Wheels & Dollbaby is one of my favorite brands, having discovered it age 15 by reading Australian teen mag, Dolly. The brand was unlike anything I'd ever seen, clothes drenched in rock & roll fused with feminine style and a touch of sleek 50's tailoring. I grew up with Wheels & Dollbaby, who just celebrated their 25th anniversary. Melanie Greensmith (below) was born in London, and her Mum was a Bluebell showgirl at the Lido in Paris. "I grew up with that naughty but feminine thing". Melanie spent her childhood playing dress ups in her Mum's wardrobe and making dresses out of nighties. In her teens in London, she was taken by punk edged, subversive designers like by Vivienne Westwood, Boy of London and rising star John Galliano. She hung out with musos, making them clothes.
"I love glamour, but I also love hanging out with sexy guys in bands. Dressing them seemed like a really clever way to get to know them." Melanie took off overseas at 19 ending up in Australia where she launched the first Wheels & Dollbaby store in Sydney in 1997, basing the name of her & boyfriend's nick names. The day before she opened it's doors, Michael Jackson popped by and ordered a customized leather jacket for his Bad tour. Inspired by vintage, art deco and rock & roll and rock chicks such as Debbie Harry (who is a friend), Anita Pallenberg & Marianne Faithfull.
''I've spent years making the hot girls look the hottest they can be. I only want to do what I like.'' Sydney Morning Herald.
Pics from campaigns and Perth Fashion Festival
"While other people disappeared along the way from heroin or spent it all on cocaine, I just kept making clothes and saving." Over the years the rock & roll glam style of W&D has become a firm fave with cool girls - check out the roll-call below.
Living in Sydney in the noughties I was always in their Darlinghurst store just off Oxford St, with the black & white striped canopy. It was my one-stop shop for fitted Tees & Tanks with original prints, cool party dresses and coquettish tops. I'd marvel at the gorgeous punk Dollbaby shopgirls, leopard print carpet and French Louis XV style furniture. Melanie's house is decked out similarly in crystal luster lamps, chandeliers, chaise lounges, gilt mirrors, vintage trinkets & velvet, accumulated from various trips to Europe. "It's a bit '70s rock'n'roll, a bit mock-tudor mansion."
Melanie is now with long-term partner Mark McEntee from The Divinyls, and he played at their 25th Anniversary show yesterday at Perth fashion week, with long term buddy Katy Steele from Perth band Little Birdy (below, in punk W&D shirt) stepping in for lead singer Chrissie Amphlett. Here are some pics from the 25th Anniversary show @ Perth Fashion Festival 2011.
Perth stunner Nicole Trunfio