Nathan Outteridge: The Unofficial, Unauthorised and Untrue Biography

This is the sixth in a short series of biographies of some of the potential medallists in Rio (the rest are here). As I explain at the end of this piece, I haven't done any actual research, so there may be some inaccuracies...

Gold Medal winning sailor Nathan Outteridge is well known for his performance on the water, but he began his working life as a stylist for the stars.

Unknown to many in the sailing world, Outteridge was a celebrated TV and music fashion-guru, and his work has been widely influential and impressively timeless. Fiercely patriotic, Outteridge refused to work with any celebrity outside of Australia, but the influence of his work can be found all around the world.

Outteridge got his first big break when he was given artistic control over the wardrobes of the stars of the Australian soap Neighbours. He still claims that he is most proud of his work with four huge popstars that emerged from the series.

His work with Craig McLachlan, a hugely talented actor and singer, shows Outteridge's flair for understated hair-styling - something he has carried throughout his work.

Having worked his magic on Craig McLachlan, Outteridge set his sights on Stefan Dennis. Stefan didn't have the same hair potential as Craig but, as you can see, Outteridge was able to work his magic in other ways.

Nathan's work with Craig and Stefan is said to have single-handedly revived the Australian hairspray industry. But it is Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan that really put Outteridge on the map.

The last photo above, of Kylie and Jason together, was the first time that hats had been used as a fashion accessory in the history of mankind. The look was so successful that Frank Sinatra insisted that old photos and movies of him had to have a hat photoshopped in. All original versions were destroyed, and future generations will assume that he always wore a hat at that time.

A convincing photo, but Sinatra never actually wore a hat until the 1980s

This revision of history is said to have infuriated Outteridge, as he realised that he might never get the credit he deserved for trailblazing a new era in fashion. Perhaps this anger is what led to his controversial departure from the fashion scene.

He was headhunted to lead the style design for another new Australian soap based in a housing estate - Harrington Block. Given full artistic control, Outteridge designed only one outfit, which was to be worn by all of the characters - a set of blue dungarees. His only compromise was that the characters could wear either a yellow or a green t-shirt underneath. His contract was iron-clad, and so the show either had to accept his terms or be cancelled. In the end the producers changed the name of the show, set it in an Australian jail, and called it Prisoner Cell Block H. TV history was made.

The glamorous Prisoner Cell Block H was all Outteridge's work

All the glamour in Prisoner Cell Block H was Outteridge's work

Outteridge had got his own way, but the cost was huge. Previously in constant demand, his stubbornness over the costumes for Prisoner Cell Block H meant that no-one in Australian TV would work with him. It was so bad that most pretend that Outteridge's career as a stylist never happened.

"What on earth are you talking about?" said one Australian TV executive when I asked him about this turbulent period in Australian television. "I have never even heard of Nathan Outteridge, and he certainly never did any styling for Neighbours. Or Prisoner Cell Block H, for that matter."

Frank Sinatra experts are equally vehement in their denials: "Are you insane?" asked one respected Sinatra biographist. "Firstly, Frank always wore hats; and secondly, hats had been used long before Frank, and by many, many people in the decades after, too. Now stop phoning me about Nathan Outteridge and hats or I'll get a bloody restraining order."

Methinks he doth protest too much.

Anyway, Nathan had to find a new way to fill his time. He flirted with taking up power knitting, but after a near fatal accident with a knitting needle he settled for the rather more sedate activity of sailing 49ers.

And the rest, as they say, is history.


Some Actual Proper Information on Nathan Outteridge

This is Nathan Outteridge's Wikipedia page...

...his Australian Sailing Team page...

...his World Sailing page...

...and he also has a page on the Artemis Racing website (his America's Cup team)...

...or you could like his Facebook page...

...or follow him on Twitter

He's an interesting guy - for instance, this is a good interview about his Moth sailing, and he's achieved an awful lot in his life already, despite a near-fatal car accident that saw him undergo spine surgery on his fractured back. And, to really get you in the mood for the Olympics, here's Nathan on his best Olympic race.

Useful Videos featuring Nathan Outteridge

And when he's not sailing the 49er, Nathan Outteridge is pretty good in a Moth too. Here are his well known and incredibly useful Moth Tutorials to help get from beginner to winner:

Part 2 is on Launching, Part 3 is on Flying,  Part 4 covers Gybing, and Part 5 is on Tacking

3 thoughts on “Nathan Outteridge: The Unofficial, Unauthorised and Untrue Biography

  1. Is there a sailing & Kylie connectino? I have a feeling there is – or maybe that there should be. For example, what boat would Kylie sail?

  2. I don’t know, JP. She does have a song called Love Boat which I strongly recommend you DO NOT look up. It really is genuinely bad.

    Other than that I’ve got nothing.

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