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Francisco Costa got a warm Aussie welcome during his visit to Melbourne on Sunday. “Skull! Skull! Skull! Skull!” chanted the crowd gathered at chic new eatery Cutler & Co., urging the designer to down vodka shots. Costa obliged, only to ask later, “What does skull mean, actually?” (Basically, “chug!”)

This story first appeared in the March 16, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

In town for Friday’s L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival Business Seminar, Costa hosted a dinner for guests including New York-based Australian designer Michael Angel, Sydney “It” girls Kate Waterhouse and Laura Dundovic, and model Louise van de Vorst. He’ll host another fete in Sydney tonight to mark the Australian launch of Calvin Klein Home furniture.

Just before the party, Costa and crew were the VIP guests at the festival’s official launch in the Victorian Italianate ballroom of Melbourne’s Government House. The proceedings included a performance by the Sydney-based Australian Ballet, a fashion parade of eight Sydney designers and, inexplicably, an Elvis Presley impersonator.

“I figured Liza Minnelli was going to come out next,” said Calvin Klein Home design director Amy Mellon. “Everyone’s got so much less of an attitude here. They’re really friendly. You can tell by the way they’re dressed. It’s not so serious and severe — like in New York.”

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