Red Cross pulled out in time and stayed faithful to the Regent or, as they put it, "we're keeping it in the family." On Friday, November 8, to be exact, a bad. day for publicity but just right for the men who need a full weekend to get over it. This approach would go down like bad oranges with the others. Glen-Marie North's Odyssey, to use the vernacular, wanted to be first so badly they booked before the first brick was laid, so she won. Cara Brett-Hall's Cornucopia for Foundation 41 gave eight months' notice and came second. Lady Mary Fairfax's Cherry Blossom Ball for the Opera Foundation was next. Then came the Orient Express's Roaring 20s Gala Ball for St John's. Theirs was best, they said, the Inter-Con had learnt how to run a ball by then. Well, you can't have hi-jinx without hi-sniping. Women' with flat chests were de rigueur for the Orient, but Odyssey's 700 value-conscious corporate invitees (with a "splattering of ordinary people") expected their dollar's worth. They were peeved at the pace. When you're numero uno does it phen and Martin's Restaurant in New Orleans, Glowski is now at Jo-Jo Ivory's New Orleans Restaurant in the Sheraton Hotel at Potts Point. The menu kicks off with such offerings as Chicken Andouille Gumbo, a hearty melange of chicken, okra, vegetables, spices and homemade Andouille sausage. Entrees include Creole Popcorn, baby prawns "dry marinated" in spices and deep-fried in a Creole mustard batter, Onion Mum, a crisp-fried onion sculptured like a chrysanthemum, and Mushrooms Lafayette, deep-fried mushrooms filled with crab and a palate-provoking hollandaise sauce. The jalapeno- corn-bread with sweet red pepper relish is as moist as it is good. The main course listings include Rabbit Sauce Piquant, braised rabbit in a fiery jalapeno pepper sauce, Roast grand social event matter? For $100 they got three orchestras: chamber music to eat to, John Rickworth's band doing Tommy Dorsey music to dance to, and a disco in which to do anything they darn'd well liked. Plus five-course dins, all the booze they could drink until 2.30 am, a tombola "free of pressure" and a couple of gate-crashers who were nobbled. Cornucopia also had its hiccups: some weren't served while others munched on, but that's good breeding for you. For their $100, 250 establishment guests, who prefer anonymity because the press takes the mickey out of them, were met by a Master of Ceremonies whose job it was to announce everyone or not, as the case may be. Cara Brett-Hall and Prince Lorenzo from Woolloomoolo entered the ballroom to the Grand March from Aida and then, as the Wentworth Courier phrased it, the fun began. Five courses were served with Maggie Stuart (vocalist) between and after the entree and main course. Prince L. and his hostess came before the pud (if you follow). For Mel Clifford, too much was happening at once. The King of the Ballgowns (he calls them "special occasion gowns", either way they cost $1,000 to $1,800) had worn his white tuxedo, his favourite Egyptian sign-of-life anchor round his neck and the odd bit of fakey jewellery. He goes to all the balls, for two reasons. First, to support hot stuff cooking in Sydney Duck Pontchatoula, crisp skinned duck in a spicy sweet and sour strawberry sauce, and Jambalaya Atchafalaya, a rice extravaganza with prawns, sausage, ham, oysters, duck and rabbit If you have room, there are New Orleans-style Bread Pudding and Whiskey Sauce or Kahlua Pecan Pie. After dinner, adjourn to the adjacent bar for a jam session with the wild and crazy Ray Charles-look-alike robot. Situated on top of the Albury Hotel in Paddington, Hog Heaven is a pink haven of neon Miss Piggys, porcine models and menu holders. Owners Danny Poole and Jan Hall serve up an American menu studded with Cajun specialties. The most popular Louisiana dish is Stolen Blackened Fish fish fillets seared in a white-hot pan with peppers and spices. The menu warns that this fish is hot. his clients who support him. Second, to see if they live up to his expectations, or what he calls super-glam. Sometimes he's let down. Sometimes they wear cocktail dress. Then, as he points out, those in ball dresses feel over-dressed, instead of those in cocktail dresses who should feel under-dressed and don't. He sees balls as a marvellous outlet for fantasising. A woman can be Scarlett O'Hara or Gone With the Wind. or anything in fact. Whether or not she fulfilled a fantasy in her ballgown Sandy Partridge didn't say. As president of the Grevillea Group's spring ball for the NSW Spastic Cente, Mel had covered her in spring flowers, ribbons and beads and provided marvellous separate sleeves to wear or not. Last year at the Regent the theme had been Friday the Thirteenth with witches and broomsticks and smoke pouring out of the cauldron. This year over 300 business", social and showbiz people paid $75 for a vision of azaleas and balloons. They ate seafood, beef, cold souffle, danced to the Razz band, auctioned a Volvo, a fur coat and a pearl and diamond necklace, and raised $27,000. There were speeches. "Someone has to explain where their money goes", says Sandy Partridge. There weren't too many balls just for fun the Sydney Futures Exchange gave theirs to celebrate 25 years in the futures market but there was one anti-ball. The $100,000 Spectrum Spring Spectacular at the Regent pre-sold $75 tickets to 440 corporate chiefs for a flower-filled evening of music, dance and fashion and they didn't budge an inch from their dinner table. "This is not your boring old ball, not your normal charity escapade. We've going to sock it to you without the dreariness", promised the Cancer Council's Luke Wagner. Water off a duck's back to June Gollen. First thing tomorrow she'll pick up the phone and re-book the Town Hall for next year's gargantuan hop. The Seafood Gumbo, a blend of seafood, spices, tomatoes and rice, appears only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, because the restaurant has a limited supply of imported file powder, the traditional Cajun gumbo thickener made from ground sassafras leaves. The Shrimp New Orleans, meaty, pan-fried prawns in a spicy sauce, is splendidly offset by the sweetness of the cornbread. Next winter Hog Heaven will expand its Cajun repertoire to include pork and chicken gumbo, Creole popcorn and New Orleans bread pudding. The strains of Kid Thomas, Punch Miller and Emile Barnes fill the tiny apricot dining room of Sweet Emma's at Manly. Named after the jazz pianist Sweet Emma Barrett, the restaurant is the culmination of jazz musician Geoff Bull s lifetime love affair with New Orleans-style home cooking. Menu listings are split into Creole and Cajun. The Cajun specialties are Blackened Rib Eye Steak, Blackened Breast of Chicken and Blackened Orange Roughy. The pan is extremely hot, the spices strong and sweet and the textures moist. Outback Trading goes USTRALIAN designers are finding that flogging their fashions on the lucrative US market isn't as easy as it might seem at first. Their major headaches include high freight costs and the need for ready cashflow. But despite the huge ranges offered by America's homegrown mass merchandisers, some Australian labels, such as The Outback Trading Collection, Cherry Lane and Table Eight, report encouraging sales in the big cities on the US east and west coast. "US retailing is not all that fantastic. Many stores are fitted just with standard fixtures, and there are few concept shops like ours in Australia," says Mark Cywinski, managing director of Cherry Lane, which produces its young-image clothes in India, Hong Kong and China for export to its retail boutique opened earlier this month in the Beverley Centre in Los Angeles. "The advantages are seven days' trading and no penalty rates." Mr Cywinski set up the shop at a cost of $120,000 along the same lines as the Cherry Lane boutique in Surfers Paradise, featuring creative displays of clothing and accessories along walls and generous use of in-store dummies and glass counter displays. A year ago Table Eight Pty Ltd formed Table Eight Inc in Manhattan to head its wholesaling of Australian-made young sophisticate dresses to top-end retailers such as Bonwit Teller and Neiman Marcus. "Half a million dollars later we are still struggling, but we're projecting SUSI0 million turnover by the end of financial 1985," says Warwick Susskind, managing director. Outback Trading Company, the Sydney and New York based company set up by Australian business executives Chris Blundell and John Turner, is trying to push its Australian pioneer moleskins and wallaby jackshirts into equestrian shops as staple lines for the American middle west, after what it describes as encouraging sales with big-name city stores in the US. ELLING the romance of the Australian colonial outback has produced results for the young team, which operates in New York from an office building on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue and in Sydney from St. Leonards. "We are delighted with the high percentage of repeat orders coming through," said Tim Coster, a director of the company and a former Mojo advertising executive. "The indications are that it will be a good year for us." Mr Coster said the big retailers had generated growth for the company, which was now trying to strengthen its presence in the equestrian market in US middle western States and Texas. Outback Trading has just appointed A A RUGS Kyi FINE WOOL DHURRIES PORTUGUESE ARRAIOLOS NEEDLEPOINTS and introducing "ROYAL THAI" HANDTUFTED PURE WOOL PILE CARPETS IN STOCK COLLECTION OR CUSTOM MADE Robyn Cosgrove Rugs S1 BAY VILLAGE. 28 CROSS ST. TS Mon - Sat pioneer in the US. the Australian designer Christine Bray to modify and co-ordinate a northern summer range of casual and classically cut androgynous sweatshirts, T-shirts, oilskin coats and other leisure garments, including jackets and shirts, using sturdy cotton textiles and light weight fabric such as knitted cottons. She is the freelance commercial designer behind the Crocodile House label that has appeared during the past two seasons in specialist boutiques in Australia. Christine Bray grew up on a farm outside Launceston and considers her interpretations of fashion as conceptual and influenced strongly by flora and fauna, the lines of Australian rock and beach formations, and seashells. She said she cuts straight into fabric, at times using neither pattern nor sketch, and is working on a collection of loose-fitting garments for Outback Trading for which she has chosen natural fabrics in muted tonings, featuring colours of native flaura and fauna. Outback Trading for the next American summer would "run a few manufacturing companies in Australia absolutely full on," Mr Coster said. "Our first year was experimentation because some Australians do not have a good reputation for supplying goods on a regular basis in the US. We had to break some myths and gain people's trust." Mr Susskind of Table Eight, however, warned Australian clothiers against launching themselves on the US market without sufficient capital. "If they don't have enough capital backing they won't have a chance," he said. IABLE Eight in Australia has managed to combine an upmarket young look with well priced fabrics in jackets, skirts, dresses and tops. The garments sell in outlets such as David Jones' Miss Shops. Table Eight's designer, Sandra Sou-los, said many designers around the world tended to copy each other, with conservative styling the result. "We've been able to give a fashion look which is not outrageous but flattering, simple and well priced," she said. Cherry Lane, which has just opened its Los Angeles shop, retails the same fun and stylish sportswear lines sold in department stores and its own retail stores around Australia. "We are providing this segment of the market in California with a different look and image than most, using colour blocking to enable us to sell up to 21 colour choices in a given style, " said Mr Cywinski. He said Cherry Lane garments sold more cheaply in the US than in Australia because of lower landing costs. -A 3 1M UN DOUBLE BAY PH: 32 1845. 328 7692 9.30am-5.30pm. r?J a

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