Friday, July 30, 2010

#1376 Ella Drake will guest judge an episode of New Zealand's Next Top Model

Photo: Chadwick

Speaking of Ella Drake, I have it on good authority that the first New Zealander to ever walk a Gucci exclusive is flying to Auckland from Sydney right now to shoot an episode of New Zealand's Next Top Model. According to a well-placed source, Drake is this season's celebrity-model guest judge. Sydney based model Nikki Phillips who played the part last season will not make an appearance this time around. Getting Ella Drake is a small coup for New Zealand's Next Top Model. She might not yet be a household name here in New Zealand but she is one of the only Kiwi girls working in the big leagues internationally right now. Her presence will inject a much-needed dose of credibility to the show, which, as a franchise, often errs on the side of flash and hype rather than concerning itself with the realities of the industry. According to my source, Drake will stay in New Zealand for a little over a week before flying out to Sydney, and then Europe later next month. 62 Models and Talent, the agency that represents the winner of Top Model and Ella Drake, declined to comment.


#1375 Look like Bambi Northwood-Blyth for $149

Photo: Mark Hunter for NO Magazine

Bambi Northwood-Blyth is on blog-fire right now. I can't remember a day in the last six months when I didn't see her staring out the computer screen from under those big dark eyebrows. NO Magazine booked her for their tenth issue, Wunderkinds, shot by Mark Hunter (The Cobrasnake), styled by Zara Mirkin. This shot was an outtake. I love it. I love her facial expression, I love her nose ring, I love her hair and I especially love that Karen Walker sweater with the sleeves rolled up. Like I said, grey crew neck sweaters are having a moment. Which brings me to the point of this post: that Karen Walker crewneck will be in store next week, for $149. Back in the old days when I used to buy Karen Walker Menswear up large (and by large I mean purchasing just about every sweatshirt and tee shirt in every colourway), I used to pay over $100 just for the tee shirts. You were lucky to get a sweatshirt or hoodie for less than $250. Go the recession!


#1374 Ella Drake makes The Cut

Photo: NY Mag

She's had a good run of late, New Zealand's Ella Drake, what with her Gucci Fall 2011 show exclusive and that cushy fit modelling gig working alongside Frida Giannini on the Gucci looks. And with the Spring shows around the corner, a bit of extra publicity won't hurt her chances one bit. Just this morning, NY Times' fashion blog The Cut ran a profile on Drake, calling her, "Frida Giannini’s Bella Di Giorno". Not bad for a girl who struggled to book anything significant in the local New Zealand market. Oh sweet irony. Lady foresight is a fickle mistress.

Quotes below.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

#1373 Nine year old Cisco Seven joins Zippora and Jasper in the family business

Photo: Karen Inderbitzen Waller

Most of us are lucky to have just one good looking person in our family. Two, and fate was smiling. But three? Forget about it. Meet the Sevens. First there was Zippora, touted as New Zealand's answer to Kate Moss; then Jasper (currently working up a storm internationally with his model girlfriend Dempsey Stewart); and now the Sevens can add another string to their model bow. Nine year old Cisco is the youngest child in the family and has just shot his first campaign – alongside big brother Jasper no less – for Crane Brothers. Lensed by Karen Inderbitzen Waller, the campaign is the second in a series of brother-portraits shot for the label's new Black Sheep line (last season Hal and Nathaniel Cheshire took centre stage). "I have watched Jasper's success internationally and was desperate to use him for our Summer campaign," said Murray Crane. "Given that I wanted to continue with our theme of shooting siblings it was great to get Cisco. His involvement meant we could use Jasper."

#1372 Michael Cera is the greatest geek of our generation

Photo: The Cut

Just saw this photo over at The Cut and had to repost it. Michael Cera is the greatest geek of our generation. Everything he touches turns to geek-gold. Case in point – the grey suit he wore to the premiere of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World last night in LA. On anybody else the whole outfit would scream ultimate-hipster. But Cera manages to make it look schlubby – and awesomely so. How? Every detail is just a little bit off. The pants are a little baggy, the tie's a little long, the denim shirt's a little casual. And don't even get me started on the bare ankles. Amazing.


#1371 New Zealand's Next Top Model Season 2 - what we know so far

We're eight days out from the premiere of New Zealand's Next Top Model, and you know what that means – Give me models, give me money, plus Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a little fashion and some girl-drama thrown in along the way. The first episode will see the 33 shortlisted girls fly to Wellington to compete in a catwalk challenge high above the harbour. The 33 will then be whittled down to the final 13 who will compete... to become... New Zealand's Next Top Model.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

#1370 From the playgrounds to Paris – my feature on Mark and Louis for The Dom Post

There's a big bowl of lollies on the front counter at the hotel where Wellingtonian filmmakers Mark and Louis are staying in Paris. They're obviously not for eating though – after rifling through to find the good flavours, the receptionist gives me such a hateful look I almost apologise and put them back. Almost.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

#1369 The facts of life

Justin Bobby in his many manifestations. Image source: heaps

1. There seems to be a proliferation of these young, pseudo-hipster Auckland guys walking around town in Doc Marten/combat boots, rolled up jeans, unbuttoned flannel shirts and beanies hanging halfway off their heads. Boys – Justin Bobby called, he wants his look back.

#1368 What is it with fashion and con artists?

Image: Geil

Currently making the blog rounds is this story about Dan Mancinetti (mentioned in this 2008 Sydney Morning Herald article), an alleged confidence man who has reportedly been going from city to city claiming to be a freelance editor for titles like Arena Homme Plus, New York Times, Upstreet, Surface and Flaunt, when in actual fact, he's just a naughty liar. According to fashin, Mancinetti has hit London, New York, Milan, Berlin and even Sydney, leaving a trail of debts, embarrassed PR agents and scammed contributors in his wake. How does he get away with it? One can only assume he adopts the fake-it-till-you-make-it policy. Everybody in fashion is desperate for exposure, so when a genuine sounding guy calls up 'from Arena Homme Plus' asking to borrow pieces from a designer's new collection, or wanting a young writer to submit a 500 word interview on an up and comer for the New York Times, who's going to say no? It'd be a dream come true. The best bit of the story though – Mancinetti apparently pretended to start up his own magazine, named Geil, and took on the role of at least four different members of staff with aliases, fake email addresses and everything.

UPDATE: It would seem Mancinetti has a magazine named Geil with a functioning website (though the stockist link doesn't appear to work). The word geil translates to 'horny' in German.


Monday, July 26, 2010

#1367 New face models exposing their breasts - the bookers have their say

Following up on Friday's post about new face models being photographed topless for test shoots, I called a few bookers to get their opinions on the matter. Remember, this is specifically relating to unpaid test shoots with new face models. It's not an argument about nudity in photographs or in fashion, but about new face models doing nude or topless test shoots. Okay? Okay. First up, I contacted a top booker in Sydney (who wishes to remain nameless). He said, "It does seem exploitative so early on in a girl’s career, especially if it’s just for a test. I wouldn’t put a shot like that on a girl’s card. I would always want to know prior to the shoot if nudity were to be involved. It’s not that common in Sydney. It’s not how I would promote a new face."

Responses from Auckland agents, below.

#1366 Scott Schuman on what makes a successful blog

Scott Schuman (aka The Sartorialist) was interviewed at Pitti Uomo about what makes a successful blog. His answer, dramatically summarised, was original content, consistency and the ability to tell a story or convey a message through your work. Schuman takes his work very seriously and you can see why he ruffles feathers in the process. From the sound of the interview he's against bloggers using other people's photographs (which is generally acceptable in the blogosphere so long as a credit is given); he's critical of young bloggers who sell out for fame; and he continually stresses the need for integrity and pure intentions. He's single (and bloody) minded. But what successful person isn't? More power to him for saying what he really thinks.

Quotes from the interview, below.

#1365 AS Colour expands, first stop Christchurch

Photo: Katherine is Awesome

If there's one thing AS Colour is lacking, it's a retail store located on every main street in every major town in New Zealand. Spread the low-priced basics love to the masses, I say. Prior to last week, their sole flagship was a destination outlet opposite Mount Eden Prison. But in a giant retail expansion, the company literally doubled its store numbers overnight, opening a new space on Cashel Street in Christchurch. Located at number 95, right in the heart of the Garden City's fashion precinct, the store is managed by Stacy La Plant, formerly of Cheapskates, and, quite coincidentally, the guy who sold me my first skateboard when I was 12 years old. It's a one-stop-shop for all things related to the product – alongside the blank tees, hoodies and crewnecks the staff will offer full screenprinting and embroidery tips and advice. In other words, expect to see a giant influx of new tee shirt brands coming out of Christchurch in the upcoming months.

Store pics below.

Friday, July 23, 2010

#1364 A quick note on new face models exposing their breasts


I've noticed a hell of a lot of new face models being shot for tests by young, male, Auckland based photographers of late, and there seems to be a fairly consistent theme running through the lot – exposed breasts. All I can say to any young girls thinking about getting into the business is that your bare breasts aren't going to get you a job. It's not art and it's not fashion, it's an excuse for heterosexual men to see you naked in the name of art or fashion. I spent a good hour talking to a model yesterday about how he wishes his agents had kept a closer eye on him when he first started out. He believes that had they advised him better, there wouldn't be half naked/compromising photos of him all over the internet now. If you ever feel uncomfortable on a shoot, speak up. If you're going to shoot a test, ask your agents exactly what's going to be involved. They're there to protect you, make sure they do their job. Because seriously – any shot that involves you frolicking naked on a beach could just as easily be taken with you in a bikini. Think about the future – do you really want naked photos of yourself all over the internet? And photographers, stop taking advantage. It's getting ridiculous.


#1363 And the best jock call of the day goes to... Francisco Lachowski

Francisco Lachowski – Photo: NY Times

Brazilian model Francisco Lachowski was interviewed by The Cut this morning, and he came out with this gem of a call: "When I was 16, I was so skinny. I went to the gym all day for three months and did weight machines. My entire body changed. My mother told me to stop because I became too strong. Now, with modeling, I don’t really get to work out. I continue to play sports and do mostly cardio. I am lucky: My body has good muscle memory." You'd be amazed at the amount of times I've stood backstage near a group of beefy male models discussing diets and workout programmes like you and I would discuss the weather. Make no mistakes, I'm not poking fun, their bodies are their business and the best way to grow that business is by taking care of... business.

#1362 Jil Sander goes down under for fall

Photo: The Fashionisto

All the fall campaigns are starting to roll out, and I've just laid eyes on Jil Sander's offering. In happy news for the lands down under, both the company's menswear and womenswear campaigns – shot by Willy Vanderperre – star Antipodeans. New Zealand's Aiden Andrews in the men's, and Australian supermodel, wife of Orlando Bloom, one-time visitor to New Zealand and Victoria's Secret star Miranda Kerr in the women's (alongside Poland's Kasia Struss). According to The Fashionisto, Andrews was "handpicked by Raf Simons" for the job. For those who don't know, Aiden Andrews grew up in New Zealand but moved to the United States when he was about nine years old. He still proudly claims his Kiwi heritage and told me in this video back in January (shot, coincidentally, backstage at Raf Simons) that he misses New Zealand, and that he'll be back here soon.

#1361 Me in 3D

Photos: Garth Badger

3D – it's so hot right now. What with Avatar, Alice in Wonderland and the latest issue of Remix, I had to get in on that action. So yesterday I met up with photographer Garth Badger (who shot the Remix 3D cover), to give it a go. There are a couple of rules when you're shooting 3D – the setting has to have lots of depth and detail and you have to be incredibly still when the photo's being taken. I can't give away any details of Garth's technique because it's a secret, but if you have 16 cameras, a crane and four different types of rare mirrors you shouldn't have too much trouble getting started. Alongside shooting 3D covers, Garth has been getting into the film game, creating all of the casting videos for Red Eleven, like this one of international girl Sofia Arellano. Check them out, they're a very good time.

More photos below. I just hope y'all still have your 3D glasses.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

#1360 WORLD's designer parody

Photo: Pebbles Hooper

It's my opinion that we're all shameless label bashers. We're obsessed with logos and status symbols and things that assist to elevate us above our peers. Even the edgiest, most intellectual, complex fashion lovers will cry if one of their Margiela-identifying stitches comes loose. I thought I was above all that. I really did. That is until I found myself liking a sweater lots the other day because it had Comme des Garcons written on it. And, yes, I was liking it because of the Comme des Garcons that was written on it. Sad, I know. The problem is, most of us can't afford to just buy designer labels willynilly. And, besides perfumes, most of the labels don't create easily accessible entry level products. If Karl Lagerfeld brought out a range of cool white tee shirts with the Chanel logo printed in black, they'd sell out within minutes. But he probably won't. So that's where the designer parody tee shirt comes in. Many have done it, many have been sued in the process, many customers have walked away with the contented feeling that comes with owning a piece of designer logo-ed clothing, but, like, the cooler, more street version – remember Ksubi's Chanel, XLarge's YSL and Stolen Girlfriends Club's Comme Play?

#1359 The Qubic shoot

Photos: James K Lowe

Like I mentioned the other day, I took part in a photoshoot for Qubic on Tuesday, wearing pieces from the latest Uniform Experiment and Sophnet collections. I was given free reign to style my own outfits, which is pretty much the equivalent of setting a fat kid down in a candy store and telling him to go buckwild. I discovered something along the way. You can see how stylists become one trick ponies – it is a lot harder than you'd expect to create looks using clothes that are quite different from what you personally wear. In this scenario – baggy paint splattered jeans and nylon hooded anoraks (I did my best). When in doubt, go with what you know – beige pants FTW.

Lots more below.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

#1358 Arena of the absurd – my Haute Couture feature for The Dominion Post

Just six rows in front of me sits Anna Wintour, venerable editor-in-chief of American Vogue and star of fashion's favourite doco-film, The September Issue. To her right, the fiery haired Grace Coddington, Wintour's creative lieutenant. To her left, Blake Lively, in town to shoot a few summer episodes of teen megadrama Gossip Girl. Fellow Gossip Girl-er Leighton Meester is placed a little way along, with French actress (and Harry Potter seductress) Clemence Posey. Other members of note in the front row include Daphne Guinness (ultimate fashionista and heiress to the Irish beer and banking fortune), supermodels Natalia Vodianova and Milla Jovovich and Hollywood starlet Jessica Alba. It's day two of Paris' Haute Couture Fashion Week, and the Chanel show is about to begin.

#1357 Adrian Grenier - the Teenage Paparazzo Q&A

Here's a little video I shot at the Teenage Paparazzo Q&A with Adrian Grenier on Sunday night. It covers three questions. How accurate is Entourage? Did you really jump out of that plane in Season Seven? Are there any New Zealanders working behind the scenes on Entourage? Watch the video to hear his answers, and see if you recognise any of the voices... One of them is me!

Quotes below.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

#1356 Jumping on the Vans-wagon

I have been a Converse Chuck Taylor wearer for quite some time now. By quite some time I mean eight years – before, during and after my gangsta – Nike Vandals; rock'n'roll – pointy brown winklepickers; and Dunlop Sports phases. Navy blue high top Chucks. So confident was I in their ability to go with everything that when it came time to pack for my recent European trip, I decided to take that one pair alone. It was a good call – they went with everything. But they also absolutely destroyed my feet. The blisters were diabolical. So when I came back home to New Zealand, I retired them. For the past week, I've been wearing my half-size-bigger cream Comme Play Chucks, but they don't go with my beige pants, they don't go with my beige socks, and they're a little too camp for an everyday shoe. While I was in Paris, I hung out with Jeremy Bowden who kept wearing these awesome beat up blue low top Vans. They were the perfect summer shoe – super fresh when worn sockless and so cool with cuffed jeans.

#1355 The girls of Redken

Nicole Clulee - Photos: Katherine Lowe

Last night Redken held a show celebrating their 50 years in hairdressing. Katherine and I went along to check out the girls, the up-dos and the wigs. It would seem the company's Creative Director Richard Kavanagh shares my philosophy – big hair is good hair. All our photos below, including Zippora Seven, Derya Parlak, Phoebe Leonard, Imogen Watt and Nicole Clulee.

Monday, July 19, 2010

#1354 The facts of life

Photo: GQ

1. Don't go out on a date with a famous TV star, tell them you don't watch their show, then call them by their character's name three times during the course of the dinner. That pearl of wisdom was gleaned from Kevin Connolly (Entourage's Eric Murphy) in the documentary film Teenage Paparazzo. Apparently it's happened to him a number of times. At least they didn't call him Pizza Boy.

#1353 Boys of Paris Fashion Week – the film

If you're into male models, men's fashion or young Canadian filmmakers, this one is for you. Justin Wu is a 20-something year old Toronto-based photographer who went behind-the-scenes at the Paris Menswear shows to shoot this highly entertaining short film. Featuring plenty of old favourites – Simon Nessman, Marcel Castenmiller, Robbie Wadge and Charlie France, alongside a whole raft of newbies (including Australian Andrej Pejic), Boys of Paris Fashion Week captures the boys in their element just doing their thang. On the catwalk, backstage, fooling around, lip-synching, dancing, you know, just doing what male models do. Keep an eye on Justin Wu, he's a young guy going places. I'm hoping he goes backstage at the womenswear shows. Imagine – Lara Stone moonwalking, Natasha Poly rapping, Sasha Pivovarova doing the robot...


#1352 Adrian Grenier - sans Entourage

Adrian Grenier's in town right now promoting his new documentary Teenage Paparazzo currently playing at the New Zealand Film Festival. Before watching the film I wrote this about it for Metro: The life of a paparazzi photographer has always held something of a romantic appeal to me. It's the thrill of the chase, the celebrity encounters, the easy money. But then there's the flipside – the stalking, the constant provocation, the bottom-feeding. How do they sleep at night? On piles and piles of dollar bills, that's how.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

#1351 The New Zealand fashion media debate revisited

Photo: Bryan Boy

A long, long time ago, when this blog was very young, I wrote a post about the lack of any critical analysis of New Zealand Fashion Week by the mainstream media. My point was that all journalistic credibility seemed to fly out the window at the first mention of goody bags and possible front row seats. You'd see huge amounts of puff-coverage splashed all over the TV and newspapers, but nothing real. No investigation, no criticism, nothing resembling the sort of reportage you'd expect from the six o'clock news or the national newspapers, let alone the fashion media.

Friday, July 16, 2010

#1350 Tiger - a model tale of love and hate in Tokyo

Nothing is ever as glamorous as it appears to be from the outside. That doesn't stop almost all of us from endlessly coveting other people's lives, but it's a senseless enterprise. Modelling is a prime example. What could be better than being young, beautiful and at all the best parties? Lots, apparently. Every model I know complains constantly about the money, the travel, the separation from family and friends, the anxiety that stems from never knowing if you're going to book a job. Tiger is a film about two models who fall in love in Tokyo. It follows their relationship as they go about their daily lives – the castings, the jobs, the cramped shared living arrangements and the parties. They both want out. "I just have to do this for a little bit longer," is a statement repeated throughout the trailer.

#1349 Terry Richardson in pantsless orange spandex... and Karen Walker

Photos: Terrys Diary

This is almost too good to be true. While doing my morning blog trawl, I came across a series of four self-portraits from Terry Richardson's photo diary. Me and Frank B... flying high!, Me and Frank B... Boo Ya... glasses by Karen Walker, Me wearing my new rabbit fur coat from Opening Ceremony and glasses by Karen Walker and Mick the Dogg wearing his real fur coat and glasses by Karen Walker. That's right, it's photographer Terry Richardson wearing a fluro orange spandex leotard (orangutard) and Karen Walker sunglasses, then wearing a fur coat and the glasses, then his dog wearing the glasses. Richardson's pair are from the current Sun Gods collection, though whether he purchased them for personal use or they were on loan at his studio for a shoot is anybody's guess. UPDATE: the glasses were being used for a GQ Style shoot. Either way, this is the funniest thing I've seen all week. This just in from Karen Walker: "Terry Richardson's a great photographer, a very stylish man and he has perfect taste so we're thrilled that he's wearing our glasses."

More photos below.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

#1348 Georgia Fowler's favourite modelling experience has been working with Nicolas Ghesquiere

Photo: Clyne

Just four days after I blogged about Georgia Fowler landing on, Wellington's Dominion Post ran an interview with the Auckland native, calling her 'the next big thing'. Citing interested clients Calvin Klein, YSL, Top Shop and Armani, the article states that she's been "making big ripples on the international circuit in the last couple of years". The nod wasn't mentioned.

Here's what Fowler had to say for herself.

#1347 Zambesi's Dayne Johnston was pick-pocketed in Paris

Dayne Johnston at the Rick Owens show.

Zambesi's Dayne Johnston wrote a diary for Viva while in Paris, chronicling, among other things, his experience being pick-pocketed in an Australian sports bar. "[W]e head off to a skanky bar filled with Australians to watch the New Zealand versus Italy football game... Then... disaster! I walk into the packed bar only to realise pretty quickly that I have been pick-pocketed. My wallet and passport both gone. I have no identification and no money, not even enough to catch the Metro back to the hotel."

On a happier note, he managed to take in a few shows, including Dries Van Noten, Louis Vuitton, Rick Owens, Comme des Garcons and Raf Simons, and styled a Zambesi shoot with Michael Whittaker for iD.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

#1346 'Appy Bastille Day!


#1345 The facts of life

1. For the past two or so years I've had an obsession with buying shoes a little bit too small for me and stretching them out. Kind of like how you're supposed to do with jeans. I forget the reasoning behind this madness, but after experiencing the most insane blisters of all time while walking around Paris, I've ditched those size seven Chuck Taylors. The moral of the story: buy clothes that fit.

#1344 She'll be right - first look at Air New Zealand's new Trelise Cooper uniforms in (or above) the field

Remember those Trelise Cooper designed Air New Zealand uniforms that caused such furore late last year? They've arrived. Not officially, but field tests have begun. I snapped the gentleman above (and below) on my flight down to Christchurch yesterday morning. Excuse the amateur photos – I did request some posed shots after the flight, but I was foiled by a medical emergency on board. The moment we landed, paramedics swarmed the plane and I felt a little bit rude distracting the flight attendant's attention from the ailing passenger.

So allow me to describe the uniform to you in words.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

#1343 Mo Money Mo Problems - help Twenty-Seven Names get to NZ Fashion Week!

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times – those Twenty-Seven Names girls (Anjali Stewart and Rachel Easting) sure do know how to make an entertaining video. Their latest, titled WONDER WOMAN, is a stop motion gem calling for votes. Stewart and Easting have been nominated for Cleo's Wonder Woman of the Year award, which, if won, will not only give them mad kudos and glory, but also five thousand dollars. Why do they need five thousand dollars? To help them get to New Zealand Fashion Week this year, that's why! According to Stewart, "We are trying to raise money for Fashion Week, which has been a real challenge and we hard out want to show!!!" I also want them to show. If you do too, here's what you can do to help. 1. Watch the video. 2. Email, subject line: Rachel Easting and Anjali Stewart. 3. Make up fake aliases and email addresses and repeat step 2. (But maybe not because that might be a little dishonest.) Best of luck to Twenty-Seven Names!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

#1342 Paris, I bid you adieu

My body's at 6:30am, current local time in Dubai (where I'm writing this from) is 8:30am, I'm soon to fly out to Sydney (where it's 2:30pm) and then onto Auckland (4:30pm). Time's a tricky bugger, and I've had two hour's sleep. Then there are the temperatures. 30 degrees when I left Paris, 43 here in Dubai, 18 in Sydney, 11 in Auckland. Lucky for me, I'm travelling with a friend who has an Emirates Gold Card so we're in the business class lounge. All the food, drinks, showers and internet access you could ask for. But all I want is a bed. 22 hours from home. While I am excited to get back to Auckland, it sucks to leave Paris. I love that city. Special thanks to my host Tessa and friends Harriet, Wladimir and Agathe who kept me entertained for the duration of my trip. Abientot mes amis.

More photos below.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

#1341 On the up - Georgia Fowler

Photos: Clyne

It's only time before New Zealand's Georgia Fowler blows up. In the wise words of Turtle, the girl's a triple threat – she's got the face, she's got the body, she's got the personality. has just picked up on Fowler today, promoting her in their Daily Duo section. Add that to her recent Harper's Bazaar Australia cover, a possible Australian cosmetics contract (unconfirmed), and representation by heavyweight agency IMG worldwide, and I swear she's on the fast track to success.

More photos below.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

#1340 Rolling with the homies

The more I travel, the more I discover just how different we New Zealanders are from everybody else. It works both for and against us. On the plus side, we're down to earth, we'll give anything a go, we don't crack under pressure and we're very efficient at getting stuff done. On the down side, we're sarcastic, casual to the point of impoliteness and we don't seem to understand that not everything in the world is going to be "Sweet as". People from other countries actually care about things like table manners or their flag. Who knew? So I often find that I have to make an effort when I'm around non-New Zealanders (NB: this doesn't apply to Australians). Tone down the sarcasm, up the politeness levels etc etc. But it's always a relief to catch up with Kiwis overseas. Yesterday I spent the day with Jordan and Anouk Rondel, Jeremy Bowden and Harriet Were, laughing about rude waiters. The day before we wandered around Le Marais sharing war stories and eating gelato. Actually, desserts featured a lot in the time we all spent together.

Check out the sweet photos below.

#1339 Crowds gone wild at Valentino

The final show of the week was Valentino. Held at Place Vendome, the square was literally crawling with screaming teenagers. For the record, this is not a common fashion show occurrence. Maybe during the women's ready to wear collections, definitely at a Twilight premiere, but not at an Haute Couture presentation. They were there for a noble purpose – and one of my favourite pastimes – a bit of celebrity spotting. Jessica Alba had apparently already gone in by the time I arrived, but The City's Olivia Palermo drew cries, Natalia Vodianova got cheers, and Clare Danes brought the house down. Kids were crying, paps were shouting, security guards were shoving.

#1338 Krazy Kouture vs Botticelli and Birdsong

Photo: Fashionista

On Aura Tout Vu's paper invite was not the traditional, understated Haute Couture invitation. With its collage of guitar wielding girls, dragons and monster frogs, it bore a closer resemblance to a 16 year old girl's birthday party poster than a fashion show attendance request. Same went for the catwalk. Small, and nestled among trees in a corner of Palais Royal, its opening was another monster frog (with fangs), though this time constructed from transparent blow-up plastic. Haute Couture this was not. Krazy Kouture? Perhaps. It started with a blonde in a gown with – you guessed it – monsters perched on each shoulder (Lady Gaga was an inspiration). But the major theme was the deep blue sea. Think seaweed, blowfish handbags, scaly dresses and a gown dripping with gaudy black shellfish. Whether this new guard will overtake the old remains to be seen, but the label's muse is reportedly already a fan – Ms Gaga recently purchased several looks.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

#1337 Snapped at Chanel Haute Couture

Vogue editors (and movie stars) Grace Coddington and Anna Wintour.

#1336 Givenchy's dearly departed

Over at Givenchy, designer Riccardo Tisci opted for a less extravagant affair, choosing to host an intimate presentation over a catwalk show this season. It gave attendees like myself a first time opportunity to view Haute Couture up close and personal. Held in rooms at Place Vendome with gilded walls and parquet floors, we were permitted to literally touch the gowns. I'm afraid words can't do them justice, but here's a statistic that might – one dress required up to 1000 hours of workmanship, with 28 different people working on it at every point along the way. There are very few women remaining in the world who can afford to get dresses of this kind tailor made, and their privacy concerns were another factor in the decision to move away from a catwalk show. Ladies who'll drop hundreds of thousands of euros on a single dress aren't necessarily the types who want their photographs splashed all over the gossip magazines.

#1335 Chanel's living lions

Including fashion celebrities (Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Natalia Vodianova, Carine Roitfeld et al), the fame count at Chanel this evening was high – Jessica Alba, Gossip Girls Blake Lively and Leighton Meester and supermodel-cum-actress Milla Jovovich all turned up for the show. Adding to the glamour-factor was the location – Grand Palais, the most spectacular, gargantuan, glass-domed building in Paris. Oh, and that strategically placed golden lion in the centre of the circular catwalk didn't hurt. Spanning 30 metres wide and five metres tall, the lion stood guarding a single pearl (about 25 times the size of a soccer ball). Needless to say, excitement levels were extreme. Another extreme – the temperature. Despite an 8:00pm start time, the sun continued to blaze through the glass roof, scorching everyone beneath.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

#1334 Getting Classy with Derek Blasberg

Sticker Twins!

Derek Blasberg is a bit of a hero of mine. I like how he writes, I like how successful he's been and I like how he's done it all at such a young age (he's 27). I began following Blasberg's tweets during Paris Menswear and they kept me constantly entertained on the bus between shows. He parties with stars and appears to lead a charmed existence of dinners, events and first class travel. No doubt there's quite a lot of work thrown in along the way as editor-at-large of, Harper's Bazaar, V and VMan, but he makes it all seem so effortless. Just yesterday he was in Turkey tweeting poolside with Jefferson Hack, Gareth Pugh, Daphne Guiness and Terence Koh. I don't know where he finds the energy. Anyhow, he tweeted this morning that he was going to the Christian Dior show today, so I made it my mission to meet him. Then he tweeted that he was having a book signing at Colette this afternoon. I dropped everything and ran.

#1333 Demure dresses, star sightings and missing models - Haute Couture day 1

Christophe Josse. Photos: Telegraph

There are few things in this world more glamorous, sophisticated or elegant than the Haute Couture shows in Paris. But glamour, sophistication and elegance don't come naturally to the 20-something year old New Zealand man. Disorganisation, tardiness and that classic "she'll be 'right attitude," however, come in truckloads. I left the house late this morning for my first show of the week, Christophe Josse. Really late. Late like at the same time that the show was supposed to begin. I missed my first subway. The next one didn't arrive for four minutes. That might not sound like a long time, but when you're already 15 minutes late and you're a good 25 minutes away from your destination, every second counts.

#1332 Snapped at Christian Dior Couture

A yellow-mohawked Jared Leto arriving at the show amidst a media frenzy, accompanied by Purple's Olivier Zahm.

Monday, July 5, 2010

#1331 Gone Couturin'

Maybe if I'm lucky I'll catch me another Magdalena.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

#1330 I filmed four seconds of Mark Cox's NY Times video diary

Yeap, it's true. Four whole seconds. On Saturday last week (the second to last day of Paris Menswear), Mark Cox sent out a tweet requesting suggestions for what he should put in his NY Times Model Diaries video. I told him to take the camera out on the catwalk during a show finale so that everyone could see what the models see. While he liked the idea, he didn't think the designers would be too impressed. Instead, he asked me to film him on the catwalk during the Thom Browne show. I did so. It made the cut. Check it out from 1:56 to 2:00. The best bits, though, were all Mark. Mark with his lunch (carrots, cucumber and juice), Mark interviewing Canadian model Theo Hall about his male thong, Mark taking us on a tour of his lavish apartment suite, Mark filming Thomas Hoefnagels and friends singing Backstreet Boys' I Want It That Way. It's a good time. Whoever said Dutch humour doesn't translate onto video didn't know what they were talking about.


#1329 Givenchy Couture - the invite

There are invitations and there are invitations, and then there are works of art – Givenchy's giant double-sided Haute Couture invite fits into the latter category. It's the first time Givenchy have invited me to one of their shows, and it's the first time I'll have ever gone to a proper Haute Couture salon presentation. Givenchy have decided not to do a catwalk show this season, instead opting for a scaled back (but notably more expensive) setup. The showing will be held at at an eighteenth century townhouse on Place Vendome (near the Ritz Hotel). According to Givenchy's designer Riccardo Tisci, "I want to make couture even more special than it is, and not just another catwalk show. People can really experience the couture moment: See it, touch it." The reasoning behind the change in direction? Many of the major couture clients (like royals) don't attend the shows for privacy and security reasons. This will give them the opportunity to witness the magic of a presentation in a more intimate setting. I'm scheduled for 4:00pm on Tuesday, and who knows, I might have another run in with a Turkish princess. Another advantage for the audience – I reckon there'll be food.

The Givenchy invitation B side, below.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

#1328 Sailors, singlets and silk - my picks of the week from Paris


Junya Watanabe – Whoever said 'East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet,' obviously hadn't figured Japanese fashion designers into the equation.

#1327 Zambesi in Paris

Designers wishing to pick up serious international wholesale accounts can choose from three options – hold a presentation or show at one of the big fashion weeks, participate in the trade fairs, or set up their own showroom in a major city. Zambesi chose the latter, and set up in Paris. For the past week and a half their sales agents Robinson Pfeffer have been taking prospective buyers through the spring 2011 menswear collection (recently shown in Sydney). In the past six days, 22 buyers have seen the collection, representing stores like Colette, Barneys, Normann Copenhagen and Shine Hong Kong.

More photos featuring New Zealand model Michael Whittaker and designer Dayne Johnston, below.

Friday, July 2, 2010

#1326 Gas pumpin'

Every store in Paris has gone on sale. Every single one. 10-90% off as far as the eye can see. But don't worry friends, today I managed to buy the one thing that Uniqlo is still offering at full price. FML. I've wanted a short sleeve shirt for a while now (ever since Dries Van Noten showed them last summer), but you can never seem to get them in New Zealand. Then Zambesi showed those awesome ones at RAFW, but they're not available until next summer. So imagine my indescribable delight when I walked into Uniqlo today and found this bad boy. It combines all three of my shirt loves – button down collars, oxford cotton and the colour blue. I threw it on in the store and haven't taken it off since. It's equal parts Stand By Me and 50s gas pump attendant. Not bad for 20 euros.

A couple more below.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

#1325 The Chanel diaries, part three

It was this time last year that I had the greatest (and most stressful) moment in my career as a sneak-in artist. The show was Chanel Haute Couture and the security was extreme. Six on each door, metal detectors, guns, the works. I managed to squeeze myself into the middle of a giant scrum of angry Italian photographers who grew fed up with waiting and surged the door enmasse. There was nothing the security guards could do, they were outnumbered 10 to one. Last season at Chanel, I waited in the bitter cold with grand ambitions of repeated success, but no such luck came my way. This time around, I made a discovery. Life is much simpler if you make early contact with a brand's regional PR agent. It might not be quite as adventurous as winging it, but it can help guarantee that you'll see the show.

This arrived in the mail for me yesterday.

#1324 Snapped - Jeremy Kapone

I don't care how cool or how down or how ultra-nonchalant you might be, like it or not, every single person has a kind of reaction when they meet somebody famous. Even famous people react to meeting other famous people. It could involve staring, a little flinch, a small heart attack or an all out panic attack. There's one exception to this rule – it occurs when you come across a famous person who you've never heard of before. This happened to me tonight. I accompanied Kiwi filmmakers Mark and Louis to a festival awards dinner that was set up as a meet and greet between foreign directors and French actors. There were 11 tables in the room, each filled with French stars. I'd literally never seen any of them. Not one. Our table had two, a very sexy lady whose name I didn't manage to catch (though I did incorrectly guess her age to be about 25 – she was in her late 30s), and a cool young dude named Jeremy Kapone (Jeremy's not a difficult one to remember).