The global fashion magazine June 20, 2024 
Out now: Lucire issue 48, with free shipping for UK and US


A tribute to our friend, George Bowler

A tribute to our friend George Bowler, a Victoria University and Grasse Institute of Perfumery alum, and a supporter of our magazine since the early days. Jack Yan looks back
February 17, 2023/23.00

Rebecca Thorpe
It was a real shock to us at Lucire to learn of the passing of George Bowler.

George was our model in our first menswear shoot in 1999, and was a delight to work with. Over the years we’d run into each other, or I’d spot him driving—since a first-generation, brown, 1970s Honda Civic HL with a vinyl roof and automatic transmission isn’t something you’d commonly see in the 21st century.

He had studied perfumery at the Grasse Institute of Perfumery, and had worked for Louis Vuitton, Crane Bros., and World.

I can’t remember who connected us but the mutual friend said that we must use George if we wanted a male model.

On the shoot with us was Edward Hodges, who did George’s make-up—another gentleman who straight women kept telling me was darned good looking.

Cheryl Mephan edited the fashion and did George’s hair, while Rebecca Thorpe, our first regular editorial photographer, shot. Rebecca also arranged the location: a swimming pool that was closed, and at the time she had a side gig working for them.

Mandatory, Zambesi Man and Workshop provided the clothes.

I believe I was the one who ran around the place picking up the clothes, and it may have been on this gig I met Tamara Hema, daughter of famous æstheticienne Margaret Hema.

The Costume National boots were an eye-watering NZ$670 and we treated them so incredibly carefully, and my father polished them a final time before they were returned, just to be extra-sure they looked pristine.

Those were such optimistic days that felt eternally sunny when I look back but there are probably rose-coloured glasses, and not the Cutler & Gross ones in the shoot.

George was a real stylish gent although he needed to light up the odd cigarette during the shoot!

And although the shoot’s layout doesn’t look right on modern monitors—this was back when we were online-only, and creating for a resolution of 1,024 by 768 pixels—you can still make out the quality of the images themselves.

George had suffered from depression and died in Melbourne on Valentine’s Day. His funeral will be back here in Wellington.

He will be dearly missed.

If you are depressed, this is a reminder that there is help out there. In New Zealand, the Mental Health Foundation has a list of resources. Please reach out if you need to.

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beauty / fashion / history / Lucire / modelling / photography
Filed by Jack Yan