Wednesday, March 30, 2011

#1785 The facts of life

Photo: The Sartorialist

1. Scott Schuman dared to call this woman, "a bigger, curvier girl than most of the other bloggers who you see in the press and [who] tend to represent the genre," on Monday and the internet literally erupted in protest. "I'm a little horrified by the fact that you are referring to her as if she is plus size," said one disgruntled commenter. "[Y]ikes. [T]he thought would have never crossed my mind that she is 'bigger'," wrote another. Is the world going PC crazy? Or do people just read selectively? The man was simply noting that this young lady is a different shape to the bloggers typically depicted in the media, and that she wears her clothes well. Give him a break.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

#1784 Barkers has launched a magazine and started making clothing you'd be proud to wear

Photos: Steve Tilley for 1972 (click to enlarge)

Barkers Men's Clothing (BMC) opened its doors in 1972. I was a mere twinkle in my father's eye at that point, so my memory of vintage Barkers only extends back as far as the 90s when everybody who was anybody was rocking a pair of the labelled sweatpants alongside that tee shirt printed with an image of three power-dressed guys. More recently, Barkers has been seriously upping its game in the menswear department – first, with the introduction of Little Brother to their stores; more recently, with the appointment of Paul Biddle as Merchandise Manager (Creative Director, in English); and now, with the launch of 1972, an in-house magazine complete with articles and profiles of prominent Kiwi men (this issue includes All Blacks coach Graham Henry, Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd and Little Brother boss Murray Crane).

#1783 The U Live interview in which I rant about why men should dress up more often



Another week, another U Live interview, this time with the wildly funny radio host/tv star/nightlife mogul/20 year old Connor Nestor. This time around, we discussed the importance of men getting dressed up to go out; how to buy an off the peg suit; and what you should wear to a rave if you really want to mean business. Enjoy, and don't forget to watch us live tonight from 6:23pm, Channel 16 on Sky.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

#1782 The new Remix issue features Myf Shepherd, couples kissing, Steve-O and a Top Model

Photos: Remix

Remix Issue 69 has just hit newsstands and it is a big, big book – 352 pages in total, making it about half the size of Vogue's September issues, but about twice the size of a Fashion Quarterly issue. Inside it's packed with products, features and numerous editorials, the best of which is an Adrian Mesko-lensed one-girl special with Myf Shepherd, the teen who was famously snubbed by Australia's Next Top Model but then went on to land campaigns for Gucci, Sonia Rykiel, Miu Miu and Levi's. Shepherd has been out of action for quite some time, but is now, officially, back in the game. Click below for a preview of the issue, including the two cover options.

#1781 Sara Tetro wouldn't let a six-pack hot-blooded guy in the Top Model house just to boost ratings

Photo: tfs

Sara Tetro and her fellow judges have spent the past 11 days scouring the country for potential candidates for New Zealand's Next Top Model Cycle 3. The team have seen thousands of girls and boys over the course of the tour, and they're not ruling anybody out – this season transgendered models are being encouraged to audition. "I'll accept anyone when it comes down to modelling," says Tetro, "and obviously transgendered boys are very topical this season – we gave Andrej Pejic his first job [an editorial shoot for Black Magazine]. If anyone shows up with a face like his we'll put them on the programme." Although men are being seen, Tetro says that it's not a simple case of selecting a few good looking boys and throwing them in the deep end. "I wouldn't put some six-pack hot-blooded guy on the show to boost ratings when I've got other parents' 16 year old girls in my care," she says.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

#1780 Fox Umbrellas have kept Princes and Presidents dry, and now New Zealanders

Photo: Hackett

As the saying goes, the rain falls on the just and the unjust fella, so it behooveth both to own umbrellas. Here in Auckland, that rain comes most days of the week. I once owned a vintage umbrella that I was particularly proud of; it was black and sturdy with a gnarled wooden handle. Then one rainy day, I carried it into the office of the magazine I was working at, and my boss took one look at it and said, "You know that wooden handle is plastic, right?" She was right. I lost it soon after. Murray Crane of Crane Brothers has just begun stocking Fox Umbrellas, widely regarded as one of the best umbrella manufacturers in the world. The company opened its doors in 1868, with a range of whalebone and silk umbrellas that were most likely heavy and not especially water resistant. In the 1880s the whalebone was replaced by stainless steel, and in 1947 nylon replaced silk. Thus the modern umbrella was born. Such quality and workmanship doesn't come cheap – Crane Brothers' selection ranges in price from $159 to $595, but you can sleep easy knowing that Princes and Presidents have carried these brollies, and that the wooden handles aren't made from plastic.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

#1779 New acquisitions of the pants, wallet and glasses variety

Photos: Katherine Lowe

I'm not going to lie, it's been a fairly successful month in the acquisitions department. Arriving back to New Zealand from the States, I landed in Christchurch right in the middle of Ayyám-i-Há (pronounced ah-yummy-ha), which is the Baha'i gift-giving festival. There, I was presented with possibly the greatest present of my life: a maroon Comme des Garcons wallet courtesy of my sister Rebeccah. But not just any maroon Comme wallet, the maroon Comme wallet. Holla! Arriving back in Auckland, Black Box and Dr Denim gifted me a pair of corduroy trousers, which I've worn daily ever since – they're a lot baggier than any other pants I own and I love it. And that same day, the lovely girls at Public Library hooked me up with a new pair of rose-tinted Moscot glasses. Very good month.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

#1778 Jack Purcells are the unsung hero of the Converse family

James Dean rocking the Jack Purcells. Photo: The Style House

By now, my love for Converse Chuck Taylors has been well-documented. In the last three years alone, I've gone through a good seven pairs of navies, one pair of maroons and one pair of cream Comme Plays. But I've never owned a pair of Jack Purcells. There was always something about the toe shape and the rubber lip that seemed overdone or fussy, and deviating from my uniform/routine freaks me out enough as it is. But when I was in LA last month, I hung out with a friend who works at J Crew. He wore his blue Jack Purcells with vintage blue cuffed Levi's 501s and it was pretty much the freshest thing I've ever seen.

#1777 Do fashion bloggers have integrity?

Bryan Boy and Tommy Ton sitting front row alongside top critics and Vogue editors.

Have bloggers sold out? That's the question posed by NZ Herald contributor Cathrin Schaer in her piece The write stuff, published in today's Viva (the Herald's Wednesday fashion/lifestyle pullout). "Once upon a time they were voices in the online wilderness, crying out for love from the industry they adored... My, how things have changed. During the last round of fashion shows in Europe and America, which wound up last week in Paris, elaborately clad bloggers sat in the front row alongside the industry's most influential. Fashion bloggers are now collaborating not just with established fashion media like Vogue, Elle and assorted newspapers, but also with designer labels and fashion agencies both to create signature fashion items and to help market new products."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

#1776 Channel U interviewed me about John Galliano's anti semitic rampage



TVNZ has started up a new channel – U – aimed at the 15-24 year old audience that sits around after school/work/university wanting to consume music videos and infotainment. The daily show, titled U live, is a social media friendly setup, and viewers are encouraged to comment and share their thoughts in real time on U's Facebook page. There are a variety of weekly guests, from Jordan Rondel – aka The Caker, to photographer Laura Allard Fleischl and party-hopper Rebecca Lawson. I'll be joining the team every so often to discuss the latest fashion news, trends and stories from around the world, and last week I stopped by talk about the downfall of John Galliano, and to do the signature Galliano pose. Watch it above.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

#1775 How to dress down a suit/be more successful with women



Most men look at a suit as a work uniform that has to be worn: It's not a choice, it's a necessity. It's also one of the areas in which Italy differs from the rest of the world – Italian men wear suits for pleasure, just because they know how to. They also recognise the undisputable fact that a man never looks better than when he's wearing a well-fitting suit. I can count on one hand the amount of times I've seen a young guy out at night wearing a suit in New Zealand. It doesn't happen. Compare that to the amount of times you'd see a girl in a bar wearing a dress, but unlike men, women understand how to highlight their assets. I guarantee if guys wore suits, they'd be ultimately more successful with the ladies.

Friday, March 18, 2011

#1774 The question of how to succeed in fashion

Photo: Haw-lin

Thank God for the untarnished innocence of youth. I just received this question on my Diary asking if it was possible to get ahead in fashion if you don't go to the scene parties, or get your photo taken by the right people, with the right people, or take drugs; or if there was any way of avoiding all of the aforementioned? Here's my honest answer: Who you know will often trump what you know. Fashion seems to be the industry that this applies to the most. A lot of it is shmoozing people you may not have been friends with otherwise because you all happen to work in the same industry, and about going to fashion/scene parties and getting your photograph taken. The more visible a person is at those fashion/scene parties, the cooler they are perceived to be. So with that in mind, how you look is also just about as important as who you know, which, let’s not forget, is ultimately more important than what you know. Therefore, it pays to be tall, thin, beautiful and young, with plenty of famous friends.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

#1773 Stolen Girlfriends Club showed their S/S 2011 collection in a supermarket



Never ones to shy from a good publicity stunt, Stolen Girlfriends Club staged the greatest guerrilla fashion show ever seen in New Zealand this morning, inside the Freemans Bay New World supermarket. This is the view from the personal hygiene aisle. Look out for former Black Caps.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

#1772 Ande Whall's handmade denim workshop was destroyed in the Christchurch quake


File this one under irony in the Alanis Morisette sense: yesterday I discovered this Kiwi guy Ande Whall who designs and makes amazing raw selvage jeans using traditional construction techniques. I pored over his Wild Wild West themed website for a good 30 minutes looking at all the different styles, deciding which pair to choose, and then read this: "Unfortunately the worst news regarding the condition of the Ande Whall workshop came in yesterday. The building has been very badly damaged in the Earthquake that struck on Tuesday the 22nd of February and is set to be demolished in the next week."

#1771 Working Style goes back to basics

Photos: supplied

The most underrated items in a man's wardrobe are the basics: good v neck sweaters, solid shirts, a trench coat, chinos, white tees and clean jeans. It's an undeniable truth that unless you've got your basics down, everything fancy you buy is going to look like a house with a moat but no windows (ie stupid). Working Style excels in menswear staples. Their Fall 2011 collection is filled with them – a charcoal coat with covered placket, a navy trench, beige cotton pants, striped knit ties and plenty of merino sweaters. It sounds obvious, but the best things always are. Clichés FTW!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

#1770 This is the definition of being outshadowed by your sister

Christchurch Cathedral after the quake. Photo: Logan McMillan

So I've been asked to judge the Miss World NZ swimsuit pageant on Saturday. My sister, on the other hand, has been asked to speak at the Christchurch Earthquake Memorial on Saturday on behalf of the Baha'is of New Zealand. In front of 100,000 people. Including HRH Prince William.

It's moments like these that I feel somewhat inadequate.

#1769 And this is when you know that a journalist didn't do enough research in their story

Photo: Nicola Formichetti's Blog

"Among the other designers to reap the rewards of the unusually scrutinised fashion week was the Italian-Japanese designer Nicola Formichetti, who counts Lady Gaga among her fans and was widely congratulated for her debut collection for Thierry Mugler." This quote comes from yesterday's Guardian, in a fashion story labelled: John Galliano scandal puts spark back into Paris fashion week: Dior designer's indiscretion may have hit the big names, but the minnows see a silver lining. Last time I checked, Nicola Formichetti was very much a man. But I've been wrong before. (Prettiest girl ever! Or so I thought.)

#1768 Get your knit on for the Christchurch Quake victims

Photo: Klaus Carson

Can you knit? Do you love charity? Want to help out the Christchurch relief effort? Crusaders fan? If you answered yes to any of the above, Glassons needs you. New Zealand's womenswear behemoth is a Christchurch business dontchaknow (Mr Tim Glasson's office was in Cashel Street to the best of my knowledge), and a good number of their hometown stores were seriously damaged in the quake. But they're not letting that get them down. Instead, they're looking forward, and they've come up with a fun new charity initiative to bring the community together and bolster the relief effort all at the same time: knitting circles. Here's what you've gotta do – knit a 1.5 metre long red and black scarf; take a photograph of yourself with the scarf (like Dan, Luke and Marc from Stolen Girlfriends Club and Steve from Huffer in the shot above) and upload it to Facebook; drop the scarf into Glassons where they'll relabel it with a 'Glassons Hearts Chch' tag and resell it for $25. All proceeds will go to the Christchurch Mayoral Fund. Can't knit? Then buy a scarf! Or donate to any one of these reputable charities. Get your knit on! Of course you CANterbury! Go the Crusaders! That's all I've got.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

#1767 How to look good in a photograph

She knows how to look good in a photograph. Photo: Haw-lin

Let's be honest: we are living in the age of vanity. The Vanity Age, if you will. Never before has it been so important to put your best face forward. We're all ashamed to admit it, but the facts speak for themselves: everybody reading this is on Facebook. We've all curated a utopian online world for ourselves filled with fun and exciting life facts, profound quotes and good looking photographs. But what happens when the perfect world gets spoiled? What happens when we're tagged in an unflattering photograph? Or, even worse, what happens when a nasty photograph surfaces in print... Or on a blog or website with no 'Untag' functionality? Darkness, that's what. And it could happen at any time – at a party, walking down the street, hanging out at your friend's house. You're never safe. The solution is simple: always be prepared. Learn how to look good in a photograph. Here's what the experts (that I talked to and/or googled) have to say.

#1766 Jersey Girls by Justin Wu (they're just too good to be true)



Justin Wu is back with another music video highlighting the glorious fun to be had when you're young, beautiful and lip synching to a great song. This time it's Can't Take My Eyes Off You by Frankie Valli, with every famous model you can imagine: from Natasha Poly to Magdalena Frackowiak, Constance Jablonski to Karlie Kloss, and even our own Stella Maxwell and Emily Baker. But it's New Jersey native Jacquelyn Jablonski who steals the show, with a little macarena dance and twirl at 1:47. Amazing. Justin Wu is a genius. Happy Monday morning everybody!

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Friday, March 11, 2011

#1765 Alber Elbaz is obviously replacing John Galliano at Christian Dior

Photos: style.com

I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, so for that reason I just couldn't stop myself from weighing in on the who's-going-to-be-the-new-designer-at-Christian Dior rumours. Obviously it has to be Alber Elbaz. Why? Because in my extensive research that includes reading such style.com Tweets as: "Not to add to the Dior rumor mill, but people in Paris are asking, why has the Lanvin team been in tears all day?"; and ignoring such Women's Wear Daily reports as: "Elbaz remains under contract to Lanvin. He’s believed to have equity, and is said to be, for the moment, at least, not interested in leaving."; not to mention words from the designer's mouth, as told to Cathy Horyn of the New York Times: "I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying here."; I've discovered that there was a vaguely similar thread running through Elbaz's Fall 2011 Lanvin collection and Kris Van Assche's Fall 2011 Dior Homme collection. Namely, both included hats, capes, and the colours black and red. See? It all makes such perfect sense! Elbaz for Dior!

#1764 Crane Brothers push the patch for Fall 2011

Photos: Karen Inderbitzen Waller

Crane Brothers launched their Fall/Winter 2011 Black Sheep collection in store on Wednesday, with a brief announcement on Murray Crane's blog: "Our Winter Ready to Wear collection drops into store this week. There is a new suit style available and a wide range of Blazers and 'Odd Jackets' in Herringbone Tweeds and Wool Flannel. Shirting includes the button down we did for Summer in heavier cloths as well as some nice dark plains in charcoals and inks." Alongside said shirting is a bunch of mismatched suit separates, lots of wool cashmere, patch pockets, suede elbow patches and a fantastic grey herringbone blazer. Photos below.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

#1763 Gucci donated $200,000 to the Christchurch earthquake relief

Benoni Loos and Marcel Castenmiller backstage at Gucci Fall 2010. Photo: Sonny Vandevelde

I spent the day at the Auckland Cup horse races yesterday, where I witnessed a particularly intoxicated woman trip and fall down five stairs, only to be miraculously caught by a chivalrous doorman who was then pushed away as if he'd been attempting to cop a feel. Oh the irony. But things picked up when Gucci, a prominent sponsor of horse racing, made an announcement that it was donating $200,000 to the Christchurch earthquake relief. According to staff, a percentage of last weekend's sales from the Auckland and Australian flagship stores was put aside for the donation, and employees were given the opportunity to gift their wages from the two days if they so chose. Fantastic work. Don't forget that we can all make an instant $3.00 donation by texting 4419 from any mobile phone in New Zealand.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

#1762 Emily Baker walks Chanel, McQueen, Chloe, Celine, meets Terry Richardson

Emily Baker. Photo: Terry Richardson

Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Chloe, Celine, Stella McCartney, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Viktor and Rolf, Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens, Haider Ackermann and Mugler alongside Lady Gaga: Not a bad Paris show list for a supermodel, let alone a complete unknown from Matamata – a rural town of 12,000 primarily known as the location for Peter Jackson's Hobbiton. Emily Baker has walked them all, and more. At last count, her show list for the entire season was at 58, but there's still one more day to come at Paris Fashion Week, with Louis Vuitton and Miu Miu pending.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

#1761 The facts of life

Yves Saint Laurent – the original troubled designer. Photo: Haw-lin

1. John Galliano-mania has gone about as far as it can go, with tens of thousands of mainstream news stories (it even made the 6:00pm rounds here in New Zealand), and every person with internet access sharing their opinions, thoughts and conspiracy theories on the matter. Rather than adding to the pile, here's the best piece I've seen written thus far, from The New Yorker: "It has been nearly a decade since I wrote a Profile of Galliano for this magazine. I lost track of him long ago. But when I see people expressing shock and outrage at what he said, I have to contain a little bit of my own shock and outrage. Galliano’s act of self destruction was about as shocking as the widespread discovery, also this week, that Charlie Sheen is a vulgar fool... (When are famous people going to realize that the days of private outbursts in public places have ended?)"

Friday, March 4, 2011

#1759 Rick Owens is launching a new perfume, and it will smell like life and death

Rick Owens backstage at his Spring 2009 menswear show. Photo: Steve Wood

A few weeks ago, my good friend (and expat Kiwi) Nabil Azadi conducted a lengthy and insightful interview with Rick Owens for SlamXHype, in which the pair discussed everything from Raf Simons' money troubles to babies, Gummo to mothers. Just before mentioning that his father, who still calls him Richard, was thoroughly unimpressed with the full-sized wax nude depicting himself urinating in his Paris store, the designer dropped hints that he would soon be introducing his first perfume to the market:
"Nabil Azadi: Time for a fragrance.
Rick Owens: I’m working on that right now!"
According to sources, the perfume will smell like incense, to reflect death, lily to reflect life, and menthol, to reflect something else – either smoking or clear sinuses (your guess is as good as mine). We await developments with keen noses.

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#1758 Jay Reeve flew down to Christchurch to enrol in the Student Army

Jay Reeve with Sam Johnson and Sam Gifford of the Student Army.

ZM DJ Jay Reeve flew down to Christchurch from Auckland yesterday to get his hands dirty with the Student Army. At lunchtime, I found him down a long driveway in a Bexley subdivision, shovelling silt while a Bobcat hooned back and forth, moving truckloads of liquefaction and narrowly avoiding maiming anybody in its path. "Us Kiwis are a resilient bunch," he said, "We can sit here and have a sook about what's happened but that's not going to clear our driveways or bring back those who've tragically died. We're the lucky ones."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

#1757 Now you can buy a $798 Little Brother suit from Barkers

Photos: James Munro

Murray Crane announced the appointment of Karl Clausen (formerly head of bespoke suiting at Alfred Dunhill) as General Manager of Crane Brothers yesterday, and once again spoke of his intention to begin producing a range of higher-end made in Europe suits to compete with brands like Ermenegildo Zegna, Brioni and Canali. "Most companies when they grow tend to diversify by watering down their offer, said Crane. "We are going more expensive, flying in the face of fashion." That may be so, but today I can exclusively announce that Crane's Little Brother for Barkers collection will include the label's first suit, retailing at $798.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

#1756 Zambesi gave Emily Baker her first campaign

Photos: Marissa Findlay

Months before Emily Baker made her debut on the international catwalks for Prada, Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein and Dolce and Gabbana, she was still in New Zealand doing the rounds with our top local designers. Zambesi was quick to notice her potential, and snapped her up for their Fall 2011 campaign, alongside longtime Zambesi Man model Josh Skelton. "When we booked Emily Baker for this campaign we knew we were onto a good thing," says Zambesi designer Dayne Johnston. "This was her first campaign and she moved so effortlessly in front of the camera and under [photographer] Marissa Findlay’s guidance she shone. We also shot her for the lookbook and she was so professional to work with, the shoot went on for many hours and at the end of the day Emily was still full of energy and nothing seemed to phase her." As for her campaign-mate Josh Skelton, Johnston says, "We love his shaved head and his dark nature."

#1755 Jaime Gilbert's big finale

Photo: NZ Herald

Jaime Gilbert was late to his own funeral. Held at Burnside High School's Aurora Centre where Jaime spent many a performance as an actor, singer, dancer and kapa haka captain; his casket arrived a good ten minutes after the scheduled starting time. It was an in joke for family and friends: Jaime was never accused of being on time.