Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ace type!

Shuffling around with design.

From the very clever Jim Sutherland at UK based hat trick design the ultimate design freaks deck of cards.

What a brief ! 52 cards + Jokers with a different font for each card incorporating the suit symbol. In Jim's words: "made it hard but very rewarding. It was like solving 54 micro design problems". The man is a genius (and or) has a head for a long term hobby.

Already gagging for a deck after spotting this on The Strange Attractor
thought you would be game too.

Inquiries can be made to allison@hat-trickdesign.co.uk

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Zambesi 30th anniversary retrospective.

photos Marian Simms

Elizabeth and Neville Findlay celebrate 30 years of their family business this year. An outstanding achievement anywhere in the world. And it was humbly celebrated as a closing event in Auckland their home town at Air New Zealand Fashion Week.

To be front row for such a landmark event is rather a privilege indeed.

The show opened with a powerful performance from the Black Grace Dance company, on the runway - energetic and proud.
The fashion show saw a collection of garments from the design archives styled beautifully for one show. We were transported to a time in our life when the collection showing was on high rotation in our wardrobes.

The makeup in four looks was put together by M.A.C's Amber D from past shows looks researched in the show archives.
As was the, hair created by Ryder Salon whom with KMS have been working together in collaboration many years.

I saw at least 5 garments on the runway still hanging in my wardrobe. The strength of Liz Findlay's voice in design was testament to how relevant so many of the pieces were to this day.
A designer who over the years has enabled us to add pieces to our wardrobe that fit our personalities and define us as design appreciative humans and still flattering our figures and designing beyond trend.

The collection I am most fond of a recent on the Greek plate smashing summer range from Australian Fashion Week was well represented in two looks. A range I was nostalgic to see as Tuliah's influence has faded fast since her departure - the sexy Zambesi girl was a distinct favourite. Then to see Dane's influence in his first range extending into the range shown earlier in the week - everyone in flat shoes. The silver suit was a pretty special moment in his expression as menswear designer.

However it was Liz's night, her talent and vision are the inspiration for most New Zealanders within the artistic community. Plenty who have been born whilst she has reigned as the Queen of the fashion industry.

high fashion in tiny shoes, Trelise Kids

Photos Marian Simms

This show was the first at ANZFW I felt really very excited about going to. The staging and the props just felt a little magical to enter into. The macaroons on the chair all pinkness and delight.

I enjoyed this show so much, for me one of the best in the week.
The shots I was capturing inspired me, the styling was transforming these little ladies through my lense into powerful fashion images.

There is a lot of great energy pouring through Trelise Cooper and her superb team. It is wonderful to be around it.

Seeing actress Kiesha Castle Hughes walk down the runway embracing her daughter was a lovely moment. ( she was lampooned in the media for having a child so young, yet she has had such a big life and makes a beautiful mother) The mothers all around me, their little and not so little children feeling so special in their outfits.
This is what I love about a fashion show - an event that you just had to be there for, beautiful clothes, great music and feeling. Drama and romance, some sparkle and a stage alive.

That it was a kids show - well I think kids have such compelling presence. Everything was tiny therefor looked a d o r a b l e and it was a an excellently produced show.

- it was a great show on every level mini or not.

There were tiny leafy carrots in a pile near my feet. The floor was covered in pages from books. The set was theatrical with enormous effort and thought put in.

I loved it to bits.

That I have a boy is..... well..... I will make a great granny one day.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


photos Marian Simms

To the incredulous surprise of all fashion followers and fans of Baywatch, Pamela Anderson came to New Zealand.
More surprising, Pamela was coming to fashion week. Famous for not wearing clothes and of course nothing changed in the nippy viaduct in Auckland yesterday.

On the world tour to promote their Label A*Muse, Richie Rich of *Heatherette* and Pamela Anderson premiered their launch at Air New Zealand Fashion Week.

Rich in a self described Warhol role with Pamela as his muse presented the LA, surf punk, glamour girl, lifestyle collection.

A*Muse or more specifically amuse and arouse they did. The whole tent erupted into a roar of laughter, ooohs and giggles as a fit young male model carrying a surfboard, wearing eyeliner, a grin and a very tight pair of low slung white jersey slashed leggins opened the show.

Most people in the room took photos creating the most documented show of the week. NZ's own pinup girl Nicky Watson bronzed and only just secured into a bikini on the runway was joined by popular surfers and models. With a few LA imports in for gregarious cod piece displays.

Closing the show were Rich and Anderson here are my front row snaps:

photo Marian Simms

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gucci Mens evening.

Photo Norrie Montgomery The A List

Gucci held an intimate "men only" soirée to launch the new collection and introduce the made-to-order suiting and shirt service to Auckland's best dressed men last night.

The Queen street Gucci store, feeling very much like a gentleman's club was indeed a most handsome sight. With the tall dashing and (as he reminded us) newly single news journalist and lawer Simon Dallow comparing, the menswear collection was shown with much appreciation especially with the gorgeous Georgia Fowler making a gorgeous runway cameo.

Sarah Paykel at the door in a backless black silk dress greeted as the room filled with fashion aficionados.
The beautiful Gucci women in from Australia holding court were there Helen Soo, Sally Poole, Susie McCallum, Marcia Temporal & Christine Woodley.

In attendance were hair kings Grant Bettjeman and Paul Serville. Art Dealer Gary Langsford. The energetic Jeff Fearon of Fearon Hay Architects. Dashing financier and Clooney co owner Peter Hulijich. Richard Bagnall owner of the hot new bar Longroom. Charming Business consultant Chao Xian Yang. Jeweller Graeme Thompson. Fashion misters Muray Bevan and Atip Wananuruks.

Catching my eye was Patrizio Buanne the Italian Baritone who was in town performing. Fitting that the best dressed man in the room was indeed an italian, we were at Gucci after all.

Seated between stylist Robert Niwa (pictured) and actor Peter Mochrie for the fashion parade it was great to hear their appreciation for the collection on show. And the presentation was short and very very sharp.

Not often do I have the feeling I have been accepted into a secret club, a very well dressed mens one at that.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

window shopping in World Beauty

Sometimes the best things are right under your nose.

I had a dear fashion friend staying nearby on Waiheke Island last week, And while sharing a divine local red we created a shopping itinerary for a day in Auckland.

There was a discerning fashion designer to buy for, not an easy task.

One of the standout stores to visit to buy a gift for me is World Beauty in Vulcan lane Auckland City. The World team are a bit of an institution in New Zealand and their retailing & display is inspirational.

I have a few favourites around the world now -
Strange Trader in Byron Bay, Orson & Blake in Woolahra, Beker & Minty in Potts Point both in Sydney. L'Eclaireur in Paris, Muji in Tokyo, World Beauty in Auckland is firmly on that list.

World Beauty has a lot of lines exclusive to them in New Zealand which makes them a destination store. The range of candles, soaps, fragrances specifically are delicious. The addition of antiques, collectable picture books and over the top religious icons make it less pharmacy than other beauty stores and more of a wonderful fossicking adventure.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Eye Candy

After a spell of what seemed like the same shape frame in brown, black and tortoiseshell for the last two seasons, here is a little sneak to what fun is on its way for summer.

Sunglass Hut have the bulk of the hottest labels such as : D&G, Versace, Tiffany, Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren, Ray Ban, Prada, Bulgari, Burberry, Oakley, and our current crush Persol.

Luxotica owns all of the licenses for these brands and they manufacture distribute and retail under the Sunglass Hut brand. The have gone from strength to substance in the last few years and we got a kick out of the new summer range in the KAREN office - fun, sporty girly and we want them all! (of course the mens are divine too)

I am a strong advocate in having a sunglass wardrobe - different frames for each occasion, beach, formal, workday, holiday, etc. I struggle being confined to one style.

I think it is going to be a fun season :-)

so from top to bottom :
Ray Ban, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Prada, Ray Ban.

Monday, April 27, 2009

its all about the website!

Our super talented art director David Mendes has re jigged our website and our amazing team are blogging away! - Have a look here. www.karenmag.com 
- it is kinda cool. 

I on the other hand have been quite as a mouse online as real life has bestowed be a milestone birthday as well as the last few weeks in Sydney galavanting around. With fashion week beginning tomorrow I will attempt to put my head down and jot some goodies. 

starting with me uploading shots from the Freidrich Gray show this evening! x 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Jay Harrison in person

Yesterday I had the great pleasure to meet KAREN photographer Jay Harrison in person. 
And what a lovely bloke he is! 
I often work remotely with our contributors as they dash about the planet. Email, Skype, SMS, Facebook and Twitter are all part of the daily touching base with our large band of creatives. 
So to meet up in person after over a year of electronic conversation is quite a buzz - never mind I was baking and the house was occupied with small people, he was just charming. 

- In the usual zero degrees of separation that happens now, Jay's nephew had been at the same kindergarden as my son and we are friends with his sister and live on the same island of 8K residents :-o 
How small is this world?

Jay shot the stunning closing fashion spread "Malibu" in the new KAREN issue as pictured above, starring Viviens beauty Shanay Hall, styled by Edwina Robinson, MU by Katrina Raftery, Hair by Barney Martin. 

falling to earth

I love shoes as much as most women and maybe more. I even have astrological aspects to back this up (mercury in Pisces) translating very loosely to thinks from feet- also in images. 

In saying this you would not guess it - I am really rather sensible compared to my flock and to my peers. I just have feet that need well designed and study footwear. And any shoes that make my legs look incredible are only worn in my bedroom - with soft carpet. 
(Girls gotta have a few props.) 

Come fashion weeks when I am the only one in the front row in flats (beside my fashion week boyfriends) I do feel like I am in a different club at times - and then I realise I am smiling so much more than most others! 
Yes I am very grumpy in 3 hours of wearing those beautiful toe torture chambers. SO it is now that I have finally figured out why so many magazine girls are snooty - they are all in agony - showing off a years salary in designer footwear for the week.

When I say wow those shoes are so high they are always chirpy saying oh they are so comfortable - rubbish!! -  they make her look thin tall and feel powerful. And they ache like hell and are giving her the ugliest bunions as we chat. Not to mention one stumble and her ankle could snap at any moment.

When seeing the fashion pack recently picking their way through lawn and dealing with sand at Swim Fashion Week in their gorgeous silly heels I noticed that the senior or top people were all wearing flats. So the girls climbing the career ladder are doing so in 6 - 12 inches, and the editors and publishers are quite comfortable thank you. Interesting. 

This all brings me to what is happening on the runways for the last 5 seasons at least.
What the heck is happening ?

First we get the two years of hell in baby doll dresses that make you look like an infant or pregnant, together with platform shoes - so a pregnant, clumpy child - mmmm not how I had envisioned looking in my late 30's. 
Then we got the same deal though the shoes got much higher well with their own little step and the skirts got shorter - great now they want me to look more like a child prostitute.
( and do you think any mainstream made variations ??? nope - child hookers the lot of you) 

So as hemlines became more like big belts and shoes something that needed scaffolding I did not hear too many cries from women thinking feminism has just been trampled on .....
I just wondered around in shock muttering to myself. ........how compromised  does this all make you feel ?

And do I need to mention how many tumbles we have seen on the runways of late ?
makes great sensationalised fodder - but if you cannot have a model under a certain age - can you also have a shoe designed for walking in please. 

Not feeling the empowerment of the elegant woman I had pencilled for myself, when as a teenager I looked at women in their 30's and 40's looking so stunning classically beautiful and well it was the 80's - powerful!

Now this new European season the hemlines are lowering, volume is being revisited and now to cope with the longer skirts those masters of the cloth have now put everything with the equivalent of something you would wear if there was open sewers in the streets, high heels with their own high shoes underneath. 

Call me crazy but I do not feel empowered by any of this - if it were just theatre I love it. Translating to the main street - disaster. 

When am I going to feel embraced as a woman by fashion rather than feeling like I should be binding my feet and kowtowing.
 Is this progress ?

Monday, March 9, 2009


Lyn Balzer and Tony Perkins our Editors at Large here at KAREN are putting on a very special show in melbourne this week. 

Famed for their high art nudes, Lyn and Tony are on the eve of another exciting exhibit. Their partnership has a unique strength in this arena, with hundred of nudes captured together. 
The high contrast tones that transmute the incredible illuminated creamy skin and unexpected beauty in the voyeuristic intimacy with the body forming a sculptural masterpiece. With their incredible love for the Australian vivid Blue skies and raw landscapes contrasting the fragility of skin.  

The Exhibition is part of the L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival combining work by fashion designer Konstantina Mittas. 

STRANGENESS by Lyn and Tony 
opens March 12th till March 28th at the Helen Gory Galerie 
25 St Edmonds rd, Prahran VIC gallery@helengory.com 

If you like us you will like them x they are amazing.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

a sneak peek at the new issue of KAREN

 couture couture by GL WOOD 

Tin City By Sonny

Spell Bound By Michele Aboud

Raven By Richard Freeman

                                                Animalia by Sarra Fluer Abou-el-haj

The New issue is now out in NZ and sailing around the globe to reach you in the next couple of weeks. Here is a little teaser if you have yet to pick one up. We love it. 
Nothing fainthearted in this "you are beautiful" Issue. 
I hope you enjoy a little peak and you enjoy the whole magazine when it gets to you. 

We are planning the next one already with an amazing swim story shot at Swim Fashion Week already. 
love to hear your thoughts 
xxx marian 

Friday, March 6, 2009

Imelda touches down in sanctuary cove

Imelda the shoe blogger AKA Matt Jordan our footwear queen would be delighted to see that he has far reaching influence even in the Sanctuary of the Cove. 
Taking a little post breakfast stroll before the fashionable time to rise I was delighted to see our queen was present in spirit. - And her representative was so gracious about allowing media coverage. 
Imelda would be proud. The place was spotless.

wood work squeaks

......... and out come the fashion freaks 
my very faves as listed on the right hand side of the page have been at it again. 

                                   pic courtesy of Imelda and Bryan Boy

Next month will mark our collective anniversary, in the meantime the three must get beers are amusing themselves in live Gareth Pugh show coverage no end and inviting you along. 
go to ( from left) Imelda, Frockwriter, Bryan Boy all will be revealed .
bahhh ha ha ha haaaaaaa how funny is the pic already?!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Anna and Boy - Swim fashion Week

Anna and Boy in their third fashion week showed a gorgeous collection.  Heart felt being the unofficial theme of the week was well and truly embraced by Anna and Lill the designers. 
Starting with the cat walk with pink hearts running down the centre, a giant read heart on one ear of each girl, and adorable 80's top knot headbands with pink and red sprayed pump wedges. 
The swimwear predominantly in prints was sugar and spice nice, with a gorgeous pink red and blue plaid you can see on Jessica Gomes (pictured bottom) , the IMG special guest model and opening face (and body) for the parade. Jessica I will write more about shortly, walked for A&B in their first parade three years back in Sydney Opera House so it was wonderful to see them sharing the limelight in their success. 
And judging by the smiles backstage it all went very right their end. 

Their menswear was a hit with Damien Woolnough from Vogue.com and Adam Worling parading their fashion forward board shorts for Front row Swim fashion week chic. 

Friday, February 27, 2009

new KAREN cover!

Here is the new cover :-)  

yes she is wearing blue lipstick Patty Huntington was rather interested in that. 
The cover features Olivia O' Driscoll from Nova, Chadwick and IMG, shot by our treasure and talented Charles Howells. The genius behind the lipstick is Sarah Laidlow - her second consecutive cover for us.
I hope you like it - I thought we needed some cheering up. 

Hotel Bondi Swim @ Swimfashionweek

photos KAREN MAG The girls their legs the designers Damien and Fern of Hotel Bondi Swim

Hotel Bondi Swim showed to much appreciation last night in the tent out the front of our resort in the hip 10pm closing slot. 

Fern and Damien are a little left of centre as far as swim and fabric design go. Their previous incarnation together was a gorgeous label called Kitten.
Their taste in Music gets the award of the week so far - Six months in a leaky boat in a rocking version of the Split Enz classic to an equally cool version of Pretty in Pink from the film soundtrack of the same titled John Hughes classic starring Molly Ringwald 

- nothing is as whimsical as it first appears with Hotel Bondi Swim.

so to the important little lycra bits.......

The shapes and long distance appearance are all girly and super cute, on closer inspection, that would be a garden Gnome in the florals and in the super sweet oval picture frame print - you have Bob Brown leader for the Green Party grinning in a sketched Portrait of himself. HILARIOUS sense of fun and humor GOD Love them. 
Last season our friend Gary's dog "Bindi" featured in print in a gorgeous sketch so cleverly placed and so life like they are clever.

The last exit of the show featured our favourite bikini bottom emblazoned on the butt in a cross stitch design print saying simply "LOCAL" Bondi has an official uniform. 

The lovely news is that they are expecting a baby! sweet.
 - so go buy one of their cozzies, they don't know how much a little one changes your need for bigger housing and all kinds of stuff yet! :-) 

Swim Fashion Week ....

There is gold when you get up for a 7.45am call to go see dolphins for a media briefing - you get shots like this !!!  Lisa Blue who just showed at Swim Fashion Week at Sanctuary Cove this evening ( which I twitted about throughout ) Lisa is a woman on a mission combining her "passion for fashion" with her mission to save whales. So the dolphin connection (?) this morning was actually very UN fashion is a really beautiful heart warming presentation - we had dolphins playing around us for and hour - very beautiful and serene.  Lisa is on the left of the frame. I'm feeling a little tired now ! x