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Australia, the magazine : Australia, the magazine
star turnfashion & models 117 INTERNATIONAL A LISTERS DON THEIR GOWNS. BY MELISSA PEARCE TONI MATICEVSKI ALEX PERRY J'ATON COUTURE CLIENTS: Abbie Cornish (pictured), Jennifer Hawkins, Prince, Emmy Rossum CLIENTS: Jennifer Lopez (pictured), Eva Longoria, Miranda Kerr CLIENTS: Dannii Minogue (pictured), Kylie Minogue, Eva Mendes, Keisha Whitaker, Delta Goodrem Toni Maticevski's exquisitely tailored debut at Fashion Week in 2002 proved that Australian designers need not live in the shadow of the European masters. The then 25-year-old's self- described "demi-couture" held its own, and his elegance was a refreshing counterpoint to the more casual, less structured trends of the time. It was well-received by international fashion editors at the New York collections. Maticevski's body of work is not for the mass market and the designer is the first to admit he isn't interested in chasing sales or hype. His low-key approach to branding and editorial placement in magazines belies a self- confidence that saw him turn down a position with Donna Karan to work with Cerruti in Paris when he was just starting out in the industry. Maticevski's focus is on showcasing his skills and techniques while developing his signature style, which involves complex folds, twists, drapes and pleats. Not even a AU$12,000 price tag for a custom-made wedding dress can guarantee a place in the envied stable of Perry girls. "I'm really happy to say, 'No, you're not really one of my girls'," Alex said in a recent interview. "You want to buy the dress, you're more than welcome to. I can make anybody look good." Alex Perry has the gift of the gab and the darting tongue of an acerbic fashionista. After graduating from East Sydney Technical College in 1984, Perry worked representing Australian models and taught deportment for the iconic June Dally-Watkins' academy in Sydney. In 1992 Perry opened his first atelier in Sydney's Double Bay, creating gowns, corsets and sheaths. Ten years later, he launched his 'salon' at Sydney's up-market Strand Arcade, where shoppers can peruse his ready-to-wear and haute couture. His punchy sound-bites have led to a healthy television profile, most notably on Australia's Next Top Model. J'Aton Couture pairs Melbourne's Jacob Luppino and Anthony Pittorino. The two met at fashion school and joined forces in 1995. They have won the Australian Gown of the Year Award on numerous occasions and been recipients of several awards at Spring Racing Carnival events in Melbourne. Luppino and Pittorino conceived the label to specialise in bridal commissions, but their made-to-measure creations have won a discerning national and international clientele who are more than happy to be sewn into their unique pieces for a picture-perfect close-up. The duo follows the traditional principles of haute couture and thrive on contrasting design elements, whether it be avant-garde versus classic, masculine versus feminine or past versus present. They are known for their dramatic sculptured dresses which can take up to six months to create. Customers are usually asked to commit to at least four fittings.