Friday, March 6, 2015

Winners are Grinners

Meet Sarah Salmon (pictured right) who last night picked up the Veuve Clicquot 2015 Business Woman  Award in the New Generation section (those under 40 years of age)

Sarah along with her mum Jan Slater from Swan Hill in Victoria have spent nine years building up their business, Simply Rose Petals. 
Together with a small staff they freeze dry the petals and ship them around the world to customers for all sorts of occasions. Rose petals are popular for weddings and being biodegradable they won't ruin or stain a bride's dress or leave any mess for an aging vicar to sweep up. They've even supplied petals for the opening of a US  department store.
 We think Sarah deserves her award- she wins a trip to France. And guests at the awards party in East Sydney got to toast Sarah with Veuve Clicquot Rosé (naturally) and vintage champagnes and that is  a very good thing.   Check out the Simply Rose Petals' website here.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Julia is all Smiles

 It is without a doubt, one of Sydney's most elegant mansions in Wolseley Road Point Piper with the most commanding views of the harbour. Ville del Mare was the home of employment agency entrepreneur Julia Ross and had been on the market for some years as Ms Ross relocated her headquarters to London where she originally came from.
Last year the palace finally sold for a whopping $39M to 55-year-old Hong Kong property developer Hui Ka Yan who is listed as China's  15th wealthiest person.
Alas there are problems with the sale and Treasurer Joe Hockey has decided that the sale of the house breached Foreign Investment Review Board rules on foreign ownership. Hockey has given the new owner 90 days to sell or risk having it confiscated  by Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions.
But what news of the former tenant Julia Ross?. We can report that Julia is safely ensconced in grand premises in London's Belgravia and is loving life back in England. With (at least) that $39M.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Vale John Hemmes

Left John & Merivale Hemmes at the opening of the Mr Chow Restaurant
Sad news today that one of Sydney's legendary fashion figures John Hemmes has died at age 83. John and his wife Merivale once were the King & Queen of modern fashion in Australia.
Today their  son Justin Hemmes rules over a nightclub empire with some of Australia's most fantastic night spots from the Establishment to the Beresford Hotel in Surry Hills.
Whispers has a life long history with the Hemmes. At the tender age of 18 we were hired to run a shop owned by their fierce (but friendly) business rival David Sheinberg whose father owned Sydney's Imperial Arcade and a string of fashion stores that were in competition with The House of Merivale, over seen by Merivale Hemmes and which presented Aussies with the very latest overseas fashion. John was always asking us to join his firm and although we declined, we have remained friendly with the family for decades,

John Hemmes was born in Surabaya, Java, Indonesia- his parents were Dutch and he was imprisoned in a Japanese POW camp as a teen before arriving in Australia with little money. Over the next 30 years he and wife Merivale built up a fashion empire. Today son Justin has continued this entrepreneurial spirit with an enviable restaurant and nightclub empire that employs around 5000 people in premises designed by his sister Bettina.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Jesinta Unmasked

Jesinta Campbell attended last night's Silver Party at the splendid Point Piper house of Aussie Home Loan's boss John Symond. Whispers had exclusive access to the grand party (more tomorrow).

Jesinta opted not to wear a mask at the themed masked party and masked little else as well as our snaps show

A couple of very nice snaps of Academy Award winners Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne on winning #Oscars for #bestactress and #bestactor. From New York's Patrick McMullan.
Photos by David Crotty for Patrick McMullan (c)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Subway Sights

If only our own public transport was as handy as New York's famous subway system that is often the only way to travel in that city. Recent sightings have included actors Tom Hanks and Helen Mirren but we have discovered a video of one time Sydney resident Keanu Reeves being very gentlemanly as he offers a lady a seat. Did she realise who he was?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Society Murder

The 2014 murder of Melbourne's top interior designer Stuart Rattle (above) reached it's conclusion yesterday as his killer and partner Michael O'Neill was jailed for 18 years for strangling the decorator. O'Neill was known as “The Talented Mr Ripley” by Rattle's friends due to his propensity to tell lies. Journalist Jan McGuinness wrote a revealing feature on the life of the pair in The Saturday Paper and it's a fascinating read. Go here to read it.

Happy one day...

Just last week the ex-Mrs Packer Jodhi Meares was happily ensconced in the arms of fiance, former INXS singer Jon Stevens at David Jones Autumn Spring fashion show as our exclusive picture shows.
Today police have requested an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) after Stevens was arrested during a fracas with Jodhi in their Point Piper home. Stevens will appear in Waverely Court on Thusday and according to friends is staying with a pal in Potts Point.
## Not a word has appeared in Australian newspapers : the Chinese government is about to clamp down on Chinese citizens traveling abroad on gambling junkets to Australia, Las Vegas Macau and elsewhere. They make up the bulk of cash that flows into these casinos. James Packer has invested $billions in all 3 locations.
Below is the first Royal Selfie from Buckingham Palace. Taken during a birthday party and tweeted for the world to see.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

That Time of the Year Again

We mean it's time for those Autumn Winter fashion shows at David Jones. We love these shindigs and not just because of the copious amounts of French champagne (OK it helps) and great nibbles but..the fashion!. It's all about fashion!
VIP guests (that's us)  entered the event space via a subway tunnel, which opened out onto an urban jungle complete with a live graffiti artist, a paved runway reminiscent of Melbourne city laneways, vivid LED street-style lighting, and a live band of drummers. DJs urged us to dance to our own beat. (we always do but we'll dance to anyone's beat if the champers flows).
Designers on show included Akira, Bianca Spender, Camilla and Marc, Calibre, Carla Zampatti,  Ginger & Smart,Josh Goot, Nicola Finetti and the wonderfully named  The Upside and Vanishing Elephant. Plus tennis ace Mark Philippoussis debuted his collection of sportswear Phl!.
Mark Philippoussis & Silvana Lovin * Richard Roxburgh & Silvia Colloca * Kerri-Anne Kennerley * Luke Sales & Anna Plunkett
Megan Gale    * Jon Stevens & Jodhi Meares       *       Jessica Gomes    *       Tom Williams & Rachel Gilbert

Saturday, January 31, 2015

New York Letter

 Whisper's favourite New Yorker, society snapper Patrick McMullan (above right with James Marshall)- with whom no shindig in the Big Apple is complete without his esteemed presence- sends us some snaps from the Museum of the Moving Image annual fund-raising gala which this year they honored actress Julianne Moore.
 And who did we spot in the crowd? Our very own Melissa George (below) looking mesmerised.
Perth born Melissa is currently filming the US version of the hugely successful Aussie series The Slap written by Christos Tsiolkas and which is being partly produced by the Matchbox Pictures.
Rudy Gaskins & Joan Baker              * Helena Christensen  *          Ellen Barkin  & Kevin Huvane
Rochelle Slovin with Julianne Moore, the honoree of the gala
Steve Buscemi, Rebecca Miller, and Ethan Hawke
All pictures (c) PMc Patrick McMullan

Friday, January 30, 2015

Those AACTA Awards in full


In an unusual though not unprecedented twist, two feature films were awarded the AACTA Award for Best Film; THE BABADOOK (by first-time feature film director, Jennifer Kent) and THE WATER DIVINER (also marking a directorial debut for Russell Crowe).

THE BABADOOK also took home the AACTA Award for Best Direction presented by Hyundai Genesis, and Best Original Screenplay.
Despite a duel for Best Film, Feature Film acting awards were evenly distributed.
David Gulpilil’s performance in CHARLIE’S COUNTRY saw him awarded Best Lead Actor, PREDESTINATION star Sarah Snook was awarded Best Lead Actress, Susan Prior’s performance in THE ROVER earned her Best Supporting Actress and Yilmaz Erdogan was awarded Best Supporting Actor for his role in THE WATER DIVINER.
THE RAILWAY MAN was awarded for Best Adapted Screenplay, whilst THE LEGO MOVIE took home the AACTA Award for Best Visual Effects or Animation.
The AACTA Award for Best Feature Length Documentary went to UKRAINE IS NOT A BROTHEL.


Highlight presentations during the show were for three outstanding individual awards.
AACTA Award winning performer, Rose Byrne, whose career spans Australian and US film and television across drama and comedy, was honoured with the inaugural AACTA Trailblazer Award. Byrne, whose performance in US television series DAMAGES saw her nominated for Golden Globe and Prime Time Emmy Awards, received a tribute from DAMAGES co-star Glenn Close and BRIDESMAIDS co-star Kristen Wiig.
Director, producer, writer Amiel Courtin-Wilson was announced as the recipient of the Byron Kennedy Award, which includes a $10,000 prize, for outstanding creative enterprise within the film and television industries. The Byron Kennedy Award is determined by a jury annually and is given to an individual or organisation whose work embodies innovation and the relentless pursuit of excellence.
Courtin-Wilson’s body of work includes critically acclaimed documentaries CHASING BHUDDA (which received an AFI Award nomination in 2000) and BASTARDY (which he shot over seven years, following the life of Aboriginal elder Jack Charles), and feature films HAIL (which became the first Australian feature film in ten years selected for the Venice International Film Festival) and RUIN (which won Courtin-Wilson and co-director/co-producer Michael Cody a Special Jury Prize at Venice in 2013).
The Byron Kennedy Award jury said: "We have chosen Amiel Courtin-Wilson for his risk taking and evocative storytelling. Amiel has been patiently searching for truth and beauty at the margins of society, making films which have captured the attention of international audiences.”
The highest honour that the Australian Academy can bestow upon an individual is the AACTA Longford Lyell Award (this award was recently renamed from the AACTA Raymond Longford Award in recognition of Lottie Lyell’s contribution to the work of her partner in filmmaking and in life, Raymond Longford).
The AACTA Longford Lyell Award went to one of Australia's most loved and respected writers and producers, Andrew Knight. The Award was presented by Adam Zwar and Dave O’Neil, with special tributes from Eric Bana and Shaun Micallef.
Andrew Knight has written and produced vast oceans of television and several films, across several genres, including comedy series Fast Forward, Full Frontal and The D-Generation (executive producer and head writer); television dramas SeaChange (co-writer and executive producer), After The Deluge (writer and co-producer) and Tripping Over (writer, co-writer and executive producer); and feature films The Water Diviner, Siam Sunset and Spotswood (co-writer).
Andrew was co-owner of Artist Services – one of the top production houses in Australia - subsequently purchased by Granada. He and his shows have won over forty industry awards, including AFI Awards, Logies, AWGIES, and SPA Awards for both his writing and producing. Andrew is widely admired in the screen industry as an excellent collaborator and mentor, whose talent is unique in its diversity.


Marking another strong year for Australian television, the 4th AACTA Awards Ceremony saw a total of eight television programs recognised across 12 television awards.
New drama THE CODE (ABC) led the tally, receiving an impressive four awards: Best Television Drama Series; Best Direction in a Television Drama or Comedy (Episode 1); Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama (Ashley Zukerman); and Best Guest or Supporting Actress in a Television Drama (Chelsie Preston Crayford – Episode 1).
Josh Thomas’s internationally acclaimed PLEASE LIKE ME (ABC2) followed with two wins: Best Screenplay in Television (Episode 2/07: Scroggin), and Best Performance in a Television Comedy (Debra Lawrance).
Working Dog Productions continued its long-time legacy of making Award-winning comedy, beating stiff competition from other ABC favourites including THE MOODYS and SHAUN MICALLEF’S MAD AS HELL, SERIES 3 to take out the AACTA Award for Best Television Comedy Series with new comedy, UTOPIA.
The television acting categories saw first-time AACTA Awards for all winners: Marta Dusseldorp for Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama (JANET KING, ABC); Ashley Zukerman for Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama (THE CODE, ABC); Eamon Farron for Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a Television Drama (CARLOTTA, ABC); Chelsie Preston Crayford for Best Guest or Supporting Actress in a Television Drama (THE CODE, ABC); and Debra Lawrance for Best Performance in a Television Comedy (PLEASE LIKE ME, ABC2).
The AACTA Award for Best Telefeature or Mini Series went to DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND (Foxtel - Showcase).
HAMISH & ANDY’S GAP YEAR ASIA won last year’s AACTA Award for Best Direction in a Television Light Entertainment or Reality Series. Today, the team won the AACTA Award for Best Light Entertainment Television Series with HAMISH & ANDY’s GAP YEAR SOUTH AMERICA (Nine Network).
THE VOICE AUSTRALIA (Nine Network) was announced as the winner of the AACTA Award for Best Reality Television Series, overcoming tough competition from MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA – SERIES 6 (Network Ten), THE X FACTOR (Seven Network) and THE VOICE KIDS (Nine Network) in this category.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sharon's New Career

Feisty party girl Sharon Sargeant who has sold her escort agency (and treated herself to a new Mercedes with the profits) has launched a new career in the media and it's taking off like wildfire
The healthily built Sergeant has not only fronted a Japanese TV commercial shot on Bondi Beach (modestly dressed in full bikini) but has now acted in 2 movies soon to hit the screens.
Sharon has roles in both in the House of Hancock based on the life of Australia's richest woman Gina Rinehart which stars Mandy McElhinney and Sam Neil and the flick that has just been shot in Western Sydney Truth which stars Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford. In Truth Sargeant received plaudits from Blanchett whilst Redford was so impressed he asked Sharon to accompany him in his limo to discuss a possible film project in the USA.
And it seems she has taken Redford up on that offer as our latest snap shows Sargeant and fiancee Frank Monte in Beverley Hills.
Robert Redford              Cate Blanchett                                         Gina Rinehart                              Sam Neil
The  House of Hancock which will appear on our TV screens soon charts the life of billionaire Lang Hancock, his daughter Gina and Lang's marriage to his Filipino maid Rose Porteous.

 right : Frank & Sharon in LA & Rose & Lang in Perth

 Here's Rose in action, below:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

exclusive: What Barry Humphries misses about Australia

Comedian, author and artist Barry Humphries, manager of Mega Star Dame Edna Everage, who lives in London talks about his visits back to Oz:
 "I go straight to Machiavelli in Clarence Street in [Sydney], where I feel instantly at home. There, I have a restorative chicken consommé with parmesan and basil leaves, followed by a langoustine (the best in the world) or a minute steak on a bed of rocket, garlic and tomatoes. With a zabaglione for dessert I am totally restored. Alternatively, I fly to Mildura on the Murray River to Stefano De Pieri's incomparable restaurant at the Brewery, for Murray cod, perfect pasta or whatever delectable meal Stefano places before me. This has to be one of Australia's greatest restaurants."
OK, it is an exclusive but not the Shuttle's. Barry Humphries was talking to journalist  Naomi Chrisoulakis for the superb Aussie magazine Gourmet Traveller.
Naomi interviewed a number of famous ex-pats like Catherine Martin and make-up expert Napoleon Perdis about what they miss about their home country while living abroad. Read the full story here.
Pictured is Barry with his son Oscar at the recent Sydney launch for Oscar's new magazine The Art Book.