Saturday, April 30, 2011

#1812 Why I will never wash my own shirts again

Photos: Katherine Lowe

In the haste of packing for my trip to Sydney, I threw about seven shirts in the washing machine, dried them, screwed them up and shoved them into my suitcase to deal with when I landed on the other side. When I checked into my hotel in Sydney I managed to iron two of them before dying of boredom and giving up. The next day, I discovered a handy little service that I never before knew existed: washing and ironing at the dry cleaner. Apparently you just drop your dirty shirts in, they throw them in the ordinary washing machine, then press them for you. Only $2.50 per shirt, and without the harsh chemicals that kill your clothing with prolonged use. I figure I could wear a shirt for one day, drop it into the cleaner the next day, pick up a clean shirt from the cleaner, wear, clean and repeat every single day of the week, and it would cost me less than the price of a coffee per day. I'll never pick up an iron again!

#1811 Pilot Magazine's two covers feature Emily Baker in a wig and Christopher Landon in a mask

Photo: Olivia Hemus

Pilot Magazine Issue 5 has just hit newsstands and comes with two cover options: Emily Baker in a gamine blonde wig styled by Richard Kavanagh, and Christopher Landon in a bejewelled mask, styled by Dan Ahwa. Both are the models' first solo covers – Baker appeared on a 1am cover with Jenny Albright and Landon appeared on a Vogue Hommes Japan cover alongside seven other boys. If I had to choose one, I'd lean towards the Emily Baker version for reasons of historic significance, though I do like how much Landon looks like James Bond villain Le Chiffre in his shot. Kudos to Pilot Editor-in-Chief Andy Pickering for tapping them early.

Friday, April 29, 2011

#1810 Kate Sylvester won't be booking any short models for her RAFW show next week

Myf Shepherd. Photos: Katherine Lowe

Kate Sylvester measured every girl by hand at her RAFW show casting this morning, held on the fourth floor of the Adina hotel, formerly the Medina. As she took each of three measurements – bust, waist and hips – she called out a number for show stylist Karen Inderbitzen Waller to jot down. "81.5cm, 66cm, 88cm. 83, 66, 92. Size 10 feet." Most were different from those listed on the models' comp cards. At the busiest point, about 10 girls stood in the corridor waiting to try on one of three sheer Kate Sylvester slip dresses, before entering the main room to be photographed, questioned and analysed. They came in all shapes and sizes.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

#1809 Metro Magazine's 3 MEN IN A... series is my new project

Photos: Toaki Okano

Writer/stylist Natalie Smith kindly included me in her final 3 MEN IN A... outing, found in the current issue of Metro Magazine. As you can see, the featured product is a pair of Kathryn Wilson suede boots, which I called not too formal, not too stiff and the exact same height as Chucks, so no need to adjust the pants cuff. I'm joined on the page by PR agent Ryland Wood and photographer Guy Coombes. As of next week, I'll be taking over the 3 MEN IN A... series, with my first shoot scheduled for the ninth of May. When Metro editor Simon Wilson told me I'd gotten the job, he said: "As most of our writers and photographers know, I’m getting pretty tough on standards. Not good enough, we don’t publish it." At least there's not too much pressure.


#1808 Auckland vintage institution Fast and Loose is closing down in one month's time

Photo: Karen Inderbitzen Waller for NO Magazine

Coming just days after the shock announcement of the death of another K Road institution, famed street-sitter Margaret, Fast and Loose announced yesterday that it would close its St Kevin's Arcade doors for good at the end of May. A favourite for stylists like Zara Mirkin (see photo above), and grunge-loving K Road indie girls (the types that might be found at DOC or Whammy), Fast and Loose is widely regarded as the best vintage store in the city. It was there that I bought my first Levi's denim jacket, and an ultra-cropped Michael Jackson-esque asymetrical biker jacket that I never wore but always enjoyed looking at. According to owner Charlotte Rust, "Heartfelt thanks to our faithful customers and staff over the years, it has been a blast. Fast and Loose is dead, long live Fast and Loose!" Nevertheless, even the darkest clouds have a silver lining: Rust's other St Kevin's Arcade store Search and Destroy will remain open.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

#1807 All blue everything

Photo: Katherine Lowe

Here's the good news: I'm flying to Sydney in one hour – courtesy of Sunglass Hut – for an event at their store in the fancy new Westfield Mall that everyone's been talking about. Other good pieces of news include the fact that I was bought an Air New Zealand Works Deluxe ticket, giving me lounge access and priority check-in; plus Sunglass Hut very kindly allowed me to extend my departure date until the seventh of May so that I can stay and cover Sydney Fashion Week (hereafter referred to as RAFW). But the best piece of news of all is that my best good friend Katherine Lowe came to visit me last night toting an early birthday parcel with my name written all over it. Inside was a brand new Cambridge Satchel Company Batchel in navy blue, with the letters IHM embossed on the front in gold. Quite literally, it's just what I've always wanted.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

#1806 How to keep up motivation when you're stuck in your bedroom blogging

Photo: Haw-lin

Some of my more regular readers might have noticed a bit of a downward turn in enthusiasm on this blog over the last couple of months. And they'd be right – it's been a while since I felt excited about what I'm doing here. The problem with how I blog is that the majority of my time is spent sitting alone in my bedroom with a computer on my lap, trying to feel strongly one way or another about some particular topic or story or item of clothing or event. And if the motivation or enthusiasm or excitement isn't there, it's difficult to form an opinion.

#1805 Gone to the USA, back this afternoon

Photo: Hedi Slimane

I'm currently standing on US soil right here in Auckland. (VISA APPOINTMENT AT THE US CONSULATE!!) Back this afternoon.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

#1804 India's new supermodel Ashika Pratt is a Kiwi

Ashika Pratt is shaping up to become New Zealand's female answer to Colin Mathura-Jeffree. Here are the facts: both are of half Indian, half English heritage; both were born in New Zealand but found prominent success in the Indian modelling market; both have appeared on multiple magazine covers; and both have starred in a Bollywood film. Vogue India, which Pratt covered in April, called her "India's new supermodel". Last year, the magazine put her on the Vogue Fashion Power List, saying, "This New Zealand born-and-raised beauty is part-girl-next-door and part-temptress. As far as we're concerned that's a winning combination on any continent." Also last year, she was named one of Elle India's Sexiest Models.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

#1803 The facts of life

Photo: Haw-lin

1. For anybody wishing to become a model booker, here are the requisite skills: You must be a good secretary/receptionist/personal assistant/salesman/111 emergency telephone operator/travel agent/nurse/best friend/mother/psychologist/insomniac. Still want the job? More power to you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

#1802 25 year old Kiwi model Ngahuia Williams is starting her own agency – N.MODELMANAGEMENT


A model booker's job is no nine to five position. In the 10 months that I spent working at 62 Models and Talent back in 2007, I found that I was never actually not working. The phone rang 18-odd hours of the day, the texts and emails came in 24/seven and the majority of my time was spent chasing up infuriating yet particularly good looking teenagers who never seemed to show up to jobs on time; or self-important clients who never wanted to pay a proper day rate or sign a contract until the day after the shoot. When I left the industry for the world of publishing at the beginning of 2008, I heaved a giant sigh of relief and vowed to never, ever go back. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. To this day, I still have a ridiculously large amount of respect for any booker of models; and it never ceases to amaze me when a model wishes to get behind the desk. Top Kiwi model Ngahuia Williams is going one step further: she's opening up her own shop.

#1801 Breaking all the rules with Stolen Girlfriends Club

Photos: Katherine Lowe

I have one self-imposed clothing rule that I do not break: never wear beige, camel, cream or any of their variants above the waist. As a pale-skinned white guy, I've always believed that the aforementioned do nothing good for my colouring – I'm washed out enough as it is. But last week I was hanging around at Black Box Boutique in Grey Lynn (as I'm wont to do), and Jae Mills asked me to chuck on one of Stolen Girlfriends Club's angora Arty Cardis in winter white so that he could shoot it for the store's Facebook page. Afterwards, I didn't want to take it off. The angora was soft like cashmere, the fit was perfect and the colour, while hard to wear, was very pretty. So I stole it. As you'll see below, I think it gives my skin a bit of a pinky/purple hue, but hey, at least it goes with the hydrangea.

Friday, April 15, 2011

#1800 Karen Inderbitzen Waller shot bodgies and widgies for Sunday's Autumn fashion special

Photos: Karen Inderbitzen Waller

Newspaper fashion pages are generally not the exciting arbiters of cool one might hope for, but they do serve a purpose in the form of style guidance for the uninformed masses. On the flip side, Sunday's quarterly fashion specials often rival the best magazine editorial spreads. The Autumn edition, out this weekend, is no exception. Styled and shot by Karen Inderbitzen Waller and featuring the six foot tall new face Anmari Botha (who will soon be seen in the upcoming Kate Sylvester campaign and on the cover of the next Fashion Quarterly), the shoot took inspiration from Kiwi teens of the 1950s. "We ran with a bodgies and widgies theme, which I've always wanted to do," says Sunday editor Rose Hoare. "Sort of like how I imagine my Mum would have dressed, if she wasn’t such a good girl."

#1799 There's nothing quite like things organised neatly

Photos: Things Organized Neatly

Someone whose opinion I trust implicitly once told me that if you're going to copy someone else's work, do it with the book open. I take that to mean that if you take inspiration from another person, you have to credit that person with having the original idea. And with that in mind, meet Things Organized Neatly, my new favourite blog. You will notice that in the title of this post I've called it 'things organised neatly' with an s in organised, because I refuse to succumb to the AmericaniSation of spelling. Anyway, now that I'm getting back into the swing of styling shoots, nothing is more inspiring for me than this website. I am obsessed with how little things like pencils and erasers are laid out next to each other, or the way that 10 folded pairs of identical jeans are stacked, or eight maroon tee shirts are draped. All that, coupled with the New York Times' recent Margaret Howell photo essay are my two biggest reference points right now. Let the fun and games begin.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

#1798 Introducing 22 year old Sam Hickey – Huffer's new menswear designer

Huffer Director Steve Dunstan with new menswear designer Sam Hickey.

As of Monday this week, Huffer has a new menswear designer – 22 year old AUT fashion school graduate Sam Hickey. The rookie designer takes over from Aaron Styles, who held a multi-faceted role in the Huffer workroom, heading up production and timelines alongside menswear design. It's an appointment that Huffer Director Steve Dunstan is particularly excited about, having felt for some time that a dedicated menswear designer was needed. "Our menswear is about to undergo a renewed focus and direction, that both Sam and Aaron are really excited about. I am amping about it too," he says.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

#1797 The Superette Magazine Issue Two includes a sexy road trip editorial and interviews with bloggers (like me)

Spreads: The Superette Magazine (click all to enlarge)

The Superette Magazine Issue Two is out now at all good Superette stores. Covered by Emily Theyers in moody black, inside you'll find an array of content, all with a Super theme, including: an interview with Design Folio founder (and my former boss at Urbis Magazine) Claire Sullivan titled Super Design; a 24 hours in Vanvouver story titled Super Travel; a Selby-styled in your space shoot titled Super Inside; and a Super Profile on one of my favourite Aucklanders and the proprietor of the best store in New Zealand, Cameron at Flotsam and Jetsam. Plus, for all you lovers of boy/girl sexy-times editorials, there's a Steve Tilley-lensed shoot featuring upwardly mobile Kiwi models Christopher Landon and Courtney Fallow (who I actually shot together in Milan last year, holla).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

#1796 Is there a solution to the skinny model debate?

Victoria's Secret came under fire last week when Angel Candice Swanepoel showed up at a promotional event for the brand looking "shockingly thin". While it's no great discovery that a supermodel might be vastly skinnier than everybody else on the planet, the photo comparison of Swanepoel in November versus Swanepoel in April was cause for worry: one showed a woman with (dare I say) curvy hips and thighs and clearly defined abdominal muscles; while the other depicted her as being significantly slimmer than she once was. A vaguely dismissive response was issued: "I'm heartened to know how much everyone cares about me, but in this case, everything is normal and good," she said. The Cut's Amy Odell weighed in, saying, "Like, can you believe she is thin? Can you believe this Victoria's Secret supermodel would dare to maybe even be a tiny bit thinner than she was a few months ago or perhaps — oh, God, could this be possible — have stayed the same size? Can you believe these two photos of her? Why, they're — they're just ... so ... shocking!!!" And then, like with everything else in fashion, something else occurred that was exciting or scandalous or pretty and everybody forgot all about it.

#1795 The most frivolous purchase I ever made

Photos: Katherine Lowe

Back in May of last year when I was obviously far too flush for my own good, I went on a commissioning spree and dropped quite a number of dollars on various made-to-measure garments at Crane Brothers. In a two month period I believe I ordered something like five pairs of pants, two shirts and a blazer. I now have a pair of cotton pants in every functional colour under the sun (olive green, navy, charcoal, beige, etc) and this somewhat less functionally coloured pistachio green cotton blazer. I wore it extensively around Milan and Paris in June, then hung it back up for the winter. Yesterday, in a bout of sartorial enthusiasm, I dusted it off and tried it on again and despite a few wrinkles, it's still good. However: The problem with this jacket is that it goes with beige pants and pretty much nothing else. A more frivolous purchase I have never made. Who's bad?


Monday, April 11, 2011

#1794 Kate Sylvester is now a Doctor of Fashion

Dr Kate Sylvester DFA. Photo: Katherine Lowe

A small group of fashion media were invited to Country Club at Britomart this afternoon to toast Kate Sylvester's newest addition: not a store, not a collaboration, but letters at the end of her name. As of tomorrow, Kate Sylvester, designer, will be known as Dr Kate Sylvester DFA (Honoris Causa). Massey University, Sylvester's alma mater, is bestowing an honourary doctorate on the designer for her services to the New Zealand fashion industry both here and abroad. According to Massey Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey, "Kate Sylvester is creating a visual depiction of what the new New Zealand is going to look like." To which Sylvester replied, "As New Zealanders we can't just rely on the skills in our hands anymore, we have to lead in our designs. So thank you to Massey for the part you play in this industry and thank you very much for making me Doctor Kate!"

#1793 Tomorrow is your last chance to see Bill Cunningham New York

Photo: NY Times

Calling all Aucklanders: tomorrow is your final chance to go see Bill Cunningham New York. If you're in Wellington or Dunedin, you've still got time, but Aucklanders, tomorrow is your last opportunity. So go! Bill Cunningham is the original streetstyle photographer, but he is also a fashion anomaly. In his career as a New York Times photojournalist – spent chronicling the eccentrics, oddballs and well-dressed masses that make up the New York City streets – he has never accepted payment for his work. In his words, "If you don't take their money, they can't tell you what to do." The film follows 81 year old Cunningham as he cycles the streets, shoots society events (avoiding celebrities like the plague), attends Paris Fashion Week and goes through the process of being evicted from the Carnegie Hall artist's apartment he has lived in for 60 years. His is an ascetic life; he wears the same outfit every day, eats simply and has no time for pretensions or unnecessary excesses. It is without a doubt the most inspiring film I have ever seen. So don't miss it! Bill Cunningham New York is on at 2:30pm tomorrow afternoon at the Skycity Theatre. Bring tissues. Trailer below.

Friday, April 8, 2011

#1792 The facts of life

Nice hat. Photo: Haw-lin

1. To officially answer the question that I've been receiving most often recently: No, I am not the beneficiary of a trust fund; No my parents do not pay for my travel; and No, I'm not a spoiled rich white kid. I grew up in a small three bedroom house in the Christchurch suburbs and went to a public school (Burnside High). I started stockpiling my pocket money at the age of five, working a paper round at nine, then pushing trolleys at the local supermarket at 15. Since then I've always held at least one job, often three or more, and besides a little parental help at university, I've paid my own way. That said, Nana Shirley did give me $100 yesterday, but that was a combined Christmas/Birthday present.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

#1791 The U Live interview in which I discuss Chanel coming to Auckland and the joys of kleptomania

This week on U Live, I sat with Rose Matafeo and discussed the glad tidings that is Chanel opening its first flagship store in Britomart later this year, and the dastardly actions of one Katherine Lowe, who brazenly and unabashedly stole what was not rightfully hers, all the while wearing my brand new Nom*D The Monster tee shirt, which I'd gotten earlier that day from Black Box Boutique. Check it out above.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

#1790 Dayne Johnston stalked strangers in Berlin to gain inspiration for his new Zambesi collection

Dayne Johnston in Berlin. Photo: Karen Inderbitzen Waller

Zambesi designer Dayne Johnston spent the Christmas holidays in Berlin getting inspired for his upcoming summer collection. In a Viva story written by Cathrin Schaer, Johnston reveals that his most creatively rewarding experiences involved stalking men in and around fast food joints, and on public transport. "[I]n early January Johnston was standing behind a pillar, outside a McDonald's, in the middle of what was once East Berlin, pretending to text a friend. Johnston had seen an interesting example of masculine layering – scarf, beanie, backpack, utilitarian looks, sportswear details and all – and the owner of all of the above had gone in to get a burger. 'I felt pretty ridiculous but I wanted to get a look at him from the front,' the designer laughs."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

#1789 AS Colour's new catalogue features Emily Smith, Seth Coates-Chitty and lots of tee shirts

Photos: Simeon Patience

A long time ago before I ever started writing about fashion, I used to style the odd shoot for FQ Men and various other online publications and magazines. The first shoot I ever did was for Nabil Azadi's short-lived website Peppermint Teaparty, alongside a then-little-known stylist named Zara Mirkin. After FQ Men closed down, I focussed my energies on writing, and here we are today. But midway through last year, Katherine Lowe and I were asked to shoot an ad for AS Colour for their new grey marle sweaters. It felt good to get back on the horse, if only for one shot, so when AS Colour approached me last week to style their new catalogue, I jumped at the chance. The job included casting models (Emily Smith at Clyne and Seth Coates-Chitty at 62), organising a makeup artist, rolling tee shirt sleeves and attempting to spark a little chemistry between two shy kids. Here are the results.

Monday, April 4, 2011

#1788 Nom*D has reissued all their awesome old tee shirt prints

Back in 2004 when I was still a teenager, I walked into the Zambesi flagship on Vulcan Lane, climbed the stairs to the Men's store, went over to the rack on the far wall, picked up a charcoal Nom*D short-sleeve hoodie emblazoned with the Bambi print (Bambi caught in a sniper rifle's sights), took it to the counter and just about passed out as I handed over my eftpos card to drop $180 on a single item of clothing – the most I'd ever spent. I wore that hoodie everywhere. It was my go-to garment no matter what the occasion – even five star restaurants were graced with its presence (I figured it was designer so I was allowed). Fast forward seven years, and Bambi is back. As of Fall/Winter 2011, Nom*D has reissued all their favourite tee shirt prints – DON'T SHOOT, The Monster, Bat Skeleton and so many more. I want them all.

Friday, April 1, 2011

#1787 Chanel's first New Zealand flagship store will open in Auckland this year

Photo: Sassisam

Back in August 2009, rumours began circulating that Prada was looking to open its first flagship store in Auckland. According to insiders, certain well-known fashion retailers were brought on as consultants to advise Prada on key details such as locations and staffing. Another rumour suggested a new luxury retail development would open in 2011 that would house every major fashion house. Top architects were requested to tender for the job, to design spaces for all sorts of names that were being tossed around; Christian Dior to Tiffany & Co, Burberry to Dolce and Gabbana. Fast forward 20 months, and the Prada (and other) rumours appear to have been just that – rumours, however the Britomart luxury retail development in downtown Auckland is nearing completion.

#1786 Twenty-seven Names makes looking good look easy

Photos: Guy Coombes via So Much To Tell You

Twenty-seven Names launched their Spring/Summer 2011 collection in Australia earlier this week with an exhibition of Guy Coombes photographs accompanied by designer Rachel Easting's illustrations. Featuring Zippora Seven, Kelsey Martinovich of Australia's Next Top Model fame and three other young girls, the campaign is the best thing I've seen come out of New Zealand in a long time. Pretty girls, cute clothes, great photos – they make it look so simple. If I was a lady I'd be snapping up a good chunk of the collection, including, but not limited to, the & cardigan, the dresses and that sleeveless shirt. And can we give a shout out to the button-up, calf-length skirts? My mum used to wear those when I was a kid. Holla!