Category Archives: fashion

Been | Retail Therapy

Basement Theater’s Spring Season has sprung!  Most fittingly (excuse the pun) alongside Click-Clack Productions to present ‘Retail Therapy’.  An irreverent and laughter-packed debut by playwright Grace-Amelia Vernal set in the cut-throat, take-no-prisoners, superficial realm of retail.

A successful foray into theater, whilst under an internship at the Basement itself, Grace’s passion for all things thespian clearly shows through the play’s direction, comedic quality of script and a relatively freshman cast that includes:  Louisa Hutchinson as the dedicated & upstanding although somewhat awkward employee Nina, socially libertine makeup artist Mercy (Albertine Jonas), the artistic and decidedly non-camp Charlie (Stephen Lyell) with their bitch-from-hell colleague Vicky (Becky Button) and the store Don Juan, Darren (played by Dylan Thuraisingham).

Carefully placed and laundered shirt/coat/dress racks are in the forefront of the audience, and with the high-pitched positivity of a voice-over, subtle yet obvious, generic elevator music playing in the background throughout, a scene is set.  One that resonates an early popular UK television show, “Are You Being Served”.

A standout from the get-go, was the vivacious Mercy.  Her questionable work ethic and incorrigible ideas were played to perfection by Albertine Jonas, helping an initially slow story-line gather momentum.  Another highlight for me was the performance of Zoe Larsen Cumming, as she takes the self-obsessed, selfie-taking and utterly narcissistic character, ‘Stefani’ to another level.  A highly amusing and completely believable Kardashianesque level at that!

This play is brutally honest and funny with ‘on-point’ costume design and hysterical (however inappropriate) puns and references such as, ‘slutty toddler’ and ‘putting on the gay’ ….  The character of Holly & Grange’s store manager Stewart (Tim Herbert) is not to be outdone however, as his true and colourful identity is revealed in the 2nd act, after  a comedy of errors at a subsequent staff party, including a misappropriation of A-Class ‘breath mints’ …

Retail Therapy is a light-hearted, yet thoroughly encapsulating show, that delves into the trivial and often ridiculous working lives of it’s characters.  Entertaining and whimsical, the energy of it’s actors and quick interchanges between props and scenes, brings the story to life and keeps the drama going until the very end!


*** Retail Therapy is now showing at the Basement:                                                                                                                     Tues 18th – Sat 22nd September


NZFW 2018 | Rachel Mills

Rachel Mills opted to present her non-seasonal collection “Ongoing” in an installation similar to her presentation at last year’s New Zealand Fashion Week.

This year’s presentation though was a stripped down affair, with live music provided by the beautiful haunting voice of Lilly Carron. Held at The Studio section of the venue, chiffon drapes hung from the ceiling with a black and white film projection.

Walking around the installation, I encountered models languidly posing at each of the film projections. The collection felt really easy and effortless, the sort that you can slip in and out of without fuss. A muted color palette reinforced that ease within the collection.

What makes Mills’ work even more special is her use of dead-stock and organic fabrics. This does limit the types of silhouettes you can achieve with it but Mills’ pushes herself to create covetable pieces; some which feature a wrap and tie style giving you the option to wear it in more ways than one. Utilising fabric selvedges in her garments, Mills reinforces her sustainable approach by limiting her textile waste.

Embracing a non-seasonal approach Mills wants her pieces to stand the test of time. Ongoing is now available for pre-order.

Images by Phil Walter/Getty Images

been | The launch & pop up of Invis-Able

We meet one of New Zealand’s most unique fashion labels to launch this year… Introducing, Invis-Able, a label dedicated to making high quality, ‘topsy-turvy’ unisex garments full of fine details and hidden features.

Creator and designer, Marc Jun plays a game of ‘hide-and-seek’ with wearers, whilst creating a versatile garment.  Find hidden pockets and zips or buttons that connect to nowhere, removable sleeves, sweaters disguised as jackets, and trench coats that are reversible.  This is like the Winchester Mystery House… of fashion.

I had the pleasure of meeting Marc at his Auckland pop-up located in Ponsonby Central.

Q: Where did Invis-Able come from?

A: I wanted to create a New Zealand based clothing label that re-imagine and creates wearable unisex garments. My aim is to design with unique details to enhance the options and versatility of your wardrobe. My work is deeply inspired by invisible things in life such as one’s thoughts, feelings, words and experience; these are the things that define who we are, and we are all different. Invis-Able is an expression of the invisible, to make it or us Able to be seen, that’s where the name comes from.

Q: What is your current collection about?

A: ’What Fakes Me Happy’ started when I asked myself “What makes me happy?” And I quickly found that ‘things’ that often entertain us and make us happy are short term. Material items or meaningless relationships are satisfying at first but are costly to maintain, the initial happiness will wear away. Instant gratification for long term happiness is fake and unrealistic. I express this in the details and functionality of my garments and challenge the wearer’s “ideal reality”. Just like a playful game of ‘hide and seek’ – you will find all the unexpected features and hidden details. Invis-Able Fakes You Happy!

Q: Describe your aesthetics/style in a few words…

A:  Clean cut, refined, stand out multi-functional unisex wear.

Q: What is your colour palette?

A: Monotone – Black, greys and currently dark green.

Q: Who’s been your most influential designer?

A: Kris Van Assche

Q: What is the ‘must have’ out of your collection?

A: The reversible trench coat

Q: Describe the type of person who’d wear your clothing…

A: Young, 20’s to 30’s working professionals. People whom often transitions from work to going out and seeks trendy and versatile wear, suitable for day and night, serious or play.

Q: Name three celebrities you’d like to see wearing your brand…

A: G-Dragon (Big Bag), Kris Van Assche & ASAP Rocky

Q: Where do you imagine Invis-Able in 10 years?

A: I would love to see my brand everywhere in the world, a global brand.

Head along to Invis-Able’s pop up store to meet Marc and nab yourself 20% Off everything. Be quick, it ends this Sunday! Located opposite Bird On A Wire inside Ponsonby Central. Open from 9am till 6pm.







|            |           Invis-Able on Instagram           |


Doc Edge 18 | Whispering Truth To Power

South Africa, Netherlands | 2018 | 88 min | English, Sotho, Zulu | Shameela Seedat

“Whispering truth to Power”.  Never a truer word uttered and straight from the film’s main protagonist’s mouth – Thuli Mandosela.  South Africa’s first female Public Protector and direct opposer to the deception and inequity that ran rife within the country’s ruling and democratically elected power under the Zuma administration.

Shameela Seedat (filmmaker and human rights lawyer) produces and directs this film, as she follows Thuli throughout her tenure as ‘Protector of the Public’.  Beginning with initial investigations during her earlier days in office, as she leads a case into alleged corruption, involving President Zuma and a questionably large sum of state funds (246 million Rand to be precise) used in security upgrades to his home in Nkandla, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

His definitively unapologetic and vitriolic response to these allegations, clearly demonstrated the lack of justice that is still prevalent in South Africa,  even decades after apartheid.

The documentary traces back to the Mandela years and the subsequent release of political prisoners in 1990.  Of which Thuli Mandosela had been an active underground member, before they became the ruling party in 1994.  Following thus, her 7 year term in 2004.

It also references the disenfranchised town of Bapong – North West South Africa, and the millions that they stood to gain in mining rights after 1994, but yet to experience any direct benefit into their community, from these supposedly vast profits.

“Corruption derails efforts to improve the quality of life for everyone”  (Thuli Mandosela).

An extremely articulate, well-educated and softy spoken woman,  yet with an innate power within.  Thuli Mandosela proves she is not a person to back down, even when those in power try to denounce the honesty and transparency of her findings.  Case in point; when President Jacob Zuma, with his air of invincibility along with his supporters, try to derail her work.  Using suggestions of association with the ‘White Monopoly Capital” in attempt to deflect the focus from his own scandalous business associations

Thuli is dedicated to her career and to her calling, in a country where the basic needs of it’s people are barely met; food, housing and education.  Accountability is pivotal to her position and the respect that she coincidentally gains is evident, when towards the end of her term, there is a fear among it’s less fortunate citizens, that their personal plight/cases will not be fairly heard without her representation.  Considering the strained history of this country and the continuing social and racial prejudice, theirs is an anxiety that one can vehemently understand.

‘Whispering Truth To Power’  also provides us with a glimpse into her family life; and her children Wantu and Wenzile.  Allowing them to describe their own perception of their mother and the incredible media interest that she holds to the public, as well as how  that impacts them personally.   It also touches on Thuli’s own self-image as a youth and her somewhat blighted perception, to how she perceives herself now …

Moments of humour are felt when her son Wantu and friend laughingly joke about his mother’s soft demeanor and loll voice, the film then also delves into her own daughter’s interest in politics and her opinions regarding this.  A subject very relevant to the foundations of this film, as it outlines the racial conflict still prevalent in universities today in South Africa, regarding inequality and the right to free education for it’s people.

The film then leads us into the final days of Mandosela’s term as ‘Protector of the Public’.  The highly anticipated and publicized release of her ‘Legacy Report’ (also know as the ‘State of Capture’ report).  Emotions are high, as is the social and political unrest of the country.

Those who are abreast of the political status of South Africa, will be aware that this report led to the inexorable resignation of President Jacob Zuma.  Yet the film is necessary to understand the absence of morality in many of our political constitutions today, and the importance of women in power, like Mandosela, in exposing the criminal activity within a corrupt parliament, and in turn bringing justice back to it’s country’s people without violence and without threat.

“Corruption is a cancer that erodes everything that is good”. (Thuli Mandosela).

***4 Stars!

‘Whispering Truth To Power’ –  is showing at the following times in Auckland as part of the Doc Edge Festival 2018:

Loft / Sat 26 May, 9:30PM
Rangatira / Sun 27 May, 9:45AM



interviewed | Night Vale’s Tamika Flynn

Welcome to Night Vale, is a podcast, presented as a radio show, reporting on the strange events that occur in the fictional town of Night Vale.  Their latest show All Hail, a live incarnation of Welcome to Night Vale, is touring Auckland and Wellington this January. All hail is a stand-alone story for long-time fans and newcomers, featuring the fan favourite character, the Glow Cloud.  We chat to Symphony Sanders who plays Tamika Flynn in Welcome to Night Vale

What will fans of Night Vale expect from All Hail?
A fun and interactive night full of laughs, emotion, and music with some of their favorite characters !

Can you tell us what doesn’t happens to The Glow Cloud in All Hail?
The glow cloud doesn’t completely destroy the town.

How do you choose the music for the shows?
Our show musician and production director Jon Bernstein chooses and plays the ambient underscore during the show. While our weather artist choose a set to open for the show and another song to perform during the show to compliment the script!

Who has been the best guest star performer you’ve worked with?
We have so many wonderful guest stars but one of my favorite people to have with us is Hal Lublin who plays Steve Carlsberg. He is a talented, hilarious actor and improviser. He is just a sweetheart of a person

Do you record each podcast in one take or multiple takes?
It usually requires a couple of takes to perfectly record an episode and to try a few different options for the guys to choose from when editing!

How do you choose your ‘weather’ for each podcast episode?
That decision is up to Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor.

What is the next story line for Night Vale?
You’ll have to wait and see.

Finally, if you had to sell the All Hail show to a non night vale fan …. how would you go about it?
It’s a funny, weird, and touching show about a town where strange things happen when a omniscient glow cloud takes over and it features mind control, group chanting, and, you might have to hold a strangers hand.

Welcome to Nightvale takes place in Wellington on Tuesday 30 January and Auckland on Wednesday 31 January.  Click here for more information and tickets.

NZFW 2017 | Liberation in the form of leopard print

Model Max Stroomer loves collaborating with a team to express an idea, look and attitude.  

He says, “Everyone comes from different areas of expertise and experience to bring their own creative touch to the final product.  Whether that be a photo shoot or show.”

Professionally, he’s modelled for just over three years but prior to this he’s worked with some of New Zealand’s leading agencies as a brand ambassador.

Max walked the runway during this year’s New Zealand Fashion Week.

“I got lucky this year, I had a show each day.  I was pretty stoked!”

Max walking for Federation

For him, fashion week is a chance to show off his personal style.  It’s what he loves about it.

“It’s not secret everyone does weeks of prep to get outfits together for each day.  It’s something everyone attends takes part in.”

While his personal style may be relaxed, the most memorable show for him was the one for World Brand.

“I wore a leopard print jacket and had purple and pink glitter lips with a gold glitter wig.  I’ll never forget it; it was such a liberating experience.”

Max for World. Image courtesy: @worldbrandinnz

When asked about what happens backstage, he said it’s where all the action is.

“Picture a dozen models, each having a minimum of two dresses, show directors, makeup artists running around frantically trying to do touch-ups and photographers with cameras in your face.  It seems like chaos, but it all somehow works.  You have to stay focused, alert and happy all at the same time.”

So, does he get nervous before the show?

“The nerves are the best part.  Everyone has their remedy – mine is to dance and sing to myself to whatever song is playing on the runway.”

Max walking for Barkers, NZ Weddings Magazine

As a professional model, Max needs to take care of himself.  What’s his routine?

“Diet is number one; portion control and eating mostly vegetables is key.  But generally, it’s staying on top of living a balanced life.”

Image courtesy: @maximilianstroomer 

With the rise of ‘Insta-models’, we wanted to know his thoughts; love ‘em or hate ‘em?

“To be honest, I don’t think there’s a difference anymore between a model and an ‘Instagram model’.  Being proficient at social media is essential; we have to be successfully utilising all platforms to make sure we maintain and gain more of a following.

“The more people there are wanting to see your content, the better opportunities you get with work with brands and photographers.  A lot of overseas clients will specifically ask us how many followers we have; to them it’s another avenue to reach an audience.”

Image courtesy @maximilianstroomer

Max Stroomer is an Auckland-based model who is currently signed to 62 Models & Talent.  When he’s not walking the runway or pouting in front of a camera, he can be found at Chemistry Interaction, an integrated advertising agency where he spends his days as an Account Executive.

NZFW 2017 | From rookie to runway ready

Lyle Adams has always been creative; doing everything from drawing to making and designing.  It wasn’t until he picked up a camera that he actually considered himself a creative.  For him, the camera services as the halfway point to quenching his creative thirst.  However, he struggles to label himself as a photographer.

Born in South Africa, Lyle emigrated to New Zealand 8 years ago with his family and recently became a citizen. He studied at Unitec Institute of Technology, receiving a Bachelor in Design and Visual Arts / Photography & Media Arts.

As a photographer, he’s still on a journey to find his signature style. For his fashion and beauty photography, he always looks for a connection.

“I want the model to be immersed in the process; to get lost in the tone and style of the shoot. I encourage the models to do what they want according to the ideas I give them in the beginning.”

This year, Lyle joined the mac+mae crew as one of our official photographers covering New Zealand Fashion Week.  While our more seasoned crew prepped him, the week that unfolded was still a new experience.    

mac+mae crew, Sin-Mae Chung & Christine Mansford

“My first New Zealand Fashion week was awesome.  I met so many cool people and learnt so many things; overall it was a cool experience.

“For the most part it went well, although at some points I felt like I was part of a herd of sheep being shoved into a pen.”

Photo pit at Katherine Victoria

As one of our main photographers, it was Lyle’s job to ensure we had maximum coverage across the week.

“I was invited to many shows and I had the option of ‘photographer in the pit’ or seated.  While you can’t beat the ‘pit view’, I must admit I wanted the backstage pass.  I saw so many interesting shots other photographers were able to get.  Maybe next year.”

For Lyle, some of the best moments from across the week was meeting the plethora of characters outside the venue.

Photographer, Aki Ang

“I loved meeting people outside and doing some street style shots.  You see these bloggers, models and photographers online with tens of thousands of followers and assume they’re unapproachable, but most/all of them are down-to-earth, friendly and easy to talk to.

“There was a moment in the photographers pit where I put down my camera and just absorbed the atmosphere that is NZ Fashion Week.”

Mercedes-Benz presents Zambesi

Lyle photographed over 14 shows across the week and his favourites were Zambesi and Andrea Moore.

Andrea Moore

“I loved photographing Zambesi and Andrea Moore because of the atmosphere they created with their lighting props.  Another show that stood out was the Graduate show, some of the designs were detailed, unusual and interesting.

The Graduate Show

It was clear pretty early on in the week that our rookie photographer was more than runway ready, but hindsight is a powerful thing, and there were some lessons learned.


“With the power of hindsight, I wish I didn’t try to go to all the shows and end up with thousands of images each day then try to edit/process them.  Eventually some shows started to blend and look the same, while the ones I missed were the interesting/different ones.”

Katherine Victoria

You can check out Lyle’s NZ Fashion Week photos for mac+mae on our Facebook page and to check out his other work, visit his website.