Easy Breezy

Of all the muses fashion has tapped over the years, Bob Marley is not at the top of the list – at least not for a womenswear label. But the revered reggae star is responsible for at least the name of one fashion brand: Johnny Was, inspired by the eponymous track on Marley’s 1976 album Rastaman Vibration. In 1987, the Los Angeles-based label was founded by Eli Levite, who had played that infectious song, a favourite of his children, so many times he cemented the lyric “Johnny was a good man” into his consciousness. While not going as far as designing clothes in Rasta colours, Johnny Was does favour vintage and bohemian looks that reflect the artsy Californian beach lifestyle. It’s an antidote to fast fashion.

“The embroidery, the prints and the colour combinations are quite different from any other brands I have seen,” says Marilyn McLaughlan, owner of New Zealand fashion retailer Kimberleys. McLaughlan says she is proud to be the only one distributing the brand in New Zealand. “I was in Paris checking out the stands at Tranoï [the international fashion trade show],” she explains. “It was very crowded, with a huge number of designer stands, but to me this one stood out. I approached them to buy exclusively for New Zealand and I haven’t regretted that decision. And that was seven years ago! I still love it that much.” The Johnny Was woman is confident and free-spirited, McLaughlan adds, whether she’s dressing up, jet-setting around the globe or just walking out of the surf. “Each piece can be worn in many ways, from beach to dinner. It’s all in the styling.”

The Johnny Was brand falls into six collections: Johnny Was, JWLA, 3J Workshop, Biya, Pete & Greta and 4 Love & Liberty, all helmed by designer Biya Ramar with the exception of 4 Love & Liberty, a project of Christy Whitley. Each aesthetic is distinct but united by beautiful fabrics such as silk, voile and velvet as well as embellishments of lace, embroidery and beading, done in a vintage, beatnik style.

Although her fashion business, now with 13 stores in five cities around the country, deals in several international and homegrown clothing brands – including her own labels Episode, Marilyn Seyb, Marilyn Seyb Jeune and Marilyn Seyb Glamour – McLaughlan says Johnny Was will always occupy a special place in her heart. “I can’t help myself. I have so many pieces,” she laughs. “I think my new favourite will be the divine silk print I just saw in the Los Angeles showrooms. I can’t wait until delivery in 2016.”

Summer Beauty Secrets


While vitamin D deficiency is a growing health concern in the Western world, cosmetic chemist Ray Townsend, one of the brains behind Joyce Blok formulations, says you don’t need much sun exposure on a daily basis to get enough vitamin D. “I don’t think sunscreen is our problem; it’s our lifestyle, exacerbated by us spending more time indoors,” Townsend says. The issue surrounding the impact sunscreen has on the body’s ability to produce vitamin D is a contentious one, however the World Health Organization agrees with Townsend’s recommendation of five to 15 minutes of casual sun exposure to hands, face and arms two to three times a week. In countries where UV levels are higher, such as New Zealand and Australia, shorter periods of exposure are sufficient. Cancer Council Australia makes similar recommendations but suggests sun exposure in summer on either side of the UV peak time (before 10am and after 4pm).   


Sunscreen doesn’t block all UV rays, which is why correct application is crucial. The Cancer Council of Australia believes most people don’t apply enough sunscreen, resulting in only 50 to 80 per cent of the protection stated on the product. To protect your skin you need to be liberal with the amount of sunscreen you’re using; apply a teaspoon of sunscreen per limb – the equivalent of seven teaspoons for an average-sized adult. Townsend believes one of the biggest misconceptions surrounding sunscreen is how we think about reapplication. “Reapplying every two hours doesn’t mean you can stay in the sun all day,” he says. Townsend goes on to explain that reapplying sunscreen only replaces product that’s lost through perspiring or contact with water. “It’s really important to not think of reapplication as giving you more time in the sun,” he says. Townsend simplifies the way we should think about reapplying sunscreen by comparing it to using an oven to cook a roast dinner. “If you’re cooking a roast dinner and it says leave in for three hours, if you take it out after 1.5 hours do you then put it back in for 1.5 hours or another three hours?” he asks. “If you have sunscreen on and 300 minutes is your limit before you get burnt, reapplying your sunscreen isn’t going to extend your burn time.”


Solar D Active Spray ($19.95) prevents sun damage while allowing enough UVB rays through for your body to produce vitamin D naturally.

Cancer Council’s Sport Foam Spray Sunscrean SPF50+ ($18.45) delivers high protection while staying sweat-resistant and quick-drying.

With a light texture and matt finish, Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Face Sunscreen  ($22.99) is a liquid lotion with a high SPF (50+). The Cetaphil Suntivity SPF50+ Foaming Spray ($12.99) is fragrance free and non-greasy – ideal for sensitive skin.

ClarinsSunscreen Control Cream for Face ($35) delivers SPF50+ coverage while moisturising and preventing sun-induced age spots.


The aloe vera in Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm With Aloe ($39) reduces peeling, repairs damage from UV rays and calms skin instantly on application. Infused with chamomile, calendula and avocado, Natio Aloe & Cucumber After Sun Lotion is a refreshing way to calm skin ($12.95). The Germaine de Capuccini Icy Pleasures Body After Sun Hydro Protection ($73) instantly cools the skin after sun exposure and protects against progressive UV damage for 24 hours.


Take a lighter approach to make-up and swap out your regular foundation for La Mer Reparative Tint ($125).Formulated with La Mer’s famous Miracle Broth, the skin tint instantly perfects complexions and reduces the signs of ageing over time.

There’s not much Chanel CC Cream ($72) can’t do – it protects, corrects, soothes, moisturises and perfects.Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Mineral Tinted Moisturizer ($62) is infused with microlight minerals and antioxidants to keep skin radiant.

Bobbi Brown’s CC Cream SPF30+ ($61) provides a blend of colour-correcting coverage and high-performance treatment benefits in one easy step for healthy-looking,
even-toned skin. 

Flaunt a flawless complexion no matter where you’re headed this summer by popping Shiseido UV Protective Stick Foundation ($48) into your beach bag.

Keep skin protected and build up a sun-kissed glow with multi-tasking Lancôme Soleil Bronzer SPF50 BB Cream ($65).

Estée Lauder Double Wear All Day Glow BB Moisture Makeup ($50) brightens, perfects and evens while offering
SPF30 coverage.


Lather your body with Clinique Self Sun Body Tinted Lotion ($39), slip on a tanning mitt and massage for bronzed skin. Bobbi Brown All Over Bronzing Gel ($50) comes with the added benefit of SPF15 to protect your skin from the sun. A handful of natural ingredients in Jurlique Sunless Tanner ($45) create an even golden glow while keeping skin hydrated. Cocoa Brown’s 1-Hour Tan Mousse ($19.95) is a great way to enhance your colour at the last minute. The microbeads in Mister Radiant ($58) burst upon skin contact to give buildable colour.

Oil and shimmer free, The Body Shop Honey Bronze Leg Mist ($34.95) creates tanned-looking legs in seconds. Ella Bache’s Great Tanning range (from $38) delivers a natural-looking tan that won’t smudge, streak or smell – or turn your skin orange. Apply St. Tropez In Shower Gradual Tan Lotion ($39.99) while showering and rinse off after three minutes for a natural bronze hue.

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