Friday, March 30, 2012

#2148 Hang time with Carolyn Murphy

Elizabeth Herring, Carolyn Murphy and me.

Five days into New York Fashion Week, I had the privilege of meeting Marlon Stoltzman – an industry veteran, manager to stars like Candice Swanepoel, and professional chaperone of travelling models. When girls are sent away for their first fashion week season, he's the person who accompanies them backstage, puts out fires and assists with the pressures of being young and on the rise. When major models book ad campaigns for blue chip clients, he travels with them and acts on their behalf. We were introduced by our mutual friend Bridget Malcolm, who met him on her first show season back in 2009. Marlon describes his job like this: Imagine a young kid going to the park to play by himself. He'd be shy and timid and probably wouldn't have too much fun. But if that same kid had his parents sitting on a bench within eyesight, he'd run around, climb the jungle gym and interact with the other kids. And that's what Marlon does for the models with whom he travels.

#2147 The wrinkle effect

Summer is the one time of the year when we all get to relax. It’s hot, we’re on holiday and long days at the office are replaced by easy afternoons at the beach. But that doesn’t mean that you should throw style out of the window and dive for your nearest pair of workout shorts or that old tee shirt you wear to bed. That’s the way of my countrymen, and it’s not something to be emulated. We New Zealanders are famously laid-back; and we don’t have a history of well-dressed men (quite the opposite, in fact). Italian sprezzatura, French nonchalance and English put-togetherness never made their way to our fair shores.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

#2146 The facts of life

Photo: Elizabeth Herring

1. Papa Frenchie read my blog post about his gym last week, and since then, he has been personal training me like a pro boxer. Obviously the workouts are brilliant, but the best bit is his endless quotability. Take Saturday, for example: I was doing a set of bench presses when he came and stood over me. "Isaac!" he said in his Puerto Rican accent. "You know, I am psycheeec. I know why you come een here." With the bar halfway above my chest and shaking, I grunted at him to keep going. "You want to be slender but defined," he said. "Si, si," I replied. "But I know what you really want," he said. Another grunt. "You want to walk een the club and when the girls see you they run over and they say, 'Isaac you are electrofied!' And then you tell them, 'Baby you want some of thees energy, you just gotta plug eet een!'" Amazing. I just about dropped the bar.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

#2145 What's in store at Patron of the New – up now on The Moment

Photos: Noah Emrich of NOVH fame

My latest What's in store has just gone up on The Moment, shot last week at TriBeCa boutique Patron of the New by Noah Emrich (who happened to have a birthday yesterday – Happy Birthday Noah, you're a big boy now!). Patron of the New is the closest thing I've found to a Zambesi or Plume boutique since I've been in New York, and its offering is particularly fashion forward – think jumpsuits, drapery and calfskin leather shirts. If you're in the market for any of the aforementioned – or a head to toe Mugler acid-washed denim outfit – this is your dream store. Check out our outtakes below, and head over to the Times' site to read the piece. Holla!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

#2144 The Likes List*

Photo: Elizabeth Herring

1. This Working Style DB, which I've just been reunited with after a long, four month absence. I cannot stop wearing it. (No idea why I look so glum in that picture, but I do remember it being a particularly cold day.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

#2143 That good Apple customer service

Photo: Haw-lin

I work on a 2008 black Macbook that has given me nothing but faithful service over the years, but a month or so ago, the screen started going black for no good reason. I'd close the computer then open it, and about half the time it would start working again. Extensive googling told me the problem was with my backlight, and if I held the laptop at a certain angle, I could see the faint outline of whatever I'd been working on teasing me in the background. Recently, it's started happening constantly, so yesterday I took my laptop to the genius bar at Apple's uptown store to ask what to do. I was assigned to a young guy with a blue shirt and a big smile, who shook my hand and asked me the problem. I told him my backlight kept going out. He nodded and walked away for a second. When he returned, I kept telling him about what had been happening and the various ways I'd tried to fix it. He started doodling on a piece of paper. As I was talking.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

#2142 The facts of life

Tom Bull – male model, saviour of future Hindin-Miller generations. Photo: Park & Bond

1. File this one under friends going above and beyond: A couple of weeks ago, I caught myself on my zipper. Is it the frank or the beans!? (It was the frank.) I was in an aeroplane bathroom, I was exhausted, I wasn't looking down, and boom! An explosion of blinding pain. Not having American health insurance, I decided not to go to the doctor and incur a 400 dollar bill. It was a mistake. I tried self medication, I tried physiotherapy, I tried going commando. Nothing stopped the pain. Tom Bull is in England at the moment, so I asked if he'd do me a favour and pick up some medicine for me on the NHS. He said he'd give it a try, and booked an appointment at the nearest clinic. Since doctors aren't generally in the business of handing out prescriptions without evidence of malady, Tom was faced with a conundrum: Attempt to talk his way into a script, or present a convincing-looking ailment. He chose the latter option. Taking a rather large one for the team, he sat in the waiting room pinching himself through his pants pocket for 40 minutes before the doctor saw him. By the time he got in the room, it was obviously looking a bit worse for wear. He dropped his pants, the doctor gave him an inspection, said, "You poor bastard," and promptly prescribed the necessary medication. What a hero. My frank and I will forever be grateful.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

#2141 Pikachunes for Barkers

Photos: Katherine Lowe

I'm about as commercial a guy as you'll ever find and I generally shy away from all things indie for fear of being reprimanded for my non-ironic ways, but even so, I'm a huge Pikachunes fan. His music is catchy, he's great fun in real life, and he's a Christchurchian just like me. (I, sadly, do not share his illustrious lineage – the city's second largest public art gallery is named after his great-grandfather.) We met last year in Sydney, then reunited in New York, and did what all good New Zealanders do when they hang out overseas – sang 90s r'n'b classics at the nearest karaoke bar. Since then, I've watched him play a couple of shows both here and at home, and every time he has kindly dedicated songs to me – a favour I've repaid by squealing like a schoolgirl.

Monday, March 19, 2012

#2140 This one time, when I was 15, I ran away from Christchurch to Wellington

Me, aged 15.

My parents caught me getting up to no good when I was 15. I'd been on holiday in Auckland for the Millenium New Year's Eve and I made the mistake of committing the offense in full view of one of their friends. A couple of weeks later when I was back in Christchurch, that friend decided it was time to call my parents and tell them what he'd seen. They were furious. According to them, I couldn't be trusted to behave myself if I wasn't under constant supervision, so the decision was made that I would be grounded, and my trip to Wellington in the upcoming holidays would be cancelled. I was understandably devastated. Growing up in 1990s Christchurch I was surrounded by conservative, white, middle-class bores whose sole religion was rugby, and who frowned upon anything even slightly out of the ordinary like a teenage boy who worked in a hairdressing salon and preferred breakdancing to beer drinking. Wellington was my one escape – a city of free thinkers and individuals and culture. There was no way I was skipping that trip. So I decided to leave a little early.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

#2139 The rules only apply to other people


I was always the naughty kid in my class at school. Well intentioned and good natured, but naughty all the same. I was the guy who'd run around the room, talking to anyone who'd listen and doing anything I could to make my classmates laugh. My teachers used to write on every one of my report cards, "Isaac disrupts his fellow students' learning environment." It wasn't my fault, I just had too much energy for the classroom and I could never understand why I wasn't allowed to just do what I wanted to do. Needless to say, my academic record was less than stellar. I'd flourish under teachers who had the patience to deal with me, but flounder under everyone else.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

#2138 The facts of life

Photo: Jak and Jil

1. If there's one thing that absolutely kills me, it's when people spell my name wrong. Nobody in the history of the world has ever been called Issac. The name is spelt Isaac with very few exceptions. And that's how I spelt it on my American visa application, but for some reason, the person who approved me decided to type it into the system as Issac, and that's how it's remained. So when I went to get a social security card, they too had to use Issac. I tried to reason with the lady. "Look, it says it right here on my passport. Somebody made a mistake." She shook her head. "I'm sorry, we only trust our own documentation, we can't trust another country's passport." I tried again. "But the visa is inside my passport." She shook her head. "I'm sorry, we only trust our own documentation, we can't trust another country's passport." One last time. "But look at all these other photo IDs with the same spelling as my passport." She shook her head. "I'm sorry, we only trust our own documentation, we can't trust another country's." God bless America.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

#2137 Pump up and shut up

Photo: Scouting NY

My roommate is a burly male model and his friends are burly male models. Whenever they get together it's as you'd expect: They taunt, they compete, they outdo one another, and when there's nothing left for it, they throw on a pair of gloves and box it out (obviously, no punches to the face are allowed). I am therefore the butt of numerous jokes, due to my smaller stature, my slender (yet graceful) wrists and my preference for witty banter over bloodsport. If I attempt to compete in the physical arena I get hurt, and as soon as the shirts come off I'm hopelessly outmatched. So two weeks ago, in an attempt to man up, I signed up for the nearest gym in Williamsburg – Frenchies.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

#2136 The dinner game

Photo: Katherine Lowe

"You mean, you're not gay?" He asked me with surprise, as if a young straight man was not something he'd ever encountered before. "Nope," I said. We approached a painting depicting an engorged male member. "Well I hope you're not shocked by..." he gestured at the art. "I'm sure I'll survive," I said.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

#2135 The facts of life

Image: Haw-lin

1. I rapped Eminem's Guilty Conscience at karaoke last night and it went down about as well as a fart in an elevator. Those lyrics that sounded so hilarious to me as a 14 year old just sound inappropriate to me now. It was greeted by silence from the audience. As was my heartfelt rendition of The Drugs Don't Work. Tough crowd. Tina Turner's Simply The Best, on the other hand, was a roaring success.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

#2134 I like to be in America! (aka how and why I moved to New York City)

Photo: Noah Emrich

I booked a one way flight from Auckland to Singapore for the ridiculously low price of $149 late one night in February last year. The Jetstar offer popped up in my Gmail and I thought to myself, if I'm going to get out of here, this is probably the time to do it. About a week later, I learned that writers like myself were not allowed to travel to America to cover stories for an international audience unless they had the foreign journalist visa. With no plans whatsoever to actually use it for any extended amount of time besides maybe New York Fashion Week twice a year, I made an appointment with the US Consulate in Auckland and applied for the I-Visa for visiting media. At the offices, I watched as young snowboarders were given passport stamps, Americans were issued emergency travel documents and non-New Zealand passport holders were denied visiting visas. When I was called up, I pulled out a huge envelope filled with clippings of my stories, information about my blog traffic and as much press as I could carry with me. The guy laughed, asked to see a letter from my employer (aka myself), took my passport and told me I'd been approved. The interchange took all of 90 seconds, 45 of which were spent discussing the fact that I write about men's fashion, and what I thought of his outfit (I said I'd be coming to him for shopping advice next time I needed a good pair of slacks).

Monday, March 5, 2012

#2133 Behind the scenes at the Barkers F/W 2012 campaign with Tom Bull

Days and days ago back when it was still February, Jamie Whiting (General Manager of Barkers) and Paul Biddle (Head Merchandiser for Barkers) flew to New York with a couple of suitcases filled with their Fall/Winter 2012 range and told me, photographer Greg Lewis and model Tom Bull to go crazy. We shot the campaign all over the city, from the West Side Highway to Soho, the Highline to Greenwich Village, and I reckon we made a bit of magic. The imagery will be disseminated over the next wee while, but here's a sneak peek of what we got up to in the form of a behind the scenes video shot by Mister Alexander Norton. Enjoy!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

#2132 The facts of life

Old man in Milan. Photo: The Sartorialist

1. Living with a male model is a lot of fun, but it's also exhausting. First, you inherit about 15 other male models who drop over unannounced at all hours of the day; every night is a party that starts at three in the afternoon; and Guitar Hero is a 24 hour pursuit (luckily I like Bon Jovi as much as they do). Everything is a competition, be it beer pong, arm wrestling or the pursuit of women, and when the testosterone builds up to the point where all that's left to do is wrestle like cavemen, I always end up being the innocent bystander who cops an elbow to the side of the jaw. They'll make a real man of me yet.