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Fashionista – Donna-May Bolinger (2004)


Donna-May Bolinger has attempted to move beyond designing shoes, to incorporate a feminist history in her work – in this case, the biography of an early 20th century circus artiste.

Curator’s notes

Lee Lin Chin and Donna-May attempt a serious discussion about whether a woman can actually wear the stilettos on show in Donna-May’s showroom. The designer informs Lee Lin Chin that the two hours you may have to stand at a cocktail party in pain is actually worth it.

Donna-May designs shoes with the sort of engineering to make even stilettos comfortable, she says… It would be interesting to see how the shoes are constructed in her workshop and how Ms Bolinger got into this world of making shoes and where she finds her artisans. In fact, although Italy has thousands of small ateliers for making high quality designs, these are very hard to find in Australia. She has recently solved part of her dilemma by sourcing artisans in Asia and finishing the work in Australia. This has kept her competitive in the world of shoe manufacturing, one that has struggled to remain solvent in the new global market place.

Lee Lin Chin is an SBS icon and has been with the multicultural broadcaster since the late 1980s. Her idiosyncratic fashion style and speech mannerisms have made her a much-loved and much-parodied television personality. She was born in Singapore where she began her media career. Her fashion sense and love of designer clothing made her the natural choice as the presenter of Fashionista. She’s a self-confessed fashion junkie. She loves to try on the fashion range of whichever designer she’s featuring and manages to look stunning in most of the outfits. Whether she’s laughing at herself in one of the designer outfits or talking seriously about the business of fashion design, the program is always interesting.