A perfect 10

SAMSON’S Deborah Mckendrick has been a fashion designer since the early 80s and has experienced the ups and downs of the fickle industry.

Recalling the highs, she describes how her Eldorado brand became very popular on the back of America’s Cup fever.

“Eighty four to 86 was boom and bust,” she says.

“We had a great time, it was cutting edge.

“We did denim suits and silks, but with outrageous cuts.”

• As a former minister in the Rudd government, a United Nations human rights lawyer, an advocate for protecting human genes from commercial exploitation and defender or refugee rights, former Fremantle MP Melissa Parke has been a great role model. Now she’s turned to being a top model for a Freo fashion designer celebrating her 10th year.

But Mckendrick eventually left Eldorado and the chaotic world of fashion saw her career take a few detours—including freelance designing and working with renowned WA choreographer Chrissie Parrot—before the designer opened Velvet Sushi in Fremantle in 2007.

McKendrick’s costumes for Parrott’s production of Coppelia earned her a prestigious Helpmann award nomination.

And culture vulture Natalie Hug, the Chook’s advertising director, reckons the costumes were stunning and are her favourite from all the productions of Coppelia she has seen.

Now in its 10th year, Velvet Sushi’s “luxury loungewear and travel clothing” range is designed for mature women.

“Women of the world, they have a bit of attitude and usually are travelled and still working,” Mckendrick says.

The range starts off with the classic “little black dress”, tops, pants and skirts.

If black isn’t your thing, there’s a heap of fabrics to choose and match from.

Because items have custom-made necklines and sleeves can be altered, making the small collection seem endless.

Mckendrick says they are perfect for travelling and “pass the crush test, the pick me up off the floor test, the last minute chuck me in the dryer test, and best of all, the test of time.”

• Photos by David Woolley

Former Fremantle federal MP Melissa Parke, has been a customer for years, and it was an ice blue Mckendrick creation she wore when she walked down the aisle multi-millionaire Warwick Hemsley last year.

Ms Parke was the model in a photo shoot to mark the label’s 10th year anniversary, wearing a selection of velvet outfits, as she poses in a series of film noir settings.

It’s the MP as voters have never seen her—gone is the reserved manner.

“She is sexy, dangerous and sophisticated,” Mckendrick says.

The photos will feature in a “luxurious filmic adventure exhibition to celebrate VS’s birthday at the Velvet Sushi Street, art gallery, 5 Bannister Street, Fremantle. Friday August 4, 5.30pm. For more information go to velvetsushi.com.au or call Deborah on 0421 965 549.

by JENNY D’ANGER

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