Myer boss Bernie Brookes has admitted there will be "a degree of awkwardness" in dealing with designer Kym Ellery if the department store succeeds in a legal bid to force her back into its stable.
But he seems in no mood to back down from the courtroom stoush, sparked when the 29-year-old designer allegedly broke her exclusivity deal with Myer by signing a deal with rival David Jones.
Ellery's glamorous frocks were a notable absence as Myer launched its autumn racewear range in front of a roomful of lunching ladies at Melbourne's Flemington Racecourse on Wednesday.
Last month, DJ's opened their autumn-winter launch show with one of her designs, draped over the frame of ubermodel Miranda Kerr.
"You've got the same person signing an exclusive deal with two department stores," Brookes said.
"I think people will make their own decision as to the merit of that, but we're going to pursue this," he said.
"We're increasingly confident that we've got the very logical case to say that she has to continue to supply us."
He said the department store had a $1.5 million order with Ellery and wanted the clothes.
"It will be a degree of awkwardness but we funded Kym to go to [US trade event] G'Day LA, we funded her on catwalks, we funded her on a number of events, and we've invested to build the brand - and she's invested in Myer.
"It's a shame that she came to the extent that she decided to do this, but the relationship ... it's no good saying we'll all be high-fiving at the end of it."
The case is set down for trial in the Victorian Supreme Court next month in front of Justice Michael Sifris.
Gloves are on
Brookes was speaking after a fashion parade that featured models in racing get-ups that featured extravagant hatinators, including one that looked like a radar dish and another that resembled a leather do-rag.
Racing is both one of Brookes' passions and a big part of Myer's promotional strategy.
But the chain has yet to sign a new deal with the Victoria Racing Club to extend its sponsorship of the spring racing carnival, which expired after last year's Melbourne Cup.
"Over the next week, hopefully, we'll be in a situation where we're getting closer and closer to hopefully doing a deal with them [the VRC]," Brookes said. "The VRC have been tremendous in the early discussions. We're working in good faith and fingers crossed that we can do a deal over the next few days or the next week."
It's an important time of year for Myer - Brookes reckons that last year Myer sold 12,000 pairs of cufflinks and 22,000 hats and fascinators in the nine weeks leading up to the carnival.
"Gloves will be in this year - that's my only fashion tip," he said.
Time to re-Joyce
Perhaps Gina Rinehart was stewing after being demoted from the position of the world's richest woman by Forbes magazine. Perhaps she was distracted by the legal stoush with her kids. Whatever the reason, CBD can't help but notice Her Roy Hill Highness didn't put as much of her usual heart and soul into her latest column in Australian Resources & Investment Magazine.
Instead, she devoted it to reprinting most of her "Christmas reading", a piece from The Spectator Australia by Senator Barnaby "Barnyard" Joyce.
The line taken by the National Party senator will seem awfully familiar to anyone who has enjoyed Rinehart's previous efforts.
Come to think of it, has anyone ever seen them in the same room?
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