Thursday, August 28, 2008

Optimal Option

Health and well being can be a subjective thing and whilst we have long held the belief that a balanced diet and exercise are the foundation of a sound mind and body, we have also been open to the concept of dietary supplements. A plethora of products are now jostling for space on the shelves of health shops, chemists and supermarkets around the world. But how many of these products are really that good for you? How many make any sort of significant difference or, to put it bluntly, are worth the sometimes exorbitant price you pay for them?

Thus when we were given the opportunity to try out the Mannatech Optimal Health range it's fair to say that whilst we weren't exactly sceptical, we weren't yet convinced. We've now finished all four bottles and the verdict is straightforward; we want more please sir.

The company's strapline is "enriching the quality of life" and that's a fair description of the products here, used in tandem, on a daily basis. The company's core product, the patent-no-longer-pending Ambrotose is basically a blend of specific sources of plant saccharides that provides support for the immune system. The Ambrotose AO product pictured above takes this a step further and combines a series of antioxidants with the Ambrotose foundation and when it comes to dietary supplements, antioxidants are king.

The PLUS caplets provide endocrine support i.e healthy glands - an essential part of optimal health. Components wild yam, amino acids and beta-sitosterol are simply nutrients that help support your endocrine system.

Of all of the products we wondered if PhytoMatrix (patent-pending) was the most effective. The mix of natural vitamins, plant-sourced minerals and standardised phytochemicals certainly provided mind and body with an extra zing and is preferable in construct to other supplements formulated with synthetic chemicals.

Last but not least, the Gl Pro kept the old digestive system running smoothly. The product contains microscopic lifeforms or bacteria, known as probiotics. These miniscule creatures break down food and process waste. Welcome on board little guys!

Another of Mannatech's philosophys is Intelligent Supplementation and that kind of sums up how the products make you feel. Switched on body and mind.

Stockist information: New Zealand 1300 361 878 – ask for ‘business development’

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Digitalism video still

Collider. It sits somewhere between gliders and collision, or perhaps, collaboration. It was recently brought to our attention that Andrew van der Westhuyzen, co-head honcho of Sydney creative collective Collider (and yes, that was an unexpectedly challenging mouthful of alliteration) would be speaking at the Semi-Permanent design symposium in Auckland. A hothouse of commerically-sustained artistic projects, Collider is quite simply a good idea factory. Full interview and profile in Issue 9.

Top Ten Indie Tunes At Black HQ This Week

1. Pop Levi - Dita Dimone - stylish fat groove from Ladytron's Scouser bassman, love the vocal and his style [see above] borders on consummate
2. Jim Noir - Happy Day Today - another stylish Pom (so many of them!) this chap, real name Alan Roberts popped out the very tidy Jim Noir self-titled album in April this year. His production is somewhere between Phil Spector and ELO but the music is better than that.
3.Bat For Lashes - What's A Girl To Do? - Born in Pakistan in 1979, Natasha Khan studied film and music and suggests her debut album Fur & Gold was inspired by dreams of black horses and Joan Of Arc
4. Chad VanGaalen - Willow Tree - sitting prettily on a bed of plucky banjo this lovely ditty echoes other Canadians in (a wistful) Arcade Fire or the vocal theatrics of Antony & The Johnsons but we like it more than recent efforts by those two at least.
5. Computer vs. Banjo - Give Up On Ghosts - not very computerish at all but maybe a little bit banjo, this would sound good down the barn stomp at 5am.
6. of Montreal - Id Engager - catchy pop electro disco, the type that is everywhere at the moment but the nobbly little bassline from these Georgia, USA natives makes hard to put down.
7. Sunny Day Sets Fire - Lack Of View - that could be the best band name in years although there was a legendary Maori guitraist who probably wouldn't agree. This is a cute tune for the Hong Kong/Italian duo out on Brikabrak Records. Nice all round.
8. Ida Maria - Louie - Ida (below) is Norwegian, so yes; poppy, bouncy, bright. Fun.

9. Santogold, Pharrell Williams & Julian Casablancas - My Drive Thru - the latter does most of the vox I am guessing but just like Ida Marie, it's catchy as...
10. The Late Greats - He's Not It - super nice guitar sounds and a super catchy hook from the table-tennis loving English-that-sound-somehow-American band.

Vision On - Wella Trend Vision 2008

Gold Young Visionary 2008, Jason Chong Li, Stephen Marr, Newmarket

The Wella Trend Vision Awards is an annual award that matches the creativity, vision and skill of some New Zealand's top stylists with the Wella trends of the season - Couture Allure, Fashion Lyrics, Mineral Slendour and Wonderland being the trends of choice for 2008. Contestants are required to interpret the trends, submit an editorial quality image of their work and recreate the look at the Wella studios last Sunday to then present to the judges and award attendees that night. Judges Fiona Hawtin (Fashion Quarterly), Caroline Barron (Nova), Amber Dreardon (M.A.C) and Cathy Davis (Cathy Davis Hair & Spa Salon) had to oversee two sections; Master Visionary (over 30) and Young Visionary (under 30) and choose a Gold, Silver and Bronze in each category. And the winners are:

Master Visionary:

Gold: Stephanie Hosking, Toni & Guy, Newmarket
Silver: Miguel Lledo, Vada
Bronze: Tiffany Jane Clarke, Maelstrom Hairdressing

Young Visionary:

Gold: Jason Chong Li, Stephen Marr Skin & Body, Newmarket
Silver: Danielle Falconer, Dharma
Bronze: Yoshi Chung-Yang Su, Buoy

A speechless Jason Chong Li, whose work judge Cathy Davis said "encompassed everything we were looking for and more" will soon be winging his way to Lisbon, Portugal to compete in the International Trend Vision Awards. That event, however, may leave him speechless too as he will have to perform live against 72 other contestants in front of 3,500 people.
Silver Young Visionary, Danielle Falconer, Dharma

Gold Master Visionary award winner Stephanie Hosking was equally surprised about her gong suggesting that she was happy to be a finalist prior to thinking she must have made second with her winning creation which was 'inspired by a stint working in steel construction in Scandanavia." Her prize? A trip to London no less.

Congrats to all of the winners at another Wella winner, the 2008 Wella Trend Vision Awards.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gold! Gold! Andrew! Andrew! Fro! Fro! Medal! Medal!

Issue 3 of Black Magazine we featured these guys Andrew Andrew for their clever Nu Yorican art antics. They've gone on from there to this piece of umm, blip funk:

... as commercial, yet arty farty artists they know no boundaries, only two-tone yellowness for M.A.C Gold Fever, complimented by square fro's in undeniable haute trackiness...groovy, groovy...

This Charming Man wishes to seduce This Sensual and Beautiful Woman

Opium by Yves Saint Laurent is quite simply one of the great fragrances of recent times and most likely the first scent to come to mind when thinking of the Far East. How fitting then, as we are bathed in all things oriental and immersed in the red and golden hues of Olympic China's dragion, that we find ourselves revisiting this classic parfum in it's newest incantation, Opium and Opium pour Homme, Eau d'Orient 2008.
The passionate scents are again housed in the classic Opium bottle which this time carries graduated shading, calligraphy and poetic lines from the oldest known collection of Chinese poetry, The Book Of Odes - a tome dating back some four thousand years and containing over 300 odes, poems and hymns:

She: "This sensual and beautiful woman"

He: "A charming man wishes to seduce her"

Straight forward yet sensual, both scents are from the 'Oriental Fresh' family. Opium Eau D'Orient (women's) features top notes of mandarin and Calabrian Chinotto, middle notes of Chinese magnolia, star jasmine and myrrh and bottom notes of vanilla, patchouli and amber. Exotic, erotic, Eastern. The Opium pour Homme Eau D'Orient features top notes of grapefruit, star anise, bergamot, middle notes of fresh ginger, white pepper and nutmeg and bottom notes of vetiver, Morrocan amber and sandalwood.

YSL define the seductive bottles and scent as "the Calligraphy of Desire." Sensual, seductive, desirous...the Opium of the Orient and worthy we're sure, of a gold medal.

It's Sunny In Them Thar Hills...

Ok. So The Hills reality TV star Lauren Conrad worked for Teen Vogue and shock horror, made the quite outrageous move from Laguna Beach to the Hills, but the ubiquitous MTV starlet clearly has some fashion sense despite some of her friends looking like fried bananas or teenage Playboy bunnies. She is regularly, nay, daily it seems, snapped in a pair of Karen Walker sunglasses, eyewear of choice for many a Hollywood star these days. As you can see in these pictures Lauren is decked out in not just any old KW specs but the re-issue of Karen's most successful sunglass ever, the Annie - inspired by the eccentricities of Diane Keaton's Annie Hall.

Apparently in the new season due to launch on US TV this week Lauren struggles to balance the rising tensions between her room mates - it's a cauldron in there! Lauren, of course, will be suitably attired in chilled out KWs and is sure to handle the heat...

The Silo's BARE Aagain

Leading Auckland theatre company, Silo, are about to revisit the play that catipulted the company into the limelight. Bare, the seminal Toa Fraser production which launched the careers of Fraser, Madeline Sami and Ian Hughes in 1998 is getting a rework from master director Oliver Driver. The play which features two actors, but fifteen charcters, will showcase the talents of two talented newcomers from another quality Silo creation The Ensemble Project. Morgana O'Reilly (NZ Listener and Metro Magazine Emerging Actress 2007 and familiar to many from recent aprearances in The Jackie Brown Diaries) and the equally-likely-to-win-awards Curtis Vowell will bring a certain 'freshness' to this iconic piece of NZ theatre. The play is described as Auckland's answer to Woody Allen's Manhattan and features a broad range of interesting AK types - from buff gymsters, Fijian patriachs and wanton street kids to chain-smoking divorcees. In the re-staging of the play Driver has opted for the construct of the theatre pantheon (or perhaps just the green room) as a metaphor for life - the stage littered with theatre detritus from water cooler to office notice board. Delivered in a tag-team style of collected story-telling, the actors transport us to lunch rooms, kitchens and candy bars around the city in a radical rework of the original production, which the company says "will enable those who have seen the original work to reconsider it". The production will also tour to Hamilton, Wellington and Nelson after Auckland.

Bare by Toa Fraser
October 8-18, 2008
Herald Theatre, THE EDGE
Mon & Tues @ 7pm;Wed-Sat @ 8pm
Bookings: THE EDGE Ticketing on 0800 BUY TICKETS or

Written by TOA FRASER
Designed by JEREMY FERN

Ciao Baby, You're Under Arrest

Only in Italy! It seems the ruling Berlusconi Government has become a little paranoid about what it forsees as 'security threats' and is giving mayors of Italy's numerous regions and towns carte blanche to create their own 'security laws'. Italians have always been known for their flair, creativity and sense of fun so it is a little humourous to read about the veritable giant pizza of new laws that have already been introduced to basically control, Planning to sun yourself on Olba Beach, Sardinia? Fine, just don't light up a fag or you're coming down the nick to be slapt with a 360 Euro fine. All kids must be muzzled and staked to the ground on beaches in Eraclea near Venice as those dastardly, extremely dangerous sandcastles are now banned for fear that they may 'obstruct the passage along the beach'. Scarily, it is now also illegal to wander away from most beaches in your bikini or shudder the thought, budgie smugglers - again, the cops will shackle you. Sophia Loren and Gina Lollabrigida will be shaking in their towelling two pieces. It is not just the beach though where casual humans risk the wrath of the fun police. Parks are dangerous too. In the city of Novara, two people can sit on a park bench and canoodle but if a third joins them, and it's after 11pm, all three of them are suddenly breaking the law. No worries in Viareggio though, as many people as can fit on a park bench are able to do so, of them puts their foot on said park bench - resulting in an instant fine. Worst of all bag ladies and bird lovers, those most dangerous of citizens, are no longer able to feed the pigeons in the city of Lucca or they could end up hundreds of euros poorer. The good news is that in true Italian style many of the new laws will probably never be enforced, they're just there to show that something has been done to address the 'security issues' but woe betide the pigeon-loving threesome having a smoke on the park bench, having wandered up from the beach in their togs!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Accumulating Cummulus

Cloud Cult. What a good idea. Clouds are special, clouds are unique, clouds are us...more than that, they're a nice vox and keys band with loads of puffy soft sounds and precipitation! Feel Good Ghosts (Tea Partying Through Tornadoes) 2008 " out now

Great, Great Songs Number 5

Creep, by Radiohead, 1992.

Karen Souza's recent paean, a cover to end all covers, has only really been eclipsed by The Cure's panegyric cover of this truly great song, which let's be honest, was pretty much another cover to end all covers. So why so much musical greatness? The original is quite simply truly great to start with. Guitars, angst, bass, vocals, angst, drums, pop. Song. Interestingly Thom Yorke, the original Creep, may have been in a band called Headless Chickens at the time the song transmorgified into musical shape. Here's what Wikipedia says about the possibility:

Jump to: navigation, search

The Headless Chickens were a five-piece melodic punk band from Exeter, England, comprising at various times Thom Yorke (guitar and vocals), Simon "sHack" Shackleton (bass and vocals), John Matthias (violin), Laura Forrest-Hay (violin), Martin Brooks (drums), Andy Hills (bass) and Lindsey Moore (drums), they were well known on the Exeter punk scene in 1989. In June 1989 they released their first single, "I Don't Want To Go To Woodstock", on the Hometown Atrocities EP, along with tracks from three other bands. This is believed to be Thom Yorke's first ever released recording, on which plays lead guitar and sings backing vocals.

The Headless Chickens performed to packed out houses in and around Exeter during this period, including highly acclaimed solo shows and supporting acts such as Eat and De La Soul.

Their "poly-sensual" shows often involved avant-garde visual experimentation, with the occasional bizarre act of total nudity.

While he was in Headless Chickens, Thom Yorke's earlier band, "On A Friday", was mostly in a state of suspended animation; after he left Exeter, On A Friday restarted, eventually becoming Radiohead. Headless Chickens mutated into the techno-influenced Flickernoise (led by "sHack") who later changed their name to Lunatic Calm in 1996.

Mutated indeed...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Know How, Can Do, Well Done....

When Louis Vuitton, the world's leading artisan of luxury travel goods launched it's Tambour line of watches in 2002, fans of horology around the globe sat up and took note. The strength, character and volume of the original Tambour line was supplemented by the release of the original "Tambour Monogram" Tourbillon in 2004, a classic concept that further suggested Louis Vuitton as a watchmaker, was here to stay. We eagerly featured a number of the Tambour range in our Issue 3, Time Is Now shoot so it was with considerable excitement that we arrived at the Louis Vuitton V.I.P room to view the new seasons watches yesterday. We were warmly welcolmed by the knowledgable and endearing Alain Huy, Senior Merchandising Manager, Watches & Jewellery, Louis Vuitton Asia Pacific and the equally hospitable and endearing Jimmy Peh, Assistant Public Relations Manager, Watches & Jewellery, L.V.A.P. From presentation to packaging, it is impossible to ignore the breadth of Louis Vuitton style.

The Louis Vuitton Auckland store is one of the first in the Asia Pacific region to feature a specialised watch area so it is apt that the store is also about to offer the full range of fabulous new LV timepieces from September through to Christmas. There are two new Tambour lines:

The "Tambour in Black" LV277 or "Black Force" (top) is a digital analog chronograph, the first of which was launched in 2006. Using the prestigious LV277 movement, "Black Force" is our kind of watch. Set in a 44mm 'black steel' case, this isn't just any old housing, the darkened steel being up to four times more resistant than classic steel. Nice and black, nice and strong.

The "Tambour Silver Dust" GMT automatic watch, is a travel watch fitted with a sparkling "silver dust" dial and featuring anti-reflection sapphire glass. The Silver Dust is a refined timepiece, both functional and aesthetic.
Marc Jacobs, Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton is bringing a real sense of quality and style to the table with the "Emprise" collection (above}. Jacobs, in his inimitable sense of interpretative style has referenced the company's functional history and authentic tradition as a luggage-maker by including distinctive elements of that history to the range. Historic symbols such as the latches, corners and riveting on the classic Vuitton trunk are paraphrased ingeniously throughout the Emprise range, then again we'd expect nothing less from the fashion genius.

Now, we are pretty sure there are a bunch of Russian Oligarchs reading this right now, sitting in their expansive holiday homes on the Cote D'Azur digging the BlackLOG updates so the next watch will be of particular interest to you as the starting price is $165,000 Euro.
The new "Tambour Monogram" Tourbillon (above) is literally a 'made to order' masterpiece. The opportunity exists to personalise and create a timepiece that is as much you, as it is Louis Vuitton. From concept to delivery, the customer is included in the process, even being flown to the Swiss home of Louis Vuitton watches to immerse themselves in the process. The intricate, see-through and highly unique watch is very rare and so special that only half a dozen can be made each year. Roman Abramovich, perhaps you could dial one up now...

Alain started the morning with a video of the watch creation process in Switzerland and it was enlightening - and pleasing - to see that it is still very much one of craftmanship, detail and ubiquitous human touch. Thanks to Alain and Jimmy for the inspirational insight into the world of "Haute Horologie." Keep an eye out for the very cute Christmas range on offer too...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hot Buttered Legend

Is it Soul Men or Dead Men? What, with Isaac Hayes passing out on (or near) the treadmill yesterday, Bernie Mac passing on full-stop a few days back and Morgan Freeman nearly taking himself and the local bridge out, one has to wonder who is next from the Black, Old and Cool mafia. Both Hayes and Bernie Mac starred in Soul Men with the legendary chrome dome Hayes playing his High Priest Of Soul self. Although it is more than likely simply a coincidence, it does seem strange that all three have either kicked the bucket or swerved to miss it within the space of a week. Hayes, is a legend of soul and disco and at 65 more than likely had a bit to offer yet. As a seminal and foundation musician on the legendary Stax label, he broke plenty of ground when it needed breaking and with the release of Hot Buttered Soul (1969), Black Moses (1971) and the subsequent Shaft (1971) made huge statements about what it meant to be an urban black in a modern world that still resonate to this day. Hayes powerful singing style was quite simply strong, sexy, foundation rap music - although scarily - many kids these days only know him as Chef from South Park.

Who's the black private dick
That's a sex machine to all the chicks?
You're damn right

R.I.P Isaac Hayes.

The Sixth Scent

When we first got hold of Escentric 01 and Molecule 01, the two foundation scents from olfactory genius Geza Schoen, we weren't ready for the landslide of questions. "Excuse me, errm, what is that scent? Who's wearing..what are you wearing? Where did you get it? Where can I get it?" From bicycle couriers, shop girls and fashion models to middle-aged cafe owners and the odd aunty here and there, the questions kept on coming providing the wearer with a degree of satisfaction. Molecule 01 was a radical concept, a scent comprising basically only one element "ISO E Super", a foundation component of numerous everyday kitchen products and cleansers - not your average Paris fragrance lab where the piano is playing 1000 notes while scents bubble in gilded, golden vats component then! Nevertheless the aroma worked, and big time. So it is with much excitement that we anticipate the arrival of stage 2 of this fragrant success story. Just like Escentric 01 and Molecule 01, Escentric 02 and Molecule 02 are based upon a single ingredient with Escentric being the blended version and Molecule, the basic, indefinable radiance. However, this time rather than using ISO E Super as a base, the new range is founded upon ambroxan, an extract of the elusive, highly valuable ambergris.

To those who don't know, this fabulous raw material for the creation of perfumes is actually a discharge from sperm whales which tumbles around the ocean gathering strength of scent before washing up on the foreshore around the world. I know of people who have actually found the precious lumps, not too different in shape and size to pumice, whilst walking on the beach at Muriwai. Several thousand dollars later and they're now taking more beach walks than normal and carrying little knapsacks when they do. Unfortunately the outrageous cost of extraction from pure ambergris makes it impossible to include (in a perfume that most of us can afford) so Geza has once again put his thinking cap on and created a nature-identical aroma-molecule to mirror ambroxan, the best-smelling part of ambergris.

Escentric 02, adds vetiver and muscone, a lovely nature-identical musk to create a clear, clean scent that "dries down to something warm and sexy". We love it - and you can too - as we have two bottles of the precious scent to give away here on BlackLOG. They are available exclusively through Karen Walker in NZ at an RRP of NZ $215 per bottle, but you can be in with a chance to win simply by voting on our Great Fashion Photographers poll on the right hand sidebar of BlackLOG and then emailing with your choice or choices. Offer closes August 30 and we will draw the winners then.

Want: Chronicles of Never meets Graz

Gareth Moody's classically androgynous and absolutely essential Chronicles of Never range of apparel, jewellery, shoes and accessories has made a friend, and what an impressive friend it is. Graz Mulcahy has been called one of the eyewear world's most notorious arbiters of style, and he and Moody and have paired up to create CoN's immediately covetable debut eyewear range for Summer 08/09. Cleverly engineered from acetate and featuring oversized hinges and indestructible, scratch resistant lenses, they come in three unisex shapes and two colour/finish options of black and tortoise. They will be available in limited supply globally from next month, including a capsule collection at Barney's, New York.
As with many of Gareth’s creations, the only problem I foresee is choosing which ones, when and how many?

Friday, August 8, 2008


...very much liking this new image from the folks at Helen Cherry/Workshop. It's telling us about the new season's collections in store and whilst we've always been Champions Of The Cherrys, this stable of labels [shit I'm a poet and I didn't know it] is just getting stronger and stronger. Whilst Workshop, Workshop Denim and Helen Cherry is as strong as ever, there's some incredible new season Miu Miu, See By Chloe, Marc By Marc Jacobs and many more world class labels in store that make the Workshop retail experience undeniably one of the best in NZ.

Without a doubt, currently the cherry on top of the shopping cake.

Workshop Newmarket, 18 Morrow Street, Newmarket
Workshop, City, cnr Vulcan Lane and High Street

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Earth's Structural Secret

When we first spotted Gary Bigeni's Spring/Summer 2008/2009 collection its fair to say we were very impressed. In fact Fashion Director Rachael Churchward immediately responded with 'Beautiful. I need to get hold of this boy's work." The collection, inspired by the turning of the Earth and the ever-changing climatic conditions that we face, is indeed exciting for a new designer who up until recently was head designer for another talented Australian, Josh Goot. We love the panelling, pattern-making and subtle detail. Bigeni's signature look is identified by "his ability to create visual treats that are not comprimised by trends. Gary's penchant for silk jersey make his designs an art form that have their own clever structural secrets."

We couldn't agree more. He has attracted a fair bit of attention across the ditch too with legendary fashion guru Belinda Seper of The Corner Shop suggesting Bigeni is "the Australian Helmut Lang." Look out for a profile on Gary in the upcoming issue of Black Magazine.

Gary Bigeni is available in Australia at Belinda's Corner Shop, ELLE Boutique, Blood Orange and in New Zealand at Covet Design Gallery. Internationally he is stocked at Selfridges, CK Tang and American Rag.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

De-Mey Zing

After researching and writing our Aaron De Mey stories for Black Magazine and MiNDFOOD, we are even more amazed at the breadth and depth of this New Zealand make-up maestro's work. Here we feature just one of many covers...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Very Sociable, Very Good

Photo: Larnie Nicolson

Every now and again in Auckland, a new bar opens that has just about everything right; quality space and design, top wines, beers, spirits and cocktails available, good music, lighting that doesn't offend and above all else, quality bar staff and service. Ponsonby Social Club has these key elements in spades. The two Johnnys behind the bar are always onto it and offer alternative wines or beers as an option, the food is simple, it won't break the bank but goes nicely with the bar choices and it's really nice to get table service in a bar, rather than just in restaurants. Positioned next to Auckland's all time great SPQR, the location is pretty sweet too.

We often find ourselves there between 5pm and 7pm whereafter the place can get rammed.

Love Ponsonby Social Club and it's indoor/outdoor ambience? Well, yes we do...

152 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland