Ileana Maria Rojas-Bennett, designer and CEO of Maleku Jewelry, is probably best known for her connection to Michelle Obama. Rojas-Bennett, whose childhood greatly inﬂuenced her work today, states, ‘I was fortunate enough to grow up in the home of an outstanding artist. In fact my most basic childhood memory is one of my motherâs portraits and sculptures.’ It was this inﬂuence that spurred her to create Maleku Jewelry Designs, and the line aims to provide fashion and glamour to the wardrobe of the modern woman.
Rojas-Bennett designed a necklace for style icon, US First Lady Michelle Obama. The designer will be attending the inauguration of the Martin Luther King Jr statue in Washington, DC and will also be on the runway at Bostonâs Fashion Week as part of the Synergy Eventsâ annual Emerging Trends Runway Show on September 24.
The event will take place at the Cyclorama in Boston, and Maleku Jewelry is excited to showcase its upcoming line of Raw Earth gemstone jewellery. The collection will be comprised of award-winning designs, the bold and chunky jewellery including raw and unpolished stones.
Maleku Jewelry hand-sets the highest quality metals with lavish gemstone settings to make custom necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings and more with detail, function, multi-use, and embellishments in mind. The latest creations are made for the âBoudoir Gypsyââthe woman who takes her entire trousseau and wears it to go off jet-setting. The pieces hint at a past, an emotion, maybe even a hidden secret, and yet bear the sophistication of the new socialite.
The line has been featured in numerous articles, and has also been worn by several celebrities, most recently R&B artist MYA. Frenchie Davis, ﬁnalist for NBCâs The Voice, also chose Maleku Jewelry for her latest pictures, and the labelâs holiday collection, featured in In Touch last month, will also be featured in Redbook and Good Housekeeping later this year.âSabine Ernest
The Auckland Home Show, which began August 31 and runs to September 4 at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland, comprises over 500 exhibitors featuring renovation ideas and solutions, home decoration and design, green urban living and sustainability. It is being touted as an ideal destination for Father’s Day in New Zealand, where cooking demonstrations, landscaping concepts and building products are among the exhibits.
The organizers note that the event will feature a Street of Houses landscaped by Floradell, a fully interactive street that has been in the making since July. Daily seminars sponsored by Resene take place in Hall 2. The Smeg Cooking Theatre in Hall 4 showcases Italian cooking style, while the Fisher & Paykel Yum kitchen in Hall 3 is serving creations from, inter alia, Masterchef winner Nadia Lim and Clooney chef Des Harris. Hall 5 focuses on sustainable and eco-friendly home ideas.
Auckland Landscape Supplies presents its Walk of Gardens, and the Foreno On-Tap Bar is located in Hall 4.
Tickets are available at the gate or at www.aucklandhomeshow.co.nz.
Hot on the heels of her sophomore New Zealand Fashion Week show, the day after her catwalk event, New Zealandâs accomplished shoe designer, Kathryn Wilson, will open a shoebox-shaped pop-up retail store in the newly developed Britomart precinct.
With the store opening to the public at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 3, this store will be Kathrynâs ﬁrst foray into her own retail business. The store is intended to further engage the public with the Kathryn Wilson brand and to provide customers the full Kathryn Wilson footwear experience.
Kathryn notes that she is happy her brand has a solid foothold in New Zealand saying: ‘Iâve worked very hard to get to this point and I continue to raise my own personal benchmark every day âŠ Opening a pop up-retail store in Britomart is the perfect way for me to dabble in retail, especially during a time when Auckland will be buzzing with World Cup action and women are eager to look gorgeous in new summer shoes for the party season!’
The store will appeal to both men and women, stocking footwear for both genders from her springâsummer 2011â12 collection. Two new colour ways in favourite styles for women will also be available exclusively at the store.
Kathryn, who has already been short-listed as a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011, recognizes that retail is a necessary move to grow her business locally while ensuring that revenue remains strong. She states, ‘Building my brand has been about establishing good designs, prices that help products sell through, a steady wholesale business and support in the media and from my industry peers. A retail store will not only help drive revenue, but it will also help me to sharpen my business skills and bring me closer to the customers who keep the brand alive.’
The shoe box idea, developed by local architects Kirsty Mitchell from Veneer design, Tim Dorrington at Dorrington Architects and Jono King from Nova construction, with the help of Britomartâs Cooper & Co. as led by Jeremy Priddy, will provide a unique shopping experience for the customers. Match Realtyâs Georgie Clatworthy was also an integral part of the team which ensured that the Kathryn Wilson brand sat alongside a wonderful selection of Aucklandâs ﬁnest new retailers in the precinct.
Kathryn, who will be showing her designs at New Zealand Fashion Week, will have local North Shore bred band, the Checks, playing as a the second act of her show. Guests of the show will have a free concert from the band who are set to release their new single ‘Candyman’ during NZFW.âSabine Ernest
Joico Hair and Blak Luxe paired together on Tuesday, August 30 for Blak Luxeâs show at this yearâs New Zealand Fashion Week. Blak Luxe, whose theme for the runway this year was based off the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, MĂ€rchen, presented hairstyles that also embodied the part.
Says Joico Hair Director for Blak Luxe, Luana Coscia, of the hairstyles, ‘I love the hair texture and wrapped, knotted half-upâhalf-down “turban-esque” feel of this look. It works so well with the Blak collection, which is based around the Grimm Brothers’ fairy talesâsupernatural, romantic, spooky, whimsical.’ The hairstyles, while romantic and ﬂirty, also provide an unexpected yet pleasing edge to the overall outﬁts.
The look can also be re-created at home, switching things up from the standard ponytail. To get the look, start ﬁrst with wet or damp hair and apply layers of Joico K Pak Design Foam and Joico Design Texture Spray to create adequate volume and texture. Blast dry hair and scrunch a few hair sections to create more texture. Put hair into a deep side parting and taking each front section from crown to ear pull hair from that section into a messy and loose knot, secure these knots with a few pins.
Smooth back hair on the opposite side of the knot and under part it to sit behind the ear and secure this section with fringe pins if necessary. Finish off the look with Joico Design Collection Flexible Shaping Spray and Joico Design Collection Humidity Blocker to both eliminate frizz and hold style with ﬂexibility.
Joico products can be purchased nationwide from selected salons and shampoo shops. In New Zealand, call 0800 456-426 to ﬁnd out where your nearest stockist is located.âSabine Ernest
The ﬁrst New Zealand Fashion Week shows covered by Lucire fashion editor Sopheak Seng and senior writer Vicki Matias are complemented by the photography of Lisa Wilson. Some of the ofﬁcial photographs are also shown below, photographed by Michael Ng. We’re updating from Auckland regularlyâplease keep popping back as collections are uploaded to Lucire.
Selected designers will appear in more in-depth features at the end of Fashion Week.
Bitter Sweet Memories: this season the J Ho girl has gone moody librarian chic on us. Naughty but nice pleating was used to create a dramatic effect on a rust-coloured maxi skirt and on a button-down dress, while chunky knits in turtle necks and cardigans acted as key features alongside leather collar neck pieces. Tweed and jacquards spoke to a more reﬁned elegance and were used in tailored trousers, skirts and a beautiful tuxedo style jacket. Grey ruled the collection with pops of mustard and crimson adding much needed vibrancy and leopard print injected some roar into those sassy librarians.
Aptly named Living Dolls, Annah Strettonâs latest collection was fun and youthful with playful dresses dominating the range. The dresses came in a delightful palette of pastel hues of lilac and blue in tweed, soft wool and silk. There was no shortage of velvet rufﬂed collars and gathered hem detailing on cropped jackets, the large bow fastenings adding the perfect ﬁnishing to the outﬁts. Several of the pieces, including a short-sleeved black shift dress featuring dense black, silver and gold sequin embellishment were real eye-catchers while the main pieces included an array of structured full round skirt dresses skimming the models’ mid-thighs. The full round skirt dresses came in an abundant selection of textiles and ﬁnishings including piped or rufﬂed edges, the thin satin bow waist belts adding the perfect ﬁnal touch to these living dolls.
As Bowie blared from the speakers and models strutted the runway in bouffant hairdos, we were taken back on a journey to the â80s where stars shone brightly and glam rock was in. The collection, titled Lunatopia, celebrates famous personalities that dared to be different such as Bowie, Debbie Harry and Princess Diana. A beautiful starburst print was the signature of the collection this season and came on everything from cropped jackets, to dresses and pants. Dramatic shoulders were also present, showcasing that power dressing is coming back. Midnight blues, blush, moss and slate dominate this coming winter, the sophisticated colour schemes embodying both femininity and strength.
Titled Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Andrea Mooreâs show was comprised of beautiful rich jewel tones of ruby red, midnight blue, emerald green and royal purple emerging out onto the dark catwalk illuminated by the glow-sticks provided to the audience. Rabbit- and ostrich-feathered accessories complemented short V-neck wool and silk dresses with structured, tucked shoulder detailing, while coats were a key staple of the collection and came very tailored with double breasting being a key trend.
Highly wearable, commercial and sophisticated, Andrea Mooreâs latest collection continues to stay true to her signature style.
The Blak girl has gone witchy gothic on us. She wears a crown of twigs in her hair while wearing flowing gossamaer silks and embroidered velvets. MĂ€rchen is the twisted, dark and magical fairytale where the Blak girl reigns. Lace dominates the collection, seducing the wearer with its infinite possibilities while rich furs, wool, crochet and leather also make an appearance in conjunction with a moody palette of jet black, blood red, ghostly white and inky blues. The use of prints in the collection this season served as the stand out of the collection. The classic Blak leopard print returned and textile designer Liz Wilson collaborated with the label to create labyrinth prints of symbols, skeletons keys, scarab beetles, roses, cobwebs and chained hearts to protect the wearer. A print of shadowy galloping horses was also featured, adding to the fairytale-esque ambience created by this collection.
Ingrid Starnes’ Arcadia show delved back into the 1940s but twisted the styles to create a younger, trendier feel. The collection was partly inspired by the impossible romance of memory. With a backdrop designed by good friend Xanthe White of ﬂoating moss and botanicals, the collection echoes a bygone year when ladies dressed like ladies. Mustard, navy and cream all were present throughout while mushroom and brown was used as a base for a beautiful botanical print. With most pieces being sweet with the use of underwear as outerwear and all that jazz, it seems that Starnes is heading in the right direction as a designer.âSopheak Seng and Vicki Matias
During these times of financial austerity, consumers are wary of spending big money on current fashion trends, knowing well that those trends will be out in a yearâs time. But by choosing designer clothing wisely, consumers will have clothes that last for years.
Petone, New Zealand-based fashion label, Reign, is a master when it comes to creating clothes that are timeless. Its spring collection takes inspiration from one of this seasonâs hottest trendsârodeo chicâand through use of excellent quality materials and tasteful style, makes the pieces well worth their investment. Says Reignâs designer Ara AâCourt, ‘We design clothes that last-both in quality and style âŠ When it comes to trends, itâs important to interpret them in a sustainable, way so they become investment pieces with longevity rather than fast-fashion destined for a clothing bin.’
Reignâs new spring collection embodies this philosophy of timelessness perfectly. The garments, while harkening upon western-inspired roots by cult-classic western films, are cleverly infused with urban modernity to create pieces that are chic yet fun and can be worn again and again.
’I guess it could be described as âsubtle themingâ,’ says Ara. ‘We want to evoke the historical west, not imitate it. For this collection, our muses are aspirational frontier women, capable of conquering uncharted territories. They are real, hard-working, well-balanced âŠ all those things we try to be in our modern lives.’
The collection demonstrates this western theme both visually and by title. With pieces titled Rodeo skirt, the Shirty collarless shirt, Wild West jean jacket, Lasso dress and Wrangler tank, complete with tasteful decorations mirroring native American fringing, the inspiration behind the collection is evident. Accessories such as pony-skin belts with rodeo buckles, western neckties with semi-precious stones are also up for grabs at reasonable prices, allowing customers to add little bits of western-wear to any wardrobe without the shoppers remorse often associated with high price tags.
Also eco-conscious, the label is designed and manufactured in the greater Wellington area from mostly locally sourced fabrics and the label consciously supports the New Zealand-made movement.
The spring collection is now available. The Reign Clothing Gallery can be found at 2 Scholes Lane, just off of Jackson Street in Petone. Opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, as well as by appointment.âSabine Ernest