Byline: Patty Huntington

SYDNEY — Fashion’s latest front row recruit is Cate Blanchett.
The Australian actress turned fashionista this week when she stepped into the role of guest editor of Harper’s Bazaar Australia’s June/July issue, which will cover this week’s Mercedes Australian Fashion Week.
Due out later this month, the issue will have highlights of the Sydney shows, including Collette Dinnigan, Akira Isogawa, Easton Pearson, Scanlan & Theodore; New Zealand labels Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester and Zambesi; and a strong debut show from 24-year-old Perth designer Michelle Jank.
Blanchett who, prior to Monday, had only seen two fashion shows, is helping edit the collections coverage and will also have input on the layouts. She’s writing a guest editor’s letter and may also appear on the cover. She’s not being paid for the gig — it’s a favor, to help promote Australian fashion, and the shows coincided with a rare down week in her hectic filming schedule.
“From a novice’s perspective, it’s sort of like spending too long in a gallery — it’s like I can’t keep looking anymore,” said Blanchett after Akira Isogawa last night. “I’ve just been shocked every day. These amazing things have kept coming down the runway.”
With Hollywood stylist Jessica Paster, a female security guard and husband Andrew Upton in tow, Blanchett has caused a paparazzi fracas at every show she’s attended, upstaging every other magazine’s promotional activities throughout the week.
“She’s beautiful, famous, stylish, and she just happens to be Australian — it’s a very, very clever move,” noted one department store buyer of Harper’s Cate coup, which was masterminded by editor Karin Upton Baker — who missed out on last year’s Oz Fashion Week because she was guest editing the U.S. edition of the magazine — and the magazine’s managing editor, Louise Upton, who happens to be Blanchett’s sister-in-law.