London, Paris, New York and Wellington: style and art, it's in our blood.
As a life long Wellingtonian and avid lover of fashion, I know Wellington's eclectic aesthetic by heart. From my days of begging Mum for a Missy Elliot RESPECT M.E. T-Shirt from Area 51, to my first Claude Maus Jeans from Good As Gold (still the best jeans I ever found), to rocking a twenty-seven names baby blue two-piece set at a dirty flat party at 2 a.m. in Te Aro, I've done by time (and committed the occasional fashion crime). I am also fond of the intersection of art and fashion, who so often speak to one another, but not necessarily at the same time.
One thing's for sure: just a short stroll down Cuba Street will satisfy even the most avid people watcher. We may be small but our talent is daring, creative and mighty.
This post is about three fashionable experiences I am excited to share with you, hot off the press. These stylish delights will soon have you humming along to the music and dancing in Civic Square.
1. The new collection from twenty-seven names - EN PLEIN AIR
Twenty-seven names is about to release it's latest spring collection 'En Plein Air' - and I am counting down the days.
If you haven't heard of this Wellington duo, or been to their Wellington store, stay with me. Rachel Easting and Anjali Stewart are friends from primary school. The story goes that Rachel taught Anjali an appreciation for Manet, Picasso, and Kruger, while Anjali taught Rachel an appreciation for Outkast, Lauryn Hill, and Mobb Deep. After studying art and fashion respectively the pair began working on small-scale projects before launching their brand 'twenty-seven names'. The label name is a homage to the list of 27 people who helped to get their label off the ground.
I for one and a huge fan - friends and colleagues will tell you I wear a seriously unreasonable amount of their pieces and barely a week goes by where I don't wear one of their beautiful dresses, skirts, jackets, tops or pants. Everything is tailored to perfection and is classic and yet romantic.
En Plein Air takes its cue from my favourite movement in painting - the Impressionists (I have studied Art History in seventh form at school, NCEA scholarship and have a degree from Uni). This collection particularly draws on the works of one of the few female impressionist artists, Berthe Morisot.
Berthe is credited with introducing my most loved artist Edouard Manet to the experience of painting outside or 'en plein air'. She was also a virtuoso colourist. Like the Impressionists, the collection draws inspiration from brushstrokes and transitory light.This collection pairs soft rose pink linen with crisp white separates while pieces in a brushstroke floral silk are reminiscent of the dabs and dashes of these artists who heralded the arrival of the twentieth century.
Meanwhile, Summer comes in two waves - First Up, the clean lines and understated detail of 'Low Tide at Kobe', Summer 2017 followed by party-ready high summer drop of 'Everything is Peachy'.
These girls continue to wed art and fashion with understated minimalism, highlighted by fine cuts and whimsical journeys into fantasy and dreams.
2. New Zealand International Film Festival 2016: Be Fashion Forward with "The First Monday in May" (behind the scenes of the 2015 Met Gala)
Speaking of dreams, it was a dream this week to be invited along to the Russell McVeagh Opening Gala of the Wellington leg of the New Zealand International Film Festival. The film selected for the opening was 'The First Monday in May'. If you enjoyed 'The September Issue', you will LOVE this fashion documentary.
Overall rating? 4 out of 5 stars.
How did I feel when I arrived? I was feeling a little tired from work, and a bit zonked out to be honest. I'd jazzed myself up and had fun dressing up for the film! If you can't go overboard for a film about Vogue, when can you eh?
How long did it take me to lose myself in the film? Immediately as the film began I wanted to compare it to 'The September Issue'. I felt a bit jarred seeing old Anna on screen again, for the first time in almost 9 years. She's still looking immaculate but it felt weird, Around 5 minutes in I had properly settled.
What did I like? I loved hearing a slice of how this incredible event is executed. You will be blown away by the amount of preparation and thought that goes into the Met Ball, from trips to China (the Met Ball 2015 was based on the exhibition 'China: Through the Looking Glass') to serious round table talks, laden with more twenty-something interns than you can shake a Louboutin shoe at. The whole saga around Rhianna and getting her to attend and perform is a particular highlight. Of course, what everyone is waiting for, however, if the opportunity to gawk at the guests on the night from Kate Hudson to Kim K.
What's the takeaway? The film asks the question: can Art and Fashion co-exist. Is fashion art? Can the museum die hards ever truly accept the works of Galliano next to the historical Chinese artefacts? Should they be regarded in the same light? You'll be the judge.
Any added hopes/dreams/wishes? The film would have benefitted by digging somewhat deeper look at the characters involved, painting more than a character sketch of its protagonists. It lacks the depth of such seminal documentaries as 'Valentino: The Last Emperor' and 'Dior and I' (all about Raf Simmons take over of Dior). However, my feeling is that this type of fashion doco is most enjoyed after several repeated sessions to take in all the sumptuous details that cannot possibly be absorbed in a single viewing. This is one hundred per cent an essential for the collection for the die hard fashion addict like myself, but might not be the number one pick of the bunch.
In ten words or less? Anna gets serious with the Met but looks amazing.
3. Take yourself down to the catwalk of City Gallery Wellington for some advanced style
I went to the Francis Upritchard exhibition 'Jealous Saboteurs' recently, courtesy of the City Gallery Foundation.
Guests were treated to a divine cocktail designed by Ray from Coco at the Roxy, food by Nikau Cafe and a tour by Chief curator Robert Leonard. What caught my eye however, wasn't the art this time but the style of the attendees.
From style from Wellington's twenty-seven names to eccentric monkey earrings, the women of Wellington put on as much of a show as the Gallery itself.