Thursday, April 29, 2010


This year marks the 10th anniversary of New Zealand Fashion Week. Born in 2001, the event is being hosted in the elegant and luxurious marina in Auckland, the Viaduct Harbour Marine Village, where it will be exhibiting 5 days of New Zealand’s unquestionable national talent. From the 21st – 26th September, the NZFW will seize hold of the city, with designers, models, photographers and celebrities flying in from every corner of the world to attend this acclaimed showcase of Australasia’s emerging industry.

Last year the event hosted the likes of internationally recognised designers such as Alexandra Owen, Sable & Minx, United Constructions and Karen Walker, to name but a few – all NZ natives, who showcased an array of garments from classic-chic to futuristically urban. Having teaming up previously with sponsors MAC, GHD and Moet&Chandon, this event is aimed for the crème de la crème.

Innovation and imagination are sure to take the stage once again this year, undoubtedly topping last year’s efforts in a bid to make their 10th anniversary the biggest and the best so far.

Stylist Jamee Gidwitz: Brains & Beauty

Fiona McCoss catches up with NY's stylin' stylist Jamee Gidwitz

New York based, stylist and fashion editor, Jamee Gidwitz knows a thing or two about style. As other kids were skipping rope, her talent and passion grew from arranging perfume bottles into composed, still-life shots in the bathroom; sticking magazine cut-outs of sparkly jewellery onto her wrists and ears. Today, she remains one of the country's most sought after stylists and editors, working with rock stars, celebrities and countless fashion mags.

Having never studied fashion at school, her talent remains pure, raw and effortless. Far from lacking in education however, she graduated from Brown with a major in Semiotics and French, and in fact, Gidwitz has not thrown her Ivy League days behind her but instead capitalises on all the priceless life skills which she gained.

“My formal education definitely taught me a lot of discipline, which is what you need as a freelancer," says Gidwitz. "But I think my talent as a stylist comes from being curious, open minded and growing up around inspiring people and places."

She's a smart cookie this one; not just a pretty face. Gidwitz’s styling and marketing work has been published in Interview, Cosmopolitan International, German Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue and Elle Accessories, to name but a few, styling celebrities for red carpet events and gaining the title as Market/Style Editor for Harpers BAZAAR.

"I remember telling my mother that when I grew up I wanted to do windows of stores,” she reminisces. “Then I wanted to be the editor-in-chief of my own magazine that dealt with things I loved and felt were important: art, architecture and fashion.”

“With definitive dreams from the start, it seems this freelance fashion editor-come-stylist has worked herself up to become a respected and renowned name in the international fashion industry. “I didn't go to fashion school, but I knew about fashion. I always felt very strongly about fashion.”

With high-end editorial and celebrity styling ticked off her list — as well as marketing experience for one of the biggest fashion magazines in the world — Gidwitz will not be slowing down anytime soon. Always thinking about the next project with a head full of goals, her career is limitless.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Vessel by Lois Samuels

Sean Kiely talks school day inspiration with Lois Samuels

For twelve years of my life, I hated my school uniform. Now, some mornings I wake up and wish for nothing else but to have it back. I used to have so much more free time before I had to start thinking about what I was going to wear to an event a week before hand. Honestly, it can be exhausting. There is nothing worse that the feeling you get when you stand in front of your closet full of clothes and come to the realization that you have nothing to wear. However, The Vessel by Lois Samuels could be the clever solution to my reoccurring problem.

While the uniform versus individuality debate continues to brew, Lois Samuels has created a line of women’s clothing that is inspired by structured uniforms and menswear. What could have been a rack full of box dresses and suits without any shape is actually a brilliant collection, full of ease and simplicity, which fits strikingly on any woman’s body. This feat would not have been possible without Samuel’s distinct atheistic and unwavering point of view.

“I love structure and I sort of grew up in a society that the uniform was so important. Growing up, you go to prep school, you wear a uniform, and every weekend you have the same routine. When it comes to clothing, I love simplicity because it’s so chaotic in the real world that you want to go to the closet and pull something out and you don’t think too hard about it. I don’t like to think too hard about getting dressed.”

Those are strange words coming from a former model. A native of Jamaica, Samuels used her fond memories of preparatory school as inspiration for her first clothing line. A few seasons later, while still a novice in the fashion design industry, it seems as though she has found her niche.

Taking cues from the structure of menswear then infusing a uniform core—using imported wools, light weight cottons, cashmere blends—Samuels has ventured into clothing that is undoubtedly classic, yet remarkably fashion forward. Creating garments that are wearable, comfortable, beautiful and completely uncomplicated has put her on the map as the go-to-gal for the outfit to wear on any day, to anywhere.

Yet, even with all the masculine qualities of her clothing, Samuels still remains that young girl who grew up to become a sophisticated lady, and her clothing shows it.

“Even though most times when you think of women’s wear that is a bit men’s wear inspired, you think of all this androgyny and this butch look, but I don’t see that in my pieces because when I wear the clothes I feel very feminine. It’s not like I’m trying to project this sort of masculinity that is hidden in me that I had to express in clothing. I just feel like clothing gives us some sort of strength and you feel powerful in some things.”

And power forward, she will. Relentless against the struggling economic climate, Samuels is determined to make The Vessel a brand everyone will want to own a piece of.

“I think at the end of the day people want to go back to basics. You want to invest in something that’s not a fad. I feel what I’m attracted to is timeless.” For Samuels, women’s clothing is just the beginning. Hopes to venture further into menswear (I’m dying for one of her jumpers!), robes, aprons and hotel and restaurant uniforms are clearly within grasp. In the words of the designer herself, “It’s all with time, blessings and luck.”

KEVA J: Stylish Swimwear

Fiona McCoss talks to swimwear designer Keva Johnson to see what's new in swimwear

Keva Johnson exploded onto the scene in 2005 immediately after graduating Apparel Design at Florida State University. Her innovative pieces which combine futuristic modern cut-outs with bold, Rastafarian hues and metallic colors, have graced the pages of numerous magazines and line the rails of boutiques and stores from Miami to New York. With seasonal collections already under her belt and a line of signature tees, “WHO THE HELL IS KEVA J”, accessories and handbags are next on her agenda.

Keva took the time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions to give UnitedEditorsatLarge a humble and honest insight into her greatest motivations, inspirations and challenges.

Having a natural affiliation with creativity and fashion, designing seems the most normal thing for you to do. You have created lines of swimwear, signature tees and you are planning on releasing a line of accessories and handbags in the near future, which project has been the most challenging/rewarding?

I would say the swimsuits are the most challenging and rewarding. I feel like every collection I have to top myself! So it becomes that much harder. Trying to keep every suit different and not conform to the normal, everyday design selling out there. It’s been rewarding because the consumer response is what keeps me going. All the emails, editorials and celebrity clients have been amazing! My dreams are coming true, day by day. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Being of Jamaican decent, would you say this element of your background plays an important part in the design process?

I think my Jamaican decent plays a role in my design process. In my first collection, I was able to use the Rastafarian colors in different ways. I actually found suspenders with the red/green/gold colors and used them in a way to reflect my personal style. Its fun to be able to take certain elements from my culture and tie them in with today's current trends!

Do all your collections have the same thing in common, or does each creation represent something unique in itself?

All of my collections are different, but they have the same edgy flair! Every season I have a different theme/inspiration, but I always tie in my edgy style to the designs. My last collection was inspired by Africa. So the colors and the fabrics I used represented different elements of Africa, and the edgy designs brought it all together. My new collection is inspired by Barbie! So it’s all about being a girl and having fun. There will be lots of pink and ruffles, but with a chic edge!

You were voted "best dressed" in college; would you say your day-to-day style is reflected in your designs?

Yes! My everyday style does reflect my designs. I have my own edgy style, and I'm a huge fan of accessories. So I always try and incorporate those elements in my designs, being different and standing out. I love funky necklines and mixing colors.

New to New York, how would you say the city has changed the way you think, work and create?

I must say that being in New York has influenced me as a designer in so many ways. I feel like the lifestyle, the people and the atmosphere are totally different from Miami. You can walk down 5th avenue and get so much inspiration from the store front windows, the stylish dressing, or even the buildings. Being here has allowed me to grow creatively as a designer, and I love that. Like they say, this is definitely "the concrete jungle where dreams are made of."

What advice would you give any striving designers out there? Do you remember any tricks of the trade you were privvy to when starting out?

Well first I will say, it’s definitely not as easy as it looks. I was under the impression that I was going to move to New York and meet P. Diddy and live the life of luxury. But then reality set in. You have to be strong and stay focused. This industry will try to knock you down sometimes but you have to have that determination and will to succeed.

If you were stuck on a desert island, what one item would you not be able to live without?

This is a hard one. If I was on a desert island, the one item I couldn't live without would probably be my blackberry. I live on my phone. I don't think I would know how function without it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Iodice: Bold designs for the everyday

Fiona McCoss dicovers Brazil's best kept secret

Founded initially as a knitwear company, Iodice has gone from strength to strength. The Brazilian design house, created in the 1980s by Valdemar Iodice, is one of the most prestigious in South America, internationally recognised for its “design and quality." Gradually developing from knitwear to denim, Iodice then combined his appreciation for the female form with his signature style, the silhouette.

In 2001, Iodice opened its flagship store on the renowned fashion street of Brazil’s capital. Covering hundreds of square metres the store offers three floors of pure luxury: ready to wear, women’s jeanswear, menswear and an exclusive line. Having conquered both Americas with showrooms in LA and NY, the brand is now to be found in 240 stores worldwide.

Iodice’s most recent collection, his FW10, is another example of the brilliance of the creative director. Incorporating the sophisticated simplicity of tans, whites, blacks and sheers, asymmetric lines, draped fabric and plunging necklines; the dresses encompass the essential idea behind the brand: chic perfection.

Beaded necklaces accompany the garments, sitting heavy and proud on the waif-like models’ necks, which adds boldness to the designs. This season we witness, once again, Iodice’s bias towards the sensuality of the female form as his collection features figure hugging body cons, accentuating the silhouette he so appreciates.

However, it is not only the above-the-knee for which he cares; elegant floor length gowns in tie-dyes, emerald greens, blues and blacks are classically reinvented and restored into staples of FallWinter2010. Ultimately Valdemar’s vibrant addition of the bright greens, pinks and purples gives his FW10 line a fun, carefree vibe; perfect for the carnivalesque atmosphere of Sao Paolo, Brazil and indeed for all of us looking for a touch of spice.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

POLAND FASHION WEEK: FashionPhilosophy

UnitedEditorsatLarge will be crossing the pond and heading to Poland Fashion Week for the unmissable, annual spring event that will span, across the second weekend of May, 7th-11th. The country is still in mourning for the recent loss of their President and First Lady, Mr. Lech Kaczynski and Mrs. Maria Kaczynski, who lost their lives earlier on this month, however, the event will go on as planned with commemoration.

Poland Fashion Week is held in Lodz, the countries fashion capital – Poland’s version of Milan or London as it were – famous for its eccentricity, vibrance and unique architecture. Among other events the city hosts the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography and numerous ballet exhibitions.
FWP FashionPhilosophy seizes hold of the city of Lodz for 5 whole days, and guests are invited to witness the new unfolding of fashion. Blossoming buds of brilliance emerge from Eastern Europe onto the catwalk and creative inspiration floods every pore and sense.

This year Kenzo Takada, renowned Japanese designer and perfumer, has been named guest of honor, and to name drop some more, Patricia Gucci, granddaughter of Aldo Gucci, will also be attending the foreign fashion festivities in conjunction with the promotion of her new book. Homegrown designers Bies Katarzyna and Natalia Jaroszewska, for example, as well as other European designers will be showcasing their collections on the catwalk in front of an ever eager audience. Front row seats will be a must, don't miss out on our coverage from co-founder and fashion editor, Angela Gilltrap.

Peter Pilotto: In Print

London correspondent, Nicole Dalamagas takes us into the colorful world of Peter Pilotto

Ladies, banish your little black dresses to the back of your wardrobe, 2010 is the year of colour.

Too long has fashion's gloomy front row dressed in adequate attire for a funeral procession; with prints as edgy as Schwab, a cool-rating that's creeping up on Kane and body-con fits that make a Leger dress look like your Grandma's over sized sweater, it is no wonder that Peter Pilotto's colorful designs are gracing the bodies of every buyer, editor and stylist in sight. Even Michelle Obama has been caught wearing one of his explosive prints.

Pilotto and his partner, Christopher De Vos, an ex-Vivienne Westwood designer, combine their creative genius to staggering effect: Pilotto provides a unique textile base overlaid with stunning nature-inspired watercolor prints which De Vos then drapes and crafts, bandaging every curve to build an enviable silhouette. The duo, who met at Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 2000, assume a more scientific approach to design; together they fuse high-end couture with ageless sophistication, mixing microscopic, hyper-real prints with draped lightweight chiffon, silks and knitwear that fit to perfection.

Spring-Summer 2009 marked their third London catwalk show, of which they were awarded New Generation sponsorship, supported by Topshop. The London label's mastery with pattern and color was evident in their abstracted firework prints, mimicking the reflection of fireworks on a rippling ocean; twisting something chemical and manufactured into a naturalistic, classical scene that is pure Peter Pilotto offbeat style.

Like many current designers, Pilotto is one of those whose thoughts have turned, this season, to the massive, fundamental events of natural history, developing prints from the digital manipulation of photos of fur and reptile skin, creating silk tufted tops tipped with paint to resemble erupting volcanoes ,and building chunky embroidery from geometric plastic paillettes.

Autumn/ Winter 2010 will undoubtedly be the season when the multi-cultural design duo (Peter is half Austrian/half Italian and Christopher is Libyan born and of Austrian ancestry), finally break through from the early adopters into a more mainstream crowd. Their show at London Fashion Week featured inspirations from art installations by Jan de Cock, the paintings of Francis Bacon and the texture and fit of leather.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Tanner Hall" Premier: Fashion & Film

Last night’s premiere of Tanner Hall brought out the big guns in support of writer/directors Francesca Gregorini and Tatiana Von Furstenberg. A vivid peek into the private world of an all-girls boarding school, Tanner Hall is a coming-of-age story based around four central characters, teenage girls navigating life, love and friendship.

Premiering at the 15th Anniversary of the Gen Art Film Festival presented by Acura, it stars Rooney Mara, Georgia King, Brie Larson, Amy Ferguson, Tom Everett Scott, Amy Sedaris, and Chris Kattanooney. Stars such as Diane von Furstenberg, Caitlin Moe, Evan Ferrante, Miss USA, and many others walked the red carpet in support.

Tickets and information on the films can be found at

Diane von Furstenberg

Rooney Mara & Tom Everett Scott

Tatiana Von Furstenberg

Photo Credit: Rob Loud

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

CLEOBELLA: From Bali and Beyond

Fiona McCoss gets a handle on Cleobella

Take a beautiful couple from Southern California and send them around the world and you end up with un-parallel creations such as those of Cleobella. A headstrong duo of business-brains and raw artistic inspiration, Angela and Jim O’Brien are the co-founders of their new, “travel inspired,” quirky accessory label.

Having left their jobs to travel to the exotic corners of the world from Europe to the Far East, they have created a highly sought after, individual range of ladies handbags and accessories, most inspired by their stay in India. “It's a magical place,” says Angela. “The use of colors and jewels the women wear to adorn their body are so intriguing and inspiring. India is one of the few countries I've traveled to that is not influenced by American culture; their culture is so rich in tradition and history. With an open mind and open heart, you can't help but fall in love with India.”

With a profound belief in sustainability, the couple source their handcrafted products from Indonesia. “All of our handbags are 100% handmade in Bali. Cleobella works with small, family owned factories supporting the livelihood of foreign artisans.” As well as this, a percentage of Cleobella’s profit goes towards the international women’s charity, Care.

“I see Cleobella branching into other categories including home and ready to wear,” Angela admits — as well as expanding their gorgeous outlet of travel clutches, perfect for the fashionable jet setter, which can fit everything from a passport to coins and lipstick. “I also see Cleobella as a recognizable brand in the fashion industry.” We have to agree.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Jennifer Christopher keeps an eye on men's grooming

For too long, men’s products have been relegated to the category of necessary, boring standbys, like deodorant and the occasional spritz of fancy cologne, completing ignoring the simple fact that men have skin issues just like their female counterparts. The Art of Shaving, based out of New York, comes to the rescue of longing-to-be-pampered men everywhere with their naturally-good-for-you line of men’s shaving and skincare products. Pre-shave oils, shaving creams and after-shave balms are uniquely formulated with essential oils (peppermint, lemon, lavender and sandalwood to name a few) specific to different types of skin, while masks, scrubs and facial treatments gives men’s skin the special attention it deserves.

One new product sure to come in handy after all those late-night holiday parties is the Art of Shaving Eye Gel. Formulated with the rare and precious Blue Chamomile essential oil containing azulene, a natural anti-inflammatory that is used for soothing under-eye skin and relieving puffiness. Horse chestnut extract banishes those pesky dark circles, while red marine algae promotes hydrated skin to minimize fine lines. Olive and jojoba oils work overtime to restore skin elasticity. While guys have the almost uncanny ability to grow more ruggedly handsome as they age, everyone could use a little help. With its old-school lettering and instantly tangible results, this is one product men won’t be embarrassed to have in their medicine cabinet.

BLACK SHEEP AND PRODIGAL SONS: A mammoth undertaking

Sean Kiely shows us how to bring out the beast in all of us

A blast from the past is now the sharpest tool in your grooming kit. Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons has released the limited edition Mammoth Razor. Carved from woolly mammoth ivory, this razor is truly one of a kind. With only 50 in production, this razor not only retains its historical value in his handle, but also in its blade. Vintage steel is used to produce the one-of-a kind creation, with each blade retaining the utmost quality and perfected by a master craftsman.

Another antique factor of this razor is its Stanhope lens. A recreation of the design of the 1700s, this biconvex lens magnifies a secret, microscopic image within the handle of the razor. The Mammoth Razor comes packaged in a solid wood casing and a black linen sleeve, with Renaissance Wax to be applied when the ivory needs a wax and shine. Providing an alternative to poached ivory, the Mammoth Razor is a considerate product, which protects the framework of our wildlife and is made of a luxurious, cruelty-free material.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lush: Spring Fever

Jennifer Christopher springs to it

Perfect for Spring, Lush’s new Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes kit helps you customize your skin, body and haircare products, to create a whole new you — a whole lot easier than logging in time at the gym! Each kit includes your choice of shampoo bar, cleanser and facial moisturizer. This bod-beautifying kit also houses samples of the brand’s Lemony Flutter cuticle butter, Handy Gurugu hand lotion, Fair Trade foot lotion, Vitamin C toner tab, massage bars in Peach and “Two’s a Pair,” and Sugar Scrub.

With natural ingredients and heavenly scents, not to mention witty product names, you’ll be transformed every time you step into the shower. The only question is, will you start with your head, shoulders, knees or toes?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TM COLLECTION: Inspired fashion

Fiona McCoss gives us the low down on high fashion

TM is a Portuguese founded fashion label, born in 2003. Their culturally inspired collections are famous for being ethnically breathtaking; featuring the signature underlying theme of naturalness, individuality and the beauty of creativity. Produced (under strict supervision), TM ensures garments are of a quirky uniqueness and stunning simplicity.

“Folding Emotions,” one collection, brings to mind far eastern, oriental-style dress with its billowing silks and floral patterned, loose jackets. Obi kimono sashes are widely encompassed, too, jazzing up the outfits with a modern take, uniting East with West seamlessly. Deep reds, silvers and sky blues give an appearance of elaborate exquisiteness, complimenting the delicate and soft tones and shapes.

“Spirits Speak,” their other collection, is inspired by a more tribal, African theme. The collection, of reds, yellows, bronze and browns – typically earthy tones – is amalgamated into a series of wonderful, patchwork dresses, woven bags and chunky beaded necklaces. With the same light, and airy feel that “Folded Emotions” evokes, this raw and natural collection comes with little details like snakeskin effect and dried-earth patterns to continue the fashionably wild look.

With shops all over the world, it’s a line you’ll want to see, naturally.

Monday, April 5, 2010

From the bookshelf: ...Isms: Understanding Fashion

Angela Gilltrap brings us the best in fashion reads

A pocket-sized guide for fashion aficionados, ..Isms: Understanding Fashion, is a must have for those who like to go beyond the trends, to the heart of fashion.

In order to predict the future one must look to the past — the history, personalities and craftsmenship that have paved the way to where we are now. And this little gem is the perfect starting point for understanding fashion in all its glorious forms.
Fashion historian, Mairi Mackenzie, author of this slim and information packed volume, escorts you through the many periods of fashion — from the Empire-style Neoclassicism of the 18th century to Japanese Avant-Gardeism.

Discover what has influenced the styles we love (and those we love to hate).

With five centuries of fashion in one book — including a glossary of designers, useful terms and a charted chronology of “Isms” — this is a must for any lover of fashion.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Armani Dolci: Fashion Eats

I'm not the only one who believes in the three fashion food groups — caffeine, champagne and chocolate. This year Armani Dolci has released it's own little Easter delight. Featuring a large letter "A" and packaged to impress, this exclusive range of chocolate Easter eggs are available from the Giorgio Armani flagship store on 5th Avenue.

Forget the Easter bonnet, take these to your long weekend soiree and you'll be the belle of the ball.

Text: Angela Gilltrap