Friday, December 31, 2010

#1659 The Top 10 Things That Happened (to me) in 2010

Photo: Sonny Vandevelde

1. I overstayed in Sydney to see Kanye West at the premiere for his film Runaway, where he said, "A five year old kid still sees truth before the world has taught them how to think. You're running in the beginning until people tell you, 'You can't can't can't can't can't can't,' and by the end you slow down and have to fall in line... I just wanna be like a five year old kid." I really liked that line.

#1658 And the award for the best Kiwi model of 2010 goes to: Jessica Clarke

Photo: tfs

Jessica Clarke was hands down the top Kiwi model of 2010. In her first fashion month abroad, she dominated the international catwalks like no New Zealander has before, walking the Calvin Klein exclusive in New York, Dolce and Gabbana in Milan and Lanvin in Paris, bagging herself the upcoming D&G campaign in the process. Not bad for a 17 year old former national netball rep who hails from Palmerston North – a town that John Cleese described as being perfect for anybody wishing to kill themselves but lacking the inspiration. Honourable mentions also go to Bella Barber for her appearance in Kanye West's monster video, Ella Drake for her Gucci exclusive back in February, and to Christopher Landon for his breakout first year in which he walked for Dolce and Gabbana and landed on the cover of Vogue Hommes Japan. GO THE KIWIS!

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

#1657 The facts of life

Photos: Ace Showbiz

1. A Single Man, which I watched again last night, is the most sartorially inspiring film I've ever seen, but I can't agree with anybody who says its storyline is as captivating as its aesthetics. You can't blame Tom Ford – Shakespeare himself may not have been able to conjure up a tale to compete with Kenny's brown corduroy jacket or George's crisp white shirts.

Monday, December 27, 2010

#1656 These models wish you and yours a very happy holiday



How was Christmas everybody? Mine was swell. I spent a week in Diamond Harbour playing Bananagrams with the family, received some lovely gifts including ceramic mugs a la Labour and Wait (it turns out you can buy them from any good camping store), and flew out from Christchurch 10 minutes before yesterday's major earthquake struck. (According to news reports, nobody was injured.) In honour of the holiday season, Justin Wu rallied the good looking troops to film a Christmas video special to the tune of Jingle Bell Rocks. You'll spy some familiar faces in the mix, including Ethan James, Douglas Neitzke and a whole lot of lovely ladies. This video is exciting for two reasons: 1. Babes. 2. It features London and Paris, where I'm heading in two weeks! It also freaked me out for one reason: blizzard alert! Justin Wu tells me that he's already working on techniques for his next set of fashion week videos, which he'll begin filming in Milan at the menswear shows. I'm going to have to gatecrash that party. Happy holidays everybody!

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Friday, December 24, 2010

#1655 Kanye West invented a Twitter-inspired style of rap named hashtagging


Back in October after the Runaway film premiere, Kanye West mentioned a new style of rap that he had invented, named hashtagging. Taking cues from the often ironic or amusing word tags people put on the end of their Tweets (ie. A girl just walked in on me in the bathroom, looked down and laughed #itwascold), hashtag rapping involves deleting the like or as in a simile comparison and replacing it with a comic pause. The best example of hashtag rapping comes from Drake's song Forever. In the first verse, Drake says the following: "Swimming in the money, come and find me: Nemo/ If I was at the club, you know I balled: Chemo." According to music writers, hashtag rapping will go down in history as one of the more annoying hip hop trends of 2010, but it really should be remembered as the signifier of an epoch in which the lines between real life and social media are virtually all gone. Plus, it's yet another example of Kanye West's cultural relevance. Love him or hate him, there's no denying he's ahead of the pack #UsainBolt.

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#1654 Sweet irony, the ugly sweater just got cool

Photo: David Farrier

Our Northern neighbours currently battling less than pleasurable temperatures have found a new but old way of keeping themselves warm and entertained this Christmas, with the return of the ugly sweater. Only this time, they're no longer a source of humiliation, they're a source of instant style cachet. Store owners in the East Village, Brooklyn and other hipster hotspots are bemoaning their lack of ugly sweater stock, while hipsters themselves are throwing ugly sweater parties with more gusto than ever before. According to the Wall Street Journal, snowflakes and reindeer are popular motifs, as are jingling bells and electronic lights. This dedicated online store boasts "Hideously Ugly Christmas (and Hanukkah!) Sweaters for Sale".

Thursday, December 23, 2010

#1653 The Christmas Countdown Gift Guide according to Adam Bryce

Images: supplied

1. Rene Ricard Boat. Bill Powers' newest project, Exhibition A, is a genuine attempt at bringing art to the world in an accessible way. This signed Rene Ricard print is just $450, and an edition of 100. There's a lot of talk in the art world around bringing fine art to a new market, but if there was one person with the right contacts and eye to make it happen it'd be Bill. Exhibition A is the first real attempt I've seen at this. Rene Ricard for $450!!

#1652 Labour and Wait is my new favourite store


Just 10 years old and situated in East London's market district, Labour and Wait is a general store that stocks heritage products from an age long since past. Specialising in homewares, kitchenwares and other everyday essentials, it would appear that Labour and Wait's owners never noticed such modern technological advances as electricity, plastic or throwaway items. Every piece is a lifelong keeper, and most are around the £10 mark. The two enamel mugs above cost just £8, and the matching teapot below, £12. I don't know about you, but I always have more fun doing household chores if I'm using aesthetically pleasing equipment. As you'll see below, this stuff looks so good I may never be able to bring myself to put it down.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

#1651 Franca Sozzani on what it means to be Editor in Chief of Vogue

Photo: The Sartorialist

With the fashion world's attention firmly focussed on Carine Roitfeld and Vogue Paris and why she left and where she's going and who will replace her and d'ya think she was fired, Vogue Italia's Franca Sozzani took to her blog to give a rare, not-filmed-by R.J. Cutler view of what life is like as editor in chief of the most powerful magazine in the world.

#1650 The Christmas Countdown Gift Guide according to Luke Harwood of Stolen Girlfriends Club

Photos: supplied

1. Acne Compass Bomber – "I'm thinking a future trip to NYC here..."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

#1649 The best street style photo of 2010

Photo: Tommy Ton

Tommy Ton's 2010 best dressed list came out today on style.com and features all the regular street style favourites: Anna Dello Russo, Giovanna Battaglia, Hanne Gaby Odiele, Emanuelle Alt and Stolen Girlfriends Club fan (and future collaborator) Yasmin Sewell. Only three men made the list, two of them being L’Officiel Hommes editor/Trussardi 1911 creative director Milan Vukmirovic and men's fashion director of Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman Nick Wooster. Both are well dressed men, for entirely diferent reasons – Vukmirovic is lithe, European, slim wristed and impeccably dishevelled, while Wooster is fashion's equivalent of a badass character Samuel L Jackson might play; he's American in the most agressive sense of the word. But in my opinion, Tommy Ton left off the best dressed human being of 2010: Robert Rabensteiner. Anybody who can take wizard/hobo/impoverished artist and turn it into what you see above is a true style maestro. And who better to capture the moment than Tommy Ton himself. It's without a doubt my favourite street style photo of 2010.

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#1648 The girls are back in town


Everybody's winding down for Christmas, but if you're a photographer, stylist, magazine editor or clothing label, now is the time to get shooting – our top models are back in town for the summer break. They include 62's Ella Drake (above), who was seen at The Checks' party on Friday night looking every bit the international star; Georgia Fowler, who was seen on Saturday night looking tanned and lovely; Grace Hollows who has just come back from shooting music videos in London; huge money-maker Teresa Moore; party girl Emma Champtaloup; everybody's favourite Amanda Mitchell; and let's not forget about Karla Devine. It's not often we get so many girls of that standard in the country all at once so take advantage of it people!

#1647 Goodbye Stitch Ministry


Stitch Ministry, the knitwear label created by the half of Insidious Fix who was not convicted of cultivating and selling cannabis, has announced its departure from this world. An email sent out yesterday cited the economic climate as the primary reason for the shuttering, stating, "the market has become increasingly tough in the extreme." Diann Waugh of Waughs, a Dunedin based stockist of the brand, said yesterday that she had not been informed of the label's closure despite having ordered its Winter 2011 collection. "[It's] bad form not to let your retailers know... [But] that's the fashion industry at the moment, it is bloody hard for all out there, designers, retailers etc. If it was not a passion I think we would all give up." According to the press release, owners Kylee Davis and Jason Gitmans are in the process of communicating with stakeholders right now. RIP Stitch Ministry.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

#1646 The Christmas Countdown Gift Guide – for all, Herschel Supply Co bags


I've been thinking long and hard about gifts of late, and I've made a decision: presents should be practical. Buy people things that you know they're going to use. It could just be me, but my favourite gifts are the things that I use day in and day out: Chuck Taylors, Burts Bees lip balm, Hallensteins beige socks. Bags are perfect – we all need a good one. And ever since I got my Baggus I've had a newfound obsession with backpacks (I have an oldfound obsession with duffel bags). Herschel Supply Co packs are canvas and leather, classic, sturdy and good looking. According to Sarah Mason of Area 51 where you'll find them, "I seriously do believe that every single person should own one, if not for the quality, practicality and pure simple aesthetic, then for the price alone." They retail for $115 for the backpacks and $165 for the duffels.

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#1645 Get that man an Irish fisherman's sweater


Katherine and I just booked a big trip for January: Auckland - LA - London - Milan - Paris - London - LA - NYC - LA - Auckland. Granted it is a bit roundabout, but we took the cheapest option possible and booked return flights to London on Air New Zealand with stopovers in LA and then extended our USA stopover for a couple of weeks to head up to New York. Very exciting, but chill factor up North is extreme this winter. It's negative four degrees in London right now. Next level! I'm devoting every inch of luggage space to wool. An Irish fisherman's sweater, like this one by Drakes of London, is knitted with freezing days and long voyages in mind. Just what I need.

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#1644 The facts of life


1. Having a party at your house always seems like such a good idea when you've done a beautiful job decorating it and nobody has turned up yet. As soon as the crowds come, the pain begins. I threw one on Saturday night – noise control showed up three times, I narrowly avoided getting a $600 fine and some guy peed on the living room floor. The moral of that story is: save yourself the panic attacks. Don't do it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

#1643 The Christmas Countdown Gift Guide – for him, a Commoners Alike X Black Box tee


I reckon a tee shirt is a fail-safe good time gift. (Unless it's one of those fratboy 'What has two thumbs and likes [insert obscene sexual manoeuvre here]' tee shirts. Steer clear of those bad boys.) For Christmas, Commoners Alike designer Jae Mills has teamed up with Black Box to create two limited edition tee shirt prints. One features an Aztec design and the other a moody storm cloud. Holla at your stocking filler! Get in quick, I hear they're already flying out the door.

#1642 Merry Christmas from the girls at Twenty Seven Names

Picture: David Shrigley

The above Christmas card just landed in my inbox from the girls at Twenty Seven Names. I think what they're trying to say is ya'll need to hide your kids, hide your wife, hide your kids, hide your wife and hide your husbands cos he's eatin' errrrbody out here.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

#1641 The Christmas Countdown Gift Guide – for the art lover, a Gavin Hurley

Gavin Hurley paintings: Courtesy of Anna Bibby Gallery

Art is a fantastically daring but potentially risky gift to give for Christmas. So much could go right, but so much could go wrong. According to photographer/stylist Karen Inderbitzen Waller though, a Gavin Hurley is the ultimate Christmas present. Comme des Garcons wallets aside, I'd have to agree with her. I'm yet to meet someone who doesn't absolutely love his work, and I'd quite like one myself. She says, "I have followed Gavin Hurley's work for the last few years and am really coveting something of his to add to my collection. Whether it's one of his collages or paintings I really don't mind – I love it all! My wish list would usually also include new shoes and a photography or art book but since I just got both styles of Kate Sylvester's new season Charming Man shoes and the Jeff Koons in Versailles book from my favourite store Flotsam & Jetsam, I cant help but now dream of owning a Hurley." Well said. Here's hoping.

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#1640 HOLLA! Come to D.O.C. Bar tonight!

Poster: Katherine Lowe

Continuing this crazy Christmas party filled week, come to D.O.C. Bar on K Road tonight – DJ Darkness Brothers (aka me and Anouk Rondel) are throwing a little bash. HOLLA!

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#1639 Milk Underwear is the size-enhancing brainchild of a 21 year old Kiwi whiz kid


21 year old Aucklander Barnaby Marshall was a struggling musician living off the government's Art's Benefit when he went to get a fresh pair of underwear from his drawer one day. Not finding any, he headed down to the local department store to restock his supplies, only to discover that it was virtually impossible to buy a fresh pair of undies for less than $25. And thus, an idea was born. Marshall forged a relationship with a manufacturer in China and placed his first order. His labour of love, Milk Underwear, has just arrived in the country, and can be purchased online (with same or next day delivery) and in boutiques around Auckland. Each pair costs just $18, and features a clever front pouch panel with vertical seams that dramatically lifts and enhances. Methinks he might just be onto a winner with that one. And as you'll see above and below, the Milk Underwear advertising images don't shy away from the issue at hand. Not bad work for a 21 year old – I swear he'll be a millionaire by the time he's like... oh, I dunno, 25?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

#1638 Come to Holy F*ck tonight! (I'm DJing)


Everybody's favourite inappropriately named Wednesday night party is finishing 2010 with a big bang tonight. Starting off with Kieran Madden (95Bfm's new Drive Show host), then Architect DJs (party starters), then sisters/babes MayaVanya, and finally DJ Darkness Brothers (aka me and Anouk Rondel). We're starting at 2:30am so don't be leaving too early! All free of charge, from 9:00pm at Flight Lounge tonight.

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#1637 The Christmas Countdown Gift Guide – for the summer hater, a head to toe look


Strange as it may sound, summer isn't for everybody. One of my best friends is leaving town this week for Europe, "To get away from all the sun and hot weather." His favourite thing – not even kidding – is how London gets dark at four o'clock in the afternoon. Ridiculous! Another guy who has no love for the warmer months is photographer, brother of Katherine, Qubic retailer and Japanese streetwear/fixed gear enthusiast James K Lowe. His solution to the whole summer problem is to dress like it's winter no matter how hot it gets. With that in mind, this is his ideal Christmas wishlist – a head to toe, warm weather-inappropriate outfit.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

#1636 Is Catherine McNeil playing alongside Gemma Ward in Pirates of the Caribbean? Update: no

Photo: The Vine

Much has been made of Gemma Ward's first blockbuster role as a mermaid in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. But if I'm not mistaken, she's joined in the film by another Australian supermodel – Catherine McNeil. Check out the trailer below, and screengrab above, taken at 1:53. Am I on the money?

Update: It's actually Spanish actress Astrid Berges-Frisbey. But as you'll see from the comparison photo above (thanks to Alyx Gorman for the tip-off), both ladies do look rather similar.

#1635 From a model's lips: "the money we earn here in NZ is laughable"

Photo: David Bailey (from back in the good old days)

It's no secret that models don't get paid particularly well here in New Zealand. Like I mentioned recently, most campaigns pay between $1000 and $10,000 (though generally at the lower end of the scale), with designer lookbooks starting off at just $250, and many paying in straight contra (ie free clothes as opposed to money). And bear in mind that the model only takes home approximately 60% of those earnings once tax and commission is taken out. Unless a model has a regular commercial client like Farmers, The Warehouse or Postie Plus to pay the bills, the only hope is to build a good book filled with editorial tearsheets then head out into the world to try to make it internationally. After I wrote the initial post, an anonymous model contacted me to say that she has had enough. In her email, she writes that a person wouldn't expect to pay for rent or petrol with a dress, so why should a designer be allowed to get away with it? Read it in full, below.

#1634 The Checks are throwing the biggest party of the year this Friday night


Christmas parties are the best parties, and here's why. School's out for summer, exams are finished, work is just about done for the year, and Lord knows you need a giant blow out before the impending doom that is spending days and days alone with your family. The stress of it all! If you're in Auckland, the biggest party of them all (this week at least) is The Checks Xmas Party. Starring rock'n'roll favourites The Checks and featuring People of Paris, Architect DJs, Street Chant, Pagan Summer and B.O.C's, it's on at The Kings Arms this Friday the 17th for $30 on the door or $20 presales. (The Ebenezer Scrooge in me says go for the presales.) I have a double pass to give away to the first person who can name at least three members of The Checks in the comments below. See you at the party!

Monday, December 13, 2010

#1633 The Christmas Countdown Gift Guide – for her, Lonely Lingerie


Remember that episode of The Simpsons when Homer bought Marge a bowling ball for her birthday that had his name engraved on it? Buying lingerie for your other half is a bit like that, but you both win! Lonely Lingerie is the boutique knickers line from New Zealand fashion label Lonely Hearts. Their designer, a lovely Kiwi girl named Ella, is the former head of Stella McCartney lingerie so you know it's good. Now I'm no expert on ladies' undergarments, but Lonely Lingerie always strikes me as being particularly dainty, frilly and lacy, and, seeing as there is no underwire used in its construction, possibly more suitable for the petite (or fake) chested female. If you're in Auckland you can pick up a set from Black Box or Area 51 (full list of stockists here). As for which ones to choose, here's a handy guide gleaned from teen movie 10 Things I Hate About You: black equals naughty, white equals nice. Best of luck.

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#1632 What's in store at Zambesi Man – Summer 10/11

Photos: Katherine Lowe

Zambesi is one of those labels that must intimidate a lot of men. It often intimidates me. Not just on a monetary level, but there's this sense that you could walk into one of their stores and not understand the clothes if you don't get obscure, indie references or dark, complex, Belgian designers. And that sense of not 'getting it' can be terrifying for a lot of people. So it was particularly interesting for me to go in and take a whole bunch of individual pieces home and create looks that I would actually wear day to day. Not crazy, avant-garde fashion looks, but simple, everyday outfits. Shorts and a longsleeve polo shirt or a navy suit with a pinstripe shirt or even just a pair of tailored pants with a white shirt. In the process, I found my new favourite thing: full-length, cuffed trousers. As much as I like showing a bit of ankle, there's something to be said for wearing your pants the length they were designed. Who knew? Photos below.

#1631 Stella Maxwell covers Elle Belgium

Photo: tfs

Stella Maxwell is the quiet achiever of the New Zealand model fraternity currently based abroad. She may not be the face of D&G, or have clocked up any catwalk miles for Calvin Klein or Lanvin, but there are two sides to the modelling game. First you have your girls like Jessica Clarke, who make headlines booking high profile designer ad campaigns and shows. But on the flipside, there are the girls like Stella Maxwell, who work day in and day out, shooting catalogues, lookbooks and High Street brand campaigns, and make an absolute killing in the process. Rumour has it that Maxwell was Viva's highest earning new face model of 2009, and this year, things haven't appeared to slow down any. From lookbooks for Ermanno Scervino to Karl Lagerfeld's eponymous line, and recurring campaigns for French retail giant Naf Naf, Maxwell is fast becoming a brand in her own right. Her latest coup – the cover of Elle Belgium, plus a 16 page editorial inside. GO THE KIWIS!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

#1630 The Christmas Countdown Gift Guide – for everybody, sunglasses

Photos: Katherine Lowe

One of the more enjoyable afternoons this week was spent at Zus and Zo for the Sunglass Hut summer season launch. Between bites of blue cheese on brown bread, we were walked through a whole raft of summer sunglass options – from cool new Lennon-lookalike Raybans to classic Persols; 90s-esque uber-sport Pradas to big, round Audrey Hepburn/Olsen sister styles by Burberry. Pradas aside, my favourites were the Ray Bans and the Persols. (So good that heritage brands like Persol and Moscot are becoming available here in New Zealand.) The cheese was also a winner. As you'll see below, I ate more than my fair share.

Friday, December 10, 2010

#1629 The Christmas Countdown Gift Guide – for him, Toggs togs


There are far too many examples of bad board shorts being worn on the beach for my liking. Every man older than 12 should have a respectable pair of swimming trunks as opposed to calf-length boardies emblazoned with 800,000 logos, slogans and ker-razy pockets. Toggs is an Australian company that specialises in good looking togs for men. They don't do unnecessary, quirky details, just great colours, patterns and one awesome above-the-knee length. Girls, I reckon this is the perfect present for a brother, Dad, or ex-boyfriend you're still friends with but don't want to splurge on. Plus, you can tell all your friends you gave him crabs for Christmas. (Zing!) If you're in Auckland you can pick up a pair from The Department Store, or you can order them online (they ship worldwide).

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#1627 Kiwi model Bella Barber is dead but still makes out with Kanye West in his Monster video

Image: Katherine is Awesome

Kiwi expat Bella Barber has hit the big time, starring in Kanye West's new video for Monster. There's just one problem – she's dead in the clip. The unhappy (but awesome) tidings were reported by Katherine Lowe of Katherine is Awesome last night, who noticed Kanye West cradling Barber's face in his hands in the Monster preview just leaked online (see below). In the short, Kanye also attempts to use the lifeless Bella Barber's hand to touch another dead model in a rather inappropriate place. Good times had by all. GO THE KIWIS!

#1626 Baptiste Giabiconi is an X Man in his debut video clip



Male model, Karl Lagerfeld muse and burgeoning popstar Baptiste Giabiconi released his first catchy dance single Showtime a couple of months ago, but the music video just surfaced online today. Brace yourselves people, this one's a goodie. Featuring Giabiconi as a Wolverine-type loner who cruises the desert on his hog, the video is like a heroic but literal representation of the lyrics, which state: "It’s showtime/ Turn it on gonna see me shine/ I won’t stop/ I’m the one starring in my life/ It’s go time/ Starting right now/ Watch me take a bow." I think what he's trying to say is that he's going to rescue a beaten (but beautiful) girl from her abusive gas pump cowboy boyfriend, cause a few desert explosions with his mind, get so angry that his eyes turn black like an X Man and then take the girl to a roadside motel and get it on. Hey – he's the one starring in his life, remember!?

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

#1625 The Christmas Countdown Gift Guide – for me, a Comme des Garcons wallet

Photos: Katherine Lowe

I don't own a wallet. I have seven cards stuffed into my back pocket at all times and I rarely carry cash. Back in my university years I had a beautiful brown leather Huffer wallet that was given to me by a friend, but one night another friend stole it and never gave it back (he still uses it to this day). But no wallet I have ever seen comes close to those made by Comme des Garcons. The aged maroon Comme wallet above belongs to Robert Niwa, who I spent the day with on set at the Crane Brothers shoot yesterday. He is what one might call an ardent Comme wallet fan. Photographer Karen Inderbitzen Waller relayed a story from when she was living in Australia some years ago: Robert was scheduled to visit her in Sydney, but the day came for him to arrive and he never showed up. When Karen phoned him to see what had happened, he confessed to having bought three Comme wallets with the money he was supposed to have spent on the flight. Those wallets may not have been filled with cash, but no doubt poverty never felt so good. Oh sweet baby Jesus I want one.

#1624 Behind the scenes at the Crane Brothers Fall 2011 campaign shoot

Photos: Katherine Lowe

After a classy and nutritious drive-through lunch at KFC, we stopped by Kingsize Studios yesterday to visit Karen Inderbitzen Waller who was shooting the Crane Brothers Fall 2011 campaign with visiting Dutch male model Jordy (Clyne). According to Murray Crane, "I couldn’t miss the opportunity to use an international model of Jordy's calibre – he has walked and been shot for Prada and Lanvin and was perfect for the look we wanted to achieve with this collection." That look includes odd jackets, mismatched suit separates, lots of wool cashmere, suede elbow patches and an incredibly cool grey herringbone blazer. Jordy had a rapid rise to fame a number of years ago when he booked the Prada show as his first ever assignment. After a two year hiatus spent earning his masters degree, the travelling Dutchman is back on the modelling game, first stop New Zealand, next stop Paris Fashion Week in January. He told us that it's been such a long time since he modelled that he doesn't know whether or not he'll have any success – but hey, if it doesn't work out, he's always got that masters degree to fall back on.

#1623 It's good to be Sasha Pivovarova

Photos: NY Times

Life is swell when a newspaper photographer can come over to your house and shoot you lounging around in your own clothes with your own stuff as the backdrop and the photos still come out looking good enough to be printed as an editorial in most fashion magazines. So it is for Sasha Pivovarova, who the New York Times describes as being, "beautiful, smart and utterly in love". But wait, there's more! She's also a "talented artist" to boot, "for whom everything — even the walls of her bohemian Brooklyn loft — is a canvas." And yes, even her artwork is awesome. I've observed Sasha Pivovarova backstage at a few shows, and she will literally sit there scribbling in a sketchbook for the duration of hair and makeup, while all the other girls are doing everything they can to ham it up for photographers. I think what I'm trying to say here, is: Sasha Pivovarova is really cool. See below.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

#1622 The Christmas Countdown Gift Guide – for the person who's got everything, a magazine subscription

Photos: Katherine Lowe

We all have one of those tedious people in our lives who is absolutely impossible to buy for. He or she is generally wealthy with far too many covetable possessions – an amazing car, a sweet house and an iPad on the kitchen table. But here's what they might not have: a subscription to an amazing magazine that they didn't even know they needed. It's the gift that keeps on giving! (Plus, if you read all the way to the bottom and use the special Isaac Likes code, you'll get 10% off subscriptions at Mag Nation! Hallelujah!) Seeing as I spend my entire life on the internet, I don't often venture into the outside world to buy magazines. So I contacted Dayne Johnston (designer of Zambesi Man, and the guy I know who purchases more magazines than anybody I've ever met), to talk about a few of his favourite titles.

#1621 Karl Lagerfeld listened to Fat Freddy's Drop while shooting the Pirelli Calendar

Photo: Freshness Mag

The annual Pirelli Calendar is the world's most famous calendar for two reasons: the naked supermodels depicted on its hallowed pages, and its scarcity – only the most VIP of VIP Pirelli clients are given a copy. Every year a different photographer lends their unique aesthetic to the calendar. 2010's edition featured girls like Lily Cole, Miranda Kerr and Eniko Mihalik in various states of undress with copious amounts of visual double entendres, as shot by Terry Richardson (extremely NSFW behind the scenes video here). This time round, Karl Lagerfeld took to the lens and shot the calendar with Greek mythology in mind (see above). A behind the scenes video from Lagerfeld's shoot has just been released (see below, also NSFW), complete with interviews, still shots and interactions between the cast and crew on set. No good shoot is complete without a bit of music to jazz things up, and at precisely the 6:11 point, Fat Freddy's Drop's song The Raft can clearly be heard. GO THE KIWIS! I reckon those boys deserve their very own copy of the Pirelli Calendar.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

#1620 These & Those may have made the perfect white tee shirt

Photo: supplied

The perfect white tee shirt is the holy grail of clothing. For all anybody knows, it may not even exist, but it doesn't stop us searching. My current favourite is the AS Colour Organic Cotton Tee in natural (slightly off white), but These & Those tee shirts came up on my radar this morning and they look to be a darn good alternative. I've gone through many a white tee shirt in my time, oversized worn under basketball jerseys (2003-5), massively scooped necks worn with skin tight jeans (2006-8), and standard slim fitting (2009-10). In my opinion, the ultimate in white tee shirt is the kind Tom Cruise wore in Top Gun or any soldier wears in any old army movie – short arms, short body, a little tight and boxy, the type of tee shirt you'd imagine a 1950s American high school kid wearing for gym class. These & Those have nailed it. Designed and made in Brooklyn, they're like the cleaner East Coast version of American Apparel. And at only $18 a tee shirt, it can't hurt to try them out.

Monday, December 6, 2010

#1619 The Christmas Countdown Gift Guide – for him, a personalised sweater

Photo: Fantastic Man

Full disclosure: I am a Baha'i, as is my immediate family, so when everybody around me is getting all excited about Christmas, I can sometimes start to feel a little like Kyle from South Park. We have our own version of Christmas called Ayyám-i-Há (pronounced Ah-yummy-ha) which runs from February 26 – March 1, but seeing as Baha'is are very much a minority, it doesn't quite have the international significance of baby Jesus' birthday. That said, I still give and receive the odd Christmas present, so for the next 19 days I'm going to showcase the best stuff I see in the hopes that it might inspire anybody who is worrying about what to get for their other half/boss/
mum/dad/best friend or (the toughest of all!) sister. First up, for your main man, you cannot go wrong with a sweater. Two years ago my girlfriend at the time gave me a maroon Comme Play sweater and it is still one of my favourite gifts of all time. The one above is by Hilfiger, but if you want something a little more personal, head down to your local wool shop (if you're in Auckland I recommend Masco at Westfield Downtown) and commission the little old ladies to knit a sweater with the first letter of his name emblazoned on the chest. Instant win.

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#1618 Artspace is selling artist designed tee shirts to benefit up and coming artists

Photos: Karen Inderbitzen Waller

One Christmas, a few years ago, my mother decided to give all our relatives goats as gifts. Not in real life, but she bought goats for African villages in our relatives' names. Despite having all the best intentions in the world, not everyone was enamoured of that charitable and thoughtful act. Sometimes people just want to unwrap something. So here's one for all you unwrapping types: Artspace Tee Shirts. Featuring prints designed by New Zealand artists John Reynolds, Michael Harrison and Sean Kerr, the tee shirts are a new fundraising initiative by Artspace (a public gallery and charitable trust) – all profits will go directly into artists' projects.

#1617 Jefferson Hack thinks it's great how fashion bloggers are sitting in the front row


Continuing the never-ending debate about the relevance of print in this ever-evolving digital world, Dazed and Confused's publisher Jefferson Hack (pictured above with Suzy Menkes) sat down with Imran Amed from The Business of Fashion to share his views on the topic. According to Hack, who founded Dazed and Confused in 1992 and Dazed Digital in 2006, a fan has just as much right to express his or her opinion about a fashion collection as a newspaper journalist with years of experience.
"In terms of the hierarchy out there in the fashion world, obviously you know, the editors or fashion critics from newspapers having some kind of animosity against certain fashion bloggers getting in the front row – I couldn't give a sh*t about that, I think it's great. A fan has as much right to communicate and express to their audience about why they love something and what's exciting about it, as someone who also has the historical knowledge and the ability to put that into a very relevant context. Both things are really relevant, and both things should sit side by side, and you can choose. You can decide which voice you want to listen to, you can decide how you want to mix those voices and give yourself a broader, expanded viewpoint."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

#1616 Taking knit ties to a whole 'nutha level

Photo: Style Hunting

It's a commonly regarded fact (among the menswear blogging fraternity) that knit ties are a preferable option to traditional silk ties right now. They're a little less formal, they've got that great texture and they reek of rakish cool. So what's better than an ordinary, everyday knit tie? A fair isle knit tie, that's what. I saw the one above over at Style Hunting and though I have no idea who made it, I reckon the ladies at the wool shop I visited the other day might have a crack at knitting one similar. Speaking of which, I put in an order for a periwinkle blue crewneck sweater with two plaited cables running down the front. $90 for the wool, $85 for the knitting. They told me it'll be ready Christmas week.

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#1615 The facts of life

Photo: Rumi Neely

1. Auckland is not such a bad place to live, but everybody I know who lives here never stops bagging it. You don't get that so much elsewhere. Sydney-siders love Sydney, Parisians love Paris, New Yorkers can't get enough of New York, and even Wellingtonians love living in their city despite the fact that it's cold and windy most of the year. What's with all the Auckland hate? We don't got it so bad! For proof, check out Rumi Neely's NZFW photo diary.

Friday, December 3, 2010

#1614 What to wear for summer down under



Up until about two weeks ago, I was feeling all antsy about summer dressing. It is, in my opinion, the hardest season to dress for if you're a man. But then I embraced shorts and the feeling of a warm breeze on my bare legs and short sleeve shirts and the feeling of a warm breeze on my bare arms. It was all very strange for a while, but I'm slowly coming to terms with the new sensations. According to Thomas Riley of Australian tailors P.Johnson, "For summer, a suit needn't look formal... If you're wearing a jacket and trousers, even if they're shorts for a suit, it's still going to look more formal than a pair of board shorts and a tee shirt. Australian men tend to dress like kids... I think this is why you're seeing people revisiting classic tailoring and the more sartorial options rather than streetwear." He recommends cotton suits, linen suits and shorts suits. I'm with him on the first two but the shorts suit is still a bit freaky for me – unless you're rocking it in mismatched greys Thom Browne style. If you are, then go for your life. Hear more tips from Riley in the video above.

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#1613 Dream beanies

Photo: Inventory

The word beanie hails from the 1940s when chaps used to refer to their heads as their 'beans'. (Thank you Apple dictionary.) Growing up in the dirty South (Christchurch), where winter actually means frosts, occasional snowfalls and daily chilly temperatures, beanies were a necessity for bike rides to school. But in all my life, I've never been able to find one that actually looks good - peculiarly shaped bean or something.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

#1612 Those Victoria's Secret girls just wanna have fun



Justin Wu has done it again. Only this time, he's gone bigger and better with his video/lipsynching mashups: behind the scenes at the Victoria's Secret fashion show. Featuring everyone from Magdalena Frackowiak and Lily Donaldson to Chanel Iman, Liu Wen, Alessandro Ambrosio and even Derek Blasberg, Wu's video takes VS to a whole, 'nutha, level. Set to the tune of Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, it's his best work yet. What else can I say? The guy's a genius.

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#1611 Annah Stretton is taking her fabulous fashions to the British Empire

Photo: Oliver Rose

Stop press! Annah Stretton is showing at London Fashion Week in February. According to the press release, "Stretton is consistently re-inventing herself and bringing fresh and stunning feminine looks to the runway," aka Boars' heads, "which [are] sure to attract the attention of the British press this February." I can scarcely wait. For all those interested, the show will be held at the Charing Cross Hotel on Friday 18th February 2011 from 7.30pm. And seeing as the press release says it so much better than I ever could, I'll quote it to close: "Stretton is sure to be a name on the lips of many this fashion week!" One can only hope this will be true.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

#1610 How much can a New Zealand model hope to earn?

FQ: One of the few Kiwi magazines that does pay its models.

Ahhh modelling. So aspirational from the outside, so iffy from within. Kiwi ex-model-cum-exposé-gangsta Jenna Sauers today reports court documents outlining three models' cases against their former agency Next, which allegedly stole hundreds of thousands of dollars of their earnings after they switched to Ford earlier this year. Like Sauers writes, that would be similar to quitting your job and then having your employer flatly refuse to pay any outstanding wages. Charming, just charming. Among the documents published online is an account statement for Polish supermodel Anna Jagodzinska from May 2009 to April 2010. In it, the amounts that a successful model actually earns are clearly displayed.