How to create a clean, crisp, contemporary space using Resene’s neutral palette

When filling your interior with modern accents and sculptural furnishings, be sure to lay the right foundations first. Here, as always, we turn to Resene’s vast and varied range to uncover the colour palette best suited to a clean, contemporary space. 

While bold, monochromatic colours are certainly having a moment in interiors, never underestimate the power of a simple, neutral palette. Able to brighten a low-lit space or breathe life back into any interior that needs it, using paint in these tones will not only bring a subtle depth and dimension to a space, but is the perfect way to lay foundations for contemporary interior details to shine.

Brokis Lightline Lamp
from ECC
LC1 Limited Edition Armchair
from Matisse
Bell Side Tables
from Matisse
Tom Dixon S-Chair
from Matisse

Here is an example of how Resene’s white and neutral shades can be strategically deployed to offer the kind of backdrop that will make your furniture stand out. Using a combination of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kinship on the main wall, Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Sea Fog on the back wall, and Resene Lustacryl Stepping Stone on the floor, stylist Amber Armitage has harnessed the power of Resene paint to expertly demonstrate the impact of a crisp, neutral palette in action.

Clean Canvas Resene
Kigi Table
from ecc
Stories of Italy
Tempo Goblets
from Faradays
Pumpkin Alcantara Floorstock
from Ligne Roset
Loewe Flamenco Clutch
from Faradays

In seeking to recreate this look at home, we suggest starting with tones like Resene Sea Fog, Tiri, Concrete and Half Tuna to create a space that is crisp, cool and contemporary.

Design

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Luxe Mock Sweater in Ice Blue

With chunky knits and custom colours, Elle & Riley’s new collection is a fresh take on winter cashmere

With conditions decidedly frosty, it is high time we gave our knitwear an overhaul, in order to prepare for the season ahead. It is, after all, the last few weeks before winter officially kicks off. So of course, it is to the cashmere queens at Elle & Riley that we turn first, able to rely on their collections that balance sleek style with luxurious, high-quality fabrics and always a few, fun twists.

Elle & Riley’s new Luxe collection has everything we need to combat winter’s wrath. Not only are many of the pieces in this collection limited edition (many made in custom-dyed colourways and exclusive yarns) but the brand has also introduced a slightly thicker, five-gauge knit to the fold, offering extreme comfort and warmth.

Inspired by the rich, natural landscapes of Aotearoa via tones like Butter Yellow, Ice Blue and Stone, Elle & Riley’s covetable new cashmere offers a fresh take on classic tropes. And while the vibrant notes are welcome, there is an underlying versatility here thanks to a core, tonal palette and the use of matching styles that allow for effortless layering with any kind of personal style.

Ribbed Cable Sweater with Pearl
from Elle + Riley
Luxe Mock Sweater
from Elle + Riley
Essential Cropped Cardigan
from Elle + Riley
Short Sleeve Cable Crew
from Elle + Riley
Essential Rib Crew Sweater
from Elle + Riley
Luxe Tee
from Elle + Riley
Luxe V Sweater
from Elle + Riley
Cashmere Ballet Sweater
from Elle + Riley
Relaxed Cashmere Cardigan
from Elle + Riley
Luxe Mock Sweater
from Elle + Riley

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Bar Non Solo

These are the best restaurants to book for a pre-show bite

With Auckland’s winter cultural calendar already in full swing, now feels like the perfect time for a date night or long-overdue catch-up. And what better way to do that than with dinner and a show? Here, we’ve compiled a discerning list of the restaurants doing pre-show dinner best — organised by proximity to your designated venue. (For these experiences, we’d recommend booking well in advance and, as a general courtesy, letting staff know if you have a tight turn-around ahead of time.)

Best Restaurants Near…

Spark Arena

As Britomart is only a short stroll away, your dinner and drink options before a show at Spark Arena are never limited. That said, we’ve sought out the favourites that foster a certain kind of experience, divine and delicious but never tedious if you’ve got somewhere to be.

Bar Non Solo

Bar Non Solo
Last month, Bar Non Solo unveiled its new Pre-Show Menu — perfect for those on their way to some kind of show (likely at the nearby Spark Arena). Available between 4pm and 7pm, for a mere $30, guests can dine on a selection of plates that includes marinated olives, whipped ricotta, seasonal arancini, cured meats and cheeses, and two delicious pizzas. It’s the perfect way to ensure you are satiated for an exciting night. Bookings for this experience are essential to ensure you arrive at Spark with plenty of time to spare.

Cafe Hanoi
In preparation of the upcoming season of lauded musical Hamilton at Spark Arena, Cafe Hanoi (only a quick walk from the venue) is extending its weekend dinner service. Alongside sister venues Ghost Street and Perch (both also in Britomart) the restaurant’s Signature Menu will be available from noon on Saturdays and 4pm on Sundays, allowing diners ample time to indulge ahead of the show.

Ortolana
This iconic restaurant is small but mighty. Offering a curated and concise menu, and an intimate, calm setting, Ortolana is one spot to which we always find ourselves returning for dinner in the Britomart precinct. With a pre-show dinner menu, the service is swift (if needed), and the fresh pasta is always divine.

SkyCity, Aotea Centre, Auckland Town Hall, The Civic & Q Theatre

Auckland’s undeniable hub of live music, theatre, comedy performances, film festivals and more, this mid-town region is home to some of the best venues in the city (and therefore home to some of the best performances, too). Cheap and cheerful options here are abundant, but if you seek a more sophisticated bite to eat, here’s where to go.

Culprit

Gusto At The Grand
This SkyCity stalwart was made for pre-show dining. Modern and unpretentious, yet undeniably delicious, the dedicated Pre-Show menu here comprises a concise edit of the restaurant’s best dishes. Offering two courses, with two plates each to share, the $49 menu is served between 5pm and 6pm throughout the weekend and evolves with the season.

Culprit
Culprit’s innovative culinary concept is perfect for a pre-show bite. The ever-changing menu comprises trolleys of snacks to share, warming the palate for the mains to come. We’d suggest letting the restaurant know of your show plans when booking, to ensure you arrive at the theatre on time.

Cassia
When a matinee performance comes around (is there a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?) set-menu lunches are essential to keep you satiated through the performance. Cassia’s iteration, which marks the restaurant’s new era under the SkyCity banner, is a delicious selection of the restaurant’s most loved dishes. With two starters, a choice of four mains and a sweet sorbet to finish, at $58 a head, this is serious value for money.

ASB Waterfront Theatre

Home to the Auckland Theatre Company and a burgeoning roster of up-and-coming talents, the ASB Waterfront Theatre is a familiar destination for any show-goer. With Viaduct Harbour and several sumptuous hotel restaurants on its doorstep, the hardest part is choosing where to go.

Left to right: Onemata & Somm Cellar Door & Bar

Somm Cellar Door & Bar
This recently-opened Foley Hospitality destination is a wine-focused experience, serving a seriously impressive selection from some of the country’s finest drops. The food here complements its beverage offering, with the Gavin Doyle-designed menu serving cheeses, charcuterie and pillowy pizzas alongside small plates to share; a pre-show dinner that will never leave you too full.

Esther
Found in the heart of Viaduct Harbour’s QT Hotel, Esther treats diners to the ultimate theatre-going experience with its Feasting Menu, a culinary concept that serves two- and three-course dinners. Best for larger groups (as you get more to taste that way) Sean Connolly’s menu is Mediterranean-inspired, with subtle nods to comforting, home-cooked fare.

Onemata
If you find yourself drawn to the theatre in the mid-to-late afternoon, Onemata’s Express Lunch menu is the only way to begin the experience. Two courses here are served for $55 per person, where guests can choose an entree or dessert alongside their main — a beautiful way to sample this restaurant’s exquisite cuisine. 

Your Favourite North Shore Theatres

Whether you’re heading to a show at Bruce Mason Theatre, or a more lowkey movie at the North Shore’s lauded boutique cinemas, these tried-and-true destinations always pull through.

Left to right: Tokki & Duo Eatery

Tokki
Perfect for a quick round of sharing plates (the famous flat noodles are essential) or the more indulgent seasonal house menu, Jason Kim’s Tokki is a masterclass in chic Korean dining. For a pre-show dinner, you’ll want to allow yourself some time for the set menu, so you can savour each bite.

Duo Eatery
This Birkenhead eatery is a quick five-minute drive from Bridgeway Cinema — the perfect pairing for a cosy night out. Duo’s dinner menu is an elevated take on its popular brunches, with dishes ideally suited for sharing. (The crispy eggplant, with ‘nduja dressing and buffalo curd is a personal favourite.)

The Engine Room
Serving some of the best cuisines on the northern side of the bridge, The Engine Room’s menu is iconic. Refined but unfussy, the vision here is to serve really, really good food and foster a certain kind of ambience to match. Best reserved for those special occasions, we’d recommend allowing yourself a little extra time to take it all in.

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Van Cleef & Arpels and The Australian Ballet present ‘Jewels’ — a masterpiece of exquisite proportions

Grace, beauty, culture and history are all qualities that encapsulate the unique appeal of both Van Cleef & Arpels and the time-honoured art of ballet. In fact, the connection between this historic jewellery Maison and dance dates back to the 1920s, when Louis Arpels would share his passion for the cultural pastime with his nephew Claude, taking him to Paris’ Opéra Garnier, a short walk from Van Cleef & Arpels’ boutique in the Place Vendôme (still the home of the brand today).

Ballerina Clip

In the 1940s, Louis commissioned the brand to create its first ballerina clips, exquisite depictions of elegant dancers rendered in precious metals and the kinds of jaw-dropping jewels for which Van Cleef & Arpels is so renowned. The clips captured the fluid movement of a tutu, or the poetic twirl of a dancer in motion, crafted in three dimensions to showcase a variety of gems and made to offer moments of whimsy and wonder.

Left to right: Albertine Ballerina Clip, Dulcinea Ballerina Clip & Cardinal Vert Ballerina Clip

Claude continued the tradition, and when he made the acquaintance of legendary choreographer George Balanchine in the 1960s, it deepened the connection between Van Cleef & Arpels and the world of dance in significant ways. Whether Balanchine was inspired by the Ballerina Clips he saw in the window of Van Cleef & Arpels’ New York store, or whether Claude Arpels had suggested the idea of a ballet to Balanchine directly, no one quite knows, but what eventually grew from the relationship was the ballet Jewels — a truly exquisite masterpiece that Balanchine created in three acts, each dedicated to a precious gemstone and the music of a composer: the emerald with Gabriel Fauré, the ruby with Igor Stravinsky and the diamond, with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Justine Ballerina Clip

Premiering in New York in 1967, Jewels is now considered one of the most significant works of the 20th Century, performed by renowned international companies like the Ballet de l’Opéra national de Paris, the Mariinsky Theatre Ballet in Saint Petersburg and the Royal Ballet in London. Only those deemed worthy (and capable enough) are allowed to take on such a significant work, and now, in honour of its milestone 60th anniversary, The Australian Ballet is the latest company to put its own interpretation on Jewels.

Carlota Ballerina Clip

Last week, I was flown by Van Cleef & Arpels to Sydney to witness the beauty of this piece, as performed by The Australian Ballet, and it was truly breathtaking. At a special dinner held before the performance, The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director, David Hallberg, explained how Balanchine’s choreography for each part of Jewels spoke to his experiences of living in Paris, New York and Russia — and watching it, you could feel the energy of each city weaving through every movement. The jazz influence of New York in rubies, the calm elegance of Paris in emeralds and the dramatic, emotive finale of diamonds, inspired by Imperial Russia.

The costumes were so exquisite, in fact, that at the beginning of each act, the audience would audibly gasp when the curtain rose to reveal the company, sparkling like the precious gems they were representing. And that, set against a soundtrack by some of the most lauded composers in history, married with Balanchine’s impressive choreography, made for an immersive experience that was as aurally arresting as it was visually spectacular, keeping us on the edge of our seats until the final curtain fell.

Despite the Sydney shows having ended last week, The Australian Ballet is now taking Jewels to Melbourne, where they will perform it at the Arts Centre Melbourne from the 29th of June to the 8th of July. They will then tour the show to London in August, where they will perform at the Royal Opera House. If you happen to be heading across the ditch or find yourself in London over those times, I highly recommend experiencing this seminal work for yourselves. Clearly, the relationship between Van Cleef & Arpels and international ballet companies is as strong today as when it was first established, and is as creatively fulfilling for both entities as it is for those of us lucky enough to experience the magic first-hand.

If you want to experience the beauty of Van Cleef & ArpelsBallerina Clips or indeed any of this brand’s lauded collections, visit the Auckland flagship boutique at 22-24 Queen Street.

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Hearty and wholesome, this dumpling soup recipe is the perfect winter warmer

A classic from kitchen whizz Miss Polly’s Kitchen, this warming broth is filled to the brim with umami flavours. Incorporating healthy vegetables, slurp-worthy noodles and convenient store-bought dumplings, this recipe can easily be tweaked to suit whatever fresh ingredients you might have on hand.

Dumpling Noodle Soup Recipe
Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
2 eggs
12 store-bought dumplings (pork and prawn recommended)
200g fresh egg noodles

Broth
2 tsp light olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, grated
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp of sesame oil
1 tbsp of miso paste
2 tbsp tomato paste
½ eggplant, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
10 button mushrooms, quartered
2.5 cups vegetable stock
2.5 cups of water
1 tbsp of mirin
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 ½ tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce

To serve
A handful of spinach, finely sliced
A sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds
1 spring onion, sliced

Method:
1. Prepare and chop the vegetables, ready for cooking.
2. Heat a large pot on medium heat and add a good splash of oil.
3. Using a zester, grate the garlic into the pot, add the chilli flakes followed by the sesame oil, miso paste and tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Now, add the eggplant to the paste mix and stir, ensuring the eggplant is covered with the paste and cook for a further 5 minutes.
5. At the same time, in another pot, bring water to the boil and add the eggs, cook for 6 minutes — once cooked, let them cool for a few minutes and carefully remove the shell.
6. Add the mushrooms to the large pot, mixing this with the eggplant for a minute.
7. Then add all of the remaining liquids — stock, water, mirin, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and fish sauce. Simmer for 12 minutes.
8. Toss the frozen dumplings into the broth and cook further 8 minutes.
9. Meanwhile, cook your noodles in a separate pot. Once cooked, drain and serve.

To serve: Place the raw zucchini in the bottom of the bowl with the finely sliced spinach, add the noodles and the dumplings with the vegetable broth. Slice your boiled egg in half to add to the bowl, then sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced spring onions.

Note: You can add any other vegetables that you have in the fridge, or substitute the dumplings for some prawns.

Gastronomy

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See how Emma Lewisham’s enhanced, natural Vitamin A alternative is 32% more effective than traditional retinol

When considering the essential skincare powerhouses we couldn’t be without, retinol always remains front of mind. A form of Vitamin A, retinol is an indispensable protagonist in skincare, adored for its ability to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone, as much as its contribution to a clear complexion. It is so effective, in fact, that we find ourselves constantly looking for ways that we can increase our skin’s intake, sourcing new and innovative formulations to ensure we maximise the benefits and reap the rewards.

Recently, Emma Lewisham, a brand that has long led the new frontier of innovative, natural skincare, released an independent biomedical research study to unveil the benefits of a plant-derived alternative to retinol, directly compared to its synthetic counterparts. Here, independent labs measured Emma Lewisham’s enhanced award-winning Supernatural Face Oil (formulated to achieve the same results as retinol) against a 1% synthetic retinol, which is considered a high over-the-counter-concentration in product formulations. Researchers found the Emma Lewisham oil to have 32% higher fibroblast proliferation (the process that makes collagen) than the retinol tested, alongside another leading brand. It was also proven to stimulate cellular collagen production, the building blocks of good skin. With this recent research — conducted here in New Zealand — Emma Lewisham’s entirely natural (but still highly nuanced) formulation has come out on top, an unsurprising result for those who have tried it.

Trinity Bioactives’ Director of Research, Dr Paul Davis, explains that the enhanced formula was the standout performer when it came to the biological processes that lead to collagen production and skin rejuvenation. “This is impressive and shows that Emma Lewisham’s formulating philosophy, which is rooted first and foremost in the physiology of the skin, demonstrates an ability to work with the skin to enhance its own bioactivity potential and achieve amplified results.”

Emma Lewisham Vitamin A

By boosting collagen production, promoting cell turnover, and reducing the activity of enzymes that break down collagen, Vitamin A has become an essential ingredient in our skincare routines. The ritualistic nature of its use helps to revitalise and enhance the overall health and look of the skin, allowing the formidable agent’s most loyal converts to tap into the confidence of an effervescent glow.

The Supernatural Face Oil itself, one of the foremost products in Emma Lewisham’s range, differs from traditional retinol in many facets. Formulated to imitate the effects without the harsh processes, it is a more nourishing and gentle product, which means that the skin can absorb the properties it needs without undue stress and irritation — and the abundance of complications that one faces when incorporating retinol into a routine for the first time. It allows flexibility in routine and virtually no necessary downtime, just an improved glow from the get-go.

The enhanced formula, comprised of 15 scientifically-backed ingredients, finds its strength in binding innovative chloroplasts with bakuchiol to create a powerful complex on the skin. The plant extract has garnered such notoriety for the retinol-like results on the skin by binding to the skin’s Vitamin A receptors and evoking a cellular response. Additionally, for those who need it, this plant-based Vitamin A oil is safe for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Soon-to-be and new mothers have often been left out of this skincare category at a time when they may need it the most, yet this natural formulation raises no cause for concern — whereas any chemically-derived counterparts should be avoided entirely.

So, while the efficacy of ‘natural’ and plant-derived ingredients has seemingly been up for debate, finally there is tangible, measurable proof that this approach to beauty is better. After all, with what we know about some skincare ingredients, wouldn’t we all prefer a natural alternative? For me, this is proof that the natural approach is more than enough. And so, with greener ambitions, we will be lathering our faces in Emma Lewisham’s enhanced Supernatural Facial Oil as part of our daily routines — one step that is nothing less than essential for lasting radiance.

Wellbeing

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Weather getting you down? We have rounded up 5 excellent new series to stream now

While it can be easy to let winter’s inclement conditions overshadow the season (as we wonder how best to spend our days when it’s pouring rain outside), it’s actually the best time to curl up on the sofa with a new series. And luckily, in the age of streaming, there is a veritable smorgasbord of options available to us at the click of a button, from dramatic thrillers to heartfelt dramas, playing across Neon, Netflix, Amazon, Apple and more. Here, we have rounded up 5 excellent new TV shows that are streaming right now, and that we think are the perfect thing to watch when the weather is bad.

Drops of God

Loosely based on a beloved manga of the same name, this enthralling new Apple TV+ show offers a captivating tale of family, competition, and the world of wine. The story revolves around the death of Alexandre Léger, a renowned wine expert, and the incredible inheritance he leaves behind: a cellar filled with 87,000 bottles worth a staggering $100 million. The plot thickens as two contenders, Alexandre’s estranged daughter Camille and his protégé Issei, vie for the coveted inheritance. With a gripping narrative (that delves into the complexities of intertwined family histories) and stunning visuals that span from the sun-drenched vineyards of France to the sleek streets of Tokyo, Drops of God encapsulates ideas of passion, redemption, and the pursuit of one’s true calling — an absolute must-watch.

The Diplomat

In this gripping, new Netflix drama series, audiences are thrown into the world of high-stakes political intrigue and the complexities of relationships in that context. Led by an exceptional Keri Russell, the show follows Kate Wyler, a seasoned civil servant unexpectedly thrust into the role of the US Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Against a backdrop of international tensions following a devastating attack on a British aircraft carrier, Kate must navigate delicate diplomatic negotiations, forge strategic alliances, and grapple with the challenges of sustaining her marriage to fellow diplomat Hal Wyler. Showcasing sharp humour and a refreshing blend of authenticity and speed, The Diplomat is a riveting thriller that captivates and challenges, exploring the delicate (and always captivating) balance between the personal and the political.

The Great (Season 3)

The highly-anticipated return of The Great for its third season immerses viewers once again in the opulent world of Catherine the Great’s Russia. Elle Fanning breathes life into the iconic empress as she navigates treacherous political landscapes, defying both her husband and her subjects in a relentless pursuit of power. While historical accuracy continues to take a back seat in favour of a delightfully campy narrative, the show captivates with its blend of political intrigue, cultural upheaval and simmering sensuality. Season 3 introduces shifting dynamics, as alliances crumble and unexpected deaths send shockwaves through the royal court, where power, passion, and peril collide.

Chimp Empire

For documentary lovers, Chimp Empire invites audiences into the mesmerising world of Uganda’s Ngogo Forest, where the largest chimpanzee troop ever recorded thrives. Guided by the enchanting narration of actor Mahershala Ali, this new Netflix TV show delivers an immersive audiovisual experience that delves deep into the lives of these remarkable primates. Over the course of a year, viewers witness the tumultuous battles, poignant transformations, and intricate social dynamics that shape the tribe’s history via stunning cinematography, Offering profound insights into the complex lives of our closest animal relatives, this remarkable documentary is an absolute must-watch.

Dead Ringers

Based on the excellent 1988 original, Amazon Prime Video’s adaptation of Dead Ringers is a stunning reinterpretation that pays homage to its inspiration while standing firmly on its own merits. Anchored by a career-defining performance by Rachel Weisz as twin gynecologists, Elliot and Beverly Mantle, who want to open a new kind of birthing centre that harnesses cutting-edge tech (and will make huge profit), the narrative follows the journey of the twins as they perform controversial procedures on infertile women. The visual effects seamlessly support Weisz’s chilling dual portrayal, while the narrative explores themes of women reclaiming control over their bodies. With exceptional direction from Sean Durkin and Karyn Kusama, the series maintains a consistent tone and builds an escalating tension that culminates in a riveting and unrelenting finale.

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Left to right: Lemon Stracciatella & Beef Cheek Rotolo

Be the first to sample Bivacco’s delicious new winter menu by booking a table this weekend

There have been some pretty exciting things cooking in the kitchens of Bivacco, with the Viaduct Harbour favourite having just announced the addition of a number of mouthwatering, new winter dishes to its menu. Harnessing the best seasonal produce, Bivacco’s talented team has created options that promise to soothe any and all winter blues, marrying warm, hearty comfort food with succulent, roasted meats and seasonal takes on seafood.

Highlights include small starter dishes like Lemon Stracciatella served with charred leeks, dill pickle and leek ash, a beautiful Tuna Crudo with horseradish, cucumber, apple and dill, and a Grilled Tigelle, which is Italian-style flatbread, served with whipped parmesan and basil.

Bivacco New Menu
Havoc Farm Pork Chop

Larger dishes include an indulgent Beef Cheek Rotolo with Lion’s Mane, nasturtium and a tasty mushroom sauce and a Havoc Farm Pork Chop, with poached quince, wholegrain mustard and bitter leaves. Elsewhere, vegetarians will love the Roast Crown Pumpkin, served with spiced honey, black garlic and yoghurt.

Left to right: Mushroom & Truffle Arancini & Roasted Crown Pumpkin

And if all that wasn’t enough, Bivacco is upping the ante on its beloved weekday Aperitivo Hour, which runs every week from Monday to Friday, from 4pm until 6pm. There, guests will be treated to complimentary bites and drinks specials (including two delicious new Martini Spritz that we think are the perfect way to end the work day) and, on Fridays, will enjoy the convivial atmosphere created by Bivacco’s resident DJ, playing the perfect soundtrack to the start of the weekend.

Grilled Tigele

So if you’ve been thinking about booking a table at Bivacco, now’s the time. Not only could you be one of the first to sample its seriously delicious new menu, but if the weather is nice (and you keep your eye on the Bivacco Instagram), you could secure yourself and your party one of the venue’s coveted outdoor tables — now able to be booked exclusively online here (weather dependant).

Gastronomy

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From left: St. Agni, Alemais, Maggie Marilyn, Wynn Hamlyn, Aje

Our Australian Fashion Week highlights, from bare-faced models to go-kart runways

AfterPay Australian Fashion Week has taken Sydney by storm, drawing industry insiders from both sides of the ditch for a week of celebrating exceptional fashion on and off the runway. And while the Aussies certainly put on a good show for Resort ’24, it was strong presentations by New Zealand designers that seemed to be the talk of the week, from Maggie Marilyn’s nostalgic, harbour-side affair to Wynn Hamlyn’s full-throttle, after-dark parade, the Kiwi cohort proving yet again how our local designers continue to get better with every season.

Maggie Marilyn

Set against the old-school charm of the Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association’s base in Rushcutters Bay, and bathed in the golden glow of a beautiful Sydney afternoon, Maggie Marilyn‘s first international runway embodied the designer’s message before the show even started: hope in the face of adversity. One by one, models stepped out of a set, cleverly designed by Sarah Jayne Kavali, dressed in a collection dubbed ‘The Best of It,’ that married Maggie Marilyn’s uniquely liveable luxury with new brand signatures, every look underpinned by the designer’s staunchly sustainable approach. From hand-painted floral prints, inspired by Maggie’s mother’s rose garden, to classic ‘MM’ stripes, to rich textures like bouclé wool, denim and bubbled silk, the collection was cohesive and considered, and was topped off (rather appropriately) with a touch of optimistic sparkle in the form of a dress made from biodegradable, plant-based sequins. The whole thing spoke to the designer’s childhood days spent in the Bay of Islands, on or by the water, sun kissed skin, wind in salty hair — a picture of effortless, undone elegance.

Enhancing this idea was the fact that each model walked with a completely bare face. Instead of makeup, Maggie Marilyn teamed up with another Kiwi sustainability entrepreneur, Emma Lewisham, to give each girl who walked a beautiful, natural glow. Here, Mecca Brands’ Skin Director Molly Warkentin ensured she and her team had the time to apply and massage an array of Emma Lewisham’s innovative skincare products into the models’ faces, including its renowned Skin Reset serum, the Illuminating Day Crème and the Illuminating Face and Body Oil.

Alemais

As the official opening show of Australian Fashion Week, Alemais‘ designer Lesleigh Jermanus set a vibrant, joyful tone for the rest of the week, thanks to the ways she harnessed high-voltage glamour, bold colours and new takes on the patterns that have become such a signature (and selling point) for her brand. Coming together via a collision of creative collaboration (including with Sydney-based artist Jedda Daisy-Culley and stylist and costume designer Catherine Baba) and conscious material innovations like recycled sequins and biodegradable materials, the eye-catching collection offered a visually-arresting explosion of colour, with Jermanus likening it to a rainbow (complete with its own pot of gold).

Of course, the collection was called ‘Kaboom’, which, when you look at its aesthetic approach coupled with the way this brand has burst onto the scene since launching only three years ago (now stocked in 215 retailers around the world) is entirely appropriate. It is wonderful to witness a designer unafraid to make a bold mark in a time when ‘quiet luxury’ seems the safest bet. Perhaps, Alemais’ latest outing is a timely reminder for all of us to turn up the volume.

Alemais is available locally from Muse Boutique.

Wynn Hamlyn

Not only was Wynn Hamlyn’s Australian Fashion Week runway set on a neon-lit, go-karting track but from the first leather-clad look, it was clear that its designer, Wynn Crawshaw, had pulled inspiration from the world of motorsports to create his Resort ’24 collection, offering a bold new evolution on his beloved signatures.

Comprising a series of men’s and women’s looks that moved from vintage-style, moto motifs (the matching leather jackets and pants were some of the more standout moments) through to casual, almost Y2K-era denim (from low-slung shorts to long skirts), to uber-feminine details via dresses decorated with bows, midriff-baring tops and slinky, figure-hugging pieces that offered palette-cleansing moments between looks, Crawshaw was flexing his creative muscles in a showcase of his brands inherent versatility and its ability to connect across generations (no mean feat).

There was a cool-kid vibe that ran through the silhouettes and styling here, enhanced by the after-dark atmosphere of the set (like everyone was out after curfew). A sense of nonchalance was created in the effortless way the clothes clung to or swayed around or enveloped the models (aided by the use of Salomon sneakers with a number of the looks), tempered with meticulous details (note the new-season iterations of macramé) altogether giving us the impression that these clothes would infuse our wardrobes with a renewed sense of purpose, whatever we might be getting dressed for.

Wynn Hamlyn is available locally from its flagship store in Commercial Bay.

Aje

Set in the Sydney Modern Project space, a new addition to the Art Gallery of NSW, Aje’s presentation at Australian Fashion Week was a celebration of 15 years — a significant milestone for the brand that has enjoyed incredible growth (now encompassing Aje, Aje Athletica and wellness brand Ikkari) over the last few years. Here, the stark, contemporary elegance of the space provided the perfect backdrop to Aje’s signature silhouettes and vibrant colours. Of course, in such a big moment for the brand, the Aje DNA underpinned every look in this collection, where flirty, floaty dresses, romantic detailing, hand-painted prints and sweet, feminine notes were cleverly juxtaposed with staunch denim moments and tailored touches.

Paying homage to their past while also indicating where they would take Aje in the future, the brand’s Co-Founders Adrian Norris and Edwina Forest created a collection that demonstrated the duo’s deft understanding of longevity (the kind that will continue to keep Aje in business for many years to come).

Aje is available locally from its flagship store in Commercial Bay.

St. Agni

It was her desire to return to the idea of ‘core values’ that saw St. Agni’s Creative Director, Lara Fells present a resort collection that cut to the heart of why this Byron-based brand is so beloved. Built on the idea of versatile, functional wardrobing and clothes that offer refined answers to the question of what to wear every day, (or more specifically, the necessary balance between chic, work-appropriate looks and clothing that enhances the individual) St. Agni has filled a sartorial void for the unique way that it can be folded effortlessly into any kind of wardrobe, but still offer moments that elevate it beyond simply a foundational, ‘basics’ brand.

At Australian Fashion Week, refined, tonal tailoring formed the base, on which Fells layered the sensual sensibility of 90s, after-dark glamour, marrying sleek minimalism with a sharp, masculine edge, and harnessing a palette of moody neutrals tempered with touches of silver for a futuristic touch. From netted gowns to metallic bralettes to chic separates, St. Agni’s new collection spoke to quality, versatility and timeless elegance — values that have long drawn fans to this burgeoning brand.

St. Agni is available locally from Muse Boutique.

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Serving its iconic modern-Indian cuisine and new menu dishes, Cassia has re-opened at SkyCity

Having suffered at the hands of a number of unfortunate weather events over the last year (which forced it to close twice), iconic stalwart Cassia finally made the call to close its Fort Lane address for good and has just reopened with a brand new restaurant and a new lease on life at SkyCity (in the site where The Grill once stood).

Having undertaken a swift turnaround since its Fort Lane closure (in order to meet the demands of its many fans) Cassia at SkyCity is a restaurant re-imagined. The menu here, like most, is designed to share. Rich in flavour and diverse textures and tastes, the menu still encapsulates Owner Sid Sahrawat’s signature modern Indian fare and continues Cassia’s tradition for culinary excellence, marrying classic, crowd-pleasing dishes with a number of new additions, too.

Left: Interiors. Right: Cassia Dinner Menu

Despite the fact that Cassia’s new space has only been open a few days, the new Tandoori Chicken Taco is a testament to Cassia’s (and Sahrawat’s) commitment to culinary innovation. Elsewhere, the restaurant’s beloved Charred Eggplant, served with buffalo curd and sweetened with tamarind, has remained (with a slight tweak) as an old favourite for many. Any dining affair here should be finished with Cassia’s Chocolate, Coffee, Miso & Almond Dessert — a sweet and salty little morsel to round out the meal perfectly.

Charred Eggplant, Buffalo Curd, Tamarind

The restaurant itself, full of comfortable corners and cosy nooks, is contemporary, intimate and chic. It feels like an ode to Cassia’s former Fort Lane address, with much of the fit-out of the old restaurant used to create the new, and yet, it also marks an evolution. Just like the Cassia of old, the fit-out here has been conceived using the concept of ‘Agni’ (fire, light and warmth), where Cassia’s iconic lights sit alongside vibrant Holi artwork that brings bursts of colour. Of course, the original Cassia signage sits proudly above the new doors. “We want to recreate the look, feel and warmth of the old Cassia but add a few new features to mark our new beginning,” Sahrawat explains.

Left: Sid and Chand Sahrawat. Right: Khari Baoli with gin, Darjeeling tea, garam masala, burnt honey.

Here, Sahrawat and his wife Chand continue to be the fearless leaders in Indian gastronomy; now offering their exquisite food and meticulous service under SkyCity’s banner, it could be said that the best of Cassia is still yet to come.

Opening Hours:
Lunch: Friday — Sunday, 12pm until 2.30pm
Dinner: Daily, 5pm until 9.30pm

Cassia

90 Federal Street, Auckland CBD

www.cassiarestaurant.co.nz

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