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SYDNEY — From fireworks launched off floating Karl Lagerfeld effigies under the Sydney Harbour Bridge to life-size, laser-cut Karl silhouettes scattered around the party venue, the designer was conspicuous (yet absent) at the Sydney Opera House Thursday night.

Why the homage? To toast the Christmas 2003 edition of Australian Vogue, which Lagerfeld guest edited long-distance from Paris.

This story first appeared in the October 31, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The fruit of eight months’ collaboration, Lagerfeld’s Oz Vogue vision embraces such things as interviews with furniture designer Marc Newson and Australian photographer Bill Henson; a conversation — played out over eight pages — between Lagerfeld and Australian director Baz Luhrmann; a Sydney subcultures photo essay by Hedi Slimane, and fashion spreads modeled by Kylie Minogue and Cate Blanchett.

Blanchett dresses up as Coco Chanel, while Eva Herzigova gets to impersonate a living icon — new Chanel No.5 muse Nicole Kidman in a Kidman-inspired couture fashion spread and on the magazine’s cover.

At 382 pages, the December issue is a record for Australian Vogue, both in book size and ad revenue (more than 1 million Australian dollars, or $1.4 million). Noted media buyer Kate Ludlow-Hyland from OMD Prestige said, “There was a great buzz about this issue.”

Anticipating unprecedented interest, publisher FPC Magazines has doubled the magazine’s print run, 15,000 of which are, says Vogue, going to Lagerfeld for his personal use while another 2,000 are en route to Chanel in Paris today.

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