Friday, October 31, 2008

The Federated Lookbook of Summer

We love Federation. Not just because they are supportive of a very worthwhile cause in CanTeen and not just because they have survived and thrived for 8 years now. We love them because they do things well and in the case of their latest look book, very well. The Federation Summer 08/09 look book is in fact more like a book. The 86 page, perfect bound style tome features dozens of real peeps shot on location around Auckland and abroad wearing the new Federation range and giving us a little insight into their iPod or latest read to boot.

It's the selection of people that is most interesting too. From Christopher - Bureau Chief @ Sportswear International Magazine shot in New York to Helena - a detective and Fraser a childcare teacher the Federation faithful are on show along with the clothes.

Nice work Feds.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Eye Cassius, You Seeser

Cassius. It's a cool name. Gaius Cassius Longinus was a Roman senator, the brother-in-law of Brutus and a prime mover in the conspiracy against Julius Ceasar. A good/bad Roman guy depending on which way your sandals were slung. Cassius. Philippe Zdar and Boom Bass - a French house duo with links to Motorbass, Daft Punk and Etienne De Crecy that make rather lovely French house music. Cassius. Clay that is. Big, black and beautiful, the boxing legend.

A smart move then by local fashionista and impresario Jason Ng to call his new eyewear company Cassius. Ng, of Dark Water fame, is no stranger to good-looking accessories for the head having distributed the stylish Goorin hat brand for several years now - among other fine Dark Water brands - but Cassius Eyewear represents a substantial new challenge. Established local designers such as Karen Walker and Kate Sylvester have ventured eyeward on the back of their existing label business but not many, if any have simply started their own eyewear label. All power to Mr Ng we say.

The range references classic sunny style from the 60's and 70's but is aimed fairly and squarely at the cool kids of today. Scroll down the page from here to the SoHomo photos below and you will see several images from the recent Cassius Eyewear launch held at the club. To prove he is serious about this first range Ng has limited the numbers available to only 300 of each style worldwide and after showing at the international apparel exhibition in Las Vegas recently, international orders are coming in thick and fast.

Cassius. Maximus.

The Nuclear Comeback comeback

So impressed were we with Justin Pemberton's sublime documentary The Nuclear Comeback when we first came across it in 2007 that we dedicated no less than 6 full pages to the story in Issue 6 of Black Magazine. It seems we haven't been the only ones to be impressed by this masterful piece of NZ documentary film-making. The film has just picked up a major international prize, winning Best International Documentary at the The Cinemambiente Awards. The prestigious awards are judged by a panel of international environmentalists and renowned filmmakers in Turin, Italy and attended by many Italian politicians - including the Italian Minister for the Environment. Awarded this week, the gong is the latest triumph for The Nuclear Comeback, which has already been selected for ten top international film festivals, and notched up an exceptional global sales record - including a prized sale to the Sundance Channel in the US.

"A truly important film about the most important environmental issue of our times, the fraught decision about how we produce our energy." - Cinemambiente 2008

"Like the best documentaries, it is engaging, nuanced and avoids preaching." - Leo Hickman, The Guardian

Our congratulations go out to Justin Pemberton and the crew. International Sales are handled by: Films Transit International Inc.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wire Wunderkind

Every Tuesday night, a motley and miscellaneous assortment of my nearest and dearest converge on Newtown for what we affectionately call Club Dendy. As chief social planner of the gaggle, we see what tickles my fancy. So far, I have an impeccable track record, the highlight of which has probably been 'Persepolis.' Tonight, however, I have outdone myself.

'Man On Wire' is the tale of Philippe Petit, and chronicles his 1974 high wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre. It's the kind of film for which cliches are not cheesy, but adept. I was on the edge of my seat, my heart was in my mouth, I saw stars.

But this was no thriller - 'Man On Wire' is a documentary. A beautiful, breathtaking film, and one that, hours later, still has me gasping and gushing in equal quantities. In case you need further convincing, at least 15 minutes after the film ended, I realised that we were still sitting in the cinema, frantically discussing what we had just seen. And we were not the only ones... The darkened room was still crowded - our co-witnesses were doing the same.


Slashes Strike Again

While most slashes are content to stop at actor / waiter, the Olsens have turned teeny tiny stardom into an empire worthy of the Forbes celebrity rich list, decades after they actually filmed anything worth watching. I mean, seriously, the most recent big screen listing for them on Wiki was in 2004 for something called 'New York Minute,' where they played - wait for it - twins.

Ok, I just read the article more closely and apparently one or the other also appeared in 'Factory Girl' (didn't notice, too busy cringeing at Sienna Miller slaughtering my Edie) and the TV series 'Weeds,' plus have films with Ben Kingsley and Billy Bob Thornton coming out this year. So I'm a little bit wrong, but you get the gist.

So the whole point of this was to tell you that now on top of their acting / fashion design / other infamous personal stuff that we will not mention (wrong blog honey, try Perez) Mary-Kate and Ashley have just released a coffee table book.

In it, they interview 22 figures they consider to be influential, from Christian Louboutin to Karl Lagerfeld, Lauren Hutton and Terry Richardson in a tome they've called, whoa, 'Influential.'

Photo heavy, it's full of personal momentos, snap shots and traverses Fashion, Art, Design and Giving Back. Um... Anyway, from all reports it's a beautiful book, and judging from the pics (including above) I'd have to agree.

Available now on

Yay For St Js

Girl Talk. Stereolab. Architecture In Helsinki. The Hold Steady. The Drones. Cut Off Your Hands. Four Tet. Tame Impala. El Guincho. Buraka Som Sistema. Jay Reatard. The Temper Trap. No Age. The John Steel Singers. Canyons. Pivot. Port O'Brien. Holly Throsby. Born Ruffians. Mountains In The Sky. Tom Fite. Still Flyin'. Daeldelus. Oh, and more to be announced...

It could only be St. Jerome's Laneway Festival, which began over beers and has ended up pretty much the same way. Named after the incredible, unassumedly uber back alley bar that just happens to be my favourite Melbourne haunt, Laneway is ready to add a little spice to the Australian summer streetscape.

Catch it in Brisbane on Sat 31 Jan, Melbourne Sun 1 Feb, Perth Fri 6 Feb, Adelaide Sat 7 Feb and Sydney Sun 8 Feb.

Tickets on sale now - quick!

A is for ...

American Apparel in Adelaide, apparently.

Yep, sources tell us that Australia's third AA store will bypass somewhat more obvious options - so obvious we won't start an inter-state slanging match by mentioning them - to open in the city of churches by late 2008.*

Ring a ding ding.

* Firstly, in my books October is late 2008. Actually, we're on the cusp of November, so even more so. Secondly, considering the Sydney store was, oooh, eight years behind schedule, I wouldn't be expecting any AA goodies under the xmas tree, Adelaidians. Is that even what you guys are called? Sydneyites? Melbournians? Pffft.

Never ever never?

Last year we got down and dirty (no, literally, it was muddy) to Daft Punk's technicolour dream show, selling all but our souls for tickets to what was undoubtedly the most anticipated festival in Sydney's overcrowded social calendar.

In 2009, the Nevereverland festival will swap helmets for Hercules And Love Affair. Considering I'm not all that into Daft Punk (I know, I know, treason blah blah) it seems like a far trade to me.

Joining them to celebrate Modular's 10th birthday will be The Presets, Klaxons, Cut Copy, Whitest Boy Alive, Ladyhawke, The Bumblebeez, Muscles, Van She, Tame Impala, the Bang Gang DJs, Ajax, The Lost Valentinos, Mission Control, Temper Trap, Canyons, Pepperoni, Andee Van Damage and Bag Raiders.

Considering that covers pretty much the entire Modular stable, I would like to know what happened to New Young Pony Club? Petition, anyone?

Tix go on sale Fri 7 Nov, with the tour kicking off in Sydney on Sat 13 Dec before heading south to Melbourne's Myer Music Bowl on Sun 14 Dec, then Sat 20 Dec in Brissie and Sun 21 Dec in Perth.

For more info, visit

Seventh ... Heaven

Firstly, apologies - I know it's been a loooong time between drinks, but I'm back and promise to be more a dedicated and worthy BlackLOGette from now on... 

In the mean time, I have fallen - hard - for the new swim range from Australian label, Seventh Wonderland. My bet's are on the 9am, Harlequinade and Grace styles. 

For more info and to see the range for yourself, check out

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Top 5 Indie Tunes at Black HQ this week

1. Cold War Kids - I've Seen Enough - sounding just a little bit like INXS at their best the Californian-based Cold War Kids sit somewhere between Kings Of Leon, The Raconteurs and Louis XIV which is obviously a very good thing. Top tune, top vocal, lovely guitars....

2. Band Of Horses - Our Swords - signed to the legendary Sub Pop label, this Seattle band swagger at a lovely gait with this vibrant pop tune underpinned by reverbed snare and cowboy gat.

3. Catfish Haven - Set In Stone - Imagine Van Morrison or Joe Cocker vocalising over Tears For Fears covering a Talking Heads song and you have Set In Stone by Catfish Haven. The Chicago band released this single from their Devastator album last month

4. Shout Out Louds - South America - What is it about Swedish bands that makes them sound so hopeful, so up, so unihibited in their happiness? The ABBA factor perhaps...anyway who cares, Scandanavian indie has been surging from good to great for years and this tune is no exception. Uplifting, a dancefloor hit.

5. The Rapture - No Sex For Ben - The Rapture are back and better than ever. It sounds a little like they've pulled out their old Beastie Boys records and mashed them with Big Audio Dynamite but No Sex For Ben signals a new era of Rapture ahead and we like it. Cheif baker, cheif, chief baker, cooking like a whore man, Arthur Baker!

Monday, October 20, 2008

So So, Ho Ho Ho, Homo

So Homo, so open, so stylish, so smokin', so fucking interesting! The Auckland club phenomenon has put the glittering foot down throughout October - starting with the Cassius Eyewear launch on October 2 and followed by an utterly fabulous 1st Birthday party two weeks later - SoHomo is a regular fortnightly club - infused with live music, DJs, fashion, and the full spectrum of style and expression. October 31 sees an AK Halloween party [Horror Homos] and a Wellington Party [their second] Horror Homos Wellington follows on Nov 1. Here follows a series of photographs pulled from their sites taken at a variety of SoHomos dating back to mid-winter, mostly shot with rather excellent on-the-spot technique by Lydia Cowpertwait to give you a SoHomoPhotic vibe on it all...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

You Gawker you!

OK, sometimes we wish we did, but we folks here at Black HQ don't actually live in Manhattan. We do however believe the heavily built, super metro isle of cultural munificence is nothing, if not the epicentre of global cultural expression. A place of style, class and...humour. Enter Gawker - Manhattan's hilarious, intriguing, informative and bold, as in going boldly where no journalist has gone before, media empire. The site - or sites - come filled with a plethora of interesting concepts, reads and excursions. Regular columns or features include:

Meltdowns - who has had one this week?
Model Behaviours - similar but model action only
Layoffs - who has been fired?
Open Caption - a picture is supplied [ as above, in this case Heidi Klum's Milk ad] for you to supply a caption
Things We Actually Like
Urban Anthropology
Snap Judgements

...and much more. Plus of course profiles, books, politics etc etc.

In 2005 V Magazine interviewed a number of top international fashion magazines with the same questions. Most answered in a relatively dry, mirror-of-our-readers vein. Here is a small sample of Gawker's answers:

What is your editorial objective? Say what? Speak up, we can’t hear you over the blender! Gosh, we love daiquiris on a hot summer day, don’t you? Who is your ideal reader? Underfed, over-beaten Condé Nast assistants. Who is your actual reader? Underfed, over-beaten Condé Nast assistants. What do you do better than any other magazine? While we have advertisers, our editors proudly refuse to acknowledge and/or cater to their blood money. So we’re actually rather skilled at alienating ourselves from potential income. Oh, and we don’t have a glossy pole stuck up our ass. That, too.

Bookmark it now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Black Box, Right On Time

Logo/brand concept by Ian Ferguson, Friends Of Design and Black Art Director

Some of you glowstick-waving, jaw-gurning nineties ravers out there might remember the giant dancefloor hit by Black Box, the Italian cheese-meisters, entitled Ride On Time? Well that's got nothing to do whatsoever with Black Box the very fine new fashion destination at 35b Surrey Crescent which is not cheesy but rather fantastic. Owner Dan Gosling has very cleverly put together a store with a mix of like-minded, high quality, cutting edge fashion brands you won't find elsewhere in AK.

Dan is of course a Stolen Girfriend Guy and that label sits squarely in the middle of the stores thinking. Aussie legends Ksubi at last have a substantial presence in NZ here at Black Box, but it is the other Aussie labels that get us really excited. Claud Maus, Friedrich Gray and Chronicles Of Never are quite simply the creme de la creme of hot new Aussie labels. Add Bassike, Shakuhachi, Toby Jones Jewellery and Something Else and you get the picture. It's a damn stylish fit out too, although we wonder if the drum kit will soon be joined by a bass rig...jammin' in the Black Box!

Black Box, 35 Surrey Crescent, Grey Lynn

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Origins, a social experiment.

Last weekend I unknowingly conducted a social experiment of sorts in my front room. I invited 5 male friends to come over Saturday afternoon at 1pm for facials. The assembled 6 drank fresh fruit juice, exchanged stories, banter and caught up on news and gossip before being divided into 2 groups of 3. The first group of 3 were the oily skin brigade, slightly elitist in their attitude, with their overactive sebum glands they had the air of a virile bunch of professional sportsmen feeling very pleased with themselves as only real men can. The second group, of which I was a part, were the dry skin boys, we made excuses about approaching old age or sun damage and felt slightly ashamed of our unfortunate lack of oil excretion and our unsightly rough patches.

So far, so normal, I hear you say.

I handed out hot towels to everyone and we sat with our faces wrapped in them, opening our pores in preparation for the treatments to come. The chosen products come from one of my favourite natural skin care ranges, Origins. The oily-men were using Clear Improvement which is an active charcoal mask that helps clear pores. "The Activated Charcoal acts like a magnet to draw out deep-dwelling pore-cloggers, White China Clay absorbs environmental toxins and Lecithin dissolves impurities." Apparently, "without all that 'stuff' down there, skin breathes a sigh of relief." The oily men boldly slathered the shiny black paste over their faces and sat back Homer Simpson style, hands stuffed down the waistband of their trousers grunting with self appreciation. Us dry boys carefully applied Drink Up, again from Origins, over our thirsty dermises and sat waiting for something to happen. We let the "thirst quenching Algae Extracts deliver an extra helping of hydration while emolient-rich Apricot Kernel Oil acts like a 'fountain of youth'."

It didn't take long, 10 minutes to be exact, before a sense of equality filled the room. As we rinsed our faces in warm water we realised that Origins had bridged the gap between our skin based apartheid, no longer would genetics, impurities, dead skin cells or blackheads ever drive a wedge through our friendships with each other again.

Origins, caring for your skin and the person within it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Magnificent Margiela - SS 2009 RTW

Almost as obscure, as phantom, as unknown.... as Mr Margiela himself... the 20th anniversary collection by Maison Martin Margiela - coded as Spring/Summer 2009 Ready To Wear - was in reality, shrouded in brilliance. We're not going to talk about it. Let's just look and enjoy....

Sneaky Squizz - The Dark Horses, Issue Nine

We will have copies of Black Issue Nine today and the issue, featuring two covers - a girl and a boy version - will be on sale nationwide in NZ by Thursday this week. In the meantime here is a sneaky peak at a shoot in the issue, concepted by our Hair Editor Greg Murrell, shot by Damien Van Der Vlist and styled by our Fashion Director Rachael Churchward. This girl band with big hair is called the Dark Horses and features Ronnie Ford, Lily Locomotion, Lauren Fox, Grace Starr, Lena Love-It and Tia Maria. Hair, hair....

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

All Tomorrow's Parties Australia

Summer is festival time there is no doubt and this summer down under there are quite a few goodies to think about attending but one, more than any other, captures our attention. All Tomorrow's Parties is of course the title of a classic Velvet Underground tune but it is also a conceptual music festival being held in three Australian locations in the new year. All Tomorrow's Parties are in fact a UK promotion crew who have melded with the classic albums concept known as Don't Look Back and created a festival version of it.

Don't Look Back asks artists to perform a work from their catalogue that has proven itself timeless years after it's inception whilst the festival version effectively asks a great performer or band to curate the line-up for a festival that they will headline. What a cool concept. ATP Have already trialled the idea in the UK, have a festival planned for New York next summer and have wisely chosen Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds to headline and curate the initial Aussie dates this summer. It's Nick's choices of band and acts to play with The Bad Seeds that make this idea so clever.

First and foremost The Saints, possibly the most seminal of all Australian bands, and they are reforming for this festival for the first time since 1977 - Nick, a contemporary of sorts, would have been instrumental in that decision. Other names include Spiritualized and The Laughing Clowns both of whom will fit the bill perfectly, former Go Between Robert Forster and then a collection of fantastic and extremely diverse acts from around the globe - all of whom will compliment the performance of the Bad Seeds - and there are more acts to be announced. At last a festival with musical cohesion bordering on a theme.

To add to the festival's lustre are the venues - the biggy is held on Mt Buller, a ski resort in Northern Victoria where the entire resort and the town below will be available for accomodation etc. Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour, an old penitentiary, will be the Sydney offering and Brisbane will be split between the Powerhouse and a Riverside performance.

Almost worth going to Australia for the whole of January then!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Karl's supercooliality...

I can see you but can you see me? Monsieur Karl cruising for Spring/Summer 2009 in Paris looking as supersonic on the catwalk as his own impossibly cool bag does on the model below...carry us home Scubafeld!

The greatest photographers as voted by you...

Helmut Newton - featuring Kylie Bax

We ran a poll here on BlackLOG and suffice to say many of you are extremely knowledgable about what makes a great photographer. We asked who was the greatest fashion photographer of all time? Helmut Newton came in at number 1 which isn't too much of a surprise given the breadth, depth and audacity of his portfolio. Bruce Weber came in second, just pipping Steven Meisel and Richard Avedon. Up amongst the best in your humble opinion were also; Guy Bourdin, Corinne Day, Mario Testino, Mario Sorrenti, Albert Watson, Henry Clarke, Steven Klein and Peter Lindbergh. The Escentric Molecules go to Rebecca Wallace and Aimee King, both of Auckland. Thanks to everyone that voted... we'll have a new poll up soon. Here's a selection of lovely black and white images from these masters...

Bruce Weber

Richard Avedon

Steven Meisel

Albert Watson