Meet Zambesi’s latest Zambassador

British model Mercy Brewer, 54, exited an 18-year retirement from the runway to walk for Zambesi at last night’s Marr Factory show at Golden Dawn, Auckland.

Pictured here backstage with fellow model Mary Maguet, Brewer said it was her first show in New Zealand. No doubt there will be many more, especially with New Zealand Fashion Week just around the corner.

Brewer, who modelled on the runways of London, Paris and Milan during the 1980s and 90s alongside Naomi Campbell and Helena Christensen, has been living in New Zealand for the past decade. She was recently spotted on the street by stylist Karen Inderblitzen-Waller who immediately introduced her to Unique Model Management which signed her up on the spot.

Brewer said she was “shocked” when Unique sent her to the Zambesi casting two weeks ago but “took the opportunity and went”.

“I used to work with Naomi Campbell, Karen Mulder, Helena Christensen and Kate Moss. They were the super models and then there were the jobbing models like myself that filled out the runways,” she said.

Brewer is Zambesi’s newest “Zambassador”. Casting for this show was all about the Zambesi team, family and “models the fashion brand likes working with”.


On the night well-known models including Ngahuia Williams walked alongside Zambesi staff members who had styled themselves. Zambesi photographer Marissa Findlay’s son Bruno, 5, also walked in the show with Findlay’s partner Ben, wearing a matching Liberty zodiac print.


The Liberty print was a focal point of the collection, executed in bomber jackets, shirts, skirts and caps. Zambesi collaborated with Liberty choosing the zodiac and a floral daisy print for its spring/summer 14 collection which are exclusive to the label in Australia and New Zealand. Liberty also printed the zodiac print on to a sweat shirting base especially for Zambesi.

Liberty floral

The collection had a sporty vibe with mesh-like knits, and sporty stripes created by bands of black and white elastic. There were also beautiful beaded tabard dresses which added shine.

Red lip

The beauty look for the show was based on Zambesi’s latest campaign make-up for spring/summer 14 – a strong punchy red lip and graphic smokey eye.

However, rather than providing a uniform look, national artist for M.A.C Cosmetics New Zealand Kiekie Stanners made sure each model had their own personal style.

“In keeping with the Zambesi family vibe to the show we wanted everyone to look like individual characters,” Stanners said. “The outfits they’ve chosen and styled themselves and we wanted them to keep their own personality when they’re walking too, so they’ve either got the lip or the eye but everything is really tailored so that they can be personalities.”

Key products used on the lips were M.A.C High Energy Pro Longwear Lip Pencil and Relentlessly Red Lipstick with Red Electric pigment pressed over the top of it. For the eyes Stanners used M.A.C Blacktrack Fluidline Carbon Eye Shadow and Smoulder Pencil “to create a really black smokey eye”.

Pictures by Olivia Hemus and Sam Lee

Star Wars style

Pedestrians on Ponsonby Road were privy to the odd sight of 25 models walking along the pavement wearing paper bags on their heads last night.

The models were en route from Stephen Marr’s hair studio to Golden Dawn for the second of this week’s Marr Factory spring/summer 14 shows by leading Dunedin fashion label NOM*d.

street walk

The paper bags were in keeping with NOM*d’s underground style, though the primary purpose of the bags was to protect the make-up if it rained as well as hiding the hair and make-up to maintain an element of surprise.


And what a surprise it was – a stylistic Stars Wars clique inspired by the fictional alien race the Hutts complete with mask-like make-up and galactic braids. Garments from NOM*d’s ‘No*Sense’ collection featured Star Wars icons with slogans like ‘Stay on the leader’ and many named after ‘Huttie’ characters and words.

star wars

“That’s where the name No*Sense came from because Hutties are very intelligent, they understand all languages but they choose to only speak their own,” NOM*d designer Margi Robertson said. “This is what the philosophy of NOM*d is, it really doesn’t matter what else is going on [in fashion]. We just choose to do our own thing, not really following trends but also setting some ideas.”

The presentation was a perfect melding of cult-tures – NOM*d and Hutt, while maintaining the essential elements of the NOM*d silhouette. “It’s important that the garments look NOM*d. We need to be really diligent as far as maintaining our signature look,” Robertson said.


Hair stylist Jason Chong Li of Stephen Marr described the look he created for the collection as “a little bit Star Wars, a little bit alien” and a “little bit weird”. “It’s not about making a girl look pretty,” he said.

Lead make-up artist Kiekie Stanners, national artist for M.A.C Cosmetics New Zealand, brought the Star Wars vibe to life by creating mask-like effect with make-up.


“We wanted it to look like it was stuck on as opposed to painted on make-up,” Stanners said. “The key product we used was M.A.C Full Coverage Foundation in white. By building that up on the skin and then layering it with a lot of invisible set powder it’s really flexible and long-wearing. It doesn’t crack or move too much.”

That’s not all. It also glowed in the dark too, which was revealed during the show’s finale when the lights went out.

We’re picking that many pieces from this collection will become collectors items, not just by fans of the label but also Hutties who are apparently out there, somewhere in the galaxy not too far, far away.

Main picture credit: Olivia Hemus