Sunday, November 30, 2008

#239 Positively Glamorous - ribbons... for your pleasure

I just got home from the Positively Glamorous fashion show slash party and I am sweating. And not just from the heat of being jam packed into a room with a bunch of over excited people. Preceding the show was a live performance art installation (pictured above), of a young couple body painted to create the AIDS Foundation's signature red ribbon. The canvas? Bodies. The medium? Paint on skin. The performance? Pashing. And based on the couple's giggling, a bit of hot and heavy flirtation thrown in there for good measure.

Lonely Hearts

The charity fashion event, put on by Positive Women, was held to raise money for the forty odd kids living in New Zealand with AIDS or HIV related illnesses. Twenty of the country's biggest fashion names (including Zambesi, Kate Sylvester, Cybele, Jaeha, Stolen Girlfriends Club, Lonely Hearts, Ruby and Jimmy D) designed one off garments inspired by the AIDS Foundation's red ribbon. The money raised will fund tickets for the AIDS sufferers to attend Camp Goodtime in Australia.

Kate Sylvester

Sadly my camera ran out of batteries halfway through the show, but I managed to snap a couple of shots. My favourites were the Kate Sylvester tutu, the Lonely Hearts dress, and special mention must be made of the performance of the Stolen Girlfriends Club model who flounced down the catwalk pushing a baby carriage. The standard of models was excellent for a charity event, with several of New Zealand's top young girls (and a couple of older ones) showing up on the catwalk. These included Olivia O'Driscoll, who put in a stellar appearance – which I didn't capture due to the camera malfunction.

Kate Sylvester and Zambesi's Liz and Neville Findlay

And Noelle McCarthy shone as the MC, proving that a little bad press needn't keep you down. I half expected her to make a cheeky reference to the events of the past couple of weeks, but none was made.

My only criticism of the event? The live art performance ended. Bring back the pashing!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

#238 Eon Design Centre in receivership


As the NBR website has just announced, New Zealand designer furniture store Eon went into receivership at 4pm yesterday afternoon.



I received a call about half an hour ago from a source saying that there's a security guard standing at attention outside the store. According to the NBR there's a 30% off sale going on at the store, located in the Britomart shopping precinct right now. That's the second Britomart store I've heard to be struggling in one week. Murray Crane's Gubb and Mackie store is closing down shortly, and he had this to say when I asked if the Britomart development hadn't worked so well for them:

"No it's just not a good time to be pioneering a new store, in a new retail precinct, in the current economy."

I got my confirmation about the receivership when I called Sonta Bredesen, who, according to the company's website, is Eon's Design Services Manager (pictured above). Her phone went to an answering machine message which said,

"Hi this is Sonta Bredesen, Business Manager at Eon Design Centre. I'm unable to take your call, if it is regarding an outstanding account, please contact the receiver, [name and phone number omitted]. Thanks!"

I feel for the young designers that Eon stocks. Will they get paid for their orders? As Anjali Stewart of twentysevennames told me last week,

"We had a store that went into liquidation this season and a store that just cancelled their order because they're afraid of what's happening. We could handle that with maybe two or three of our orders, but say five of our big accounts did that, that's it, we're folded, we're done."

Let's hope the same fate doesn't befall Eon's young designers.

UPDATE: 27/11 To see just how much impact this will have on the furniture suppliers, read this article on Eon's receivership from the NBR. The security guard is on site to ensure that none of the designers attempt to remove their furniture that they will never be paid for. It's absurd.

Young designers beware: seek legal assistance before supplying stores with your goods!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

#237 Little Brother closing down – interview with Murray Crane

To be announced later today, the company that gave me my first break in the New Zealand fashion industry, Little Brother, will close all its retail stores in the next few months to focus on a new distribution deal with NZ menswear giant (and the creators of those classic trackpants) Barkers.

We've just made a decision that Little Brother, we want to be able to focus on it as a brand, from an ideas point of view, rather than throwing so much resource at retailing and manufacturing, and it's the right economic climate to be doing it in as well.

Murray Crane (pictured above with Zac from Barkers), spoke with me last week about the new deal. Read the interview below.

Tell me what's happening with Little Brother.
We're closing retail, we've signed a distribution deal with Barkers, so bringing the brand into all of their retail stores starting next year. It'll mainly be the staple items we've always done, shirts, pants, coats in winter, a couple of blazers.

And that will change every season?
Yes, and throughout the seasons as they sell out.

So does that mean that you'll be starting to make Little Brother in China?
Some of it will be, yeah.

Who will be designing Little Brother now?
It'll still be designed by us, by me.

Will you be wholesaling it as well?
No just exclusive distribution – for New Zealand it's exclusive distribution with Barkers.

Will you be making thousands and thousands of everything?
No it's still going to be pretty limited. I don't think we'll be doing any more than 300 in anything so it will still be quite limited, and that's throughout New Zealand. Obviously there have been some things that we've done that we've sold a lot more than that anyway, but in terms of printed tees and stuff like that it'll all be limited, we'll do a certain amount and they'll sell out. In terms of the philosophy behind the brand, it's not going to suddenly become mainstream, it'll still be quite exclusive, it'll just be more readily available. Cities like Hamilton, Napier, Lower Hutt, Manukau, places we don't get to at the moment. We'll have our own website online too that you'll be able to buy from through the Barkers system.

How many styles will be going into Barkers?
Twelve styles.

The same shapes as you already do?
Yep, it's all the same, most customers won't even notice the difference.

But at a much lower price point?
Yeah that's the main reason why we're doing it. Little Brother's always seemed to have kinda suffered from not having enough scale, not being big enough, so unless we wanted to invest in opening up another ten stores, it's just not the right growth path really, we want to focus on growing the Crane Brothers business. [Little Brother] will be significantly cheaper, probably a third cheaper.

Did they approach you? Or did you approach them?
They approached me about two years ago, and at that point I wasn't ready to do it... this is a big agreement, it's a three year agreement.

And it'll still be called Little Brother? Will everything be exactly the same? Logos etc?
Yep. It'll still be Little Brother product. It's a distribution agreement. We'll just be in more stores, at a better price, and we're just finding that we need to be more accessible really, more commercial I guess, well not commercial, but more available, and cheaper.

Will you retain 100% creative control? You won't have to discuss anything with Barkers?
Only commercial stuff like numbers, quantities and sizes.

And in terms of campaigns?
We'll be involved in that, but they'll obviously be marketing it themselves.

What's happening with the High St store?
Well the Wellington Little Brother store is going to be opening as a Crane Brothers store in that site, in February, and we're moving our Gubb and Mackie store out of Britomart into High St.

So you're closing the Gubb and Mackie store down?

Would that mean that with all the developments that have gone down at Britomart it hasn't really worked?
No it's just not a good time to be pioneering a new store, in a new retail precinct, in the current economy. (ed's note – interestingly, this is exactly what Murray Crane's brother Mark is doing right now with his new Wunderkammer store.)

That's a shame, it's a great store down there.
Yeah and we probably will end up going back in there at some stage.

So will you be keeping the lease?
No, not at this stage, no.

Will you keep the High St Little Brother store the same size? Or will you try and take over the next door neighbour's store?
No, we're keeping it the same size at this stage.

Did you already know that [you were moving Gubb and Mackie there] when you painted the store?
No. Well it has been in our thinking, but it has all happened relatively quickly, like in the last few months really.

In terms of staff here, will there be any layoffs?
No, they've all been absorbed in. Some of them were leaving anyway, some of the part timers (ed's note: incidentally one of the Little Brother staff members (Tim) is going to work for Mark Crane at Wunderkammer starting in a couple of weeks) we've been pretty lucky actually, we've made a couple of redundancies, in manufacturing.

What is the date that Little Brother closes?
It's still a little bit undecided, but we're looking at the Gubb and Mackie store opening in High St about the fourteenth of January, and the Wellington store will close at Christmas so that we can start fitting that store out for Christmas.

And when does Little Brother start going into Barkers?
Winter, so it will be the end of March, beginning of April.

Where are you going to take Crane Brothers?
Well we're opening up another store, which will be a big thing.

In Wellington?

So no more expansion in Auckland at this stage?
No. We are looking at Australia possibly for retail, in the next 18 months, two years.

We've just made a decision that Little Brother, we want to be able to focus on it as a brand, from an ideas point of view, rather than throwing so much resource at retailing and manufacturing, and it's the right economic climate to be doing it in as well.

Have you seen your brother's new store?
No. But I've heard it's good.

#236 TV interview with Mark Hunter aka The Cobrasnake and Tallulah Morton

Here's the interview I did with Mark Hunter from The Cobrasnake and Australian model Tallulah Morton on Monday night while they were in New Zealand. It was shot 21 storeys up at the Sky City Grand Hotel (I do NOT like heights) where (as I previously hinted) they'd been shooting an exclusive editorial for NO. Magazine.

#235 Interview with Mark 'The Cobrasnake' Hunter and Tallulah Morton at 8pm on The Seen tonight!

The Cobrasnake

Anna Fitzpatrick's out of town at the moment so I'm in the driver's seat on The Seen tonight!

Tune into Alt TV at 8pm NZ time to watch my interview with Mark 'The Cobrasnake' Hunter and Tallulah Morton (the two hotties pictured above).

I'll also be talking with Chris Lorimer about the AIDS charity fashion show Positively Glamorous on this Sunday at Studio on Auckland's K Rd.

If you're not in New Zealand you can watch The Seen streaming live online here.


Monday, November 24, 2008

#234 High Tea with my babes (and sister) by Jordan Rondel

A rainy and miserable Monday (today) was the perfect day to have high tea at the Langham Hotel on Auckland's Symonds St. We had a voucher for four people but being the three hungry little piggies that we are, it suited us just fine to eat for the non-existent extra person. (Though we did tell the waiters that someone else was coming. Our friend Godot.)

First we were told to look at the tea menu, which was filled with just about every kind of drinkable flower imaginable; chamomile, elderflower, peppermint, rose... Isaac got the pure chamomile flower tea - somehow the flowers all ended up in his cup as pictured below.

Next the food came out on tiered platters. We had scrumdiddlyumptious scones with cream and jam, lamingtons, fruit tarts, lemon cakes, strawberries dressed up in tuxedos...the list goes on. There were also lovely little sandwiches - the cucumber ones were a bit of a let down but Isaac rated the ham and mustard. We concluded that the spread wasn't quite worth the $30-a-head price tag, but it was still fun and we left bursting full.

It was a bit like what we imagine the Queen would experience everyday of the week. I said I felt like a Queen. Isaac said "I always feel like a queen."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

#233 The Cobrasnake raises the roof for NO. Magazine's one year anniversary party

The Cobrasnake

NO. Magazine
's one year anniversary party exploded onto St Benedicts St last night and it was poppin like... Whatcha know bout me whatcha watcha know bout me... Whatcha know bout me whatcha whatcha know... I said NO.'s party was poppin, NO.'s party was cool, the boys and girls were hoppin, they jumped up on the pool (table).

The Cobrasnake

As I previously mentioned, Mark 'The Cobrasnake' Hunter and the larger than life Tallulah Morton graced Auckland with their presence for the party, and rumour has it the two will shoot an exclusive editorial for NO. Magazine tomorrow. As far as I know, Hunter has shot many (if not all) NO. Magazine's covers so far, including their just dropped fourth issue cover featuring Peaches Geldof.

The Cobrasnake

Maybe it was the international visitors, maybe it was the venue (literally opposite my house), maybe it was the music, maybe it was the crowd, maybe it was the party poppers?? Whatever the catalyst may have been, last night's party was easily the most fun I've been to in months.

The Cobrasnake

Watch out for my interview with Mark Hunter and Tallulah Morton on The Seen on Tuesday night, 8pm on Alt TV.

Friday, November 21, 2008

#232 La petite princesse

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo

I just found this on Jezebel and almost had a heart attack it was so cute.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

#231 Stephie Key – the political It girl cometh

NZ Herald

It's official, we have a budding fashionista on our hands in the form of Prime Minister John Key's 15 year old daughter Stephie Key. She's been known to wear wildly clashing colours and to design her own clothes, but at Wednesday night's Prime Ministerial swearing in ceremony, she opted for something a little more tried and tested: current season Karen Walker.

Karen Walker

The dress comes from Walker's Spring/Summer 08/09 collection that was recently shown at New Zealand Fashion Week. When asked if she'd known about Stephie Key wearing her dress or if a stylist had requested it, Karen Walker replied:

"Yes this is one of our dresses. From current s/s 08/09. I had seen Stephie wearing it on the news last night actually and thought she looked fantastic! What a brilliant family photo this is too. I don’t know where she bought it from but I think she’s more likely to have bought it herself than to have been styled don’t you think?"

Styled with a big black bow, heavy rimmed geek-chic spectacles and bright red lips, Stephie Key definitely stands out as the hipster in the Key family – even next to Mr Key's peacocky fluro blue tie. All the colours go against her previous colourful emo tendencies, though there is still something of the My Chemical Romance listener about her, possibly during their Helena period? But the smile on her face suggests she won't be wallowing in a pool of self loathing anytime soon.

Although Stephie Key has denied requests for an interview (Isaac tried to get her on The Seen but that sort of thing is most likely closely guarded by the political advisers), she has been friendly, funny, well spoken and forthcoming in her emails.

As for her outfit on election night, here's what she had to say:

"I can let you know that on election night I was wearing a Mary Quant dress and jacket and my shoes are fuschia winklepickers and an English brand called Underground makes them."

Most of you will know Mary Quant as being credited with inventing the modern day mini skirt – which caused furore at the time – so looks like we might have a fashion revolutionary strutting the Beehive halls!

Jordan Rondel

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

#230 Mark 'The Cobrasnake' Hunter's coming to town with Tallulah in tow

The Cobrasnake

NO. Magazine's Matt Offord told me about it last Saturday night, and here it is straight from the magazine itself: Mark 'The Cobrasnake' Hunter (pictured above with Tallulah Morton) will be in Auckland this Saturday for NO.'s one year anniversary party.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Hunter's most photographed subject, Tallulah Morton, will be coming with him, perhaps for an exclusive NO. editorial? If I'm correct, this will be the second time Morton has been in New Zealand for modelling. The first was for NZ Fashion Week 2005 when she was 13 years old, according to this NZ Herald article. I can't find any reference to Hunter having been here before, so I assume this will be his first time.

UPDATE: This just came in from Matt Offord:

Yep Tallulah is coming too! We are bringing Mark down to NZ to help us celebrate our first year of publication and the launch of our 4th issue..... and to cover the party and shoot an Editorial. Mark has been one of NO. mags most amazing collaborators and has shot one of our new covers as well as a large international celebrity fashion editorial. We love working with him and we're lucky and excited to work on more amazing stuff in the future.

One would assume that the editorial Hunter shoots will be featuring Tallulah Morton, but NO. are staying tight lipped on that one at this stage.

#229 Day 18 mogress report

As the above photograph (taken mere minutes ago) clearly demonstrates, my MOVEMBER Mo has officially entered the building.

After 18 days in the game, the shadow, it has appeared.

Three cheers for me!

Monday, November 17, 2008

#228 (Crazy) horsing around with twentysevennames

Another week, another showroom open day. This time round it was Showroom 22. I grabbed Rachel Easting and Anjali Stewart (pictured above) from twentysevennames for a chat about Crazy Horse (their Winter '09 collection), and how they've been handling business in this economic slump.

"We had a store that went into liquidation this season and a store that just cancelled their order because they're afraid of what's happening. We could handle that with maybe two or three of our orders, but say five of our big accounts did that, that's it, we're folded, we're done."

Tell me about the new collection.
Basically we watched this awesome movie about Patti Smith and it was shot over a decade, and most of it was on really grainy black and white film, it was part of the film festival, it was really awesome and shows her as this icon and someone who is still working towards better things now, not just in her past. And we were also watching Dave Chappelle's Block Party and we watched the two of them which were really awesome music documentaries that had a really good underlying message about community spirit. And then the clothing inspiration that came from that was we did heaps of sheer white shirts and real masculine style things to do with Patti Smith, and then because of the marching band from Dave Chappelle's Block Party, we were like, 'let's do a marching jacket'. And then we found a vintage marching jacket and we were like 'whoa this thing is awesome' and then we decided to do a full black on black kind of styles with it and it's all hand detailed and hand done which was really fun. So they were the two starting points.

Were there any direct hip hop references?
We're just gangsters, so everything is a reference I guess (laughs)!

Awesome! Can we talk about the economic situation at the moment?
Yeah I think we feel like it's hard mainly in Australia at at the moment, and it's our biggest market for potential growth. So it's a bit difficult because that's where we want to get extra orders from, because we've got enough stores in New Zealand now, we're in enough stores we wanna be, and we want to be in Australia now but I think they're scared to pick up New Zealand labels who are new, like us, and haven't been around for that long, and we don't have a PR agent in Australia so any press that we get – it's quite a lot harder to get 'out there' in Australia, because they buy so much from magazines over there, so if you get one little thing that's awesome but we probably need quite a bit more. I also think a bit of a worry is that by the time we drop that stores will have folded or something, and then the production's there, but since we don't have a shop we've got no place to put it. We had a store that went into liquidation this season and a store that just cancelled their order because they're afraid of what's happening. We could handle that with maybe two or three of our orders, but say five of our big accounts did that, that's it, we're folded, we're done. So we have to be quite careful. And then if you don't take the risk of taking an order then you're not going to get any bigger.

So that's the peril of being a smaller designer, isn't it.

But also if it goes the other way, and you try to expand too quickly, that can go against you as well, can't it.
If there's nowhere to borrow enough money to fund putting that stuff into production, then that would be impossible too.

Would you think about getting a financial backer? Are you looking for a backer?
Me and Rachel want the company to be ours, it's a lifestyle choice to be on a ridiculously low wage every week, and we don't want to change that. We're trying to grow at a rate that we can manage.

How many accounts do you have now?
I think 25 in New Zealand and Australia.

You did NZ Fashion Week this year, would you say for you guys that it's a good financial decision?

I read a lot of the reviews, and people said the collection was quite commercially minded and that retailers were looking at it and seeing dollar signs, did you tailor this collection to be commercially styled?
We never make conscious decisions like that when we design, it just happens naturally, but I guess our clothes in some ways are quite wearable because we still are finding our own feet, and we make clothes that we wear and we don't dress as extravagantly as, maybe, some other people? We don't want to force ourselves to do things to be more like other people or anything like that, we don't want to feel like 'oh let's make something really outrageous so people will be like they're really outrageous'. That's just not us.

How have sales of this collection gone? Have you found that orders have been increasing?
Yes, but just just gradually enough so that we can handle it. Everything has worked out. We got to where we wanted to get, of course we wanted more, you always want more. But I was in Australia in the same week that everything crashed, no one wanted to buy anything, it was just really bad timing. The news bulletins that week were saying 'The entire world is going into recession and the first thing that's going to go is retail' and so we were like 'oh shit'.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

#227 On the cusp of stardom: a few words with Deadly Ponies

Santa's up on Queen Street
and the first flush of summer's in the air, so you know what that means...

It's showroom open season.

I went to Process to-o-day-ay fa la la la laaa la la la la,
And talked to Deadly Po-nies yay-ay fa la la la laaa la la la la.

If you couldn't decipher that little jingle (which I just wrote then, can you believe it?), Process PR had their open day today, and I went along for a look see. The Deadly Ponies installation (pictured above) – featuring about twenty bags stuck to the wall caught my eye, so I had a little chat with Liam Bowden (brother of Dominic) and Katie Smith; the dynamic duo behind the leather-goods, jewellery and knitwear label. They're about to expand on a massive scale internationally, so I predict Deadly Ponies will soon be a household name.

Like Fanta.

What's the name of this bag (modelled by Liam Bowden above)?
Mr Knitted Proper.

All of your bags are called Mister something right? Where did that come from?
We just spent so long with them that we kind of gave them Mister, because it makes them more of a person, or a character.

Where did the inspiration for the pattern come from?
We just played with knitwear and knits in the winter range so we just took a piece of the chunky knitting that we did and enlarged it and then knitted it in leather pretty much.

Wow. Cool.
And then chucked it on a bag.

Who does all the knitting for you?
Katie's mum. But this one (the bag) we have to knit ourselves, unfortunately.

So who does all the production on your bags?
Both of us.

You do it all in-house?

So how long would a bag like this take to make?
One might take half a day? But if you get kind of a good run then you can kinda get a decent run done in a day or a week.

Wow. And you make all of your bags by hand?

Do you have to treat any of the leathers yourselves? Or does everything come to you pretreated?
It's all New Zealand leather, we make sure it is before we get it, and then we kind of know that it's going to be good quality and all the rest of it.

And you don't dye any of it yourselves?
Some of it we get taken somewhere else and put in a tumbler, to tumble dry it and soften it, and others we get dying things done to it, like tie-dye; we got suede tie-dyed. And some of the knitwear, the other pieces, it's usually the things other than leather that we have things done to. The Bunny Bag with the bunny face, we just get that dyed and then attached.

And you're planning on expanding, so you're exporting overseas?

So you're opening up accounts where?
Opening up accounts, go with that one: America, Canada, South Korea, Japan, and we've already got Australia.

And so as production increases, and you're going to have to start making hundreds and hundreds of bags, how will it be possible for you guys to still make things in-house?
More I guess just refining things and making them a lot more tighter, and more stricter, and we're also slowly training up different people but it's just hard to find skilled – people with the skill sets here in New Zealand, so we just train them pretty much (laughs).

On a bag like this which takes half a day to make, what is retail on a bag like this?
I think that retails for $380.

So it's really reasonably priced.

So if you add it up, half a day's, what, four hours or something?

Wow so it's a really good deal then.

With your brother being Dominic Bowden, have you ever gotten him to do a little plug for you on TV or anything?
Um no (laughs).

Or any product placement?
No not as of yet, I guess we've just left the product to talk for itself.

Well it definitely does that.
And he gets a few freebies and gifts at Christmas (laughs).

Deadly Ponies Precious – bone, necklaces etc

Stacking rings

Necklaces – I love the chicken feet

Belts – click to enlarge

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

#226 Wunderkammer II

I've just gotten home from the opening party for Mark Crane's new Wunderkammer store on Randolph Street in Newton. It was wild. Saxophonist Nathan Haines was on the decks (he played Burt Bacharach and Michael), and I hit the D floor like I haven't in months.

Crane specifically said he wanted no photos taken at the opening – and I respected his wishes – but couldn't resist snapping a quick shot of the entrance. With a blend of Ann Demeulemeester, Comme and Costume National (from what I could see) housed in museum cabinets, alongside models of human organs?? this store is incredible; certainly the most exciting to have opened in Auckland in recent years.

More on this next week.

#225 Isaac Likes on The Seen tonight

I joined Anna Fitzpatrick on The Seen tonight to shoot the breeze about politics and fashion in the United States and New Zealand, and New Zealand's Next Top Model.

Forgive the watermark – it's the DVD burner's fault.

Monday, November 10, 2008

#224 Atip Wananuruks to screen test for New Zealand's Next Top Model

Photo: 62 Models

As I mentioned last week, I'd be very surprised if the TV3 execs behind New Zealand's Next Top Model didn't get international model cum stylist Atip Wananuruks involved with the show in some capacity. The straight talking Englishman is a regular fixture on the New Zealand fashion scene, well known for his almost floor length dreadlocks which he wears piled high on top of his head.

When I asked him last week however, Wananuruks insisted that he had not been approached by anybody regarding the show. But that's all changed according to a phone call I had with him this evening.

I was alerted late this afternoon that TV3 had been in contact with Wananuruks, so I gave him a call to find out what was going on.

Here's what he told me:

"I have not [had a screen test] yet, as soon as I get hold of the guy, yeah [I will]. I got a call from John McDonald last thursday, but I haven't been able to contact him since though because I've been away in Christchurch. I don't know [which role I'm screen testing for], he just said...Sara [Tetro] has put my name forward and he wants to get me in to meet me and to have a screen test and see where they can go from there."

Wananuruks moved to New Zealand from the UK four years ago with his Kiwi wife Maddy. Together they set up Maw, a fashion retail store (and clothing label) in the old Pink Pussycat brothel on Auckland's Karangahape Rd. They now run MADE on Custom St. Wananuruks is also Senior Fashion Editor at Black Magazine (don't try typing in – I had a rather awkward moment at work testing that one out), and frequently works as a freelance stylist for other NZ based labels.

Wananuruks' modelling career began when he was 18 years old in the UK, and he told me last week that his most exciting moment was "walking for Comme des Garcons Homme Plus at the Fall 00 Paris menswear shows". (He also did stills campaigns for Top Man among others.)

An ex-international model (who worked with blue chip clients), stylist and exotic non-New Zealander, Wananuruks ticks all the boxes for Next Top Model judge eligibility as far as I'm concerned.

More on this as it progresses.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

#223 Stephie Key: New Zealand's first political It Girl?

NZ Herald

Despite worldwide media focus being on Michelle Obama's choice of dress at the Grant Park celebration for President Barack Obama, the United States isn't the only country with distinctive first family style.

Unlikely as it might seem, New Zealand may have its first ever political trendsetter. And no, I'm not talking about John Key. Dressed in hot pink brogues, knee-high socks, a blue dress with black buttons (perhaps her own design?), topped with a black and white piped jacket and an ash blonde, heavy fringed hairdo, newly elected Prime Minister John Key's daughter Stephie (pictured above) looks to have paid plenty of attention to her eclectic party outfit. And the style? Let's call it colourful emo.

NZ Herald on Sunday

According to the Herald on Sunday, which ran a Stephie Key cover story on 26 October, the 15 year old St Cuthberts High School student is quite the budding fashionista. Key-the-younger works in a hair dressing salon part time, and was recently a finalist in the Newmarket's Young Designer Fashion Award competition. (She was awarded Highly Commended.)

New Zealand has had nine years with the childless (but exceptional) Prime Minister Helen Clark. In that time the world has seen the internet explode, teen culture reach heights previously unknown, and countless youth-driven style fads come and go. As the new Prime Minister's daughter, Stephie Key can expect to receive plenty of media attention – no doubt the New Zealand public will be fascinated by this hip young thing – particularly as she grows up (she'll be 18 by the time this political term ends).

Will Stephie Key become New Zealand's first political It girl? Will hordes of teenage girls swarm the stores to replicate her style? And will her love of fashion (and designer ambitions) impact positively on her father's treatment of the New Zealand fashion industry?

Only time will tell, but something tells me this girl could be Key.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

#222 Arachnophobia: The Sequel

Who needs to go to the movies when you've got spiders this big running around your house??

As a man I felt it was my duty to protect the womenfolk of this house.

The screams you hear are battle cries.

There is no fear.

Happy Movember!


It's day five of MOVEMBER, so here's a little fifth day MOGRESS report... and a little song.

Don't forget, it's all for chaaaaaarity, you can sponsor me by clicking on the button on the right, or go to the official MOVEMBER website and donate there.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008


photo: CNN

According to the CNN News website, Democratic nominee Barack Obama has just won the US Presidential election.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

#219 Rodneygate – the saga continues

Poor old Rodney Hide. The man in yellow has had a rough few months. First he lodged an unsuccessful complaint with the Serious Fraud Office against Winston Peters over an illegal donation. It was later revealed that Hide's own ACT Party had failed to disclose a $20,000 a year office space donated by property investor Sir Robert Jones.


He then fell victim to some rather nasty billboard tagging which I alerted him and his party to, and which they promised to fix swiftly. They did not. The billboard was finally removed yesterday, ten days after they had said they'd fix it.

They needn't have bothered.

As you can see in the above two photos (taken this afternoon), that same billboard and it's backing billboard on Dominion Road's underpass were re-tagged, but this time the words MEIN FUHRER were replaced with NAZI HYPOCRITE.

I pointed out in my initial post that Hide's past (and possible future) hardly screams of anti-Semitism. Firstly, he was the most outspoken of all New Zealand politicians when Helen Clark suspended diplomatic relations with Israel over an incident back in 2004. Secondly, Hide is prominently quoted on Canadian based academic John P Palmer's EclectEcon blog, which bears a 'Friend of Israel' banner. And finally, if the National Party wins the election on Saturday, Hide's coalition partner will be John Key; the son of an Austrian Jewish woman.

Those billboard tamperers' Hitler remarks would therefore presumably bear no relation to the Nazi dictator's anti Jewish sentiments.

And last but not least, the NZ Herald revealed this afternoon that Rodney Hide's canary yellow jacket may have broken the laws of New Zealand's Electoral Finance Act. According to the Act, any "published election advertisements" must carry the authorisation of the party's financial agent. Hide's $1300 jacket, which bears the ACT logo and "the guts to do what's right" slogan, does not.

If Hide is found to have breached the Act, he faces a $10,000 fine, while the ACT Party's financial agent faces a $40,000 fine.

Lucky he has wealthy friends like Bob Jones.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

#218 Stylist Robert Niwa set for small screen stardom on NZ's Next Top Model

Word on the street is that former Pavement Magazine Fashion Editor Robert Niwa is days away from being signed up as the shoot stylist for New Zealand's Next Top Model. A reliable source told me yesterday that Niwa has been in talks with TV3 for several weeks and is "almost definitely going to get the job."

UPDATE: 03/11 10pm – Click to continue for Rob Niwa's comment.

Niwa has been a key figure in the New Zealand industry for over eight years as a freelance stylist, Crane Brothers/Gubb and Mackie tailor and go-to guy for any media outlet wanting an expert opinion on sartorial matters. In my opinion, Niwa is an excellent choice for NZ's Next Top Model – he's camera friendly, has impeccable taste, and is well known for being the 'nice guy' of the New Zealand fashion industry – the latter a trait the contestants will no doubt appreciate, considering the nasty nature of reality TV.

Update 03/11 – Rob Niwa called me this morning with the following comment:

"Nothing's been confirmed yet, I spoke to them last week and that's about as far as it got. A man named John McDonald – a producer from TV3 came and spoke with me last week. Nothing's been confirmed yet, they're talking to a lot of people in the industry. They don't have too much experience in the fashion industry so they're going around and talking to quite a few people. They're still looking for photographers and make up artists. I'm not sure if they're just looking to get one stylist or have special guest star stylists. I think they're going to film it in February, they were considering doing it earlier, maybe January, but things are taking longer to go through than expected. They're still trying to decide whether to only allow over-18 year old girls to enter like in the American series, or to open up the competition to girls under-18 too, in which case their parents will need to come on board. Most successful girls in New Zealand are under 18. I think they're still looking for international modelling agencies to come on board. They're still at quite an early stage, they're still looking for sponsors to come on board. But it's definitely going to go ahead, it's in the woodwork, they're just working through all the details. It'll be interesting to see what it's like, especially if they get under-18 year old girls in. The great part about the American show is that the girls are bitchy, they get drunk, they sleep around, I love it! New Zealand girls aren't that bitchy, they're a lot nicer, so it'll be interesting to see the personalities that get in there. It might be more like a documentary than reality TV. The great thing about New Zealand is that we have so many cultures here so hopefully they can find some amazing girls out there."

New Zealand's Next Top Model has been in the news a lot lately (for a TV show that hasn't even begun filming) with the Sunday Star Times reporting that Charlotte Dawson was a shoe-in for the hosting job but pulled out after a nasty piece of women's magazine press. 62 Models and Talent's owner Sara Tetro has also been pegged as the show's host but as I speculated recently, the likelihood of that happening is slim – presumably Tetro's name has come up because 62 Models will be the modelling agency alligned with the show. The possibility of Tetro being a judge or an expert opinion-giver on the show is not one to be ruled out however.

Speaking of judges, I would be surprised if former international model cum stylist Atip Wananuruks (pictured above with his wife) was not brought into the show. In my personal experience with Wananuruks, the English born stylist does not beat around the bush in speaking his opinion, so perhaps he could be New Zealand's Next Top Model's Simon Cowell equivalent.

When asked recently if he had been contacted by TV3, Wananuruks denied any involvement, saying that the first he had heard of the show had been on this blog.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

#217 First day of MOVEMBER video!

Movember officially began today so I made a little video about it.

Don't forget to keep checking in to keep track of my MOgress.

We're doing it all for chaaaaaarity!