Monday, May 31, 2010

#1270 The secrets of El Jay revealed


You know when you're driving to the Mexican Cafe in Auckland, and (in the hopes of finding a park) you turn right down Federal Street and go past the Korean poolroom and then right again down that tiny one-way street (Kingston)? You know the one. And you're parking and getting out of your car and then it's like, 'Hey, why does that building say Christian Dior on it?' That building is El Jay. The House of El Jay. The former New Zealand manufacturer and licensee of Christian Dior Couture, owned by Gus Fisher. If you're anywhere near my age, you're probably way too young to remember a time when Christian Dior Couture was sold in New Zealand. I am. However, I did at one point start asking questions about the space. From what I heard - and this is going a few years back - it's awe-inspiring, still filled with all the old machines and Dior fabrics, but nobody is allowed to go inside. It's been jealously guarded ever since its closure. Just like Willy Wonka's factory.

But the time has come. The forbidden fruit must be tasted. The secrets of El Jay will be revealed.

#1269 A few words with Lubo Lakic


Continuing my series of discussions with people whose lives are covetable, meet Lubo Lakic. Lubo is an ex-pat Australian sales and PR agent living in Tokyo. His company, Lakic Showroom, is integral to the success of several New Zealand (and international) designers in Japan. No doubt without him, they'd be lost in translation (I slay me).

Q&A below.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

#1268 Gavin Hurley - artist, artisan

All images courtesy of Anna Bibby Gallery

I've recently become obsessed with the work of Gavin Hurley. Using cut and paste techniques with card, paper and paint, he creates the most beautiful, simplistic images.
"Collecting textures and papers from old books and second-hand haunts, his portraits have a genteel, even antique, decorum and a childlike naivety. Not portraits in the usual sense, of accurately representing a person, his works are a carefully neutral approximation, given individual personality with a set of clip-art style accoutrements, or in the particular placement of a lock of hair. Even when working with paint on canvas, rather than with paper, Hurley’s collage approach is visible in the curious accessories around his sitters." (Hanna Scott)
In an age where almost everything is created on a computer - be it graphic design, photography or art - there's something to be said for real life images that can't be reproduced with the click of a mouse.

Friday, May 28, 2010

#1267 Snapped - Pebbles Hooper


Name: Pebbles Hooper.
Occupation: Columnist/stylist/radio disc jockey.
Where: Ponsonby Road (but I shot her down a side street).
From: Auckland - born and raised in Grey Lynn.
Favourite thing about Auckland: "The weather. And you'll never feel lonely because you'll always see a familiar face."
Favourite place: "Hong Kong because I know it really well, it's super busy and there's never any downtime. And New York because when you're there you feel like you're in a movie."
Advice to youngsters: "If you're having a hard time now, don't worry, it'll be hilarious in a few months."
Obsessed with: Tavi.

I LIKE YOU!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

#1266 It's my birthday


So I'm taking the day off. There are sisters with babies to be picked up from the airport, Nanas to be visited and Facebook thank yous to be written. If you get bored, here's a video of me at the Ksubi after party after drinking five cans of Red Bull.

I LIKE YOU!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

#1265 1AM's Purple inspiration - it's very Terry

Photos: Stephen Tilley for 1AM

Another day, another 1AM photo shoot causing concern. But this time it's not because of the model's age, the leaving-way-too-little-to-the-imagination or even the hyper-sexualisation of the models. I'm not going to talk about the cropping of the images where the model has a broomstick wedged firmly between her legs, or the fact that there's a bondage theme masked by horseplay. These girls are clearly over age, and at the end of the day, if you don't have anything particularly clever to say, sex always grabs people's attention. I mean, what better way to sell a few copies of a magazine than suggestive shots of beautiful girls frolicking on the floor?

#1264 Down with the gusset!


If I was going to do a top ten reasons to not wake up in the morning, the wearing of Tights As Pants would be right up there in the number one position. I'm heartened that others feel my pain. Nothing, I repeat, nothing displeases me more than walking down the street and seeing a gusset. VPL is bad, but visible gusset is next level. It offends me. It offends my eyes and the eyes of those around me. Thank God for Tights Are Not Pants. I'd go into more detail about my hatred for T.A.P. but Tights Are Not Pants has said everything I feel. Check it out. Forward it to your friends. Stop the madness.

I LIKE YOU!

#1263 Top ten reasons to wake up in the morning

1. Yoga. I've recently started going to Ashtanga twice a week and nothing makes me happier than saying 'Namastehhhhhh!' as loudly as possible when everybody's waking up from meditation.

2. Burger King Whoppers with barbecue sauce. Eat a piece of fruit straight after and it literally counteracts the burger's fat content.

3. The minty trinity - Burt's Bees lip balm, Airwaves gum (in the blue packet) and Smoker's toothpaste. I don't even smoke but that toothpaste is so strong it literally burns your mouth. In that good way.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

#1262 LomoWORLD

Vestige of Wonder #1 by Anna Starr

A few weeks back I blogged about Oliver Rose shooting on location at a junkyard out by the airport. What I didn't mention was that he was photographing his entry for LomoWorld, which opens at Elam's projectspaceB431 Gallery on Wednesday night. Curated by fashion designer Francis Hooper, LomoWORLD is an exhibition featuring Lomo photos shot by a whole bunch of student artists. One of the artists exhibiting is a good friend of mine named Anna Starr. Taking inspiration quite literally from WORLD, she decided to make enormous colourful bow ties and hang them from trees. Francis Hooper liked the idea so much that he donated a whole bunch of new season WORLD fabrics, et voila - art was created. The photos are awesome - hazy, dreamlike and available for sale at the exhibition on Wednesday.

More photos, and an interview with the artist, below.

Monday, May 24, 2010

#1261 Zanita + Emily Theyers = synergism

Photos: Zanita

I like the word synergy. It's when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Kind of like galvanised steel. (I think. I failed 4th form science.) These here photos are synergistic for me. They combine two of my favourite things - New Zealand models working overseas (in this case, Emily Theyers) and Zanita Whittington. If you don't know Zanita, you don't know. She's one of those model bloggers but with a twist. After taking about a billion pictures of herself, she noticed that her photography skills were quite good. Now she takes photos of other people as well. See? Synergy. Recently, she's been doing lots of test shoots with models from various agencies in Sydney. They've all been good, but these are particularly lovely. Emily Theyers is incredible. Somebody send that girl to New York, stat.

Check them all out below.

#1260 Short sleeve shirts, shorts and big hats

Zambesi S/S 2011 - Photos: Marissa Findlay

Name one good thing about winter and I'll name ten reasons you're a naive optimist. Winter is overrated. It's like, 'Yay! It's really cold outside! Yay! There are so many clouds in the sky! Yay! A bus just drove through a puddle and drenched me with filthy water!' Don't mind me, I'm freezing, living on a couch and having a birthday this week. These are not happy days. On the flip side, I just booked my flights to Europe for the menswear and couture shows next month. What would we do without credit cards? Short sleeve shirts, shorts and big hats are the only things keeping me going right now. It's a precarious existence.

#1259 RAFW - the week that was



With cameos by Stolen Girlfriends Club, Bella Barber, Dayne Johnston, Bruce Raubenheimer, Michael Whittaker, Yimmys Yayo, Katherine Lowe, Oliver Rose, Kate Sylvester, Romance Was Born, Ben Pollitt, the Sydney Opera House and so much more.

I LIKE YOU!

Friday, May 21, 2010

#1258 On the up - Matt Hockings

Matt Hockings at Nova

New Zealand doesn't produce a huge amount of tall, thin, European-looking boys, but 17 year old Matt Hockings at Nova ticks all the right boxes. Scouted in the Auckland CBD, Matt has already shot a Stephen Marr campaign with Olivia Hemus, a Glassons TV commercial with Derek Henderson, a test with Damien Nikora and an editorial for the upcoming issue of Remix, guest edited by Atip Wananuruks. Nova says Matt's starting to garner interest from New York and London, and there are plans to send him overseas at the end of this, his final school year. I say throw him in the deep end - mid-winter Milan for the January shows. What better way to find out if he can swim.

Photos below.

#1257 WORLD's Denise L'Estrange Corbet lectures

WORLD's Sydney factory of ideas and experiments - photo: Patty Huntington

I wasn't able to make it to the FINZ lecture on Tuesday, but Paul Blomfield very kindly said he'd cover it for me. Here's what he had to say:

When listening to the conversation between WORLD’s Denise L’Estrange Corbet and fashion historian Angela Lassig at the first of the FINZ Historical Lecture Series on Tuesday at AUT, I was struck by how many of New Zealand’s great fashion events have been influenced in some way by WORLD.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

#1256 Goodbye Store Room, hello savings

Photo: Britomart

I spoke far too soon yesterday. Britomart's Store Room is closing down, but before they do, there'll be mega savings. Starting this Saturday and running till Wednesday June 30, everything must go. That means 50%-70% off all items in store. All denim $99 or less, $20, $30 and $50 clothing bins, crazy bargain prices! (Are you there, Stephen Tindall? It's me, Isaac.)

Full list of brands below.

#1255 And now, for the footwear fetishists...



Onny Kaulima is a shoe guy. You know the ones. When I asked him how many pairs he owns, he replied, "Not many these days - around 60." And those are just the ones he doesn't wear. His two-day-old online venture, The World At Your Feat, aims to showcase people's personal style, "as interpreted by their choice of shoe." Each entry comes with photos and a mini interview about the subject's footwear, clothing and inspirations. Though it's still young, Kaulima has already nabbed six people on the site, all of them familiar faces, all of them with quite different styles - Huffer Director Steve Dunstan; Huffer designer Aaron Styles; Moochi designer Penny Holmes; photographer Steven Chee; stylist Marina Didovich; and Stephen Marr hairdresser Mobeen Bhikoo. It's packed with gems - who knew that the first pair of shoes Steve Dunstan ever wanted were some black karate slip-ons in 1986...

Q&A with Kaulima below.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

#1254 College kid on the road


I caught a bus into town today, from the top of K Road all the way down to the bottom of Queen Street. Cost me 50 cents. Cheaper and quicker than driving and parking, and it gave me more time to browse. Specifically, more time to browse at Fabric. I have a little obsession with Fabric - they do classic Americana very well. Blue jeans, oxford shirts, khaki pants, drill jackets and chambray as far as the eye can see. I've had my eye on these SeaVees Buck shoes for quite some time, and I wanted to take a photo of them. Then I saw the Ally Capellino duffel bag, and I decided to make an outfit. This is it. Acne Max jeans, Gitman Bros Vintage shirt, Eye by Junya Watanabe for Comme des Garcons X Barracuda jacket (yes, it's actually called that). Altogether it reminds me of something an American college student might have worn in the 60s; heading home on an old Greyhound.

#1253 Ksubi's selling out

Ksubi's Dan Single and George Gorrow biffing cake after their latest RAFW show.

Ksubi's selling out. Like, literally. Well they're about to anyway. If you're in New York this weekend, head to their store on Mulberry Street and go buck wild. Nothing will be over $75. Jeans - $30-$60, sunglasses - $30-$40, singlets - $20. According to Refinery 29, Ksubi wants to make way for new product. No doubt this will also get some liquid currency flowing. Out with the old, in with the new. If only we had sales like this in New Zealand. If only.

I LIKE YOU!

#1252 A few words with Valery Gherman

Valery Gherman at work

Part two in the series where I talk to people whose lives I secretly covet... Meet Valery Gherman. Valery is a Ukrainian ex-pat Kiwi makeup artist living in New York. (Common misconception - not all male makeup artists wear foundation.) I've never actually met him in real life before, but we've recently become Facebook friends and now I spend far too much time stalking his profile photos to see all the awesome people he knows and amazing places he goes. He's worked with the best - Daria Werbowy, Sasha Pivovarova, Alexa Chung, Constance Jablonski, Siri Tollerod, Mark Ronson, Victor and Rolf, Mathias Lauridsen, Nick Cannon(!!!!); and for the best - Vogue, Pop, Dazed and Confused, Interview etc etc.

I managed to convince Valery to do a Q&A (and send through a whole bunch of his work, see below) over the weekend. Here's what he had to say for himself.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

#1251 Snapped - Murray Crane


Name: Murray Crane.
Occupation: Shopkeeper/Company Director - Crane Brothers.
Where: The office.
From: Geraldine, South Canterbury, lives in Auckland.
Favourite place: London. "I like its culture, its tradition, its history, its ceremony and its institutionalism."
Advice to young men: "Buy a suit. It'll get you a long way in life."
Obsessed with: "Detail."

I LIKE YOU!

#1250 Alber Elbaz on the problem with time

Alber Elbaz and Suzy Menkes

"When I go out sometimes to this kind of fashion event and I see other designers, I see that one of them has a pain in the back and the other one has a migraine and the third one is exhausted, because we are going through this process that is endless. And I think that today editors are feeling the same way, because they have to travel the world season after season and just see and write the reviews in a taxi where they don’t have the time to think about it. Whatever you see today is maybe not what you really feel tomorrow. You just have to see and shoot... And I do feel there is this kind of extreme fatigue that everyone is talking about and there is a need for a change."
- style.com

He's right - it's amazing how you can get caught up in the pressure of the spectacle and the exhaustion and the deadline and write something, then read it the next day, and go, 'What was I thinking?'

I LIKE YOU!

Monday, May 17, 2010

#1249 Kirk at Cannes


Every year I tell myself I should go to Cannes Film Festival, and right now, seeing all the publicity coming out, I'm kicking myself for not just jumping into some major credit card debt and flying over. Next year it will be done. This is Kirk Douglas in Cannes sometime in the 60s. Dressing in summertime is hard. He makes it look easy. Tone on tone light colours, good glasses, good shoes, good looking girl (his wife, Anne Buydens).

I LIKE YOU!

#1248 La belle vie - Karl Lagerfeld's Remember Now



There's nothing like a Karl Lagerfeld directed short film to remind you of your place in the world. Remember Now captures (what I imagine to be) the essence of Cannes - film stars, expensive cars, youth, vitality, (virility), beauty and all night parties in clifftop mansions. Starring actor Pascal Greggory alongside a whole raft of models - Elisa Sednaoui, Abbey Lee, Freja Beha, Heidi Mount, Baptise Giabiconi, Magdalena Frackowiak et al, Remember Now's aesthetics are certainly more captivating than its plot, but sometimes aesthetics are enough. Especially when they look like this. New Zealand's rapidly approaching winter suddenly seems less attractive.

Part two below.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

#1247 The final two ANTM girls both wore Zambesi


America's Next Top Model's two remaining contestants, Raina and Krista, both wore Zambesi at the final elimination. Raina (the girl on the left), wore a white Madame Hawke blazer with a black Zambesi feathered dress worn as skirt; and Krista wore a white Zambesi pleated cotton shirting dress. So, despite the Kiwis not appearing on the show as much in person as some of us would have liked, the fruits of their labour did make it on screen in the end.

I LIKE YOU!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

#1246 Six things you didn't know about America's Next Top Model's final New Zealand episode

Jay Manuel in a Zambesi Mr Black blazer.

America's Next Top Model's finale aired a couple of days ago, and I don't know about anybody else, but I was disappointed with the lack of New Zealand fashion personnel featured. Sure, they showed some nice Kiwi vistas - those sweeping shots of the mountains, valleys, sea and lakes, but we've already seen Lord of the Rings. Show us the people, people!

Six things you didn't know about the Top Model finale show in New Zealand, below.

Friday, May 14, 2010

#1245 The Selby book - throw away your rubbish bins

Ksubi's Dan Single showving (shower shaving).

I moved house this week, out of a very un-Selby-esque flat (plasma screen tv, modular couches etc), and into a very Selby-esque apartment (old wooden floors, tweedy furniture, free standing lamps, cow skulls etc). The new apartment is in a former department store, and I'm fairly sure that our rooms used to be the haberdashery section. Figures. Being the lovely friend that she is, Katherine gave me a house warming present to celebrate. The Selby Is In Your Place. (She scanned it for me too.) I'm a loyal follower of The Selby blog. The book is even better. Imagine a hard cover photographic tour of the world's ultimate cool dudes' houses. Spoiler: this book will make you regret ever throwing anything away.

Spreads below.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

#1244 NZ fashion designers need a wake up call

Karen Walker - the only NZ designer doing big things internationally right now.

There was a time when a certain cachet came with being a New Zealand designer. In 1999 the New Zealand Four (Karen Walker, WORLD, Nom*D and Zambesi) made waves internationally with their first ever London Fashion Week show. Much was made of the dark, moody, intellectual, 'New Zealand Look'. (Though whoever came up with the 'New Zealand look' must have only been looking at Nom*D and Zambesi, because I can't imagine anyone in their right minds describing WORLD as dark and moody. Karen Walker has been known to use a fair few colours in her collections too.) With the cachet came an attitude. I don't want to use the term self-entitlement, but something along those lines.

'We've made it. We broke London. The international press love us. We have a 'Look'.'

#1243 Parinto - it's Japanese for print

Hatman by Bianca Gomez

Two things I like:

1. Collaborations.
2. Well priced garments.

Parinto's got both. Stephen Richardson's new internet start up is a mini supermarket filled with artist collabed tee shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and totes - for boys and girls. The prints are done by all kinds of interesting people - from Tank Girl comic book stars Alan Martin and Rufus Dayglo to artist Max Gimblett, blogger Adam Bryce to photographer Rene Vaile. And the prices are good. $49.95 for a tee shirt, $99.95 for a crewneck sweatshirt.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

#1242 Thirty Seconds to Mars Scavenger Hunt

Terry Richardson shaving Jared Leto's head - photo: Terry Richardson

It's been a week full of disclosures and confessions, and it's not over yet. I have one more to make. I'm a Thirty Seconds To Mars fan. (Somewhere out there, a hipster dies. His name starts with R. He knows who he is.) EMI is running a competition right now for Thirty Seconds to Mars fans. It's a scavenger hunt. The person who wins the scavenger hunt will get to meet the band (fronted by Jared Leto, in case you didn't know). They'll also get free tickets to TSTM's upcoming concert, plus, (drum roll), the ultimate in hipster accessories, a fixed gear bike from T Whites! How does all this involve me? I'm hosting one of the scavenger hunt clues. Clue #23. It's a hard clue. I don't know the answer myself, but I assume it has something to do with one of TSTM's songs.

The clue, and everything you need to know, is below.

Monday, May 10, 2010

#1241 Snapped - Dayne Johnston


Name: Dayne Johnston.
Occupation: Designer - Zambesi Man.
Where: At home.
From: Wanaka (Central Otago), lives in Auckland.
Favourite place: Antwerp, Belgium. "It's an old shipping town on the coast. I remember visiting it for the first time and walking down the street in the freezing wind. Everything felt so foreign."
Obsessed with: "Changing my interiors around at home, The Coral Sea by Patti Smith and Kevin Shields and Finn Andrews' hat."

I LIKE YOU!

#1240 If you're only going to buy one pair of super skinny suit pants...

Photo: For Tomorrow

If you're only going to buy one pair of super skinny suit pants, make sure they look like this. It'd probably help if you looked like this too. Narrow suit pants are pretty hard to pull off (wool suiting is about as unforgivable a cloth as you can get) so the taller and skinnier you are the better. 6'2" and 60kgs wouldn't be a bad start. These ones are by Saint Augustine Academy. I saw their show at RAFW last week and kept nudging the girl next to me in my excitement over the extremely well-fitting skinny suit pants that kept walking out (they're so often done wrong). "Yes, I know," she whispered through gritted teeth after the third prod. "I'm sitting right next to you." Enthusiasm isn't always contagious, it would seem. Who knew?

I LIKE YOU!

#1239 Eight things you didn't know about America's Next Top Model's second New Zealand episode

The ANTM girls at Hobbiton dressed in WORLD

America's Next Top Model's second outing in New Zealand was anti climactic in comparison with last week's episode. Only one New Zealand designer's clothes were featured and just two other Kiwis made the cut. I was expecting so much more!

Nevertheless, here are six things you might not have known about the episode.

#1238 A few words with Katie Lockhart

Swanndri store interior

Katie Lockhart makes things look good. Really good. Working across a wide range of mediums (from interior design to editorials, creative direction to window dressing), one day she'll be designing a retail store, the next, styling a shoot for a magazine. She's responsible for The Department Store interiors, the just finished Max* store in 277 (which does not feel like a traditional chain retail space) and the creative direction behind Karen Walker's Jewellery campaigns (in my opinion, the best looking in the world right now). I caught up with Katie by email last week for a little Q&A.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

#1237 The rebirth of Ksubi

Dempsey Stewart backstage before Ksubi - photos: Oliver Rose

It reads like a film script. A decade of stunts; of rockstar status and parties with supermodels; of near-bankruptcy, financial restructuring and countless fresh starts. Imagine the expectations. Ksubi's first show in three years. The label that single handedly put Australia's surf-punk larrikinism on the world stage. ONE VIA ZERO. Best to start at the beginning.

Friday, May 7, 2010

#1236 Underwhelmed at Annah Stretton

Zippora Seven getting amongst it backstage at Annah Stretton - photos: Oliver Rose

In the interests of full disclosure, I can't claim true objectivity in the writing of this report. I've been holding something of a grudge against Ms Stretton for quite some time now. As a 21 year old working in an office, she screamed at me down the telephone for what was clearly an unintentional error. I then got yelled at by my boss. It was my first day on the job. Now with that out of the way, let's get started.

#1235 All smiles at Arnsdorf

Girls smiling backstage at Arnsdorf - photos: Oliver Rose

The first show of the last day of Fashion Week is an ambitious time slot. After four days of back to back shows, appointments, parties and absurdly late nights, it's a wonder anybody manages to get out of bed at all. I dragged myself out of the house and straight into a taxi that sped me to Arnsdorf's barely offsite venue - the Museum of Contemporary Art, located just metres from the media room - and I was still 30 minutes late. Good thing these early shows always start hellishly late.

#1234 Seen at RAFW - Susie Lau and Tommy Ton

Photo: Oliver Rose

Names: Susie Lau and Tommy Ton.
Where: Outside the media room.
Occupation: Bloggers. Susie writes Style Bubble (probably the most popular personal fashion blog on the planet) and Tommy Ton shoots Jak and Jil (hands down the world's best street style blog).
From: Susie's from London and Tommy's from Toronto.
She says: "It's my first time down under. My favourite shows so far were Romance was Born - it made me feel really good; Ellery; and Dion Lee, which was the slickest." As for the New Zealanders, "Zambesi was something I'd wear but the show was a bit long; Stolen Girlfriends Club was fun; and Kate Sylvester was very cute."
He says: "I just flew in five hours ago but I'm having lots of fun and seeing lots of things I want to take pictures of, so I'm pleasantly surprised. Dion Lee was a very good first show to see. If all the shows could be like that I'd be here every season."

I LIKE YOU!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

#1233 Dion Lee's pure tailoring

Backstage before Dion Lee - photos: Oliver Rose

Clever tailoring can hide any number of bodily misfortunes - it's a technique that Savile Row has exploited quite successfully for centuries. Dion Lee has an inherent knack for the art form. His show notes this morning spoke of the appropriation of traditional tailoring techniques. It's what he does best.

#1232 Seen at RAFW - Jasper Seven and Dempsey Stewart... KISSING!

Photos: Oliver Rose

Names: Jasper Seven and Dempsey Stewart.
Where: Outside the Kirrily Johnston show.
Occupation: Models. Jasper has walked Zambesi and Stolen Girlfriends Club so far, and will do Ksubi tomorrow. Dempsey's booked for 14 - she's one of the busiest girls this week.
From: Jasper's from Auckland and Dempsey's from Perth but they live together in Kings Cross, Sydney (and spend a lot of time in Tokyo).
Met: In Tokyo. "A friend introduced us at this bar called Lexington," says Dempsey, "And we danced and kissed all night."

One more of Jasper below.

#1231 Dion Lee - the greatest


Review to come.

I LIKE YOU!

#1230 Seen at RAFW - Bella Barber

Photo: Oliver Rose

Name: Bella Barber
Where: Backstage (at plenty of shows), this one was taken at Zambesi.
Occupation: Model. This is Bella's first fashion week.
From: Auckland, but lived in Dunedin for three years before arriving in Sydney. She's been here a year and a half.
How it all started: A dark haired Bella moved to Sydney after high school to escape the cold in Dunedin. One day a photographer approached her to take a couple of test shots. They turned out pretty well, but nothing really eventuated until he encouraged her to bleach her hair. She did it and the jobs poured in. Now she describes herself as "The only albino in Sydney."
Where to from here: New York. In two weeks. For the first time. Best of luck!

I LIKE YOU!

#1229 A spectacular theatre of excess at Romance was Born

Backstage at Romance was Born - photos: Oliver Rose

Ever watched first year students ascend the fabled spiral staircase at Hogwarts School of Magic and wished you could partake? Welcome to my world. Tonight, however, at Romance was Born, I had the chance to fulfill that fantasy. Sandwiched between countless warm bodies, we pressed our way up the narrow stairway and into a different world.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

#1228 Therese Rawsthorne - location location location

Backstage at Therese Rawsthorne - photos: Oliver Rose

In Paris and Milan, there is no centralised fashion week venue. No tents, no one building in which all shows are held. Every designer presents their collection at a different location, in a different part of the city. The majority of your day is spent on a chartered bus being shuttled from one address to another. Here in Sydney, like Auckland, New York, Berlin and probably scores of other cities, fashion week is housed at one location. It's convenient - there's an onsite media room with food, drinks and wireless internet access; your next show is mere metres away and there's an organising committee on hand to listen to all of your complaints.

#1227 The Dopeness/The Wackness

Photo: Oliver Rose

The Dopeness: Dempsey Stewart (my favourite model of the week) in this razor sharp matador-esque suit by Manning Cartell.

The Wackness: Security guards. Never there when you need 'em, always there when you don't. I feel for young Oliver - despite being accredited for almost every show, his pass doesn't have the necessary 'backstage approved' tag. At two different shows this morning an over-zealous security guard had him physically removed, only to mumble a sheepish apology when various PR agents explained that he was allowed to be there. Sure they're just doing their job, but seriously, there's no need to get all hands-on about it.

I LIKE YOU!

#1226 Naivete rules at Kate Sylvester

Kate Sylvester briefing her models before the show - photos: Oliver Rose

There's no mistaking the Kiwi designers in Sydney. They're the ones who actually clothe the girls, you know, who make sure nobody leaves the house without a cardigan or a sensible pair of shoes. New Zealand's a little cooler than Sydney. In the weather, certainly, but there's an aloofness - or at least something a little reserved - among our designer's collections that you don't always see on the cocktail-frock dominated catwalks over here. Kate Sylvester is a specialist at designing clothes that befit a lady. Not clothes for ladies of a certain age, but clothes that cool young girls (or cool older girls) can wear and look interesting in, without having to resort to exposing excess amounts of flesh. The kind of stuff a young fine art's student might find while rummaging through her Nana's closet.

#1225 Seen at RAFW - Rene Vaile


Name: Rene Vaile.
Where: RAFW Media Room.
Occupation: Photographer. He's here at RAFW shooting models backstage for vogue.com.
From: Riverhead (West Auckland), but lives in Woolahra, Sydney.
Friends in high places: Rene's girlfriend is Vogue Australia's pink-haired Fashion Editor Meg Gray.
Wears: A Napalm Death tee shirt - his favourite band - and brown corduroy trousers (of which he owns five identical pairs).

I LIKE YOU!

#1224 Less is more at Flannel

Zippora Seven backstage at Flannel - photos: Oliver Rose

Wearability is all too often lost on the fashion runway. It's common and infuriating to see a collection so over styled that to pull out an individual piece - a top, a skirt, a pair of pants - seems a precarious task. Sure it's clever and creative to twist a dress up, throw it around a model's neck and call it a scarf, but sometimes it's nice to sit back and watch a show that allows the clothes to speak for themselves. With all that in mind, Flannel's first outing on the Australian catwalk was a pleasure to witness tonight.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

#1223 Oliver Rose's favourite photos of RAFW thus far

Georgia Fowler having her eyebrows glued at Zambesi - photos: Oliver Rose

I'm very lucky to have Oliver Rose working with me here at RAFW - his backstage photographs have vastly improved my fashion week coverage and it makes a huge difference to have friends around (Katherine Lowe has been great too, though I'm jealous of her ability to take photos and write all funny like). It's Oliver's first time at a fashion week and his first time shooting backstage, an experience he describes as, "Intense - particularly when it comes to dealing with old school elbow-throwing photographers and amazonian models."

These are his favourite photos of the week so far.

#1222 Seen at RAFW - Tim Blanks

Photo: Oliver Rose

Name: Tim Blanks
Where: Front Row, Zambesi.
Occupation: Fashion writer, authority and style.com contributor - he's here in Australia covering the shows for Vogue.com.au.
From: New Zealand (originally) but lives abroad.
What he had to say about the show: "The ability to spin a good yarn with and around a collection has become a valuable arrow in the savvy designer’s quiver. It’s something Elizabeth and Neville Findlay have instinctively understood for the near-three decades Zambesi has been in business. Their clothes create an atmosphere." (From his review here.)

I LIKE YOU!

#1221 Camilla and Marc - hot dresses for hot girls

Backstage at Camilla and Marc - photos: Oliver Rose

There's generally a pretty significant difference between the international super brands and the labels you get down in these parts. It's a scale thing. But this morning in a serene white room, complete with a glass dome that allowed floods of natural light to pour down, Camilla and Marc showed the next best thing. It was a good looking audience. Ex IMG Managing Director Simon Lock turned up in a charcoal suit and silver tasselled loafers; front of house maestro Miro (he goes by one name a la Madonna) wore a slick black shark-skin suit with a perfectly folded pocket square; and the brand's PR agent Holly Garber looked like a girl straight off the pages of Jak and Jil in a camel double breasted coat and charcoal woolen trousers.

#1220 Stolen Girlfriends Club's first RAFW outing

Models (including Zippora and Jasper Seven and Demspesy Stewart) backstage before the show - photos: Oliver Rose

You wouldn't be a bad guy if you'd ever gone to a Stolen Girlfriends Club show for the party more than the clothing. The guys behind the cult brand know how to throw a good one. In New Zealand, they're legendary for it. Scores of vintage jam jars lined up on the bar, each filled with cocktails more deadly than the last. Oh the festivities. Oh the stories. Oh the hangovers.

Monday, May 3, 2010

#1219 Modern Rogue - Zambesi's magpie traveller

Michael Whittaker and Bella Barber - photos: Oliver Rose

There are always plenty of different elements going on in a Zambesi collection. The menswear takes cues from the womenswear (and vice versa), the fabrics are mixed and mismatched and the themes are many and varied and not necessarily in accordance with one another.

#1218 Kiwi designers support their own at RAFW

Stolen Girlfriends Club designers Luke Harwood, Marc Moore and Dan Gosling with their Japanese agent - photos: Oliver Rose

If I was going to try and count all of the New Zealanders present at Zambesi's show this afternoon (which I'll post about later), I would've spent the best part of the 20 minute-plus-show doing so. Notable names included Tim Blanks; Elisabeth Findlay's sister Margi Robertson (of Nom*D fame); fellow Kiwi designers Kate Sylvester who arrived with husband Wayne Conway and stylist Karen Inderbitzen Waller; and Marc Moore, Luke Harwood and Dan Gosling of Stolen Girlfriends Club, who present their first ever RAFW show offsite at 9:30pm this evening. Good to see the Kiwis supporting their own.

One more below.