Photo by Mark Hunter of The Cobrasnake
Last week I was flown down to Auckland to be a VIP during New Zealand Fashion Week. I would have told you about it before, but I was forced to live off of all the Acqua Panna, Whittaker’s chocolate, and weird muesli shit from my front row goodie bags in order to afford a few measly megabites to check my email and let my mom know I was alive. Uploading a post was completely out of the question. But I suppose my brief lesson in frugality was a fair trade for the $3,000 flight, hotel accommodations, and lifetime supply of anti-aging pills and crèmes I received from my host. My clothing, or what is left of it (United Airlines lost my bag), even falls more loosely on my frame as I lost about four pounds since I left home. Shit!
Despite my annoyance over a bunch of first world problems, I can’t deny the fact that I was treated much better on the other side of the equator than I am by many of the stuck up PR pricks and door bitches I encounter stateside. I was given a babysitter, or a “minder,” as they call them to carry all my crap and find me electrical outlets to charge my phone even though I couldn’t talk to anyone. I met guys and girls who claimed they were my #1 fan and made me feel famous by asking to take photos with me. I even read kind words written about VICE in local news outlets, was interviewed for TV, driven around in a BMW, and gifted clothing from some of the best designers the country had to offer so to say anything off color about my experience now pains me as if I just underwent one long hellish session of the Ludovico technique.
This is why instead of ripping into everything, like I normally do, I’ve decided to spare (most) of New Zealand’s designers by trying to conduct myself with a bit more grace and, rather than pissing on everyone, sharing with you a “Best of…” list of the things I liked I throughout NZFW. Well, kind of…
Having been told that New Zealand is known for its dark and edgy designs, I was surprised to see so many garments in a prison jumpsuit hue. Every time I’ve ever acquired an item in that heinous tone I’ve Rit dyed it red, and I doubt that having seen it everyday for the past week worn by hot braless models will change that. But I respect anyone who has the balls (or nerve) to attempt to sport a color normally worn by murderers and construction workers, a color that inspires most people to run the opposite way and or gauge their eyes out.
Best Collection I’d Actually Wear:
Riddle Me This
Any designer can create an amazing collection, but it takes a good stylist to bring it all together. Riddle Me This probably would have been great without any help from Zara Mirkin (stylist for Stolen Girlfriends Club and Huffer as well) but she genuinely killed it. When I met her before the show and she told me it was going to be “very Tumblr” I wanted to punch myself in the face but once the first model appeared I found my initial reaction couldn’t have been more wrong. The line contained a slew of perfectly slutty-grunge pieces that together with comb dyed hair and accessories from The Cobrashop made me wish I was miserable and 18 again.
Best Trend I Loved to Hate:
Anything by Grimes
I took my seat, the lights went down, and a wave of silence came over the crowd as a spotlight at the end of the room was turned on. The first of many beautiful models stomped down the runway in outfits I’d only seen in my dreams as the faint sound of a shitty Casio keyboard beat started to loop. Suddenly, an overgrown baby began to sing; I’d heard this song before and a million other versions of it. I couldn't help but imagine the dancing infant from Ally McBeal strutting down the catwalk as it girated in its diaper. Everything was ruined; these eyes saw no clothes. The same thing happened every single day, for the rest of the week, at nearly every goddamn show.
Stolen Girlfriends Club
For years I’d heard about Marc Moore and Dan Gosling from Stolen Girlfriends Club; both of their skills for creating epic clothing for men and women and their reputation for being the coolest guys ever had reached legend status among my friends. In fact, the entire country of New Zealand couldn’t shut the f up about them as their show and party Thursday night were the most anticipated events of the week. For A/W 2012, they showcased their designs in the middle of a supermarket (awesome). So for fall 2013, they decided to ditch the bright lighting for a smoke machine and LEDs in an empty parking lot. The setting reminded me of VICE's 15-year 1994-themed warehouse party, so even if the clothing had been horseshit I would have loved it, but of course it wasn’t at all. The collection was a mash-up of Terminator, Bladerunner, and My Own Private Idaho—three of the best films of all time and God I loved it. (Btw, thanks to the guys for giving me gear to wear to the show. I love you forever.)
Watch the show here…
Best Model of the Week:
All the fine Maori chicks
I was fascinated to find that all of the hot exotic girls I saw down in New Zealand were not a combo of Asian and something boring/White. Instead, they were native Maori. I learned this fun fact watching a Fashion Week recap on TV3 one afternoon hosted by a big, strong beautiful woman, who kept screaming at me through the screen. The only bits my brain retained was her countdown of the hottest Maoriana girls at Fashion Week and the way she kept saying “Doo dat!” instead of “Do that!” I particularly fell in love with the Olivia Lefebre, who I think is so pretty I wish every designer everywhere would hire her for everything just so that I could see her adorable little face all the time. Creeeeeeepy.
Best Use of Dead Animals:
I saw a good amount of nicely constructed leather and shearling pieces in a lot of collections during the week, but my favorite dead animal products by far were the cotton candy colored furs at Ruby. They were like angel soft pastel baby bunny pelts. I wanted nothing more than to put one on and roll around in a bunch of clouds, kind of like the way the Snuggle bear gets down with freshly dried laundry. The rest of the clothing was nice too, but really all I wanted was to take a nap and I say this in a hugely complimentary way.
Anyone Dressed Like a Crazy Person Photos stolen from The Cobrasnake
To my surprise, I found that the people who showed up to each event decked out in the weirdest, most colorful attire also happened to be the ones who emanated the best vibes. In New York you almost never approach kids who look like this at Fashion Week as they often act like total dicks, call you a fag, and give you the middle finger when you ask to take their picture. But in Auckland, those kids are the only people you really should be talking to because they’re genuinely nice and creative as hell. Even the ones who say they are fashion designers (unlike some FIT and CSM brats) actually make some quality clothing people would want to wear.
Best Show in the History of Fashion Shows:
After this show I sat in my hotel room for the better part of an hour trying to understand if I was so emotional because I was jet lagged or I’d actually had my mind blown. Days later I’m still freaking out about the collection I can only explain as being a cross between The Fifth Element, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet, and The Matrix. In a strange way I hold the designers of Zambesi, responsible for restoring my faith in an industry I’d slowly grown to hate. Everything from the casting, hair, makeup, individual pieces, complete styled looks, model arrangement, and music was so absolutely perfect I cried. Not like “someone just died” cried. But like “tears are welling up in my eyes but not falling down my face because this is so fucking good” cried. Shortly after I fanned out so hard that I tweeted at them like a total weirdo and immediately asked to go to their showroom so I could shake their hands and touch all the clothing. Then they said yes, and I did, and it was amazing, and that was that. This concludes the nicest thing you will ever hear me say about anyone ever again.
Watch the show/have a life changing experience here.
Thanks to Anna Jobsz PR for flying me down!
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