Fashions in the courtroom

Fashions in the courtroom

Mwah! Mwah! Fabulous darling! Fashion designer Kym Ellery squared off against department store Myer in the Victorian Supreme Court on Monday as Australia's most

on-trend trial got under way.

Myer says it has an exclusive deal with the fashionista and is trying to stop her flogging her wares through rival David Jones.

But you'd barely know there was any strife from a "backgrounder" sent out by Ellery's flack, Robyn Catinella of EVH PR.

The 1690-word document waxes lyrical about Ellery's "innate sense of style and fashion-forward designs", "daring combinations of textures", her "multi-faceted collection that combined modernity with classicism", the "effortlessly chic attitude" of her brand and even the "hand-crafted, maple timber parquetry ceiling, mirrored pyramid walls, deconstructed white brick and Belgium linen drapes" gracing her shop, leaving just 29 words to spare when it came to the actual matter before the court. And those words are just an instruction to contact Norton Rose partner Stephen Klotz for more information.

True rumour

Last month CBD brought news that QBE was shifting headquarters from its creaking Pitt Street building to the posh new 8 Chifley Square in Sydney - a nugget dismissed by the insurer's PR operative as mere speculation.

So speculative was this information that on Monday Chifley Square co-owner Mirvac pointed out QBE had signed on for the top four floors of the 30-storey tower. The higher altitude is presumably so QBE can spot storms before they give trouble.

Manly leader

Sydney-based website Aquabumps posts daily photos of the city's beaches to its online newsletter. Office workers who subscribe get a daily reminder of what they are missing: the beach, with great photos and a few paragraphs.

As it says in its self-description, "Aquabumps depicts images of waves, surfers (good and bad), swimmers, sunrises and whatever happens in the wee hours down the beach every weekday".

On Monday at Manly it encountered one surfer. "I surfed with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott this morning. I sure hope he's better at running a government than surfing." Was Abbott threatening to stop the waves?

HTM looks to risk

What's the old saying about being better to be a client of a stockbroker than to own one? After a string of losses and months of soul-searching, stockbroker Wilson HTM declared on Monday it still had faith in free markets. "After due consideration it [Wilson HTM] has concluded that it is in the best interests of shareholders for the group to remain listed on the Australian Securities Exchange," chief Andrew Coppin told investors. Wilson's investors are mostly the broker's staff and near-20 per cent owner Deutsche Bank. With gold taking a beating, Coppin said, investor appetite for risk was returning. Wilson's brokerage volumes are up 22 per cent in the past year.

Crown prince

James Packer's listed gaming empire, Crown, no longer has substantial shareholders apart from Slim Jim after Perpetual continued its sell-down from 8.5 per cent in September.

The relationship between Perpetual and Crown probably never recovered from differences of opinion over Crown's Echo Entertainment Group brawl. Last year, Perpetual refused to support Packer's attempts to roll Echo's chairman, John Story, and the billionaire's thwarted push to install his representative, Jeff Kennett, on the board. All this led to radio parrot Alan Jones' outburst against Perpetual bigwig Matt Williams, accusing one of Australia's top stock-pickers of lacking experience and judgment.

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