Monday, August 5, 2013

Hair for the people

A few months ago I was in a depressing state of ‘growing-out hair’. I’d done it to myself, no less. But I had the distinct feeling of losing the inherent coolness that comes with having a great hairstyle.

I’ve been working the bob for about a year now thanks to the wonders of Matt Forsman. He gives good bob. But every time I’m just a little bit apprehensive about what the bf will say – he’s one of those silly ‘pretty-girls-have-long-hair’ guys (to which I am veritably defiant).

I’ve tried to have long hair before but every time I do it just looks sick. I don’t have the capacity for long hair and I’ve officially given up on it, much to bf’s despair. So I was delighted last year to find Matt’s services, as I talked about here.

Since then, Matt’s gone rogue and opened the newly refurbished Matt Forsman salon. The minimalist yet comforting environment is testament to Matt’s innate sense of style. Set in the heart of Wellington in the trendy Edward Street precinct, there’s an industrial glamour to the salon that makes you feel perfectly at ease, while receiving an indulgent pampering.

I put great pride in having a hair style – it's more than just having hair. My hair works with - even enhances - my personality, and it takes a mighty fine hairdresser to make that happen for you.

I always walk out loving my freshly cut bob but sometimes get the next day jitters about how short it is. Sometimes I just find it a little bit aggressively short, but then BAM it’s grown out two weeks’ later into short-hair perfection. Those few weeks of minor growth either allow me to adjust to it, or produce a magical centimetre of hair greatness.

So last time I asked Matt to keep it just a little bit longer, which he did, and then it grew out and in the meantime Matt was setting up the salon. So I wanted to wait for the man himself and meanwhile I was starting to put it up and pull it back.

I felt terribly uncool.

It’s amazing what a haircut can do for your confidence. So I went about regaining my cool in a two-step process

My two steps were: a cut – back to the bob, but with a bit of softening around the face with some swept bangs, which kept any perceived aggression at bay.

And Yay! I felt like me again.

Then some colour work. What I love about Matt is that he is not constantly trying to upsell you with shit you don’t need. In fact, he does my colour so that I’m not having to come back and get it done all the time. Even if I let it grow out, it would still look good.

So this time he recommended we do my blondies using the balayage technique. That ‘ombre hair’ you’ve been seeing for the last couple of years? that purposely grown-out look? That’s probably what they’ve done. And it’s super cool – you can see the colour coming in as it processes. Not all hidden under foils and what-not. So that was fun.

And look how great it turned out.

You too can have great hair in two steps:
· Find a great hairdresser

· Let them do their thing.

There's nothing like walking in with a vague idea of what you want and having someone take it, provide their expert advice and technique, apply it to work with your style and personality and have you walking out feeling like a million bucks.

If you don’t have a hairdresser that makes you feel amazing or someone you can't wait to rebook with, go and see Matt. I’ve already put a few friends on to him and they all feel the love. Where great hair maketh the woman – Matt makes it happen. It's hair for the people.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Miromoda Māori Fashion Design Awards

As a backdrop, the recently revamped Pipitea Marae on Wellington’s Thorndon Quay, made more than a cultural point for the Miromoda Māori Fashion Design competition, it nailed it.

It was initially feared the intricacies of whakairo - traditional Māori carvings, tukutuku - thatched panels and its earthy colour palate might be too busy for images of fashion models in various outfits. However, the meld proved perfect for up to 14 finalist collections that were framed and captured before facing a panel of fashion judges last Friday.

Parallel to the cultural surroundings were the compelling stories of indigenous design concepts. Established and Overall winner Adrienne Whitewood’s collection of navy knits, fringed suede and silver embellishments was inspired by the traditional piupiu. By her own admission, she added printed chiffon pieces inspired by the Great Gatsby movie while incorporating karakia (traditional prayer).

Winner of the Emerging section was Mitchell Vincent who hails from Taupo. His unisex collection entitled ‘Vapour’ was entirely in white knit and organza, with the latter referencing steam that greets people on arrival to his tribal area. Clever pintucking and overstitched panels mimicked the cylinders and tubes synonymous to a geothermal station.

Queensland entrant, Kylie Mangan was inspired to revisit her love of fashion when a letter inside a retrieved time capsule and written by a 9 year-old girl, spoke of how she wanted to be a fashion designer when she was older. That girl was in fact Mangan, so her well-tailored collection incorporated the black watch tartan, and wool pieces that were often seen on marae a few decades ago, but rarely seen today.

Controversial tee shirt design entrant Hohepa Thompson proved an outright winner in his category with a colourful collection of prints that provoke conversation around why so many Māori make the move to Australia. His graphics suggest the appeal of Australian money as the biggest motivation.

Possibly a world first, a collection of rain capes and coats utilised imagery of harakeke (flax) under the microscope as a print that guised any obvious repetitive pattern. Is it animal? Is it digital? No one present would’ve realised or guessed the print’s origin. The analogy with the resilient and resourceful flax plant used in rāranga - traditional weaving was duly recognised as the winner of the Avant Garde section by Leilani Rickard of Rotorua.

Popular Auckland label Pia Boutique further proved its use of neon colours, clever digital prints and femininity to culminate in yet another popular and ‘pretty’ collection. Fellow Aucklanders, Dmonic Intent scored again to take out Runners Up in the Avant Garde category with their dramatic, but wearable ensembles teamed with stylish hats setting a very high standard.

As an avid Miromoda supporter and competition head judge, Dame Pieter Stewart was motivated in 2008 to show international media and judges something they would not see at any other international Fashion Week around the world. Te Kanawa says it’s likely Dame Stewart’s support initiated a new indigenous awareness and genre in fashion.

The Miromoda Showcase on September 6 at NZ Fashion Week will feature the following designers.

Miromoda Māori Fashion Design Awards Competition Results:
  • Established Designer and Overall Winner: Adrienne Whitewood (Rotorua)
  • Established Designer Runner Up: Pia Boutique (Auckland)
  • Emerging Designer Winner: Mitchell Vincent (Taupo)
  • Emerging Designer Runner Up: Kylie Mangan (Queensland)
  • Avant Garde Winner: Leilani Rickard (Rotorua)
  • Avant Garde Runner Up: Dmonic Intent (Auckland)
  • Tee Shirt Placement Winner: Hohepa Thompson (Wellington)
All photos courtesy of
Miromoda Designer Adrienne Whitewood Collection
Miromoda Designer Dmonic Intent
Miromoda Designer Hohepa Thompson Collection
Miromoda Designer Leilani Rickard Collection
Miromoda Designer Mitchell Vincent
Miromoda Designer Pia Boutique

Monday, June 17, 2013

faded promises

I was super excited to attend not one, but two Clinique events this weekend. As you may have noted, Clinique is my go-to brand, particularly for skin care, but I also have a few make-up pieces through the (SO super-awesome) gift with purchase.

Two quick tips:

·         If you find a brand you like, sign up to emails and visit their counter often. Many brands will run special promotions and if you’re on their database you get special treatment at the counter, they make note of your products, and (my fave) you are more likely to get free stuff.

·         And because I love free stuff so much… only buy your essentials when they have gift with purchase. The Clinique goody bags are so awesome, not just a lame lipstick from last season. You usually get about eight different products, and a cool toilet bag, and it’s a great way to try new products in sample size that you couldn’t usually afford. Those sample sizes are also fantastic to travel with.

So Clinique are promoting their new Chubby Sticks for eyes, and Farmers were running workshops on how to use them and Life Pharmacy called me up to do a personal consultation. Great!
The workshops are really good fun but you’ve got to get into them. Ask lots of questions and volunteer to be the model – I did this on Saturday afternoon, and the lady not only did my eyes with the new product (well, one eye, I had to do the other one myself) but she also wanted to show a ‘finished product’ so she matched me for foundation, blusher and lip colour as well. So basically I had my make-up for that evening done by a professional for free. Go me.

The Chubby Sticks for eyes are like a creme eyeshadow in a stick. So you can kind of just whip them over your eyes and create cool looks. There are a range of colours and they’re all pretty and shiny. So far so good. They blend together nicely so you can create some cool looks. And the salespeople SWEAR they stay on all day and don’t crease. As usual, the Farmers counter ladies had theirs painted on and perhaps if you have access to testers all day they do ‘stay on’. But I had one of the boldest looks applied and by the time I got home it was barely there. My partner even said “Usually those ladies really slap it on ya” as I took my selfies of the end result. This was no more than half an hour after application, and you can see that only the green side is still there. Before I left the shop there were blues and purples in there as well, but these were nowhere to be seen.

Not so good.

My experience of crème eyeshadows have so far been fairly unsuccessful. I had one from Covergirl, another stick-type deely with a shade at each end. That one creases and fades. It’s pretty much rubbish, even if I put powder over the top. So then I started using crème shadow only as a base. I bought a palette from Revlon with light to dark mauves and it works fantastically as a base. My powder eyeshadow now pops and sparkles like never before – and it stays on all day. Again, this stuff is rubbish on its own – it fades and creases – but I wouldn’t bother putting powder shadow on without it now. Seriously, it makes all the difference.

I only realised the greatness of this stuff when I was at a different Clinique workshop (which I reviewed here) and they applied their Lid Smoothies before doing the shadow. I ran with the idea and found a cheaper version. I visited the Revlon counter this week to get some more and the girl had no idea what I was talking about, so they’ve either discontinued the product (stink) or they have really bad service people (which I have zero time for), so I ended up purchasing the uber-spendy Clinique Lid Smoothie ($56!). But hey, at least I know it works, and the counter girl took the time to run through some options with me. And like most Clinique products you don’t have to use a ton of it to get the desired effect. (Chubby sticks aside!)
So anyway, I went into my appointment at the pharmacy on Sunday for further investigation (and the hope of another free gift – thankfully it wasn’t a Chubby Stick, but their amazing long-lasting eyeliner in a super funky indigo colour – WIN!) The girl there was really great and ran through my skincare again to make sure I was using the right products (fantastic customer service) and did my make-up again. This time we tried a more subtle look, and I was pretty convinced about the end product this time, although still dubious about the longevity of it. It looked great in the lights of the pharmacy. She was absolutely positive that it stay on all day.
Well, half an hour later at home you can see from this picture that this is not the case. It’s barely there. Even for a ‘subtle look’ – as they say their products all try to achieve – this is not holding up to a simple stroll home.

So, lessons learned? If you do go to events or consultations like this, don’t buy the product in-store. They use these things to whip you into a frenzy of oestrogen-fuelled consumerism while you’re in the shop. Take your free gift and make-over and tell them you’d like to see how it holds up at home. Also, if the girls have done it for you, make sure the result is something you are able to achieve on your own – don’t be afraid to ask for samples to ‘see how it goes’. And finally, even if you have a great brand, sometimes they can’t do everything. I’m still 100% spending my money with Clinique when it comes to most things, but ‘fad’ products will come and go, and not necessarily hit the mark.

One final note before I go, Clinique BB cream is the best product I have ever used. This is not a fad product, it’s the real deal. But more on that another time J

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Fast fashion: winter ankle boots

Always a sucker for fast fashion, I've got my eye on an emerging trend in your favourite shoe stores - open gusset ankle boots.

You'll find a version of these in just about every shop right now, and as usual in the world of fashion, style overtakes sense in this winter footwear. 

The open gusset (that's where you'd expect to find the elasticacted insert in pull-on boots) is embellished with buckles and staps, creating interest and adding to the biker chic look. But in New Zealand winters, when you'll often find yourself walking through inches of gutter run-off or combating horizontal downpours, you might find the open feature more hindrance than happy feet.

But as we know, kiwi girls aren't famous for the most sensible rainy day fashion, so expect to see this trend on feet in rain or shine. 

What I would suggest is stripping off the black opaques while you work this foot fashion - most iterations I have seen are in black leather, so you're kind of defeating the purpose if you're filling that gap with black underneath. To draw attention to your new fancy feet, try a bold coloured tight (bare legs will work too, but let's face it, we've all been wearing stockings since we put the clocks forward).

This season's trending colours include royal blue (thanks Kate), deep crimsons and purples (always a winter fave) and if you're brave enough, mustard is becoming more and more mainstream after persevering the last couple of seasons.

So jump on the fashion bandwagon and strap on some open gusset goodness. Your breezy feet may not love you, but it's a guaranteed head-turner for the hardy soled.

And then it moved

'And Then it Moved' is the latest show from the New Zealand School of Dance's choreographic season, and you can expect to be moved from intrigue to inspiration in this showcase of contemporary dance.
Ten choreographers, ten dances and a whirlwind of emotions to entrance the audience. The chilling use of live music enhanced the experience as the dancers took us through an amoebic evolution of movement, joining and separating in Are we there yet?. Two of You created Rorscach-like imagery with a creative use of mirrors as two dancers struggled for individualism, and then tensions rose as indoctrinated slaves strove to maintain an engrossing blind faith in One of Them.
Two of You - photo by Stephen A'Court
The second half provided a much-appreciated lighter air to the theatre. Reality Cheque brought humour with the show-hosted fame game, while highlighting how these programmes trivialise the meaningful moments of our reality. Solo for Nine showcased dynamic use of space and light, once again touching on the 'fifteen minutes of fame' theme as dancers fought for their time in the spotlight. Closing the show was a trio demonstrating a delicate balance in Teeter, the swirling snow providing a chilling environment as the dancers sought shelter in the wilderness.
Teeter - photo by Stephen A'Court
Once again Te Whaea has produced a slick showcase of New Zealand's emerging talent, and if you're in the capital and a lover of performance art, this is a must-see. The show runs all week until Saturday 25 May, so get down and support local dance talent and enjoy the ride!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Douche-baggy pants

Guys. We’ve talked about this. I thought we cleared things up three years ago.
Bro. No.
The worst part of this (apart from knee-dragging crotches, it doesn’t really get any worse than that) is the inspiration for this sudden surge in boys looking stupid. Put something ridiculous on a high-fashion model and it will take two to three years for a watered-down version to hit the racks in New Zealand. Put it on a Bieber, and it’s a poo-pants party within months.

It’s a sad sad world we live in.
I’ve seen two offenders within a week. Ok, this isn’t the best example, but it’s hard to surreptitiously snap a pic of someone as they’re walking in front of you. The best I could do was to scuttle up really close behind him, uncomfortably so, and then stop suddenly at the right time to catch his crotch a-swingin’. The other one I saw was walking towards me, and I don’t quite have the courage to ask people to pose when I’m about to slate them on the internet. “Yeah, check out my blog… in which I tell the world you look like a douche.”

I like to amuse myself by thinking that this new-look Biebs is a joke on Usher’s part. He’s like “Hey man, you should totally wear these idiotic pants, and then see how long it takes for other idiots to follow”. All-the-while, Usher sniggers quietly while looking his dashing best.
I guess that’s the great thing about having a protégé.

Or pro-douché, in this case.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

taking on texture

As cooler weather threatens (theoretically, if not physically) autumn/winter fashion emerges with a visible increase in textures. Three textures are reigning the pre-fall products, offerings such as baroque, quilting and mixed materials such as leather and denim on previously single-fabric items (think leather lapels or denim sleeves on a cotton blazer).

So what’s the deal with texture?

Cooler seasons allow us to layer up and worry less about bulky fabrics on our lovely summer bodies. This makes it an ideal time for designers to add warmth and texture into garments. This doesn’t mean I give anyone license to wear a puffa vest, but you may want to think about stylish and sensible textures that add depth and warmth to your outfit.

ASOS pants


Baroque started to come in at the end of winter 2012 and I ignored its presence for a couple of reasons. 1) throw-back fabrics like this don’t usually last the distance and 2) who wants to look like estate house upholstery. While it oozes sumptuousness and wealth with the addition of gold threading and filigree designs, the fabrics tend to be thick and stiff – just like the stuff you find in curtains and couch coverings – which is where they belong. If you’re going to do it I would suggest a baroque cigarette leg pant, smoking slippers or heels, with a crisp white t-shirt and blazer combo to keep it simple up top. Make it modern.


Glassons quilted skirt
Quilting is a tricky one to pull off because the thickness of the material will add bulk to your frame. I did see a cute quilted ‘leather’ skirt at Glassons yesterday that caught my eye, but I’d want to wear it with light coloured stockings or bare legs to stop from losing the texture with black on black tights. Quilted jackets are only for those of us who don’t have to worry about adding kilos onto our frames. Broad shoulders, big boobs, or thick waists are going to make a quilted jacket bring the rest of you out to that biggest point. Again, it’s thick and fairly stiff material, so it’s not a curvy girl’s friend. It might look great on the hanger, or on the size 6 in the picture, but check it out in the mirror before you decide to jump on this bandwagon. If you can’t pull it off on your body, go for a cute quilted bag. This way you can enjoy the trend without doing your figure any injustice.

Note: Puffa jackets/vests are not part of this ‘fashion’. They are a plague to the sartorially sensitive. They belong in Antarctica. Not Lambton Quay.


Woollen sleeves on a denim jacket. Leather lapels on a cotton blazer. Panelled pants and leggings. Mixing materials is a fun way to update an old design and you can expect to see a lot of it over winter. We saw alot of contrast sleeves last year and it's another way to colour block within a single garment. I don’t have too much to say about this really. It’s inoffensive in most cases.

Also be warned that double denim is back. I’ve never been a fan of denim jackets. Hated mine as a kid in the early 90s and that has stayed with me since. Some people look great in them, but I just find them restrictive and boxy. Denim for me is for jeans. But you’ll be seeing dungarees, pinafores, vests and jackets before the first frost settles. Mostly on the younger ones that don’t know any better.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The best-fitting jeans ever

I went down to Jeanswest today because I’d spotted a beautiful pair of purple jeans in the window. A blackberry hue that’s dark enough to slim but bold enough to stand out. And we all know my great love of purple.

They’re right there in the doorway and upon inspection I’m already afraid of the fiasco that is jeans fittings.
My last experience had me in Wild Pair for about an hour and a half trying to find something that wasn’t gaping at the waist or too small to pull over my thighs. I imagined that I had told you all about it but it may have been during my blog drought. After all that I ended up buying a pair that I could barely do up. The shop girl (probably tired of my small waist and big bum by now) told me to buy the too-small pair. “They’re perfect if you can only just do the button up” they always say… Those jeans have now sat in my wardrobe for three or so months. I’ve tried them on a couple of times and always taken them off for something that makes me feel less like a sausage. They are very nice jeans, and I’m sure my wardrobe appreciates them.

I have news for the fashion designers out there – small girls can have big butts.
I have a small waist and often have to compromise on pants and skirts. They either fit my bottom half and gape at the top or fit my waist and restrict me from sitting or bending – if I can get them over my butt at all.

So the off-putting business is right there on the tag. “Super Skinny” it says. I walk away. Super skinny means no thighs, hips or ass. Super skinny is super depressing in my experience. Jeanswest also stocks jeans which are “Curve Embracing”. I like the sound of that. They have Curve Embracers in another purple, but it’s not as warm as the ones I’ve got my heart set on. The staff bring me no joy. There’s no curve embracing blackberries out the back. I resign to trying on the dreaded super skinnies.
Win! They pull over my thighs. Win! They slip over my hips. And Win! makes three. The waist is a nice height and it fits snuggly. My tummy and ass are firmly embraced. No muffin, no crack.

These jeans are perfect. They feel lovely and look great. I am joyous to tell the girl I will take them, and they are the best fitting jeans I’ve tried in years. So thanks Jeanswest! You just made my day.

Jeanswest blackberry jeans are available in 'curve embracer', 'super skinny' and 'maternity' styles on their website at

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Put It Away Award

Heidi Klum in Julien Macdonald

Heidi, Heidi, Heidi. We know you’re a doll. And we know you’re single. But please, keep the girls wrangled. The Oscars is supposed to be a classy event. And while I realise that you’re only attending an Oscars party – and please, please don’t ever try and break into the movie scene – this dress screams desperation.

It says ‘Las Vegas stage costume’.

It says ‘Lindsay Lohan’s trust fund’.

It says ‘lonely 3am texts to Seal’.

And as if her squashy golden melons weren’t enough, we turn our attention to the sheer panelling. I get that illusion panels give the impression of ‘barely holding it together’ skin-show from afar. But up close, it’s just a mess. It gives Heidi side rolls that we all know don’t exist. And more than anything, it just looks cheap.

The Trashtastic Award feat. Who?

Brandi Glanville in BrandiB

This woman was not at the Oscars. She was invited to an Oscars party though, so she must be someone. Google tells me she is a Real Housewife, and I can see that now, although I would have assumed she was of the Desperate variety.

This trashtastic hoe-bag thinks so much of herself she has:
a)        decided to present the sum of her talent to the world, and
b)      designed this glorified nipple cover herself and taken it to the streets.

In response:
  1.  High class prostitutes wouldn’t wear this shit.
  2. There are so many better things you could have done with your husband’s money.
  3. Please go back into your house.

The Worst Thing Ever

Melissa McCarthy in David Meister

I love Melissa McCarthy. Her stylist does not. This just makes me sad. She’s a big lady, but there’s plenty you can do with that. Look at how great Adele looked. I guess the designers aren’t banging down her door to get her to wear their clothes, but there’s gotta be something better than this.

I don’t know what else to say… it’s good she’s got a sense of humour??

The Almost Forgotten

Jessica Chastain in Giorgio Armani

There’s all this fuss about Jessica Chastain and I don’t get it. Admittedly I’ve never seen her in anything, but I’ve seen what she wears, and that’s what’s important right? She just seems so BLAH. Like I can see why everyone thinks she’s totally pretty, but are they just going nuts because she’s a redhead and she’s attractive?

She always seems to pick the totally wrong colour for dresses – soft wishy washy colours, skin tones and pastels. Those colours are not the friend of redheads. Especially those with pale skin. I can tell you that because I am one of those people. Wear red! Wear green or blue. But wear it with gusto!

I adore this dress. It is possibly the most beautiful on the red carpet. But I wish so badly it was another colour. A colour that pops, not flops.

Best in Colour Award

Elizabeth Banks in Alexander McQueen

Elizabeth Banks is one of those people who I never understood why she was famous (apart from being ‘that one that looks like Chelsea Handler but prettier and less man-eaty’). Then all of a sudden she was in a million things and she’s like the new America’s Sweetheart.

I think Americans like her because she’s blonde and has a big smile. That’s generally what they like. If she had big hair they would leave trinkets at her gate and beseech her for a good crop season. And while she looks friendly in a thank-god-she’s-not-Chelsea-Handler kind of way, I just can’t get over how soul-crushingly generic she looks.

This dress is far from generic and I applaud her for wearing it. There are so many muted colours and gothic nuances around at the moment, and this is bringing so much colour to the party I want to throw beads at it from a balcony in New Orleans.

The So Close Award

Nicole Kidman in L’Wren Scott

It may be becoming apparent that I like a bit of sequin. Well this is Hollywood people, if you can’t wear sparkles here then where can you wear them. Shiny things make me happy. Nicole’s been making such good choices for the red carpet recently and she looks great. Somehow less robotic. But on to the dress.

I love this from the waist up. I thought I loved it all, but then I noticed that the gold at the bottom was in spiral patterns. I wish it just faded down like golden lava melting out of glittery igneous rock. That would have been way better than the stylised spirals. It’s just a bit too Hocus Pocus.

Best Over 70

Jane Fonda in Versace

Jane Fonda is also making her mark on worst dressed lists for wearing a colour that’s ‘too young’ and a dress that’s ‘too tight’. Haters gon’ hate.

If I look this good at 75 (and I could wear anything close to a shade of yellow) I’d be pushing those young* bitches out of the way and wearing this too. I love the colour. I love a bit of sparkle, and the design draws it in perfectly at the waist. I’m not a fan of the front seam, which appears to be poorly stitched and gathering. 

But damn, aerobics (yeah, yeah, and many-a surgeon) have done you all sorts of favours and I think you look great.

*I can’t even say ‘skinny bitches’ because Jane’s right on the mark with them. She looks better than I do at 27.

The Va Va Voom Award

Salma Hayak in Alexander McQueen

Fashion is so subjective and I have to note that many of my favourites are featuring on worst dressed lists and vice versa. 

Salma has a great body and I don’t know who decided to put her in a high-necked dress – usually such a no-no for the well-endowed – but for me the gold into the sweetheart neckline makes it work. Who else could wear velvet, and a style of dress no other woman with such magnificent breasts would have touched, and still come off looking like Spanish Jessica Rabbit? 

Best Outfit Change

Jennifer Lawrence (Calvin Klein) and Amy Adams (Oscar de la Renta)

It might seem that I have something against full skirts because of these two picks, but it’s their choice of full skirt and my love of shiny things that tips the scales here.

Jennifer Lawrence’s Dior dress has the big skirt that starts half-way down the thighs. I’m so not a fan of that and I just can’t see why you would ever want your skirt to start there. And it looks so bridal. Does Raf Simons secretly hate her? After that red cone-boob deal you have to wonder.

Amy Adams looks like she snuck off-set and skinned a family of Muppets for her big night. That’s all I have to say really. Their party dresses look amazing. 

Most Improved

Halle Berry in Versace

Let me first say that I HATE Halle Berry. I am loathe to acknowledge her existence, let alone give her an imaginary award. But I’m a teller of truths.  And this dress is good.

Ms Berry constantly wants us to see how bangin she is over 40 (is she over 40? It’s hard to tell with that constant ‘busy mum’ haircut) and strives to show off as much of her body as possible. Take her dress a few weeks ago at the Golden Globes. She’s going for the ‘I just had sex and draped this sheet around me’ look that no one in their right mind would wear on the red carpet. It’s a crime against fashion.

But I LOVE this Versace dress. She no longer looks like a mother who’s so desperate to ‘get in with the young kids’ that she shags her teenage son’s best friend. This is a grown-up’s dress. She shows us some skin, she hides some with the sleeves. Sleeves are so big this year and this is how you do it. As much as it pains me to say – “Well done”. 

The Absolute Best

Charlize Theron in Dior Haute Couture

This is perfection. I don’t think I even need to talk about the dress - the perfect tailoring, modern lines and crisp whiteness speaks for itself. I dare you to find fault in this dress – whether it’s your style or not.

What I will talk about is the constant need for some actresses to periodically cut off their hair to remind us all that they are so beautiful they don’t need glorious locks. (Halle Berry lives this concept.) Charlize also likes to remind people that she’s a serious actress. So serious that she made herself ugly in Monster *Gasp* and all of Hollywood was so overwhelmed by the self-sacrificing gesture they gave her an Oscar for it.

I hate the hair. She looks so glamorous with the wavy bob, and I think that would have completed this look so fabulously I might have possibly died in the wake of its gloriousness.

The Kudos Award

Britney Spears in Michael Cinco Couture

Kudos has to be given when someone with as much volatility in the ‘making good decisions’ department as Britney turns out looking like halfway decent. I think this is more than halfway decent for Britney and the brunette do is doing her so many favours.

When Britney’s blonde, it always looks like ‘dirty blonde'. Apparently in her ‘off days’ (although ‘off months’ may be more appropriate) she refuses to shower. It might be that blondes have more fun, but brunettes at least look clean when perhaps they are not.

What I like about this is that she’s not trying to cram herself into a bandage dress (as she did for almost every appearance on the X Factor) or ‘phantom dress’ so that everyone can marvel at the talent of her bikini waxer (as in that 2010 Grammys number below - although again, the brown hair looks great). Kudos Ms Spears. 

The Given

Naomi Watts in Armani Privé

I’m not totally sold on this dress, but I know I’m supposed to love it. Everyone else does, and she’s on more best dressed lists than Britney’s on prescription meds. It totally deserves a nod, but I feel like she’s going to get enough attention for this one as it is.

She looks amazing, the dress is nice, and it’s different enough to make everyone ooh and ahh, but essentially it’s her bangin body and a crap-ton of sparkles that are doing all the work here.

I’ve never been one for asymmetric designs, whether it be hems or sleeves, and that is the essence of this dress, so I’m predisposed to disliking it. That I don’t hate it speaks loads for how great it really is.


Best and Worst at the Oscars

Did anyone else notice a lack of stars at the Oscars this year?

I kept looking for fabulous dresses and dapper gents online, but they just weren’t there. Where were the Brad and Angelinas? Where were the Dame Helen Mirrens and Johnny Depps of the world? Where was Leo? Michelle Williams? They had a movie.

Is it uncool to walk the red carpet anymore? Are they all sneaking in the side door to avoid the glam cam? There seems to be very little evidence of actual stars this year and I fear that awards season has become such an E! extravaganza that the actual famous people don’t want anything to do with it anymore.

Perhaps they’ve all turned hipster and only go to the arty farty festivals to avoid Seacrest. ‘We were doing Cannes before it was cool’. And I was judging their dresses...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What a woman wants

Apparently what a woman wants is big undies. That’s what stylist Lisa O’Neill had to say at the pleasantly hilarious Farmers What a Woman Wants event last night. This is the second time I’ve been to see Lisa at a Farmers night and she’s still touting spanx as a girl’s best friend.
Lisa O’Neil is a housewife stylist. And I don’t mean that in any derogatory way. She’s accessible to ‘real Kiwi women’ in a way that other stylists I’ve worked with* proactively avoid. She’s not about over-complicated and out-of-reach fashion. She caters for the masses, providing advice about how to cover your bum or boobs or other bits you don’t like but are stuck with. There’s plenty of emphasis on the ‘you’re stuck with it’ bit, and she casually told us all to shut up and get on with it. “Rub it and love it,” she says.

She’s obviously on the payroll at Farmers but she’s a good salesperson and holds no shame in touting ‘you want it you buy it’ philosophy. Forget the capsule wardrobe. Lisa wants people to try different trends and change it up. Of course Farmers wants you to do that too, but my bulging wardrobe denies me any kind of elitist soapboxery about having the perfect 20 pieces that cover all bases.

Now, back to the big undies. The only thing I don’t agree with is the complete acceptance of size and shape. Maybe she’s talking more to the older ladies or those who, like her, have had ‘tenants’, but I don’t think shapewear is the only answer to jiggly bits. It’s not that hard to get up and do a bit of exercise. And even if you don’t’ do enough of it to lose weight, the statement “it’s easier to change your mind about your body than it is to change your body” stinks of bodily resignation. It’s not the message we need to be touting to our already overweight nation.
But she did have a few other gems up her sleeve, which I will share with you.

Anything with a line or belt on it will draw the eye in and give you a waist. “But if your boobs go below the line – you can’t have it.” Sound advice for a gravity-challenged bosom.
And then this, which I will take with me: “No one approaches you from side-on, so stop worrying about that dimension”. I’m terrible at trying clothes on, thinking I look pretty good, and then turning to check out the view from the side and noticing the cookie pouch. Well she’s right, impressions are made from the front (or sometimes the back), but no one ever crabs up to you offering full belly profile. That’s just silly. So I’ll just put on my control panties and think about how great everything looks from the front from now on.

And finally, “don’t save your best, because most of us have got nowhere to go.” While there’s a hint of the housewifely resignation in there I have to agree. I always dress to impress, whether it’s at work or just going to get the vegies on Sunday (although to different extents). So if you buy a lot of lovely things, just wear them. The perfect event doesn’t come along every week. And over-dressed beats spit-stained or cat-haired daggy pants any day.
*oh how I love that I can say I’ve ‘worked with’ stylists J

Thursday, February 14, 2013

In defence of Kimbra

Poor Kimbra got totally slated on Fashion Police following her first appearance at the Grammys. I was super excited to see that she was even featured, but I guess with such a statement dress she was bound to get picked up by the fashion critics. Go Fug Yourself's Jessica was much kinder, letting Kimbra's cute enthusiasm beat out any desire to slander the dress.

Tbh I didn't think it was that bad. Ok, totally out there, in a kind of playful spritely way, but we're talking about the awards show which saw Riri get rave reviews for wearing a deconstructed toilet brush and Lady Gaga turning up in an egg. So there's room for kook. I thought the dress was totally cute, it unfortunate that it coincided with everyone toning down their looks, due to new network requirements.

In defence of Kimbra I would like to take it to the Fashion Police cadet who nominated her for worst dressed nominee, Queen G herself Giuliana Ransic. I love G, and she usually looks amazing, but this awards season she's got it so wrong. I think she's forgetting her place as a (laughably quote unquote) "reporter". Sorry G, I'll follow your baby-making troubles in NW, but you haven't actually achieved anything to be called a star.

Anyway, take her Golden Globes gothic travesty. I don't like to judge, but anyone so obviously ano as Giuliana should really stay away from high neck lines. Anything that brings such close attention to your lollipop head should be off limits. That thing looks more unbalanced than a baby with a candy apple. Seriously G, eat a pie, and send Morticia Adamms thanks for the loan of her wedding dress. At least Kimbra looks like a fairy princess, not an emo Bratz doll.