A global field guide to design, (life)style and secret finds
est. 2007
  1. Wee find: Australian Modern magazine

    I haven’t done a themed week in a while so I was inspired to run “A week of Modern” on Wee Birdy to celebrate the Sydney launch of Australian Modern magazine.

    The timing of the mag, by Chris Osborne Publishing, couldn’t be better. There has never been so much interest in the mid-20th century modernist movement, thanks in part to the popularity of Mad Men which has inevitably influenced fashion and design in recent years.

    For instance, Louis Vuitton’s unashamedly feminine Spring Summer 2012 collection featured mid-century silhouettes in a spectrum of ‘50s milkbar hues, Peter Pan collars and exaggerated broderie anglaise. Meanwhile, Christian Dior revisted the glory days of their mid-century New Look with full skirts, cinched-in waists, and a reworking of their iconic bar jacket.

    And back to those Mad Men, I know I’m not the only one coveting Don and Megan’s Manhattan apartment featuring an amazing sunken lounge in the latest series (five).

    Australian Modern is a welcome addition to the niche magazine market, as it shines a new light on 20th century Australian design and architecture. Apart from its sister publication, Brisbane Modern, the only other magazine catering for mid-century modern enthusiasts was US-based Atomic Ranch.

    In the launch issue, Australian Modern delves beyond the obvious and well-known names in Australian design and art history, with features on artist Ludwik Dutkiewicz’s oil paintings, Clement Meadmore’s chairs and Peter Travis’ ceramics.

    It also does a fine job in covering mid-century architecture around Australia, from the brutalist Henty house in Launceston to ‘60s suburban modern homes in the Brisbane suburb of Aspley.


    Other entertaining stories include a fascinating look at the prevalence of Googie in Australia (oh, how I’d love to go on a Googie-scouting roadtrip) and the impact of mid-century French fashion on the local Australian industry, which rather interestingly reveals just how fashion-forward and innovative David Jones once was, collaborating with the likes of Christian Dior in bringing the New Look to our shores. Perhaps some valid lessons which could be learnt today?

    The launch 2012 edition of Australian Modern is on sale now for AU$16. Click here for stockists (around Australia and online).