Street Style: the Chapman Version

“I love all aspects of photography,” says Wallace Chapman, “and the way I found my own voice was in street style”.
Chapman runs the blog which is one of the few such online magazines showing street style in a New Zealand setting. Chapman has a deep-seated love of the country, and maintains our street vibe has a flavour all of its own. “I see it as archiving,” Chapman says about this ongoing project, and he is building on a legacy of capturing street style which was quite prominent here in the 1930s and 1940s where street photographers would snap people, then sell the photos back to them.
“People are a little cautious,” Chapman says about approaching them, “this isn’t Milan or Stockholm”. It is crucial to establish an authenticity within a few seconds of approach. To facilitate this, Chapman has a card he hands out; a big bold postcard which can quickly break the ice. Once a contact is made, Chapman will ask about the clothes and the accessories which have so attracted him. These nuggets of information will be mentioned in the blog, giving it so much extra browsing value.
Chapman uses a Leica camera. It looks old-fashioned, in fact, almost 1950s. It isn’t a giant piece of equipment sprouting long lenses and flashguns, and helps to make the subjects relaxed and interested in the story developing. Chapman prefers using natural light, and the lenses he uses offer magnificent sharpness.
Chapman is a wonderful capturer, and visual commentator. And this is not solely the domain of his blog, as he is also the anchor presenter of the TV shows Back Benches and The New Old.

Terence H

The Great Hall of Fashion

Chloe Graham photographed by Prue Ibbotson.

Home to Massey University’s fashion design school, the old Museum’s Great Hall was a fitting place to host Wellington’s first Fashion Week, with runway shows from 32 designers, established and emerging. From the gauzy, metallic bodices of Hermione Flynn through to the rich enveloping brocade of Liz Mitchell

Miss Abigail made sumptuous use of big, brassy materials in her wonderfully over-sized pale green shrug and velveteen used in a virtuoso display of flouncing. Lucy McIntosh’s soft mustard hues and garments almost like altar vestments, and the magnificent deconstructions of Jacque Shaw filled with stripes, layers, bands and gaps all shimmering with big jewellery like table settings.

The work of the makeup artists led us through the delicate, then into sweeps of tribal marking/war paint for the Taylor Boutique show, and on to the brilliance of sparkling, subtle eye work. Hair styling was also superbly crafted and ebullient. We fell to the charms of updated vintage techniques like schoolgirl pigtails to Renaissance-influenced tight braiding and 1930s buns and springy finger waves. 

Wellington Fashion Week was a big boost for the industry right across the board with people in related industries who like the Breakers, were given a chance to shine on their home court. Congratulations to Cameron Sneddon and the team who worked so hard to make this event a success.

Terence Hodgson

Wellington Style

Retail does not exist without the replenishment from the designers, and our cool little style capital is home to some exceptional designers. The range of output is stupendous. It covers all bases from the avant garde art-performance-garments of Hermione Flynn to the delightful inventions of Starfish and the fluid silhouettes from Philippa & Alice. These designers export: both their garments and their design stories. Many Wellington designers regularly show in the long-established fashion shows of Dunedin, Auckland, Melbourne and New York. Their works are featured in the international press, both magazines and online, and many overseas boutiques make room for a showing of local labels. Such international applause is not given to the sleepy.

For established and emerging designers, Wellington’s being home to Massey University’s fashion design school is simply treasure, and many well-known names like Alexandra Owen have been through their courses. The school’s curriculum, access to professionals in the trade, and its annual show more than hint that this part of the economy has weight. The fashion school pinpoints Wellington as a destination where things are happening --  a fact supremely buttressed by the city also being host to the World of WearableArt competition and extravaganza.
Silence Was
So many factors support Wellington as a fashion hub, and this year’s Wellington Fashion Week will promote the city, the region, and all who take part in its exuberance. In particular, the week’s runway events will exhibit a number of new labels who, in spite of economic sluggishness, have emerged because they are driven by inspiration and accomplishment. 
The label Kelsey Genna, established last year, will show her work which is very limited (editions of ten), and predominantly sells online. We will get to see her trim use of mouth watering colours like berry fruits mixing with the peaceful marzipan shades of cream and pink. We will see Silence Was, established in 2011 with an emphasis on a romantic and bespoke tailoring ethic. And we will see Nouveau, a range from Pixel Ink which promotes an urban, street-wear graphic thrust – quite often eccentric and quizzical like their Tourist Box T-shirt showing a tui seemingly using an old Victorian bellows camera to take our photo. Wonderful.

Wellington Fashion Week

We love the buzz...
Wellington plays centre stage for its first Fashion Week.
From Wednesday 18 to Sunday 22 April, runway shows and networking events will see the energies of designers, retailers, promoters and media mix and sparkle. These will be brilliant days.
The major draw cards are the three designer shows. In total, three hours of vibrant runway. The collections of eighteen designers, from the hauntingly gorgeous Trelise Cooper through to the zesty emerging labels of Kelsey Genna and Silence Was, will exhibit with all the excitement of styling, lighting, hair, makeup and music. These shows will take place in the grand hall of the old museum building.
As well as these anchor shows, the Wellington Fashion Week crew have developed other events which will bookmark the event. A photo competition along Lambton Quay is a neat idea. A High Tea for designers and delegates will be a sumptuous platform for networking. A Couture Bridal capsule will highlight the best of design and fabrics, and a downloadable app is a savvy piece of technology for navigating your way through all the treasure.
Wellington Fashion Week will showcase the city, its great talent of designers and its superb range of shops and amenities.
We love the buzz of Wellington Fashion Week.

Terence Hodgson

Ink over Linen, by Hermione Flynn

Hermione Flynn lifted eight suits from  her summer collection called A Modern Ritual, put them on models and with anarchic joy, instructed the models to draw all over each other in a shop-gallery setting. Using drips of ink and fine pen lines, the models embarked on a performance which eventually finished with a stunningly altered collection. 

It was the artist directing the alteration of her own work. It took hours. The garments were transformed into new items slowly and with concentration. It was art, and performance, and agony – something to watch and savour. At the end, there were photos, video footage, and about 25 newly inked garments.

Challenge is an essential component of Flynn’s work – she will take us into ideas and juxtapositions which may have just ambled past our notice in the regular routines of living. 

The ink-overlay pieces are for sale in the same way a designer’s sub-collection or an artist’s lithographs are for sale: limited edition, and special. It would be an astute art museum which chose to add one of these works to their holdings.

Terence H