Chanel, Shoes and Fairytales – Fashion picks for August

Immerse yourself in fashion with our new picks for August – we have shiny new volumes on Chanel, shoes and fairytales, as well as an in-depth look at how the Second World War shaped and influenced women’s fashion.

Syndetics book coverChanel catwalk : the complete Karl Lagerfeld collections / introductionby Patrick Mauriès.
“Ever since his first show for the house in 1983, Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel collections have consistently made headlines and dictated trends the world over. For the first time, every Chanel collection ever created by Lagerfeld is here gathered in a single volume – a unique opportunity to chart the development of one of the world’s most influential fashion brands and discover rarely seen collections. A treasure trove of inspiration, this richly illustrated publication will be the must-have reference for all fashion professionals and Chanel obsessives.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFashion on the ration : style in the Second World War / Julie Summers ; in partnership with Imperial War Museums.
“In September 1939, just three weeks after the outbreak of war, Gladys Mason wrote briefly in her diary about events in Europe: ‘Hitler watched German siege of Warsaw. City in flames.’ And, she continued, ‘Had my wedding dress fitted. Lovely.’For Gladys Mason, and for thousands of women throughout the long years of the war, fashion was not simply a distraction, but a necessity – and one they weren’t going to give up easily. In the face of bombings, conscription, rationing and ludicrous bureaucracy, they maintained a sense of elegance and style with determination and often astonishing ingenuity. As a nation went into uniform and women took on traditional male roles, clothing and beauty began to reflect changing social attitudes. For the first time, fashion was influenced not only by Hollywood and high society but by the demands of industrial production and the pressing need to ‘make-do-and-mend’. Beautifully illustrated and full of gorgeous detail, Fashion on the Ration lifts the veil on a fascinating era in British fashion.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMoreschi : the Italian art of shoemaking : works of art in leather / edited by Christina Morozzi ; text, Christina Morozzi.
“An exclusive look inside the world of Moreschi, one of the world’s most prestigious shoemakers. Moreschi is renowned for its exacting standards and unique style, and for producing each and every pair on-site, from the arrival of the leather to boxing and dispatching to stores. The art of shoemaking is detailed throughout this richly illustrated book. Through conversations with the founder, the artisans’ memories, and pictures of dozens of the factory’s creations, a story unfolds that confirms the vast heritage of artisan culture that lies behind Italian production.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFairy tale fashion / Colleen Hill.
“Dress plays a crucial role in fairy tales, signalling the status, wealth, or vanity of particular characters, and symbolizing their transformation. This is the first book to examine the history, significance, and imagery of classic fairy tales through the lens of high fashion. A comprehensive introduction to the topic of fairy tales and dress is followed by a series of short essays on thirteen stories. Generously illustrated, these stories are creatively and imaginatively linked to examples of clothing by Comme des Garc¸ons, Dolce and Gabbana, Charles James, and Alexander McQueen, among many others.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSmart textiles for designers : inventing the future of fabrics / Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman.
“Smart Textiles for Designers introduces the different qualities and properties that can be embedded in, integrated with, and applied to fabrics, and looks at the different contexts in which these smart textiles can be used. A survey of specific fabrics grouped by properties provides a core reference section and a palette for the designer to work from. The book also examines five different design approaches and features interviews with leading designer and design teams, showing their processes and working methods. The first book to look at smart textiles through the eyes of a designer, this is both a core reference work and an inspirational guide for students and professionals alike.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSublime elegance : the timeless charm of evening gowns / text by Maria Maccari.
“These evening gowns made history–influencing the worlds of fashion, entertainment, and contemporary culture. Splendid images capture the rich detail of the fabrics and the evolution of styles and trends in women’s formal wear. These sublimely elegant dresses electrified the spectators at leading fashion shows and glittered at celebrity events. Organized by fabric color, these gowns will take readers on a kaleidoscopic journey into haute couture.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe art of dressing curves : the best-kept secrets of a fashion stylist / Susan Moses with Jelani Bandele ; foreword by Emme.
“The Art of Dressing Curves gives plus-size women the confidence and know-how to dress beautifully for their particular body shape. From foundation garments to wardrobe essentials to hair and makeup, Susan dispenses advice on every aspect of dressing well for one’s shape, size, and personality, insight supplemented by a wealth of elegant editorial photographs, anecdotes, tips, and sidebars, as well as lists of specialty retailers, designers, and websites that cater to plus-size.” (adapted from syndetics summary)

28th Māori Battalion Christmas 1943

In honour of the festive season, I thought I would share with you some images and clips of Māori Battalion Christmases past from the National Library & Māori Battalion websites (along with a book if these photos inspire a culinary experience!).

Two men from the Maori Battalion digging up a hangi of pork and potatoes for Christmas Dinner at the Maori Training Depot, Maadi. Shows three soldiers pushing dirt aside with spades, while others look on. Photograph taken on 25 Dec 1943, by George Robert Bull.
Bull, George Robert, 1910-1966. Uncovering the Christmas hangi at the Maori Training Depot, Maadi Camp, Egypt – Photograph taken by George Bull. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch : Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: DA-04877-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Members of the 28th (Maori) Battalion taking food from an uncovered hangi used to cook Christmas dinner at Maadi Camp in Egypt, during World War II. Photograph taken on 25 December 1943 by George Robert Bull.
Bull, George Robert, 1910-1966. Members of the 28th (Maori) Battalion with uncovered hangi at Maadi Camp on Christmas Day, Egypt – Photograph taken by George Robert Bull. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch : Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: DA-04882-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Members of the 28th (Maori) Battalion eating potatoes after opening the hangi used to cook Christmas dinner at the Maori Training Depot in Maadi, Egypt. Photograph taken on 25 December 1943 by George Robert Bull. Far right; Dave McClutchie.
Bull, George Robert, 1910-1966. Members of the 28th (Maori) Battalion eating hangi-cooked potatoes on Christmas Day, Egypt – Photograph taken by George Robert Bull. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch : Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: DA-04878-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Looking along one of the tables well laden with Christmas dinner at the Maori Training Depot in Maadi Camp, Egypt. Photograph taken on 25 December 1943 by George Robert Bull.

Bull, George Robert, 1910-1966. Looking along one of the tables laden with Christmas Dinner at the Maori Training Depot, Egypt – Photograph taken by George Robert Bull. New Zealand. Department of Internal Affairs. War History Branch : Photographs relating to World War 1914-1918, World War 1939-1945, occupation of Japan, Korean War, and Malayan Emergency. Ref: DA-04887-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

If these images inspire you to make your own Christmas hangi, check out our collection. We have many books that will help you out.

Hangi / Wena Harawira.
“The cooking of a hangi meal on a marae is explained, with full colour photographs of an actual hangi and its preparation. The history of the hangi is explained, ingredients identified, and a step-by-step timetable given. A recipe for potato bread is also included.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKai time : tasty modern Māori food / Peter Peeti.
“Drawing from the abundant fare that the New Zealand land and sea have to offer, charismatic Maori chef and television personality Peter Peeti shares his culinary knowledge and favourite recipes in this wonderful book. Based on the popular show on Maori TV, Kai Time on the Road (now in its sixth season), Peeti reveals not just a flair for cooking but also his passion for hunting, fishing and procuring ingredients direct from the source. Including such delectable dishes as: Eel and Whitebait Omelette; Venison with Blackberry Jus, Kumara and Potato Rosti and Pikopiko; and Roast Garlic and Thyme Prawns on Coconut Jasmine Rice, Peeti redefines Maori cuisine by blending traditional Maori ingredients and practices with the many modern culinary styles of New Zealand. The end result is overflowing with melt-in-the-mouth flavour and all recipes are remarkably easy to create. The best way to cook up a feed, according to Peeti, is directly after the fishing or hunting trip, on a makeshift stove on the beach or in the bush as the sun starts to go down ¿ the food simply couldn¿t be fresher or tastier or the surroundings more inspiring.” (Syndetics summary)

And finally… I highly recommend you listen to this song clip, on the 28th Māori Battalion website. Recorded in North Africa in 1942, it is a recording of ‘Silent Night’, sung by wounded soldiers of the 28th Maori Battalion at the No 2 New Zealand General Hospital. The Māori version is sung by Ngati Toa nurse Wiki Katene.  Moving and truly beautiful, it is well worth a listen.

Best wishes for a safe and happy Christmas to you all.

28th Māori Battalion Final Meeting


In early December, the 28th Māori Battalion Association held their final meeting; a decision which was made by the founding members themselves. Spokesman Matt Te Pou says “The vets don’t want the formality of running an incorporated society anymore – with ongoing meetings and AGMs – it all takes a toll on them.”

In total, 3,600 men served with the 28th Battalion during World War 2 in campaigns across North Africa, Greece, Crete and Italy. They were a front-line infantry made up of volunteers who served with valour and distinction. There are now 26 Māori Battalion veterans, with less than half able-bodied.

A powhiri and a formal remembrance service was held at Pipitea Marae to acknowledge the remaining veterans, followed by a luncheon. There was also a National War Memorial Military Service in the morning with the Governor General and Associate Minister of Māori Affairs as Guests of Honour.
(adapted from

Here on the second floor of the Central Library, we’ve put together a display to commemorate the event. Do come and have a look.

We also have a number of books on the 28th Māori Battalion:

Syndetics book coverOfficial history of 28 Maori battalion.
“John Douglas Publishing is delighted to be able to produce this work with kind permission from Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage and the 28 Maori Battalion Association. This is the official history of one of the greatest fighting infantry units of World War II, the 28(Maori) Battalion. We have done everything possible to ensure the book is as close to the original, printed in 1956. As Lieutenant-General Bernard Freyberg wrote in the foreword to the book: “In this history you will read the whole story – how they went overseas from New Zealand in 1940, with the Second Echelon to England, to take part in ‘The Battle of Britain’. In many campaigns this Battalion took a great part, often a decisive part, in the fighting. But as glorious as these battles were, and as gallant and brave as was the Maori part, it is not only of their bravery but what fine fighting men they were. “To know and appreciate their great qualities you must understand their background and their tribal traditions. Maori are a fighting race, and according to their traditions and in keeping with the laws of New Zealand, they did not come under the National Service Act, which called up men when they reached the military age. The Maori was always a volunteer. For them it was an honour to serve.” – adapted from Wheelers.

Syndetics book coverNga tama toa = The price of citizenship : C Company 28 (Māori) Battalion 1939-1945 / Monty Soutar ; [foreword by Henare K. Ngata]
“The fascinating story of C Company, Maori Battalion told through personal recollections, eyewitness accounts, numerous anecdotes and amazing photographs. At times heart-rending, at times heart-warming, this impressive book captures the special ‘spirit’ of the Maori Battalion – an amazing book that documents the stories of those who were actually there.” – Books in Print

Syndetics book coverMaori in the great war / James Cowan.
“Maori form a significant proportion of the modern New Zealand Army, and Maori officers have achieved the very highest commands, Their unique culture is deeply embedded in its tradition and daily routines; celebrated by Maori (indigenous) and pakeha (non-indigenous) soldiers alike. The exploits of the 28th (Maori) Battalion in WWll – peerless in attack – are well-remembered. Not so well known is the major Maori contribution to the Allied cause in the Great War. Maori were quick to respond in 1914. Over five times as many as the specified contingent of 500 men volunteered, and that number of places was allocated on a tribal basis. As the centennial of the start of WWl approaches, it is timely to revise and republish Cowans 1926 work.”–Publisher’s description.

Syndetics book coverVictoria Cross at Takrouna : the Haane Manahi story / Paul Moon.
“In May 1943, Lance Sergeant Haane Manahi of 28th Māori Battalion was recommended for a Victoria Cross by four Allied generals, including Freyberg and Montgomery, for his astonishing feats of bravery at Takrouna, Tunisia. However, the award was mysteriously downgraded to a Distinguished Conduct Medal. This biography of Haane Manahi details Manahi’s courageous acts during the battle in the Second World War and uncovers the events surrounding the Victoria Cross recommendation and its downgrading”– Back cover.

Te mura o te ahi : the story of the Maori Battalion / Wira Gardiner.
“In the history of New Zealand warfare, few fighting units have eclipsed the achievements of the 28 (Maori) Battalion. Formed at the outbreak of World War Two, the Battalion gained a reputation for fearless aggression in numerous encounters in Greece, Crete, the Western Desert and Italy, finally returning to New Zealand in triumph in 1946. In this concise and highly readable book, Wira Gardiner recounts the full story of the Maori Battalion, from it early beginnings to its eventual disbandment. It is a fascinating story of daring and adventure, of heroism and bravery, of victory and tragedy. ” – adapted from Mighty Ape.

Ake, ake, kia kaha e! : songs of the New Zealand 28 (Maori) Battalion.
Radio New Zealand/Nga Taonga Korero recordings of the Battalion while it was in North Africa and southern Italy. There are spoken messages, situation reports, concert medleys aimed at tribal areas from which the men were drawn, a song of remembrance by Pacific Island members, and a previously undiscovered message from Princess Te Puea Herangi at a farewell concert in New Zealand.

Te Hokowhitu a Tu : the Maori Pioneer Battalion in the First World War / Christopher Pugsley.
“In Te Hokowhitu a Tu, distinguished military historian Christopher Pugsley recounts the story of the Maori Pioneer Battalion for a new generation. Drawing on rare archival material and previously unpublished diaries and letters, he not only tells the wider story of the Battalion’s military exploits but also gives a vivid account of daily life for soldiers on active service. Illustrated with a large number of fascinating photographs, the book includes a complete list of soldiers who fought with the Battalion that will be of particular interest to their descendants.” – adapted from Wheelers

Awatere : a soldier’s story / Arapeta Awatere ; edited by Hinemoa Ruataupare Awatere.
“Arapeta Awatere was a humble man born in 1910 at Tuparoa on New Zealand’s East Coast; in World War II he served his country with distinction in fierce fighting, rose to the rank of colonel and led the 28 (Maori) Battalion. Post-war he became a distinguished community leader, an Auckland city councilor, an orator and a genealogist. In 1969, at the age of fifty-nine, his life shattered. He was convicted of a crime of passion – the murder of his mistress’s lover – and he ended his years in prison. This book is part of his legacy: the passion, insight and pain left by an indomitable spirit and strong intellect whose life’s work was nearly foundered in one night. Awatere: A Soldier’s Story gathers together his autobiography, many of his poems and songs, and two essays. Readers of this book will long remember one of the great figures of twentieth-century New Zealand.” -Huia Books