FREE|STYLE: Zambesi Eyewear, Fashion Week VIP reveal

Editor-at-large Julie Roulston brings FashioNZ readers the very best from her fashion beat, each week…



Zambesi founders Neville and Liz Findlay and their daughter Marissa (centre)

image c/- The A-List


Zambesi Eyewear was the only fashion place to be in (Auckland) town last week.  Gilda Kirkpatrick’s Rascals agency handled the 300-strong invitation list.  The Wednesday evening event took place at Britomart’s Australis house, which has already housed high glamour events like Cloudy Bay Wines’ ‘First of the Season’ and Showroom 22’s Blue Sky show/10th anniversary bash.

You’ve probably already seen the numerous great photobooth/smartphone/photographer pics – sheet wrapped, eyewear-sporting models (with hair by Stephen Marr and makeup by M.A.C.) were installed at the back of the venue on a large white bed adorned with ZAMBESI branded pillowcases.  At the other end of the room, guests could try on the sunglasses and opticals and work them in the photobooth.


Zambesi designer Dayne Johnston and Anouk Rondel

image c/- Zambesi on Facebook


Yes, the crowd wore black – but each in their own way, and with styling that truly stood out for its unselfconscious creativity (I loved the very trim older woman in the feathered cloque).  Speeches were short, drinks and canapes abundant and the Zambesi team must have cloned themselves – seemed like everyone got warm, welcoming facetime.

The eyewear itself has been developed in collaboration with Australian based eyewear designer and optician Joshua Matta, who initially approached the brand two years ago.  “The designs are mildly masculine, consisting of classic and contemporary shapes that are understated, yet highlighted with unique details such as mismatched ice blue and revo blue mirrored lenses. Standout pieces include the unisex square Aeronaut and Zambesi’s unique circular take on the wayfarer,” says the official literature.






Space Cadet


The glasses retail between $495 and $650, and in addition to their stylish design and branding, here’s why:  “the collection are made in Japan, taking up to five months to perfect. Integral to each frame is the use of premium Japanese acetate, which involves a six week method of ‘tumbling’ to ensure a lustre that is unparalleled. The frames are fitted with high quality Japanese compound resin lenses which are organic and hand dyed to ensure crystal clear vision.  All hinging is hand riveted with quality stainless steel while the Aeronaut is fitted with high grade spring hinges.”


US photographer/blogger Mark Hunter from is the latest NZFW VIP international to be revealed.



image c/- Cobrasnake on Facebook

In charmingly West Coast fashion, Cobrasnake describes itself as “a photographic window into the most exclusive events around the world; (whose) content shapes pop culture.”  Hunter has 52,077 twitter followers which puts him in a similar twitter league to Facehunter/Yvan Rodic.  He’s credited with introducing a slightly debauched style of party photography which has since seen many imitators.  He’s also credited with discovering and architecting the fame of internet ‘it girl’ Cory Kennedy.


Cory Kennedy

image c/- Nylon on MySpace

Hunter will be posting on NZFW designers on daily, as well as covering the Wrap Party and Fashion Weekend.

Huffer’s Steve Dunstan worked with Hunter on his label’s SS 12|13 campaign, shot in LA recently – “we like to use LA for the contrast between the grime and the glitter of Hollywood,” Dunstan says. Ex-pat NZ stylist Zara Mirkin had been doing a lot of work with Hunter and suggested him to the Huffer team – who, from what they already know of the photographer, were keen.  “He’s so chilled out and easy to work with,” says Dunstan, “his style of photography really suited our campaign at the time.”

Dunstan says that there is a massive online awareness of Cobrasnake through all sorts of Social Media channels.  “He’s a great addition to Fashion Week for a more relevant, useful market – more at a creative street level” says the designer.  He hastens to add, though, that Hunter has worked on some high fashion projects – he’s shot editorial for GQ UK and Nylon and campaign for Lacoste, among others.


FashioNZ’s New Zealand Fashion Week photographer Sam Lee shot dozens of beautiful model pics at Sunday 5th’s Model Casting, and Clyne booker Ursula Dixon told FashioNZ about the big stories in NZ runway casting – see ‘em/read it HERE.

-Julie Roulston

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