The new issue of Manuscript, the quarterly men's fashion magazine I edit and publish, is on newsstands today, with the incomparable musician Kirin J Callinan on its cover.
When I first started commissioning stories for this issue, I didn't realise that one would answer the question another poses. That is: where have all the rock stars gone? Contributing features editor Jonathan Seidler bemoans the lack of sartorial, creative, emotional and sexual power of contemporary Australian music's frontmen, citing Michael Hutchence and Nick Cave as some of the last true icons. And yet turn to page 48 of the issue, and there's Kirin J Callinan, priest of the underground music scene, fresh off a global tour spruiking his new album. He's got the stage stricks, the fashion wit and the musical talent that had so near vanished in the broader industry, which is probably why some people find it hard to digest. As Josh Hall writes of recent concerts in our cover story, there have been walkouts and punches thrown.
Our cover shoot wasn't at all stress-free - countless reschedules, late flights, irate taxi drivers - but I think you'll agree that it's one of our finest. Mr Callinan has been made out somewhat negatively in the press (Mr Hall cites a less-than-flattering review of his Sugar Mountain Festival performance on The Vine) and his music videos, usually in collaboration director Kris Moyes, are aggressive, intense. He's a subversive character, yes, but we wanted to strip that all back (literally so in one shot) and show a softer side - the polite, emotionally complex, intelligent being behind the stage persona.
If the theme for the issue is about outsiders, then Thom Browne is a similarly perfect inclusion. The New York-based designer, known for wearing his own grey suits as a daily uniform, has managed to completely revolutionise the form of menswear with his brand of shrunken, fitted suiting. Since Hedi Slimane made popular the cigarette-skinny look around the turn of the millennium, no other designer has altered the way we men dress more than Mr Brown: the cropped trousers-and-no socks look that's been going around the past few summers, the cropped jackets that define suiting today - all thanks to that one grey suit. We celebrate the designer's fall collection with a series of images shot on the streets of New York City with an all-Aussie team (including regular Manuscript models Jordan and Zac Stenmark) that, too, will no doubt come to have an effect on how we dress, even if we can't see past the fur trims and Amish hats just yet.
I welcome a host of new faces to the magazine this issue - writer and curator Alison Kubler, photographer Romain Duquesne and hair stylist Michele McQuillan among them - but the newest of all are the up-and-coming menswear designers profiled in our second annual portfolio of fashion design graduates (page 86). This year selected from over 30 submissions, Jack Hancock, Vlad Kanevsky, Tim Watson, Evelyn Wong and Mia Zielinski are some of the most innovative, exciting and skilled young creatives I've personally encountered and I watch in awe as they fly the coop to begin what are sure to be successful careers in the industry. Already Mr Watson and Ms Zielinski are working at Thom Browne and Bernhard Willhelm, respectively. Who said Australia wasn't a gold mine of talent?
Manuscript issue 07 is on sale in Australia today, $6. See here for more details.