Moody Antipodean Dreams of NZ Style

I feel like talking about style geography for a couple of posts. What is New Zealand style? My overseas friends ask me, sometimes. I think of breezy, pure-faced beauties, I give them names and imaginary lives.

Angela lives in central Auckland and transposes a clean, minimalist beachiness onto rich-girl dressing….

Aroha lives in West Auckland or Waiheke and drapes her lanky limbs in avant-garde merino, feather-trimmed woven-flax, and large jade or bone jewelry…

Winona lives in Wellington, her hair chopped into an artful bob against the Wellington gales, and is delicately quirky in hand-made hats and brooches and clever sundresses…

None of them wear enough lipstick. But the clothes dreamed up by New Zealand designers fit their straight up-and-down, tubular-belle  bodies beautifully.

Oh, how I dream of edgy New Zealand fashion. Of drifting around and hanging my Bill Hammond paintings while draped in a Cybele tunic. Wearing radical Ricochet or strapping Minnie Cooper or Minx shoes on my feet. But I am confounded by fit. They don’t make clothes for hourglass figures here. For a petite hourglass, Ricochet pants gap at the waist and the extra ankle length slumps on the ground. Minnie Cooper stopped making shoes in my foot size, and Minx never did. Cybele’s stuff – on my imaginary beautiful frenemies Angela and Aroha, it looks like a moody Antipodean dream, but not on me.

The white tunic top with the twist in it makes me especially sad.

Oh elegantly draped Antipodean casual-expensive style. WHY DO YOU TORMENT ME SO.

I sat down to think of an NZ clothing supplier that I like, that suits me. And the one I came up with is Australian. I rather adore Cue, because the beautiful clothes, for once, fit me reasonably well. Somewhere in Australia, saying “Crikey, mate” over her Foster’s and a kangaroo steak, is an hourglass fit model hired by Cue.

Once in a while I’ll thrift up something from a Kiwi designer that works. From Workshop, or Kate Sylvester, or defunct designer lines like Glory and DNA. Short and hourglassy, I have luck in Wellington at Tempt, at Duncan and Prudence, and at Good Score. When I lived closer, Moa Boutique in Auckland let me live the dream of a modicum of NZ style and good fit.

I’ll go back there again someday. In the meantime, I’ll dream an Antipodean dream…