Paper Giants: Ita Buttrose an Australian Icon

Ita Buttrose is somewhat of an Australian icon and for those of you reading this from overseas is Australia’s answer to your country’s most well respected fashion magazine editor. Last night Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo aired on the ABC and if Twitter was anything to go by it went off like a frog in a sock. The legend, the fashion, the ground breaking stories and of course, Australia’s first nude male centre fold.

Fast forward almost 40 years and Ita is still very much a media identity having just released her book, ‘A Guide to Australian Etiquette: For All Occasions, From Weddings to Work.’ I was sent out a copy last week and was absolutely thrilled to add it to my library. I’ve been a huge fan of Ita for a long time now(her nail and lip colour always match) and there is of course the etiquette element to the blog as well. I’m hoping to interview Ms.Buttrose some time in the near future and of course will bring you her insights.

Here are some photos from the first ever editions of Cleo magazine and some detailed shots of my tribute outfit…

What I’m wearing:
Dress: Vintage Diane Von Furstenberg purchased on Etsy
Blazer: Belonged to Mother Melbourne in the 1970s
Necklace: It’s actually an earring I hung off a necklace
Heels: Payless Shoes
Purse: Vintage Valentino, again from Etsy

  • Fashionista

    Thanks to modern technology I was able to record Paper Giants and got to watch it only last night (so for the past couple of weeks I have had my fingers in my ears singing lalalala!). Loved it. I didn’t really understand at the time (unfortuantely I’m old enough to remember) but I now see how ground breaking Cleo was. And the costumes. Loving Ita’s wrap dresses and slinky blouse + high waisted pant combos…

  • Kim

    I was also channel surfing when I came across Paper Giants. Ita is a truly remarkable woman who really put the Packers in their place with her “it will work” attitude – eg. Barry Humphreys Cover. The series was really well made and Asher Keddie made a fantastic Ita – she deserves a logie nomination and a win!!

  • Bianca

    I loved Asher Kiddie’s remarkable acting. Her portrayal of Ita Buttrose was outstanding. I have found that since viewing the show, I can’t get Cold Chisel’s “Ita” out of my head.

  • I love how excited everyone is about Paper Giants! We’re so lucky to have an insight into our mothers’ Young Australia, and women like Ita who helped modernise society for women!

    The clothes were amazing also! I LOVED Leslie’s silver silk jacket!

  • Kate

    Paper Giants was brill! Asher Keddie’s portrayal of Ita was uncanny!

    Would love to see some more etiquette posts soon!

  • Lady Melbourne

    Max McDougall- thanks sweet!

    Kate Junior- lucky your surfing paid off 😉

    Emma- ah yes, another superb read I would imagine. Thanks for the note on the bag, I bought it to wear to the Valentino retrospective last year.

    dee- here, here! She sure did.

    Lefanciulle- ah, thanks!

    Rodarte Rebel- awesome, I’m thinking about trying to rock it through Autumn.

    Michelle- yeah its awesome!

    Loata Bavadra- snaps!

    Fern- I’d say the children were left out of it at her request perhaps? But you are right, she is an inspiration not only to women of her generation but young women as well. I think she’s amazing. This is a really interesting interview with her that I think gives a different perspective to Paper Giants:

  • Fern

    Paper Giants left me in awe of Ita Buttrose. What an inspiration for young women – and as a teenager in the 80’s I always just thought her daggy. Asher Keddie made a brilliant portrayal of Ita. What fantastic role models both are. I noticed the children were mostly left out of the story – I hope they are both proud of their amazing Mum.

  • Watching Paper Giants right now Lady M…………………

  • Off to check out this book now!


  • Love this look so much Lady M!

  • So elegant 🙂 I love your modern take on this look!!
    xx S

  • dee

    Love Ita! I thought Asher Keddie did a great job in her portrayal.

  • Emma

    I can’t wait until June Dally Watkins Book comes out, I would love to compare the two on manners and ettiquette.

    I absoultely loooooooooove your vintage bag, it gorgous 🙂

  • I came across Paper Giants whilst channel surfing last night! Glad I did because it’s very good!

  • I love the DVF dress! It’s such a nice pop of colour hiding behind the cream blazer.