Paper Giants ~ 70s workwear inspiration

A still from ABC's Paper Giants: The birth of Cleo

Congratulations to ABC on last night’s premier of Paper Giants: The birth of Cleo magazine: Part One. Paper Giants is the story of how an Australian magazine aimed at “intelligent women who want more and love men” burst onto the scenes in 1970s Australia. It is the story of Cleo’s first editor, the stoic and very human Ita Buttrose, and her juggling of all the challenges of being a modern professional with the many frustrations and opportunity of her times. Decades on, Ita’s story resonates and inspires. On the fashion front,  costume designer, Nina Edwards was responsible for creating Paper Giants 70s work wardrobe and we tip our hats off to you, Nina! BusiChic was much inspired by the workwear shown particularly that on actress Asher Keddie who plays the iconic, Ita Buttrose. Beautiful chic styling that we thought was fitting for women today.. Scroll down for our favourite looks!


Much of Paper Giants features summery workwear. Here is one very classic tran-seasonal Ita ensemble which BusiChics could easily be seen sporting right now:


Timeless tran-seasonal chic – neutral classic pieces are punctuated with colourful accessories and optimistic umbrella.


BusiChic loves a print and the 70s was THE era for them! We like how the nascent Cleo team are bursting out the brights but think that Ita’s take is particularly adaptable to modern times 😉

Love this matching of a basic knit with skirt in a statement pattern + well-coordinated slinky gold accessories.

Working a fun frock by pairing with a classic blazer. 70s mens workwear looking sharp for this young creative but we're not sold on the hair!

Asher Keddie as Ita Buttrose - bearing the challenges of being a woman in the 70s in bold stripes.

One of our favourite looks - it's a little intense here but we love how Ita keeps cool in that fresh minty green blouse.

Asher Keddie as Ita Buttrose, in our favourite minty work ensemble, reading that note from Sir Frank.


Towards the end of Paper Giants: Part One, Ita’s pregnancy progresses and she works chic ensembles like this one:

a chic Maternity shift at the bus stop.

Statement Accessories

To finish off our look at Paper Giants: Part One, we take a look at some of the statement accessories which punctuated Ita’s 70s workwear:

Asher Keddie as Ita Buttrose sees something special in a new recruit. We note her chunky gold earrings which are balanced by a long gold chain of a necklace.

Sunglasses in the style of Jackie Onassis (she'd married Aristotle in '68!)

Maternity shirtdress is dressed up with chunky gold earrings and statement pendant on a simple long gold chain.

Click here for the behind-the-scenes interview where Paper Giants costume designer, Nina Edwards describes the process of creating 68 looks for Ita + the team over the 60s and 70s.

All images screenshot from the ABC.

Watch Paper Giants: The birth of Cleo on iView* –  Part One ; Part Two

*available only if viewing in Australia.

Did you watch Paper Giants? What did you think of the show? the fashion?


  1. I absolutely covet that clear umbrella ensemble I love the red highlights in the outfit. It’s SUCH a shame that I have to wear a uniform at work but I jazz it up with tights, nice (flat) shoes and in winter coats, scarves and umbrellas!! I clear one is definitely on my to do list!

    Great post!

    • Hi Tess, glad you liked the round-up! Yes the green pendant against the charcoal is quite striking – loved it too;)

      @Ross – totally agree! oh summer – the long haul begins!

      Hi Genevieve [Complex Appl3pie] – so glad the post came in handy! I’ve included links to the show on iView at the bottom of the post; parts one and two! Let us know what you think!

      @Blithely Unaware – have a feeling that the already-popular-clear-umbrella will be oh so much more covetted now. Here’s a link to one I photographed with a touch of red at MSFW last year! -can’t wait to see what you get!

  2. Thank you so much for all these photos. This was all the rage on twitter the other night and I flicked channels and couldn’t find it.
    I wasn’t sure what everyone was talking about. Now I’ll need to track it down!

    Thanks again 🙂

  3. absolutely loving the summery workwear get up, very unique!

  4. I loved seeing all the work wear in Paper Giants last night, and you’re right – so much of it seemed very contemporary (esp. love the last look – that necklace!). Thanks for the round-up!

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