Tuesday, August 31, 2010

#1432 Girls dressed like boys


This is just a quick note to say that Katherine looked particularly awesome today. She was dressed like the ultimate cool guy in a Crane Brothers blazer and pants, Country Road Fair Isle sweater and chambray shirt, and old shoes she bought off the internet. Girls dressed like boys gets me every single time. Boys dressed like girls, not so much (unless, of course, they're mayoral candidates). And just to prove how well it works, check out a couple of shots from Love Issue Four below. Dree Hemingway, Hannah Holman and Veruschka all dressed to kill in masculine tailoring. My favourite.

#1431 John Banks is a vision in floral

Photo: Pebbles Hooper's blog

If Metro's latest cover is anything to go by, we could be looking at a new era for the Auckland magazine under Simon Wilson's editorship. The cover is a triumph – provocative, funny and endlessly tongue-in-chic. Styled by Pebbles Hooper, it features Auckland's front-runner mayoral candidates in drag – John Banks in a floral WORLD frock and Len Brown in a dramatic Alexandra Owen gown. According to Hooper, "Metro is a controversial magazine. It's not a fashion magazine, and it's always been a publication I read for its content. With this latest cover, I was more than happy to get on board with something so humorous – it combines the upcoming elections with fashion week. I can at least relate to one side of it. People need to get a sense of humor. Quit the bitching and look at it for what it is. Old boys in dresses. Not such a big deal."

#1430 What's in store at Chiodo

Photos: Katherine Lowe

The trick to Melbourne appears to be to walk down every back alley, climb up every set of stairs and generally go where no man seems to have gone before. Take Chiodo, for example, one of the coolest stores I've seen anywhere – we discovered it quite by accident on our way to a Japanese restaurant (which, conveniently, was housed behind a big black curtain behind a big glass door with few discernible markings). Chiodo specialises in Comme des Garcons but also sells its own namesake brand which is designed and manufactured right here in Australia.

Monday, August 30, 2010

#1429 New Zealand's Next Top Model nudity - Radio Live interview



One evening last week at about 2:00am I was interviewed by Radio Live about the nudity on New Zealand's Next Top Model. Here's the audio clip.

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#1428 Just what the Doctor ordered (Dr Denim pants, that's what)


Sometimes you have to fly all the way to Melbourne to see what was right there under your nose in Auckland. I discovered Dr Denim yesterday, and it's safe to say I've been missing out. Katherine and I spent the day shopping on Little Collins Street and our second favourite store was Somewhere – a Scandinavian streetwear specialist situated a few flights of stairs above Royal Arcade. They had the full range of Dr Denim pants – everything from jeans to chinos to cords – and each pair was $149 and not even on sale. That's democratic fashion, that's what that is. Ever wanted a pair of pants in every colour of the rainbow? They're your go-to guys. I've been desperate for some sky blue pants for ages but they looked better on Katherine, so she picked them up. The khaki cords were all me though (see below).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

#1427 Photoshop fail for New Zealand's Next Top Model

Photos: TV3

Another day, another New Zealand's Next Top Model drama. This time around, it's over a couple of shoddy nip/tuck photoshop jobs dished out to Amelia and Lara – two contestants who judges and guest photographers have repeatedly labelled 'bigger girls'. In the photos, disjointed lines around the models' upper thigh areas clearly show where the reshaping took place. According to the Herald on Sunday, which broke the story, "The new individual photos were taken by photographer Russ Flatt after haircut makeovers, which aired on TV3 on Friday night, but he did not digitally enhance the pictures. Top Model producer Anna Lynch said there had been no intention to deceive anyone about the girls' actual proportions, which were clearly visible on TV screens." If that is the case, why hasn't TV3 released the untouched photographs to back up their statement?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

#1426 New Zealand's Next Top Model Episode 4 delivers LOLs (after not such a funny week)



It can't have been the happiest week for the producers of New Zealand's Next Top Model; once the topless 16 year old controversy got a bit of momentum it spread like wildfire – from New Zealand over to America via Jezebel and The Huffington Post, over to the NY Times courtesy of The Cut, and even as far afield as newspapers in the Netherlands and Hungary. Luckily for the show though, big scandals bring big audiences, so no doubt all eyes were on Top Model last night. It wasn't a bad little episode – there were even some LOL moments, all of which appear to have been immortalised by Kiwi blogger Hello Luke. My favourite was Colin Mathura Jeffree's Mirror Mirror on the Wall quip to Aafreen, who was later eliminated (see above). But if animated gifs are more your thing, check out Dakota dancing below.

Friday, August 27, 2010

#1425 Table Tennis at Wall Fabrics

Photo: Katherine Lowe

Every time I go to Sydney I make a point of stopping in at Wall Fabrics for a coffee, a game of table tennis, and, if I'm lucky, a cheeky ride to the airport. Yesterday was no exception – I arrived at the warehouse with an hour to go before my flight was due, had two short blacks, three games of table tennis with Elliott Serjeant (he won the first two, I won the third), and then jumped in the van. We made it to the Jetstar terminal just as they were final-calling my name. I'm not going to lie, the most stressful part about it was losing two games.

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#1424 Ol' School Fish'n'Chips in Fitzroy

Three Kiwis – I'm flanked by Matt Collins and Bruce Raubenheimer.

So Melbourne is like Little New Zealand. I went out with a few friends last night and ran into so many Kiwis it was ridiculous. Highlight was Ol' School Fish'n'Chips on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy – the walls are crammed with salty old sea dog memorabilia and the tables are stacked with heaping plates of deep fried fish and seafood, or bok choy and brown rice (you decide). Brunswick Street reminds me of San Francisco with all its old rundown looking buildings and one-of-a-kind stores. I still haven't seen it during the daytime yet though, so it's probably about time I got off the computer and ventured out into the world.

Photos from last night below.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

#1423 Melbourne – home for the next 10 days

Taxiing to the hotel.

Melbourne looks like a combination of Dunedin, Christchurch and London. It's a city on the make – every which way you turn, new buildings are going up and construction sites are being developed. Those were my initial impressions on the journey from Avalon Airport to Southern Cross Station then onto our hotel in South Yarra. It's my first time in the city and I'm pretty sure I'm already in love. Katherine and I are staying at this brand-new baller hotel called The Olsen – our rooms are filled with coffee table books, Philippe Starck furniture and bottles of water that cost $7 a pop. I'm not going to lie, I feel a little bit like a movie star (albeit one who can't afford to drink the water in his room). This will be our home for the next two nights before we move to the Westin – courtesy of the City of Melbourne. We're in town for the Spring Fashion Festival!

Photos below.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

#1422 Stella Maxwell covers Elle Italia

Photo: supplied

Honorary-Kiwi model Stella Maxwell is a workhorse. The girl is booked out just about every day of the week. Lookbooks, campaigns, shows, editorials, you name it, she's doing it. Her latest coup – the cover of Elle Italia's September issue. That's her there on the right, underneath the fur hood. If you don't recognise her, don't fret, I must admit that I didn't either. But that's all part of the appeal – she lures you in with those big blue eyes and that sweet, innocent pixie cut, then kills you with a moody babushka stare. For those of you who are fans of the more classic Stella Maxwell, you'll be pleased to see her editorial within the magazine (below). But before we get to that, a quick note to the editors of Elle Italia – what's with the lack of cover lines? There's, like, so much empty space left on that page.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

#1421 Kiwis across the ditch

Photos: Katherine Lowe

I'm in Sydney right now staying at this extreme boutique hotel near Oxford Street. By extreme I mean it's the kind of place you'd expect to see in a porno film – all black walls and carpet, enormous mirrors and good looking staff who try to come in and clean your room while you're lying in bed. It's a good time. I'm working here in Sydney until Thursday, then I fly to Melbourne for the first time ever. Besides a couple of stopovers at Tullamarine airport, my only experience with Melbourne is Kath and Kim, The Castle and Looking for Alibrandi so I'm pretty sure I know what to expect. Katherine's going to be with me the whole way – I'll make sure she takes lots of pictures.

#1420 TV3 clarifies Top Model nudity – "The wrong shot went up"

Michaela Steenkamp as shot by Jackie Meiring for NZ's Next Top Model. Photo: TV3

TV3 has contacted me with another statement clarifying the topless photos of Top Model contestants Amelia Akiko Nakagawa Gough (22) and Michaela Steenkamp (16) that began circulating online after the show's third episode had finished airing on Friday night. According to an email from publicist Nicole Wood, the photos that ended up on the TV3 website were never supposed to see the light of day.

#1419 Zambesi opens menswear flagship

Photos: Katherine Lowe

Zambesi has opened a menswear flagship on that burgeoning shopping mecca that is Teed Street, Newmarket, in between the Storm and Calvin Klein Jeans stores (and just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Zambesi lady's space). The flagship reflects the label's current expansion phase – Zambesi Man recently showed the collection in a Paris showroom, and was picked up by several European based stores, including the online juggernaut Asos.

Monday, August 23, 2010

#1418 TV3 brushes off Top Model nudity concerns, hastily photoshops offending pics

Photos: TV3

Compare and contrast – on the left side, the original photograph of New Zealand's Next Top Model contestant Amelia Akiko Nakagawa Gough as seen on the TV3 website this morning, and on the right side, the newly censored image, as seen on the TV3 website this afternoon. 16 year old Michaela Steenkamp (whose breasts were clearly visible on TV3's website this morning) has also been covered up with smoke. This hasty photoshop job comes after TV3 brushed aside concerns about the 16 year old going nude, saying, "Michaela, Danielle and Amelia all wore adhesive covers for the mud pool shoot. We make every effort to protect the girls' modesty and none of the girls are forced to do anything that they aren't comfortable doing." Their response on Twitter was surprisingly blasé: "For all those concerned about the images from last weeks [sic] episode, the girls are not naked. They have bits on their bits".

My question to TV3 is this: If there was no cause for concern over the images, why the sudden scramble to remove any trace of breast?

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#1417 Why is NZ's Next Top Model encouraging 16 year olds to shoot topless?

22 year old Amelia Akiko Nakagawa Gough as shot by Jackie Meiring for New Zealand's Next Top Model.

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: the Top Model franchise is primarily concerned with creating engaging television – finding a real life top model generally comes as an afterthought. In order to create drama, certain things are essential, like the clash of a dozen young girls living in a house, competing against each other to win fame and glory; or the tension that comes with putting young girls into situations outside of their comfort zones. These scenarios can be anything from photo shoots in freezing settings, challenges high above the ground on wires, or, in the case of the most recent New Zealand's Next Top Model episode, shooting the girls in nothing but underwear. Set in Rotorua, the models' bikini bottoms and boob-tubes were slathered in mud, however, when it came time for Christchurch schoolgirl Michaela Steenkamp to be shot, no top was provided. The cause of tension for Steenkamp? She's a Christian. In her words, "I'm a Christian and I don't think that's going to stop me from doing a lot of things as long I have a confidence in myself and I have confidence in the Lord."

The cause of tension for an educated audience? Michaela Steenkamp is only 16 years old.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

#1416 Kate Sylvester a no-show at NZ Fashion Week 2010

Photo: Katherine Lowe

Kate Sylvester will not show at New Zealand Fashion Week 2010, making this the second time in three years that she'll be missing from the event. Absent from the official lineup released earlier this month, the Sylvester camp initially said that they had not yet made up their minds regarding NZFW. But today Kate Sylvester herself confirmed the decision not to show – explaining that all of the company's energies are currently focussed on growth in the Australian market. Sylvester opened her first Australian store on Sydney's Oxford Street in December 2009, and is currently on the lookout for a potential second location in Melbourne.

While it's exciting to see Sylvester expanding across the ditch, she'll be sorely missed from Fashion Week – hers was my favourite show last year.

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#1415 On racism

Dear friends,

After careful consideration, I have removed the Holy F*ck poster. If its presence on my blog offended you, I am sorry. At no time was it my intention to provoke or challenge anybody with the image; its purpose was solely to promote the party. It is important to note that I did not have any hand in designing the poster – it was put together by the guys from All Black Everything, who, as it happens, are of various ethnic backgrounds, including South African/Indian and African.

I strongly believe in the equality of all people, regardless of ethnic identity, gender, socio-economic background or religious affiliation. Unity is essential in the world, but unity in diversity is paramount.

Once again, apologies for any offense caused.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

#1414 New Zealand's Next Top Model Episode 3 Live Blog

Photo: TV3

7:33pm: Taane Mete (one of the founding members of Black Grace) is going to give these girls a good (and much needed) lesson in grace.

7:35pm: No doubt some of these young ladies could do with a little etiquette too. But don't worry about Dakota – she's dancing to the beat of her own drum.

7:37pm: Amelia's looking pretty good this week, Jamie too, and Eva is growing on me every time I see her.

#1413 Holy Moly I love DJing

Photos: Charlie Kim for Snapstar

So Wednesday night was a roaring success, and I'm seriously considering giving up my day job for long nights filled with sweet, sweet music. After DJing just once, I now understand why everybody is a DJ – Holy F*ck it is addictive. Alongside the joy that comes with getting everybody jumping on the dance floor, you get the added bonus of being able to listen to every song you've ever wanted to hear at a party. DJ Darkness Brothers will be back very, very soon.

Photos from the party, below.

#1412 Stolen Girlfriends Club's Ram Tank tee is best in show

Photo: Katherine is Awesome

While it may seem as if we're stuck in a winter-eternal Groundhog Day, the summer collections are rolling in, and that can only mean one thing: there must be some sunlight at the end of this cold, dank tunnel. One highlight – the rolled-shoulder Ram Tank tee from Stolen Girlfriends Club's Heavy Petal High Summer range. I said it back in April when I reviewed their first ever RAFW show, and I'll say it again: that tee is going to sell units. It perfectly captures the essence of the American football trend that's been so popular over the past couple of months and (though I haven't seen it up close), appears to be quite a feat of clever design. Still early days, I know, but I'm going to go out on a limb and call it 'Tee of the Season'. Expect to see it on every hot young thing come summer.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

#1411 62 Models embraces social media – joins Twitter, starts a blog

Screengrab: The all new 62 Models blog.

Despite being one of the best modelling agencies in the country, holding the prize contract for New Zealand's Next Top Model and representing the likes of Zippora Seven, Stella Maxwell, Vinnie Woolston and Ella Drake, 62 Models' website has been – how shall we say – a little outdated for a while now. With its dirty green background and tiny gridlocked photographs, it bore a closer resemblance to a 90s catalogue than a good looking page advertising good looking people. Until today, that is. Behold, 62 Models' new website. Now that's what I call an upgrade. White backgrounds, rotating images, easy navigation, just what the doctor ordered. And even better, they've started a blog, and joined Twitter. Welcome to social media, 62 Models, go on with your bad selves.

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#1410 New Zealand designer concept store Koko to open in Paris

Photo: A Shaded View on Fashion

Paris will soon be home to a concept store solely stocking New Zealand fashion designers. Named Koko, the boutique is the brain child of expat Kiwi Cathy McMahon, and will feature a veritable fruit salad of local names – Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester, WORLD, Zambesi and Trelise Cooper. According to Diane Pernet of A Shaded View on Fashion, "At this point KoKo is a work in progress but come September 17th...it will be the only store in Paris dedicated to New Zealand designers." Koko can be found at 75 rue Charlot, Paris. GO THE KIWIS!

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

#1409 DJ Darkness Brothers debut

It's a week of firsts. Tonight, for the first time ever, I will DJ (mix, cut up and destroy) a party. Together, Jordan Rondel and myself are DJ Darkness Brothers, playing the most thugged out of all thugged out joints on the planet. Our playlist includes: Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes, Snoop, Pharaohe Monch, 50 Cent, Missy, Kanye, Dre and MOP. It's going down at Holy F*ck, tonight, from 11:00pm – 12:30pm at Flight Lounge. HOLLA BACK AT ME WHOOP WHOOP!!

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#1407 Behind the scenes at the SHAWTY WANNA THUG? shoot



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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

#1406 SHAWTY WANNA THUG?


What with all this talk of grey marle crewneck sweaters, I figured it was high time I put my money where my mouth is and got in the game. Here's the result. SHAWTY WANNA THUG? Designed in collaboration with Katherine Lowe. Wanna know more? Step into my store.

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#1405 White jazz shoes might have another moment

Photo: NY Times

Back on shoes again, this time of the white jazz variety. The New York Times' T blog currently features Mark Ronson in a story about his penchant for the infamous Repetto jazz shoe. Repetto's white jazz shoes have a bit of a history among well dressed rockstars, with Serge Gainsbourg reportedly tearing through 30 pairs a year from the 1970s till his death in 1991. How anybody could go through 30 pairs of shoes per year is beyond me, but who am I to say so – those were different times.

Monday, August 16, 2010

#1404 Easy Americana

Photos: The Fashionisto

Classic Americana, or the style I associate with your-average-American-of-decades-past, is so big right now. Even Urban Outfitters is getting in on the action. They've taken a different approach from the preppy, Ivy League geek-chic thing that's proliferating, opting for a slightly schlubbier direction. It's fresh. And it offers a very tidy example of how two of my favourite pieces (the grey crewneck sweater and beige pants) should be worn – together, that's how. Note the clean fit of the sweater, the darker shade of beige which coordinates quite nicely with the heather grey, and the multicoloured sock and shoe. The whole catalogue is cool. Each outfit is simple, but paired with a little blast of colour or an accessory. But even the most dressed up outfits like a shirt and bow tie are dressed down – the shirt is untucked. This is an easy way to look good. And check out the baseball tee with contrast navy arms in the last photo – I reckon it's about time those bad boys made a comeback.

#1403 Fun Fashion Quarterly facts on its 30th birthday


Here in New Zealand we don't have a Vogue magazine, we have our own version – Fashion Quarterly – and it has just turned 30 years old. To celebrate, the latest issue looks back at the local industry over the past 30 years, from our best dressed/most influential ladies (Judith Baragwanath, Ngila Dickson, Paula Ryan and Ilona Rogers in the 80s, Danielle McCormack, Rosanna Raymond, Christina O and Bic Runga in the 90s and Charlotte Rust, Karen Inderbitzen Waller, Robyn Malcolm and Peta Mathias in the 2000s); to stories from the former editors (who knew that FQ used to syndicate W's stories? Gangsta!). But the best bit is a double page spread montage of the magazine's 120 covers. Amazing.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

#1402 Test Shots – Josh Peskowitz



Josh Peskowitz is a bit of a personal hero of mine. Besides being a great writer and a well dressed man, he was an editor over at men.style.com before Conde Nast shut it down, and I used to love reading the Image Matters blog and watching his In The Closet video style tutorials/debates/soapboxes (they were literally shot inside the fashion closet). men.style.com was my favourite website and my first entry into fashion on an international scale. I remember the moment I discovered that you could see every look of every show online – that was a big turning point for me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

#1401 Top Model Episode 2 Live Blog

Photo: TV3
7:30pm: Sara Tetro has blown the glitter, and just like that, the show has begun.

7:34pm: The girls have arrived in Auckland, a first time for some. They're inside the Top Model house, it's pretty fly.

7:36pm: Estelle used to be a size 16 – "Being here is such an achievement for me." Oh my weight loss!

#1400 Band of Outsiders X Sperry – not your typical boat shoes


I dub this the week of shoes. It's like every time I load up a new website there's at least one covet-worthy pair. This time it's the Band of Outsiders X Sperry Fall 2010 collection. The range is pretty low-key – just boat shoes and loafers, but they're all made from the most awesome fabrics imaginable, like corduroy, sheepskin and wool melton. It's like they've taken the American classics and dragged them through the English countryside. My jam. My favourites are the corduroy boat shoes, above. Unlike the traditional Sperry Topsider, they have two sets of lace holes and a set of hooks. It's a small detail, but it makes all the difference. I'm obsessed.

Full collection, below.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

#1399 Reflections of a former male model

Photo: Scallywag and Vagabond

To quote Derek Zoolander, "A male model's life is a precious, precious commodity." Comic, but apt. A couple of days after I wrote about the tragic death of French male model Tom Nicon, I received an email from a guy who blogs under the handle Scallywag & Vagabond. He sent me the link to a story he'd written about his experiences as a model in Milan and Paris. The decade isn't mentioned, but if I was to hazard a guess I'd say it was the mid-90s (he mentions 'Linda and Naomi'). Not much seems to have changed. Like just about everybody else I've ever talked to, he recalled that time of his life cynically, and with few fond memories. It's a good read with plenty of killer lines, my only criticism being that it's far too short – I wanted more anecdotes.

Quotes below.

#1398 Levi's may have just made jeans shopping a little less painful

Photo: ohwrd

I don't care who you are, where you were born or how amazing your ass is, buying jeans is tough. Levi's did some research and found that your average lady will try on 10 pairs of jeans before finally settling on the pair that is the least offensive. Sounds about right, right? I'm not a happy shopper at the best of times, but jeans shopping definitely tops the charts as the worst expedition imaginable. Jeans shopping with a girl, however, is like getting paper cuts between your fingers. And then dipping those bleeding fingers into a fun mix of salt, vinegar and hydrochloric acid – all the while trying to tell her that it's the denim company's fault, because her ass is perfect. Trust me, I would know. A special lady who is very close to my heart has forced me to go jeans shopping with her on numerous occasions over the 26-odd years that I've known her, and it always ends in tears and tantrums. Mine usually.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

#1397 Just your everyday, Run Of The Mill shoes

Photos: Run Of The Mill

While we're on the topic of shoes – my new obsession – here's another win from Mark McNairy. Named Loden Green Suede Longwings, they're a collaboration with Run Of The Mill, an online store owned and run by everybody's favourite menswear Q&A Tumblr-er L.A.S. (How To Talk To Girls At Parties). If one pair of shoes was ever going to inspire a guy to ditch his sneakers, these would be them. They're walking perfection – suede, green and crepe-soled. But sadly, it's not to be, for this guy at least. I'm a size eight and the smallest they've got is a nine and a half. A more generously endowed man could pick them up from here for a paltry $350 USD. Back to the drawing board I go, and back to the Chucks.

More photos below.

#1396 Tips for the Top Model girls

Photo: Russ Flatt

Embody a larger than life character from the get go. Holly is a perfect example – in a single breath she'll laugh at other girls' misfortunes and declare she's not there to make friends, all the while walking perfectly in high heels. That, in a nutshell, is genius television.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

#1395 The facts of life

Photo: The Fashionables

1. New Zealand is quite far away from the rest of the world, but the internet is global. If you replicate another company's work and put the evidence online, there's a high probability that people will notice. Bear that in mind.

#1394 Blazing trails

Photos: Katherine Lowe

Every self respecting man should own a blue blazer. Read any of those traditional books on dressing mores of the human male, and that's what they'll tell you. It's the perfect garment – dress it up with grey flannel pants and a tie, and down with jeans and knitwear or beige pants. For the past year or so, I've spent most of my days in an unlined, unvented, blue cotton drill blazer that has gotten rattier and rattier with every wash and every wear. There's the right kind of blazer and the wrong kind of blazer and my blazer falls neatly into the wrong box. It was time to break the cycle.

Monday, August 9, 2010

#1393 Dress shoes and me – a tale of unrequited love

All shoes: Mark McNairy from here and here.

There's a good reason I'm never seen in anything other than Chucks (or more recently, Vans), and this is it: proper leather shoes terrify me. There'll no doubt be some Freudian rationale behind this most irrational fear harking back to my school days – I do remember feeling a constant need to rebel against the institutionally-imposed uniform, and as a result spent many a day in detention for swapping my Rugged Sharks for DCs skate shoes.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

#1392 Spotted on GQ's The Wandering Eye - Courtney Fallow

Photos: GQ

How good is it when you spot people you know in random photos online? So good, that's how good. I was just browsing through GQ's babes-in-different-cities section, The Wandering Eye, and I came across these pictures of Kiwi model (and babe) Courtney Fallow hanging out at Osheaga Music Festival in Montreal. I guess she's traded a Milanese heatwave for a crazy-Canuck experience. Remember the joys of summer? Hot sun, bare arms, music festivals... No, neither do I. Sometimes spotting people in random photos online isn't quite as good as you thought it would be.

One more below.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

#1391 Meet the New Zealand's Next Top Model contestants

Aafreen

Here are your final 14 New Zealand's Next Top Model girls, in alphabetical order, as shot by Russ Flatt on the premiere episode last night. It's too early to be passing judgement at this stage, but on first glance I'm liking the looks of Aafreen, Courtenay, Dakota and Michaela. Those twins should last a good five or six episodes just on drama factor alone so it'll be interesting to watch how they progress.

Check them all out below.

Friday, August 6, 2010

#1390 New Zealand's Next Top Model Premiere Live Blog

After the jump.

#1389 J Crew makes good commercials too



While we're on the topic of menswear commercials, this one from J Crew must be mentioned. Launched in September last year, the stop motion film showcases Arthur Kalkov being dressed and undressed in various outfits, advertising the company's personal shopping service. J Crew had the genius idea of buying ad space on Taxi TV in New York – I was in town for Fashion Week and must have seen it at least 50 times over the course of two weeks (it'd often play two or three times in one ride). I discovered it again last night and it hasn't lost any of its appeal. It gets me on two levels – the stop motion is quick and clever and there's something new to look at every two or so seconds, and the outfits are fresh to def. One in particular, featuring a blazer, cardigan, shirt and jeans has been inspiring me a lot lately (I've worn a variation of it every day for the past two weeks). Like they say, Jack knows best.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

#1388 Hallensteins takes home the statue



Forget that last post, I am eating my words. Hallensteins has officially entered a new era. I don't know if it's the appointment of Wade Hawkins as Senior Product Manager that's shaking things up, but getting Derek Henderson on board to shoot the TV commercials was a very good call. Alongside his work as one of Australasia's top fashion photographers, Henderson directs all the Glassons ads. In my opinion, they've been the best we've had for a very long time. Until, perhaps, now. Check the Hallensteins commercial above. Holy mackerel that is a good looking ad. Featuring Tyson Mullane alongside Lewis Clegg, Malin Lundstedt, Ngahuia Williams and Derya Parlak, it's basically sexy people doing sexy things in cool looking locations. Full credit, full credit. Now all that needs doing is an overhaul of Hallensteins' actual clothes. Mr Hawkins, here's lookin' at you.

UPDATE: Full credit to Shine for conceptualising the Hallensteins TV commercial, and Robert Niwa and Zara Mirkin for styling.

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#1387 Rodd & Gunn's (Wrangler inspired) reinvention



I'll be honest – Rodd & Gunn is not a company I would ever have expected to blog about. It's a brand I firmly associate with 50-something year old Canterburian men who drive Land Rovers and whose teenaged sons attend Christ's College. But recently it seems as if the old boy's been having a bit of a revamp. First up there was the new flagship on Osborne Street in Newmarket that looked more like a cool Southern American heritage store than a Kiwi chain, and now there's this TV commercial (above). With its road movie references and country and western soundtrack, the advert achieves what no other local menswear chain ever has (to my knowledge) – it offers something fresh, current, interesting and good looking, but retains all its masculinity.

#1386 Christobelle has a favourite Season Two Top Model contestant, she just can't remember her name

Photo: Katherine Lowe

Major New Zealand's Next Top Model sponsor Nivea held a breakfast for media this morning to get everyone amped up for the action starting tomorrow night. While eating (I had the French toast), we were treated to speeches from TV3 Network Executive Andrew Szusterman, Colin Mathura-Jeffree and Season One winner Christobelle. "Top Model was a high risk show for us," said Szusterman. "Everybody told us no one wanted to watch a New Zealand reality TV show, but Top Model was one of the highest rating shows on TV3 last year." He promised lots of drama to come. "This season you can expect lots of in-fighting and factions, young versus old, cliques and cattiness." Mathura-Jeffree said it was an honour to be on Top Model, and that it had come at just the right moment. "I was at the end of my career – I'm almost 40, you know." The audience gasped. He laughed, and pointed at his skin. "Black don't crack."

After breakfast I was given the opportunity to ask Christobelle some questions. We covered everything from getting recognised on the street to her post-school modelling plans and what she thinks of the new Top Model contestants. Full interview below.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

#1385 The facts of life

Photo: Clothes on Film

1. Inception was the single greatest cinematic experience of my life to date. Besides its riveting storyline and action scenes that left me in palpitations on the floor, the wardrobe was insane. And there's this one shot of Ellen Paige in three quarter profile where she has the reddest, prettiest lips I've ever seen. The moment I walked out of the theatre I heard a train and completely freaked out. If you haven't been yet, go. Go as many times as you can.

#1384 NZ Fashion Week and American Vogue - great minds think alike

Photos: Charles Howells and Annie Leibovitz

Well I'll be. No sooner had I uploaded the NZ Fashion Week hero image to the blog this morning than an email arrived in my inbox with a link to the above Annie Liebovitz photo (thanks to Tim for the heads-up). It's from American Vogue's July issue. Both feature models in upright packing boxes with cushioning materials spilling out. The similarities end there. One is a campaign to promote our fair nation's annual Fashion Week, the other an editorial highlighting Alexander McQueen's final collection. The NZ Fashion Week campaign idea was conceived by ad agency Colenso, with stylist, makeup artist, hairdresser and models chosen from the event's Facebook-based New Talent competition. According to Charles Howells, who shot the campaign, the resemblance is obvious, but coincidental. "Yes, we did see the Vogue shoot, but not until after we'd shot the campaign. It's just one of those things that happens," he told me. "We weren't inspired by it in any way. They're similar but very different." So there we have it.

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#1383 Gok Wan not in NZ for Top Model


Gok Wan and makeup artist Margo Regan happened to pull up outside Hotel DeBretts as I was walking along High Street this morning, and I took the opportunity to ask if the How To Look Good Naked star was in town for Top Model. His answer: an unequivocal "No". He appeared to be as dumbfounded by the rumours of him appearing on the show as I was by his extraordinary height. The guy's like six foot two! As disappointing as his Top Model no-show is for all concerned, he redeemed himself by being both really friendly, and really tall.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

#1382 WORLD will show, Kate Sylvester might show – the gist of NZ Fashion Week's designer announcement

Kate Sylvester backstage before her RAFW Spring 2010 show

No big surprises at the New Zealand Fashion Week announcement this afternoon bar the inclusion of WORLD on-schedule and the notable absence of Kate Sylvester. Word from the Kate Sylvester camp was that they're not ruling out a runway appearance, they just haven't made up their minds yet. According to a source, Sylvester has been umming and aahing over whether to show for the past few weeks. Also announced, American red carpet specialist Nicole Miller will hold an onsite catwalk presentation. Miller is best known for dressing celebrities like Beyonce, Eva Longoria and Blake Lively and is the sole international designer showing at Fashion Week. Finally, to commemorate 10 years of New Zealand Fashion Week, the final show of the week will be a retrospective celebrating the past decade of New Zealand fashion. Oh, and one more for the road – Kathryn Wilson will present the first ever shoe-specific show in the event's history.

Full list of designers below.

#1381 Crane Brothers Black Sheep take two

Photos: Karen Inderbitzen Waller

Last week I posted a teaser image from Crane Brother's Spring/Summer Black Sheep campaign featuring Jasper and Cisco Seven, and today we have the full lookbook. The collection has pretty much everything I'm after for summer. Beige pants – check. Button down shirts – check. Cotton suits – check. Casual jackets, sheer short sleeve shirts and washed double breasted blazers – check, check, check. I love the idea of shorts suits, but they might be a little too full on to rock all in one go. You gotta try these things though. The only bits I'm not so sure about are the light blue shirt with those massive pocket flaps (big ups to the Brady Bunch?), and the green blazer with black buttons – I think light coloured buttons would look a lot cleaner. This is the second Black Sheep collection and it's a big step forward for the brand. The range captures the trends from the recent European summer shows and offers a palatable gentleman's alternative to board shorts, jandals and wife beaters. I still think it can be pushed a little further, but this is definitely a step in the right direction for New Zealand menswear.

#1380 21 year old male model Luiz Freiberger is dead

Photo: Didio Photo

Word has begun circulating that 21 year old Brazilian male model Luis Freiberger has died. Online magazine World of Models broke the news last night, dedicating their latest edition to Freiberger: "Em memória de Luiz Freiberger (in memory of model Luiz Freiberger who recently passed away)". Besides the World of Models mention, there don't seem to be any news sites with additional information, but a quick scan of the late model's Facebook page suggests he passed away sometime between the 28th and the 30th of July. Freiberger's Facebook wall has become something of a shrine, with friends and fellow models posting hundreds of condolence messages. Many speak of experiences modelling or living alongside Freiberger in various countries around the world.

Monday, August 2, 2010

#1379 Jessica and the Bear

Photos: Charles Howells

There's a certain style of editorial that I associate with New Zealand fashion magazines – a little grungy, a little raw, tops slipping off the shoulder, one bra strap (or cup) exposed, an emphasis on edgy-cool as opposed to glossy-pretty. No doubt it's the influence of magazines like Pavement and NO, photographers like Derek Henderson and Karen Inderbitzen Waller and stylists like Zara Mirkin. It's obviously a popular and successful aesthetic – just the other day I found myself marvelling at a shoot of that nature. But sometimes it's nice to be blindsided by something completely different, like this editorial by Charles Howells from the latest issue of Pilot. I was obsessed the moment I saw it. It reminds me of two quite different children's books – Where The Wild Things Are and Le Petit Prince (see below, you'll understand why). It's naive and hopeful and playful and it showcases our varied landscapes. I have it on good authority that Pilot's Creative Director Andy Pickering plays the part of the bear on the swing. Who said fashion can't be fun?

#1378 'How To Look Good Naked' shoot planned for New Zealand's Next Top Model?

Photo: Google

How To Look Good Naked's Gok Wan is in the country right now, and rumours are circulating that he's here to guest judge an episode of New Zealand's Next Top Model. According to GayNZ, Wan mentioned that he would be "filming" from Monday to Friday. If it is true, the Top Model producers could be venturing into uncharted territories. Story lines are often built up relating specifically to a particular guest judge, and, alongside his work as a stylist, Wan's specialty is making women feel comfortable with their naked bodies. Does this mean we can expect a nude shoot? Self help, makeover and confidence-enhancing shows such as How To Look Good Naked are commonplace when the subject of transformation is in the 40-plus age bracket. Bring in a bunch of teenagers, and it's another story entirely.

#1377 Little Brother goes nautical for summer

Photos: Karen Inderbitzen Waller

Remember the Close Up interview with Michael Whittaker that aired back in April? Part of it was shot on set at the Little Brother Summer 2010 lookbook shoot, and now, three months later, here are the photos. Heavy on American and nautical influences like breton tees, blue blazers and Nantucket Red shorts, the collection is casual and relaxed like an afternoon on a sailing ship. Don't forget your dock shoes. The range also features several pieces that have eluded the New Zealand man for quite some time now – the chambray shirt, the slim fitting short sleeve shirt and, most importantly, a pair of swimming trunks that don't end below the knee. The full collection will be available in-store and online at Barkers from September. Soon to come – the announcement of a collaboration that is of particular importance to me. Spoiler: there are beige pants and oxford shirts involved.

All the photos, below.