The ecstatic thrill of reading kickstarts life of writing

Nanjing Night Net

The Simple Act of Reading, edited by Debra Adelaide.

The Tintin stories were Luke Davies’ “emotional universe” as a child.

The Tintin stories were Luke Davies’ “emotional universe” as a child.

The Simple Act of Reading, edited by Debra Adelaide.

The Tintin stories were Luke Davies’ “emotional universe” as a child.

The Simple Act of Reading, edited by Debra Adelaide.

The Tintin stories were Luke Davies’ “emotional universe” as a child.

THE SIMPLE ACT OF READING Edited by Debra Adelaide Random House, $29.99. Buy now on Booktopia

Which author confessed that reading The Diary of Anne Frank gave her “an electric shock” upon receiving it for her 11th birthday? Who admitted that he was drawn to characters who were “outcasts, outsiders, orphans, odd-bods, all as misunderstood and unbelieved and lost and lonely as I was”?

And who credited the “surreal tragicomic dilemma” of Kafka’s Metamorphosis with helping him pen his own humorous tales?

The answers to all these questions may be found in this collection of essays.

Writers are frequently asked about their literary influences, the reader and audience perennially curious about how their tender minds were shaped; what catalytic, alchemical forces led them to assemble their words in such a fashion.

The Simple Act of Reading is a great compendium of knowledge  because it mines the memories of numerous wordsmiths in search of their reading epiphanies. Although it comes from a direct quote from Junot Diaz, the title is a little disingenuous: there is nothing simple about the act of reading. In fact, as every bibliophile knows, such a deceptively placid activity can have transformative results. The essays here canvass “treasured childhood reading experiences, connections with particular authors or moments in life when reading, or just a particular book, represents a turning point”.

Many authors turn to their childhood and early youth, for it was there that their first bookish passions were cultivated, a love affair that for some became a life-long obsession. Luke Davies rhapsodises about the Tintin stories – they were his “emotional universe” and 40 years later he can still recall with great affection how he and author Herge communicated via snail mail. Even more impressive perhaps, is how unconsciously or maybe consciously, he managed to arrange his life “based on the Tintin paradigm: on my toes, travelling, senses attenuated, everything just adventure and exploration, curiosity and problem-solving”. Wayne McCauley, too, wrote to his literary hero, Gerard Murnane, whose novel The Plains became for McCauley “an iconic book, a black diamond, a Rosetta Stone” when he first encountered it in his 20s. Tegan Bennett Daylight pays similar tribute to Helen Garner, whose work she has read so many times that Garner’s “syntax seems entwined with my DNA”.

A common thread is the ecstatic thrill of being transported into other (more exotic) worlds; David Malouf’s first meeting with Jane Eyre was so deeply felt that he was acutely sensitive to the frosty cold of Rochester’s Thornfield mansion even as he was reading the novel under a blazing sun (“What extraordinary creatures we are that we can be, on the same occasion, in two quite different places …”)

Poet Jill Jones writes about responding viscerally to atmosphere and places rather than remembering actual plotlines, and Kate Forsyth explains how through fictional adventures she was able to roam freely while her incapacitated body was imprisoned by railings, intravenous drips and monitors during a hospital stay.

Other writers talk about a book’s edifying influence, how it teaches empathy when one becomes emotionally invested in the characters. Steinbeck, Dos Passos and Mansfield offered Rosie Scott a moral compass when she was young, dazed and confused.

Elsewhere, Gabrielle Carey waxes lyrical about collaborative reading, about pooling mental resources with other James Joyce fans to try  to penetrate the obfuscation of Finnegan’s Wake.

The Simple Act of Reading brims with joy, nostalgia and affection. Sunil Badami sums up beautifully why we cherish certain books: “because they say, in ways we can’t, things we wish we could. They’re not sermons but conversations, reminding us we’re not alone, we’re not the only person to feel this way.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Dion Lee has a date with Kate Waterhouse

Nanjing Night Net

Kate Waterhouse and fashion designer Dion Lee discuss the one-off collection he’s created for Target, over a cuppa and some pastries. Photo: Mimi Liu How did your collaboration with Target come about? Target approached me about doing collaboration about a year ago … I was considering how I would approach something like this and I was quite drawn to a performance-wear range, something that was quite athletic and incorporated a lot of the technical fabrications that I have within the collection, but doing it in a way that felt accessible and easy to the Target customer.

What is your design process? It’s quite different for each collection. I suppose you are designing all the time and you are constantly seeing things when you travel. I try to explain to people that it’s kind of the collage that is going on in your head. You’re always inspired by new films, art, culture, and you are responding to what people around you are wearing and I suppose it’s the ideas that come from that.

Does the process differ when you are designing a collection for Target, compared to your own main line? It’s very different compared to when designing for our main-line runway collection because [my main line] is a very specific product and is really about exploring each idea as beautifully and as elevated as we can, and this was about designing a product that is as inclusive as possible and speaking to a much broader audience. So there was a lot more consideration about the fabric, body shape and other things that all had to be taken into account.

Do you still get nervous when launching a new collection? I do, definitely! And I think for this, it was a new capsule and something that I hadn’t done before so it did still feel that nervous process.

Is it just a capsule collection or will it continue? It is just a capsule collection; it’s only in store for four weeks. But I’ve really enjoyed this category so I am open to what might happen.

You’re joined a long list of esteemed designers who have collaborated with Target, including Missoni, Roberto Cavalli and Stella McCartney. Do you expect a stampede when it hits stores? [Laughs] I’m not sure, I suppose I hope so but I don’t think I’ll be going into store to watch!

What is a woman’s ultimate wardrobe essential? A tailored black blazer is the most important element to a woman’s wardrobe. It’s a classic piece that works back with everything.

When you were younger did you always envisage your life the way it is today? Definitely not. I think that the past few years have been pretty crazy and the brand is continuing to grow. I think the next thing for me is to continue to build the international business and spending more time overseas. I’m really excited about what’s next.

What are your plans internationally? We are continuing to show in New York, which is really strong market for us, so it’s important to spend more time there and support the growth there.

Do you have plans to expand into other lines within your business? Yes, definitely. We are working on accessories at the moment: eyewear, a shoe collection and also some other projects that I can’t talk about just yet. And I would love to work on men’s wear eventually. I’m just waiting on the right time to do that. It’s almost like a new business and I would need a whole team to manage that.

If you could dress anyone in your designs, who would it be? I’d love to one day dress Cate Blanchett in the collection.

Your designs have been seen in the pages of American Vogue. What’s it like when you have to show your collection to Anna Wintour – is that daunting? Yes, it’s very daunting [laughs]. I still get very nervous in those situations. I think that I am becoming more comfortable in those scenarios but it definitely takes some practice. It’s never not scary [laughs]!

What is she like? She has a very intelligent perspective view on fashion and was very interested in speaking about my business and where my clothes were made and getting a real understanding to what kind of designer I was. She comes at it from a business perspective, which is great. You can see that from all the American designers she has supported; she’s very good at foresting them as really strong businesses.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Hopefully working between Australia and New York and continuing to work with new and exciting people and continuing to be really inspired by what I’m doing.

What do you do in your spare time? I always try and do something that takes me away from my work. I try and go away a bit and make the most of my weekends. I went to Tasmania a couple of weekends ago and New Zealand a few weeks before that. I just try to explore and go to new places and do some hiking.

If you didn’t become a designer, what would you have done? I would have explored film and potentially explored directing. I really love the creative-direction elements of my role … and trying to convey a strong feeling, and would love to explore that in film.

Will you ever pursue directing? Yes, I would definitely love to do that. Film or sculpture, I would definitely love another creative profession that allowed me to explore the ideas [that I have] in a different way.

What are some of your favourite films? I love  Michel Gondry films. He’s a French director, his films are often very abstract and, I suppose, surreal in ways, and I love things that mix an element of things that are quite realistic with techniques that are quite abstract and surreal.

See behind the scenes from this interview on Fashion Bloggers on Thursday at 9:30pm on Foxtel’s E! channel.BITE SIZE

WE WENT TO La Porte Space, Waterloo.

WE ATE Cakes and pastries.

WE DRANK Coffee and tea

Man in critical condition after assault at Darling Harbour

Nanjing Night Net

Early investigations indicated the man received a knockout punch and may have fractured his skull.Alcohol-fuelled violence, crimes move west as Kings Cross empties

A man is fighting for his life and is expected to undergo emergency surgery after he was punched in the face in Darling Harbour early on Sunday morning.

Emilio Bonanni, 25, was walking with a group of male and female friends on the Eastern Promenade of Cockle Bay Wharf, when they encountered a group of three men about 1am.

An argument broke out and then quickly escalated into a physical fight between the two groups.

Mr Bonanni, a resident of Green Valley in Sydney’s west, was punched a number of times during the brawl before he fell to the ground, hitting his head on the brick promenade.

Acting Inspector Steve Hodges said police were not characterising the incident as a one-punch attack, with early investigations indicating the man received a knockout punch and may have fractured his skull.

“The hospital are telling us he is in a very serious condition. They are conducting tests at the moment but they can’t give us much more than that at this point in time,” he said.

It is believed Mr Bonanni lost consciousness at the scene, at which point his attackers fled through Town Square towards Wheat Street where they were last seen entering a grey or blue coloured sedan.

Mr Bonanni’s friends provided first aid before police and paramedics arrived just after 1.30am. He was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics for serious head injuries before being taken to St Vincent’s Hospital, where he was placed in an induced coma and taken to surgery.

It is understood that he has not regained consciousness.

Detectives were reviewing CCTV footage but cameras had not captured footage of the actual assault, acting Inspector Hodges said.

Police have called for witnesses to come forward to assist with their investigations.

“[This is] definitely not a one-punch incident. This was an assault with a number of punches thrown,” he said.

It is not known whether Mr Bonanni was actively involved in the brawl, but he suffered “a number of punches before he went down”.

Sunday’s incident comes just one week after another early-morning brawl in Sydney’s CBD left a 26-year-old fighting for his life. The man remains in hospital in a serious condition.

Police were yet to confirm whether alcohol was a factor in Sunday’s violence, but acting Inspector Hodges said police continued to endorse the lockout laws that were introduced in March 2014, following the community backlash to the one-punch deaths of Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie.

“The lockout laws are having a great impact. They are actually reducing the number of assaults within the Sydney metropolitan area.”

Detectives from Sydney City Local Area Command are conducting investigations into the matter and would like to speak to three young men.

One has been described as Caucasian in appearance, about 180 to 185 centimetres tall with black curly hair.

A second man is described as having blond or sandy coloured hair. There was no description for the third man.

“We are following up everything we possibly can. We are confident those leads will lead us somewhere,” acting Inspector Hodges said.

Dion Lee has a date with Kate Waterhouse

Nanjing Night Net

Kate Waterhouse and fashion designer Dion Lee discuss the one-off collection he’s created for Target, over a cuppa and some pastries. Photo: Mimi Liu How did your collaboration with Target come about? Target approached me about doing collaboration about a year ago … I was considering how I would approach something like this and I was quite drawn to a performance-wear range, something that was quite athletic and incorporated a lot of the technical fabrications that I have within the collection, but doing it in a way that felt accessible and easy to the Target customer.

What is your design process? It’s quite different for each collection. I suppose you are designing all the time and you are constantly seeing things when you travel. I try to explain to people that it’s kind of the collage that is going on in your head. You’re always inspired by new films, art, culture, and you are responding to what people around you are wearing and I suppose it’s the ideas that come from that.

Does the process differ when you are designing a collection for Target, compared to your own main line? It’s very different compared to when designing for our main-line runway collection because [my main line] is a very specific product and is really about exploring each idea as beautifully and as elevated as we can, and this was about designing a product that is as inclusive as possible and speaking to a much broader audience. So there was a lot more consideration about the fabric, body shape and other things that all had to be taken into account.

Do you still get nervous when launching a new collection? I do, definitely! And I think for this, it was a new capsule and something that I hadn’t done before so it did still feel that nervous process.

Is it just a capsule collection or will it continue? It is just a capsule collection; it’s only in store for four weeks. But I’ve really enjoyed this category so I am open to what might happen.

You’re joined a long list of esteemed designers who have collaborated with Target, including Missoni, Roberto Cavalli and Stella McCartney. Do you expect a stampede when it hits stores? [Laughs] I’m not sure, I suppose I hope so but I don’t think I’ll be going into store to watch!

What is a woman’s ultimate wardrobe essential? A tailored black blazer is the most important element to a woman’s wardrobe. It’s a classic piece that works back with everything.

When you were younger did you always envisage your life the way it is today? Definitely not. I think that the past few years have been pretty crazy and the brand is continuing to grow. I think the next thing for me is to continue to build the international business and spending more time overseas. I’m really excited about what’s next.

What are your plans internationally? We are continuing to show in New York, which is really strong market for us, so it’s important to spend more time there and support the growth there.

Do you have plans to expand into other lines within your business? Yes, definitely. We are working on accessories at the moment: eyewear, a shoe collection and also some other projects that I can’t talk about just yet. And I would love to work on men’s wear eventually. I’m just waiting on the right time to do that. It’s almost like a new business and I would need a whole team to manage that.

If you could dress anyone in your designs, who would it be? I’d love to one day dress Cate Blanchett in the collection.

Your designs have been seen in the pages of American Vogue. What’s it like when you have to show your collection to Anna Wintour – is that daunting? Yes, it’s very daunting [laughs]. I still get very nervous in those situations. I think that I am becoming more comfortable in those scenarios but it definitely takes some practice. It’s never not scary [laughs]!

What is she like? She has a very intelligent perspective view on fashion and was very interested in speaking about my business and where my clothes were made and getting a real understanding to what kind of designer I was. She comes at it from a business perspective, which is great. You can see that from all the American designers she has supported; she’s very good at foresting them as really strong businesses.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Hopefully working between Australia and New York and continuing to work with new and exciting people and continuing to be really inspired by what I’m doing.

What do you do in your spare time? I always try and do something that takes me away from my work. I try and go away a bit and make the most of my weekends. I went to Tasmania a couple of weekends ago and New Zealand a few weeks before that. I just try to explore and go to new places and do some hiking.

If you didn’t become a designer, what would you have done? I would have explored film and potentially explored directing. I really love the creative-direction elements of my role … and trying to convey a strong feeling, and would love to explore that in film.

Will you ever pursue directing? Yes, I would definitely love to do that. Film or sculpture, I would definitely love another creative profession that allowed me to explore the ideas [that I have] in a different way.

What are some of your favourite films? I love  Michel Gondry films. He’s a French director, his films are often very abstract and, I suppose, surreal in ways, and I love things that mix an element of things that are quite realistic with techniques that are quite abstract and surreal.

See behind the scenes from this interview on Fashion Bloggers on Thursday at 9:30pm on Foxtel’s E! channel.BITE SIZE

WE WENT TO La Porte Space, Waterloo.

WE ATE Cakes and pastries.

WE DRANK Coffee and tea

Western Bulldogs good, but could be better, says coach

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ollow the Age Sport on Twitter

The scoreboard showed a thrashing, but Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge saw room for improvement after his team’s 72-point win over Brisbane on Saturday night.

Lions’ coach Justin Leppitsch could not even bring himself to speak to his players after they allowed the Dogs to kick nine goals in the final quarter at Etihad Stadium.

Adding to Brisbane’s woes, youngster Nick Robertson left the stadium with a fracture, thought to be in his shoulder, and will miss games as a result.

The Bulldogs have been criticised for fading towards the end of some matches this year, so Beveridge said it was good to finish on a strong note.

“We’re probably on a 50/50 finish base at the moment as far as our last quarters go,” he said. “To have the players respond like they did, it’s a real feather in their caps.”

Beveridge said the players should be satisfied with the win, but added that they gave away possession too many times.

It was a convincing win, but did not always feel that way, he said.

“It wasn’t until halfway through that last quarter that we felt the margin was where it should have been, but we still let them in and they kicked a couple of goals,” he said. “We want to be fussy because we want to be better.”

Forward Jake Stringer booted five, but that was not enough to win Beveridge’s full endorsement.

“He played OK today, he’s a brilliant footballer and we want a combination of his brilliance and a reliable component of his game with what we do as a team,” he said.

“Tonight we saw his brilliance, doesn’t mean he had the exact balance we need … but he’s growing all the time as a young player.”

Midfielder Jack Macrae had come back a better player after a stint in the VFL, his coach said.

Ruckman Will Minson — who has been trying to cement his place in the team — was subbed off, but Beveridge said he was not dissatisfied with his performance.

“We wanted to inject some run at that point, it was nothing to do with anything else but that.”

Leppitsch was measured as usual, but indicated the level of his anger, or disappointment, when he revealed he had not spoken to the group after the match.

“Sometimes these things are best left for Monday or Tuesday in review, because you don’t want to be shooting from the hip if you don’t have your evidence,” he said.

Leppitsch said the way the Lions fell apart in the last quarter showed a lack of leadership by his senior players.

He did not know how many games Robertson would miss, but said he would be out “a while”.

“I’d probably prefer to focus on the things we can control, there were plenty of things we could have (done) tonight,” Leppitsch said. “We got so close to doing it and playing how we wanted to play and then fell apart.”  The Age SportThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Woman in serious condition after being hit by ute in Surry Hills

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A woman was seriously injured on Saturday night after she was hit by a ute as she got out of a taxi in Surry Hills.

The 20-year-old woman got out of an eastbound taxi on Cleveland Street at the intersection of South Dowling Street about 8pm.

The woman got out of the taxi on the roadway when it stopped at traffic lights, and attempted to cross to the kerb when she was struck by a Mitsubishi ute travelling behind the taxi, police said.

The woman was thrown onto the road and sustained arm and abdominal injuries.

Police from Surry Hills Local Area Command and NSW Ambulance Paramedics attended the scene.

The injured woman was taken by ambulance to St Vincent’s Hospital where she remains in a serious condition.

The male driver of the Mitsubishi utility was breath tested, and returned a negative result.

Investigations into the incident are continuing. \n”,colour:”purple”, title:”Title”, maxWidth:200, open:1}] );}if (!window.googleMaps_Icons) window.googleMaps_Icons = {};window.googleMaps_Icons[“purple”] = {“marker”:{“image”:”http://maps.gstapfiles/ms2/micons/purple-pushpin.png”},”shadow”:{“image”:”http://maps.gstafiles/ms2/micons/pushpin_shadow.png”}};if (!window.gmapsLoaders) window.gmapsLoaders = [];window.gmapsLoaders.push(CreateGMapgmap20155218244);window.gmapsAutoload=true;/*]]>*/]]>

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Men bash driver in Dubbo then steal his car

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Police are seeking public assistance as they investigate the assault of a man in Dubbo whose car was then stolen.POLICE are investigating the assault of a man at Dubbo whose car was then stolen.

Investigators were told a 32-year-old man drove three men to a house at Alcheringa Street about 10.40pm Saturday.

On arrival, two of the men assaulted the driver before stealing his wallet and mobile phone.

They left in his car; described possibly as a white Holden Statesman, NSW partial registration BET***.

Emergency services were contacted and the man was treated by paramedics at the scene.

He taken by ambulance to Dubbo Hospital with cuts and bruising to his face and a possible broken jaw.

Officers from Orana Local Area Command attended and commenced investigations.

As inquiries continue, police would like to speak with any witnesses who may have seen anything suspicious in the area at the time.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to the incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.

They have reminded people information provided would be treated in the strictest of confidence.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

government failing young people, says Ted Noffs Foundation head

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Matt Noffs asks why NSW is dragging its heels on tackling youth drug problems. Photo: Rob HomerYouth drugs expert Matt Noffs has used the launch of three new Queensland Street Universities, focused on helping young people affected by drugs and alcohol, to attack the NSW government for failing thousands of marginalised youngsters across the state.

On Friday, The Ted Noffs Foundation launched the centres on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane, after the Queensland government channelled almost $4 million towards the projects.

“At a time when every state is staring at shrinking welfare budgets, the Queensland government has stepped forward with strong investment in youth and early drug intervention services. Why is NSW dragging its heels on this?” Mr Noffs asked.

He pointed to the Baird government’s pre-election package to tackle the drug ice, announced in March, which invested heavily in law enforcement and three new stimulant treatment services for adults.

“We know that most problems with ice and all drugs originate in youth and yet there is no significant investment or coherent strategy that reflects that.”

In 2006, the Ted Noffs Foundation unveiled its Street University concept that offered free education, mentoring and support for troubled youngsters who had peeled away from the mainstream education system.

On the back of corporate donations, federal government and RSL social grants, the first university was launched in Liverpool, in Sydney’s west, with a second following in Mount Druitt.

Hundreds of youngsters have since picked up new skills to secure jobs, start businesses or secure places within traditional universities. The university’s counselling service has also proved crucial to many hampered by drug dependence, family trauma, domestic violence, sexual abuse and mental health problems.

In Queensland, hundreds of clients, some as young as 12, have already approached the universities, during their trial phase, looking to gain access to services. More than a third of those report having attempted suicide at least once in their lives. Of those with drug issues, a third cite amphetamine-type substances, such as ice, as their main concern.

Mr Noffs has questioned the NSW government’s drug strategy that in recent weeks funded a “dob in a meth lab” advertising blitz. “Every time I meet with Mike Baird, he tells me, with genuine sincerity, how much he wants to improve the lives of youngsters across the state,” said Mr Noffs.

“So let’s start looking at places like the Central Coast, North Coast and Bathurst where youngsters who have fallen foul of ice are crying out for specialised treatment programs. These are places where socially disadvantaged kids are begging for opportunities to express themselves and learn something new. Let’s give them that chance.”

A NSW Police spokesman said the “dob in meth lab” campaign had cost $140,000 and prompted a 40 per cent rise in illegal drug intelligence reports.

NSW Minister for Mental Health Pru Goward said helping young people fight the “curse” of ice use and addiction was “a priority” for the government. “In March this year we announced a wide-ranging plan that included a program developed with health professionals to address the needs of ice users aged 16 years and over.”

She said extra funding had been committed to non-government treatment services and that NSW Health had also recently provided $4.5 million to the Australian Red Cross, Australian Drug Foundation and Life Education NSW to deliver youth-orientated services in communities including the Central West, Central Coast and Mid-North Coast.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Books that changed me: Paul West

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Paul West, host of River Cottage Australia and author of The River Cottage Australia Cookbook Photo: James Brickwood

Paul West, host of River Cottage Australia and author of The River Cottage Australia Cookbook Photo: James Brickwood

Paul West, host of River Cottage Australia and author of The River Cottage Australia Cookbook Photo: James Brickwood

PAUL WEST is a cook and small farmer at Central Tilba on the NSW South Coast. He presents the TV series River Cottage Australia on Foxtel’s Lifestyle Food channel (Tuesdays 8.30pm) and is the author of The River Cottage Australia Cookbook (Bloomsbury), which features his recipes and presents his philosophy of sustainable food production.

INTO THE WILD John Krakauer

A friend gave me a copy of this book to read while I was  hitch-hiking solo around Australia. I found a kindred spirit in the protagonist as I was looking for the unknown, pushing myself physically and mentally to the shady recesses of my young consciousness. The ultimate death of the hero and his final inscription of “happiness is only real if shared” had a significant impact on me. I nearly died alone in a car accident in North Queensland and that line really stuck with me. I ended my travel and returned home to my family and friends.

BREATH Tim Winton

For some unjustified reason I always had an aversion to reading Tim Winton, though one day I finally succumbed and read Breath in a day and a half. I was totally consumed by his prose and the ethereal manner in which it weaves from the harsh reality of life and landscape to the esoteric realm of emotions and dreams.

PICTORIAL HISTORY OF AUSTRALIAN BUSHRANGERS Prior, Wannan and Nunn

For a “pictorial” history this book is surprisingly packed with ripping yarns and larger-than-life characters. For such a young nation I feel that our limited European history is something not necessarily to celebrate but to know and understand. Everyone “knows” about Ned Kelly, but how many people know about the Jerilderie letter? There were far better characters than old Ned out there with much more interesting stories, and this book contains a rich vein of them.

EUCALYPTUS Murray Bail

I can’t say that this book changed my life, but bloody hell it’s a good yarn. It’s another book that I found beautifully captured the essence of the Australian landscape without waxing lyrical.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Dion Lee has a date with Kate Waterhouse

Nanjing Night Net

Kate Waterhouse and fashion designer Dion Lee discuss the one-off collection he’s created for Target, over a cuppa and some pastries. Photo: Mimi Liu How did your collaboration with Target come about? Target approached me about doing collaboration about a year ago … I was considering how I would approach something like this and I was quite drawn to a performance-wear range, something that was quite athletic and incorporated a lot of the technical fabrications that I have within the collection, but doing it in a way that felt accessible and easy to the Target customer.

What is your design process? It’s quite different for each collection. I suppose you are designing all the time and you are constantly seeing things when you travel. I try to explain to people that it’s kind of the collage that is going on in your head. You’re always inspired by new films, art, culture, and you are responding to what people around you are wearing and I suppose it’s the ideas that come from that.

Does the process differ when you are designing a collection for Target, compared to your own main line? It’s very different compared to when designing for our main-line runway collection because [my main line] is a very specific product and is really about exploring each idea as beautifully and as elevated as we can, and this was about designing a product that is as inclusive as possible and speaking to a much broader audience. So there was a lot more consideration about the fabric, body shape and other things that all had to be taken into account.

Do you still get nervous when launching a new collection? I do, definitely! And I think for this, it was a new capsule and something that I hadn’t done before so it did still feel that nervous process.

Is it just a capsule collection or will it continue? It is just a capsule collection; it’s only in store for four weeks. But I’ve really enjoyed this category so I am open to what might happen.

You’re joined a long list of esteemed designers who have collaborated with Target, including Missoni, Roberto Cavalli and Stella McCartney. Do you expect a stampede when it hits stores? [Laughs] I’m not sure, I suppose I hope so but I don’t think I’ll be going into store to watch!

What is a woman’s ultimate wardrobe essential? A tailored black blazer is the most important element to a woman’s wardrobe. It’s a classic piece that works back with everything.

When you were younger did you always envisage your life the way it is today? Definitely not. I think that the past few years have been pretty crazy and the brand is continuing to grow. I think the next thing for me is to continue to build the international business and spending more time overseas. I’m really excited about what’s next.

What are your plans internationally? We are continuing to show in New York, which is really strong market for us, so it’s important to spend more time there and support the growth there.

Do you have plans to expand into other lines within your business? Yes, definitely. We are working on accessories at the moment: eyewear, a shoe collection and also some other projects that I can’t talk about just yet. And I would love to work on men’s wear eventually. I’m just waiting on the right time to do that. It’s almost like a new business and I would need a whole team to manage that.

If you could dress anyone in your designs, who would it be? I’d love to one day dress Cate Blanchett in the collection.

Your designs have been seen in the pages of American Vogue. What’s it like when you have to show your collection to Anna Wintour – is that daunting? Yes, it’s very daunting [laughs]. I still get very nervous in those situations. I think that I am becoming more comfortable in those scenarios but it definitely takes some practice. It’s never not scary [laughs]!

What is she like? She has a very intelligent perspective view on fashion and was very interested in speaking about my business and where my clothes were made and getting a real understanding to what kind of designer I was. She comes at it from a business perspective, which is great. You can see that from all the American designers she has supported; she’s very good at foresting them as really strong businesses.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Hopefully working between Australia and New York and continuing to work with new and exciting people and continuing to be really inspired by what I’m doing.

What do you do in your spare time? I always try and do something that takes me away from my work. I try and go away a bit and make the most of my weekends. I went to Tasmania a couple of weekends ago and New Zealand a few weeks before that. I just try to explore and go to new places and do some hiking.

If you didn’t become a designer, what would you have done? I would have explored film and potentially explored directing. I really love the creative-direction elements of my role … and trying to convey a strong feeling, and would love to explore that in film.

Will you ever pursue directing? Yes, I would definitely love to do that. Film or sculpture, I would definitely love another creative profession that allowed me to explore the ideas [that I have] in a different way.

What are some of your favourite films? I love  Michel Gondry films. He’s a French director, his films are often very abstract and, I suppose, surreal in ways, and I love things that mix an element of things that are quite realistic with techniques that are quite abstract and surreal.

See behind the scenes from this interview on Fashion Bloggers on Thursday at 9:30pm on Foxtel’s E! channel.BITE SIZE

WE WENT TO La Porte Space, Waterloo.

WE ATE Cakes and pastries.

WE DRANK Coffee and tea