There was never any chance of a social media ban happening at former Sydney magazine gal turned global fashionista and one-woman digital media force of nature Laura Brown’s wedding in Hawaii.
Brown, wearing a dusty pink Valentino couture gown, married her partner, a cheeky and handsome waiter named Brandon Borror-Chappell who had slipped her his phone number in a Los Angeles restaurant seven years ago when she was on a work trip.
The event last weekend even had its own hashtag on Instagram, which proved handy given the millions of followers the combined celebrity guest list commands on social media.
Briefly interrupting her honeymoon, Brown told PS she was still in awe that so many of her friends had made the pilgrimage from Australia and America to witness their big day. We’ll never forget it.
And what a guest list it was, brimming with bold-print names that have entered Brown’s personal orbit since she relocated to New York nearly 20 years ago and climbed her way to the editor-in-chief’s position at InStyle magazine, a role she recently left to pursue her new ambitions as a celebrity podcaster.
Leading the parade of notables in Hawaii for the festivities were Brown’s posse of power gal pals including Monica Lewinsky, Michelle Pfeiffer and her television super producer husband David E. Kelley, Brooke Shields, American broadcast icon Katie Couric, Rose Byrne and husband Bobby Cannavale, original supermodel Christy Turlington, Miranda Kerr and billionaire husband Evan Spiegel, Naomi Watts and actor boyfriend Billy Crudup, Christina Hendricks, Jessica Alba and Bella Heathcote.
Rounding out the VVVIPS was a collection of Sydney notables who deservedly relished the Insta bragging rights of scoring an invitation, including Dinosaur Designs founders Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy, glam dog groomer Tracy Baker and not one but two former Harper’s Bazaar Australia editors Alison Veness and Kellie Hush.
It was just so beautiful, I think everyone really needed a happy and joyous occasion and the wedding certainly was that. The Aussies and the Americans all had a lot of fun, Baker told PS after jetting back into Sydney this week.
As for social pecking order, despite the big stars in the room, Baker said everyone got on well, though admitted to a few fan-girl moments when the likes of Lewinsky, Pfeiffer and Shields hit the dance floor. And everyone was stunned when the groom took the microphone to belt out a thumping rendition of Men At Work’s Down Under.
Well, who wouldn’t be a little slack-jawed?
Brown, who regularly returns to Australia where her mother still resides, was walked down the aisle by her Sydney uncle, with a group of family making the journey to Kauai for the celebrations, which had been postponed twice before because of the global pandemic.
The news, in fashion
Not since Lee Lin Chin in her avant-garde Issey Miyake confections graced the SBS newsdesk has a prime-time anchor caused such a sartorial sensation as has ABC weekend news presenter Mariam Saab.
She even has an Instagram fan account devoted to her fashion choices, along with entire Twitter debates dissecting her every garment and hair do.
And now fashion bible Harper’s Bazaar Australia has recognised the woman dubbed the Dita Von Teese of Australian television journalism thanks to her outré garb and killer heels, devoting a six-page spread in the latest issue.
Bazaar singles out as fashion highlights a zippered red-vinyl number (purchased in a Parisian lingerie boutique near the Moulin Rouge), a 1970s fringed suede cowgirl jacket, an acid-wash denim blazer and a very punk-rock white shirt and skinny tie.
In February, Saab was reading the evening news in a scarlet-red fringed Carolina Herrera abaya with a matching scarf tied around her neck when comedian Julie Lawless tweeted: [My] partner and I were at other ends of the house, both heard the cinnamon-honey tones of #MariamSaab piping through from the lounge room, dropped what we were doing and legged it to the telly to see what she was wearing. Never disappoints. #allhailthequeen.
I’m very, very flattered, and it makes me really happy to see [my style] well received, Saab says.
Saab’s unconventional hair and makeup look had initially made some of the ABC’s makeup artists nervous, though they followed her specific instructions, only to then email ABC News’ head of makeup, Clark Sheedy, to let him know it was Saab’s idea.
The artist didn’t want to get into trouble for doing something that was so different from the norm, says Sheedy, who describes Saab’s style as a modern twist on old Hollywood glamour.
The mother of two children under 10, who is married to the French-Lebanese pianist and composer Rami Khalifé, estimates that 90 per cent of her wardrobe comes from op-shops, including her favourite Lifeline outlet (a charity she has an enduring connection with given both her parents are Lifeline volunteers), where she has picked up jackets from Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix and Roberto Cavalli, and a John Galliano dress.
The idea that somebody has thought to retire such a special piece like that, for such a worthy cause, is wonderful, she tells Harper’s. There’s this problem with overconsumption in the fashion industry. So when you go to places like Lifeline or to Vinnies or to the markets, or to anywhere where you’re buying something that’s a second, it gives it a second life. And you’re carrying that goodwill forward.
And now Saab is paying it forward by donating a selection of her most-commented-on pieces to for the charity’s counselling services.
Whale Beach deli-ache
The natives around Whale Beach have been getting restless after an application was lodged with Northern Beaches Council to redevelop the site of the much loved Whale Beach Deli, with a proposal to increase the venue’s seating capacity four-fold to become a 188-seat restaurant.
Currently, the small cafe lease is held by the Boathouse Group, one of the most popular operators on the Northern Beaches having been saved from financial ruin in recent years following rapid expansion. However, plans by some locals to start a boycott of all Boathouse venues if the proposal goes ahead have left Boathouse founders Andrew and Pip Goldsmith in an invidious position.
We are not the people behind the proposal, it’s the building owner, a local family, which is redeveloping the site, Andrew, who has just opened the latest Boathouse venture in Manly, informs PS. Frankly, we probably wouldn’t be interested in a venue that size anyway, we already have Moby Dick’s next door. We only ever took on the deli to improve the offer in the area because it was pretty ordinary before.
Meanwhile, residents and community groups have flooded council with submissions, most of them against such a large-scale development.
Bell tolls for beloved mum
Despite all the trappings of his many millions, Sydney high-flyer Anthony Bell has often spoken of the support and encouragement from his humble mother Shirley as being one of the foundations of his success, along with his much-loved sister Karen.
The siblings are preparing to bid farewell to Shirley Bell, who died recently aged 91, with many of Bell’s influential circle expected to attend her funeral in Pagewood next Wednesday.
While Bell’s father, fellow accountant Don, was a pivotal figure in his son’s life, he left Anthony and Karen in the care of their mother Shirley when Anthony was around four.
Single mum Shirley watched as her son scaled the heights of Sydney society. She was there to celebrate his victories, such as winning the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. But even more importantly, she was also there during his greatest challenges, including sitting in court listening to the ugly breakdown of his marriage to Kelly Landry, which played out in a blaze of embarrassing headlines.
No doubt she will be sorely missed.
While Seven’s bosses were scrambling to shut down our story that former Sale of the Century host Tony Barber could be among the stars being honoured in the soon-to-be rebooted television show This Is Your Life, PS has discovered Barber was actually participating in another show for the network’s Spotlight investigative journalism unit.
Spotlight boss Mark Llewellyn informs PS Barber is part of an upcoming story documenting the pitfalls of fame in Australia, and is one of the golden age personalities to have been exhumed from the crypt of TV shows past. He’s being joined by Rowena Pat the Rat Wallace, former E Street-er Melissa Bell and one-time Perfect Match host Greg Evans (presumably Dexter was busy).
Apparently part of the show is a dinner party to rival anything from Married At First Sight, combing the TV veterans with a new generation of reality TV stars, including a couple of MAFS has-beens. It goes to air May 8.
A cultural guide to going out and loving your city. .