Thursday, May 21, 2015

VIPs Only !

You have to hand it you nightclub entrepreneur Karim Gharbi who rules the roost at Double Bay's Casablanca nightclub. His new VIP venture is a much needed service for Sydney : the concept is a one-stop-shop for anyone that wants the very best this city has to offer. Whether it's a Lear Jet on standby, the best suite at one of this cities luxurious hotels, the best table at our world renowned restaurants or just perhaps the latest Rolls Royce to ferry you from point to point, Gharbi promises to smooth the way. And we love his 5 day cosmetic package that will rejuvenate the most jaded.
How appropriate that Karim should launch his business at the amazing Penthouse at the Top of The Town in Kings Cross.
The above vista is just part of the sensational view from one of Sydney's secret party spots. And yes, the Roller with the open doors greeted us upon arrival. No, the pushbike does not belong to Whispers (we walked) but we can report that magnums of Moet & Chandon flowed for one of Sydney's best parties of the year. Whispers approved. And we aren't even VIPS!. Russian oligarchs should form an orderly queue.

A Feel Good Story

If you have not encountered Sydney solicitor Christopher Murphy (on the left) - it's probably a good thing !
Don't get us wrong. Murphy is one of the most sought after criminal lawyers in Australia. He's also contributed to many newspapers with regular columns and he's one of those lawyers that goes into bat for the underprivileged.
Murphy is also great pals with many of this cities most notable personalities from all walks of life : sports persons. politicians, movie stars and business people.
This is all by the way of introducing a nice little poem penned by Chris' young son Jesse. Whispers thinks it's a pretty neat poem in that sort of extensional manner in which children (Jesse is 9!) somehow have the ability to cut to the chase and tell the truth. Out of the mouth of babes etc etc.
Others agree including broadcaster Alan Jones (above centre) who read out Jesse's work on radio and Whisper's favourite thespian Russel Crowe who tweeted his appreciation this morning.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

When Aussie Stars Arrive

Have you ever been to Cannes. Whispers has several times. During Summer the lovely town is the ideal French resort. Meanwhile the Cannes Film Festival is an experience everyone should have at least once. The whole town is in a party mood and every day is an adventure.

The Cannes Festival may not have invented publicity stunts but producers and publicists sure refined the art at this movie festival where just about anything no matter how outrageous will garner precious column inches throughout the world and in the hundreds of European glossy gossip mags. Here are a selection of two Aussie stars Miranda Kerr and Naomi Watts snapped at several events and this is just the beginning!. On the right is former Oz soapie star Simon Baker arriving at Cannes Airport.
(pics :AgenceFrancaisTele)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Another Opening

The good and great are gathering at the brand new Nobu Hotel City of Dreams today in Manila where the owners will celebrate with a few ceremonies and cocktail parties,. Amongst those owners are James Packer and actor Robert De Niro who have teamed up on several projects. One person who won't be there is the Sydney journalist who requested an invitation - several journalists and photographers have been bussed in for the weekend. Apparently a hapless pr girl who submitted the name of said hack to Packer was left red-faced when the mogul pointed out in his inimitable style that the writer was on his media 'enemies' list.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Growing Up

It doesn't seem that long ago when the 'scandal' erupted in Australia that billionaire Dick Pratt had fathered a daughter with the vivacious socialite and lawyer Shari Lea Hitchcock.

Now 17 years old, Paula Sarah Hitchcock was spotted out on the town this week with mum Shari-Lea and a school chum at the launch of Karim Gharbi's VIP venture hosted at the swish Penthouse at the Top of The Town in Darlinghurst.

Polish born Pratt who died in 2009 left a tidy sum to Paula that includes over $22M, a $7M Watsons Bat house on Sydney's harbour and a country property. Paula, who looks  like her late dad, is set to become a fixture on the Sydney circuit.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sin City Sensation

 It's never dull in Sydney which in it's long and varied career has been called Sin City and once had a reputation as the "Chicago of The South Seas" due to it's fierce gang rivalries.
Where else could noted Captains Of Industry be found battling in smart Woolloomooloo restaurants or even a Bondi street when media moguls James Packer and David Gyngel engaged in clumsy fisticuffs (over a woman?) and now the latest bunfight that involved another media name John Singleton (worth a reputed $300M) and hamburger giant Jack Cowan (worth over $900M) who doubles up as a director of the huge Fairfax Media outlets.
There was even a claim the dust-up that had an excited Singleton, who from all accounts attacked Cowan over an alleged sleight to his drinking preference- rose wine instead of a butch beer - that it was the lack of female companions that caused the fisticuffs.
The last time Whispers encountered the amiable Singleton was at the launch of his new Balmain bar (pictured with pal, former PM Bob Hawke) and before that was when he hosted the launch, along with Paris Hilton of his Bondi Blonde Beer at the uber smart Icebergs Restaurant.
above : bringing urban sophistication to Sydney: Karim Gharbi and a bevy of beauties
How timely then that nightclub boss Karim Gharbi should be launching his new VIP venture tonight at an exclusive party at an inner city penthouse (we'll be there). His services surely will be in demand for visiting VIPs and even local ones who wish to avoid the pitfalls that see them on the front pages of the nation's tabloids.

Lunching with The Cerrones

The happy looking group above all attended jeweler Nic Cerrone's now legendary Mother's Day lunch. Nic(left) is one of the countries most amiable purveyors of gorgeous gens and has happy customers world-wide with many beating a path to his sumptious Leichhardt premises or his Double Bay boutique.
He's also logged up a raft of international awards for his designs.
Most visiting stars including Barbra Streisand drop by his store (she also dined with Nic and family at their Hunters Hill mansion.)
Weekends for the Cerrones are spent at their Bowral retreat when they aren't hosting the well heeled. Amongst his recent creations was a $200,000 engagement ring for Lara Bingle during her doomed romance with cricket captain Michael Clarke. Perhaps he can whip one up for actor Sam Worthington !

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Slipping Standards ?

One aspect overlooked in the reporting of the glamorous fundraising event  to aid The Costume Institute in New York, the 2015 Met Ball which is chaired by the Queen of New York Society Vogue high priestess Anna Wintour, was the inclusion of guests who normally wouldn't get a look-in at the snooty end of New York society.
Whispers has attended a few of these events and even at a ticket price of $25,000 a head, there is a waiting list of the well heeled anxious to crash into Big Apple society. Two celebrities that have been denied a seat in the past were finally allowed to put their ample assets on show : Kim Kardashian and Beyonce were first-timers at the gala with it's Chinese theme to reflect a current costume exhibition on show. Also there was Wendi Murdoch and her daughter Grace.
Right : Wendi & Grace Murdoch

Pictures by Nicholas Hunt & Clint Spaulding for 
Photography by Nicholas Hunt and Clint Spaulding for - See more at:

Monday, May 4, 2015

More 'royal' nonsense

For a newspaper chain that hyperventilated over PM Tony Abbott's granting of a knighthood to Prince Phillip, the Fairfax newspapers are at again claiming 'Royalty' attended the Logies in Melbourne last night. Who we ask?
Surely not Tom Parker Bowles whose mum happens to be Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall?. Parker Bowles is of course neither Royalty or has a peerage title and is a commoner (perhaps not as common as us)
Perhaps they meant the frumpily dressed Conchita?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

It's A Girl !..but not a Princess yet

Not long ago we chided a Sydney columnist for gushing that Royalty, in the form of horse loving Zara Phillips, had attended the Magic Millions on the Gold Coast in Queensland. Zara is a commoner as are all children born to those with Royal titles unless HM The Queen confers titles upon them.
Of course Her Maj usually does as a matter of course unless the parents decide otherwise as in Zara's case where her parents HH Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips decided to turn down the offer.
While a colonial writer and even a New York paper (as out pic shows) may be forgiven for making a common mistake, it's unacceptable for British newspapers who have also elevated the Duchess & Duke of Cambridge's newly born daughter to Princess status when, in reality she is a commoner at this stage. Talk about slack fact checking!.
Nothing is guaranteed in the world of Royalty where they ( and their handlers / courtiers) more than anyone judge the mood of the general public.
 Kate and William may just decide to accept no title for the new bub,
Time will tell but I'm sure she's a little princess in their eyes.

Fairfax Fail : The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have both failed in the fact checking
department. Are we being pedantic?. I think not as this indicates how journalists these days fail to do the most basic fact checking.
Calling the new baby a "princess" is simply wrong until the Monarch confers a title upon her.
In fact she will not even strictly be a 'royal' unless she is given a peerage as well which is why her parents were created the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge which is also why her grandfather Prince Phillip was created the Duke of Edinburgh before he married the Queen so that she would not be marrying a commoner.
Last month with such sloppy fact-checking we had 2 large publishers killing of Australian actress Nell Campbell on the claim she was comedienne Tracey Ullman's mother.
# Even Whispers is less than perfect. We did forget that the recently born and now (created by the Monarch of Great Britain) Her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of Cambridge was a Lady from the word go. Being the daughter of a Duke & Duchess she is entitled to that title.
Critics again have attacked me for being pedantic which is nonsense. British titles are a powerful legal entity crafted over centuries of law making. The new Royal Princess could one day also be the Queen of Australia. We aren't a Republic yet (if ever) and it's sad that major media outlets in this country can display such ignorance. What other mistakes are they making?
It's remarkable that newspapers that lived and breathed the late princess Diana have ignored the fact that she felt the cruelest blow to her after divorcing the future King, Prince Charles was losing her Royal status.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Newtown wants Cate Blanchett

Cate at the Sydney Theatre Company
The decline of Sydney's King Cross and the legendary 'Golden Gay Mile' of nearby Oxford Street is having unexpected consequences. Double Bay as we reported previously is becoming the location for smart nightclubs like Karim Gharbi's Casablanca and the Pelicano Bar.
But Newtown, the densely populated suburb much favoured by students at the nearby Sydney University is positively booming.
The main street is packed with restaurants of all stripes, coffee shops, gay hotels, smart and alternative boutiques along with second hand and designer furnishing stores.

Now an ambitious plan is underway to attract Oscar winner Cate Blanchett to a newly renovated theatre, The Hub which is ideally located slap bang in the centre of Newtown and directly opposite the subway station.
The Hub at various stages during it's lifetime
The property developing Vlattas family have invested $500,000 in refitting the 100 year old Vaudeville theatre that has done time as a porno cinema amongst it's varied and often sad life.
The Vlattas' are also part owners of the nearby Enmore Theatre, now the only live venue in the inner city.
Whispers attended the opening of Mel Spencer's Green Room bar next to the Enmore Theatre along with Russell Crowe and Danielle Spencer (and our favourite crooner Kamahl)
left : Kamahl with Adam Spencer at the Green Room
Chris Vlattas is hoping that Blanchett who has had such a stellar success with her Sydney Theatre Company productions will take up an offer to lease the 1500 seat Hub.
The Seal Of Approval that Newtown is now a serious contender as the up and coming suburb for the smart young set surely must be the fact that Australia's most ambitious and successful nightclub entrepreneur Justin Hemmes has purchased the nearby Queen Victoria Hotel in Enmore for $11M. below Justin Hemmes & his new purchase

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Water Diviner in LA

Russell Crowe's The Water Diviner has just premiered in Los Angeles as our exclusive snaps show and the movie looks set to be a box office success in the USA after receiving great reviews.

Pictured are the cast (above) and also Crowe with co-star Steve Bastoni (right).

Recipe for Good Looks

Since arriving in Sydney around 20 years Whispers has often seen Deborah Hutton around town. And she doesn't seem to have changed a bit. Vivacious, impeccably groomed and very good looking. What is her secret? Is in the genes or is it what she eats?.
Deborah has now launched her first recipe book so perhaps that will give a clue. Here is a lovely snap of her from the launch on Friday night. Doesn't she look great !
The book My Love Affair With Food is published by Women's Weekly - Deborah is an ambassador for Australia's top selling mag - so it will be available everywhere including newsagents, 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Simon Says

Nicholas Huxley, Simon Lock & Patty Huntington
When fashion entrepreneur Simon Lock launched the first Mercedes Benz Australian Fashion Week twenty years ago there were only 4 rival events around the world : New York, Paris, Milan and London. Now there are over 200 similar events and they are all backed by Mercedes due to Lock convincing the German auto firm that fashion was the ideal way to bridge a gap with a new generation who associated the cars with a fuddy duddy older generation.

Simon has now put pen to paper to produce In The front Row, his story in getting the hugely successful fashion event off the ground. Launching his book last night at the Design Residency in Darlinghurst Lock paid tribute to some of those who were there at the beginning and stuck with him : amongst several : designer Peter Morrisey who quipped "that was the last time I owned my only label", Akira Isogawa - a friend begged Simon to take on newbie Akira whose first show was so successful that the boss of uber smart London boutique Browns elbowed her way down the catwalk afterwards to snap up the entire collection, Carla Zampatti and the famous seating manager John Flower who wielded ultimate power with seating plans before his recent retirement and hence- the title of the book.
Left to Right : Bianca Spender, Carla Zampatti, David Bush Mary Shackman, Akira Isogawa, Kirstie Clements
 Attending the first few years of Sydney's fashion week were unforgettable experiences with the cream of European & American fashion writers, models and identities jetting into town. Things have quietened down over the last few years but they have just about everywhere as the industry changes with the digital age.
In The front Row will be a must read for anyone hoping for a fashion career.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Kings Cross loss = Double Bay's gain

 Kings Cross' controversial 'lock-out laws' are crucifying nightlife in the famous Sydney night spot suburb (although strip clubs are still thriving) but aiding nearby suburbs not covered by the laws. The gay 'golden mile' of Oxford Street is also finding the going difficult with empty premises popping up overnight. The once vibrant street that contained more gay and lesbian nightclubs during the 80s & 90s per square mile that any other city on the planet is slowly dying. Meanwhile the Cross had, as of yesterday, 45 empty premises available for rent.Benefiting is the harbour side suburb of Double Bay just 2 miles from the Cross which is now booming with packed pubs on the weekend and 2 notable nightclubs that are filled to the rafters from Thursday to Sunday. Local restaurants are often booked out and coffee shops-there are nearly 100 in the Bay alone- are well patronised. Pictured above :  Karim Gharbi & Michael Clarke
The Pelicano restaurant and bar is the venue of choice for the so-called smart set but Casablanca run by Karim Gharbi is giving it a run for it's money. As our exclusive pic shows, recently retired Aussie cricket captain Michael Clarke celebrated his 34th birthday at the venue on Thursday evening.
Pelicano Restaurant & Bar
Oxford Street (left) full of empty shops while Kings Cross' strip joints are surviving

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Madness continues..

Now the giant US Weekly gossip magazine has also 'killed off' Australian actress Nell Campbell by publishing this photo claiming it is comedienne Tracey Ullman and her late mother Doreen Skinner who tragically died in a house fire last week. The photo, by one the world's top paparazzo Ron Galella shows Little Nell ( as she was called for years in Australia) and Tracey at a social event. Galella would never make such a mistake and his pictures would be carefully captioned. It's most unusual for an American publication to make such a mistake. They pride themselves on their fact checking down to the finest detail.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Daily Mail Fail

It's all the rage with newspapers these days- firing sub-editors and while they do the bloopers keep piling up. The latest is this  tragic story about comedian Tracey Ullman whose mother sadly passed away in a house-fire. To illustrate the news the UK Daily Mail has used a photograph they label as Tracey and her mother Doreen Skinner,
Alas the photo is actually of Tracey and Australian actress Little Nell who starred in the film of the Rocky Horror Show. Nell and Tracey are about the same age as is evident in the picture.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Letter from Washington


Right is our exclusive picture of the US President Barack Obama greeting Aussie indigenous star Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu at the White House after he performed there for the Prez and guests last week.
Geoffrey is still waiting to be invited to perform at Admiralty House but there is time. 
See a video of  Geoffrey singing 'Wiyathul', taken from the album 'Gurrumul' here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

End of an Era as Bill Bows Out

A chapter in Sydney's social history ends today as Man About Town and social snapper Bill Ranken hangs up his camera to retire to his country property. Home for Bill now is a magnificent sheep and cattle property about 3 hours from Sydney and just outside Goulbourn.
Lockesly has been in the family for several generations and is regarded as one of the finest properties in NSW with it's Georgian house, beautiful gardens and acres of rolling hills. Bill, at 86 years of age still takes an active hand on weekends, planting trees and sorting sheep. He will also pen his memoirs.
It's great loss for Whispers not only as a valuable source but someone who we spoke to almost every night to 'debrief' each other on the day's activities.
With Bill's keen sense of a humour and his ability not to take anything seriously- most especially himself, we could chat & laugh for an hour each night exchanging delicious titbit's which could not possibly be used in print.
Whispers first met Bill Ranken many moons ago at the Mayfair Gallery in London when he arrived
as the escort of the late HH Princess Margaret.
Peering at one of British painters Gilbert & George's giant canvases that detailed -well best to look up their history of painting- we overheard Bill saying to Margaret :"don't look too closely dear or it may put you off the canapes and champagne".
The Sydney & Southern Highland's newspapers LatteLife have penned a farewell piece to Bill which gives more insight into the life of this fascinating chap:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spotted Today

Lunching at Wolfies at Circular Quay today, Thai visitor Yotin Chaijanla with Irish performer Sinead O'Connor who will perform at the Sydney Opera House on Thursday evening.

The perils of firing your sub-editors : Top Lawyer Christopher Murphy is elevated to QC level in

Seen at The Silver Party

400 packed into John Symond's $60M Point Piper mansion -plenty of room- which was transformed into A Midsummer Night’s cocktail scene for the Silver Party's 9th annual bash to raise mega bucks for the Sydney's Children's Hospital.Amongst them - retired cricketer Stuart McGill and Julie Singleton, Skye Leckie, Karin Upton Baker, Nicky and Troy Tindill, Blainey North, Peter Overton, Lisa Wilkinson, Jesinta Campbell and a Wiggle or two, all shown in our snaps below.  Left is some of art-lover John's garden art.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Masked Man

When Whispers first encountered the amiable make-up supremo Napoleon Perdis many moons ago it was at the opening of his Parramatta salon on a Thursday afternoon. A small coterie of locals had gathered by the red carpet to watch the celebrations including 2 senior citizens who politely inquired of us whether the 2 tall elegant ladies ascending the salon stairs were "soapie stars". Alas we didn't have the heart to inform them that were actually drag queens, albeit fairly glamorous ones.

Napoleon has risen to giddy heights of stardom with salons all over the world including Beverley Hills (California!) where he is in huge demand especially by movie stars on the night of the Academy Awards but now he has turned his back on "high maintenance celebrities " according to this article.
Fortunately our home grown celebrities are still in favour as evidenced by society favourite, hair dresser Joh Bailey who wore what was acclaimed as the most superb mask of the evening created by Napoleon for the Silver Ball last week at John Symonds' Point Piper house.
A Tale of Two Cities:
Our favourite, sometimes loathed (it's really the very best & worst of the tabloids in the world) the UK Daily Mail and Mail Online has differing thoughts for each country where it appears. Thus the terrible aeroplane accident involving superstar Harrison Ford was reported somewhat differently in the UK and Australia. Perhaps they perceive us colonials are made of sterner stuff  when they described Ford's injuries as "moderate" in the UK but "serious" in Oz!