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Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Month: March 2013 Page 1 of 2

WFW Forecast

Umm, guess what. Wellington Fashion Week is only one week away! ONE WEEK! Excite. To count down until glam time, I present to you the second in our series of Wellington fashion interviews. (Read last week’s here!) High-fashion WORLD staffer Freddie Aitchison is here to tell us all about his predictions for WFW 2013, his current fashion lusts and to give some sweet tips about dressing for the coming cold months (shudder).

Love. This. Outfit.

What trends are you expecting to see emerging at WFW this year?
Huge mix; all the designers showing are all very different in their own way.

Which designers are you looking forward to most?
WORLD of course, JimmyD, Ruby and Mandatory.

What are you hoping to see at WFW this year?
 I really hope there will be some strong, innovative new prints emerging and maybe some tartan.  


Favourite trends at the mo? Any trends you really don’t like?
I love metallics and pops of print in an outfit, so anything like that will get my attention.

Any hot tips for winter dressing?
Layering is great and works so well in Wellington; at least 4 layers plus accessories. Bold colors, just play with it; just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t dress up. 

What’s your favorite fashion book?
Alexander McQueen “Savage Beauty” is a must read!

Syndetics book coverAlexander McQueen : savage beauty / Andrew Bolton ; with contributions by Susannah Frankel and Tim Blanks ; photography by Sølve Sundsbø.
“Focusing on the most iconic and acclaimed designs of his prolific career, this stunning book examines McQueen’s inimitable technical virtuosity and its subversion of traditional tailoring and dressmaking practices.” (Syndetics summary)

A short post about short stories

We promise, absolutely and completely, that this is our last post about New Zealand Book Month. For this year at least. We hope you’ve read something New Zealand related this month or better yet, been to an event! If you haven’t, never fear, there’s still time (and a long weekend) to do so. Why not check out some New Zealand short stories, it will take mere minutes and the library has some great collections!

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEssential New Zealand Short Stories, edited by Owen Marshall

The contents page of this collection reads as a who’s who of New Zealand writing greats including Katherine Mansfield, Janet Frame, Patricia Grace, Joy Cowley, Maurice Gee, Frank Sargeson and many, many more. The collected works span 80 years which demonstrates the way short stories, as a genre, have changed over time (or not). In his introduction Owen Marshall says the reason short stories can be found right through New Zealand writing history is because “they form a resilient genre with its own idiosyncratic pulse of literary energy.” We have to agree! There’s a certain charming idiosyncrasy right through this collection and all the others as well.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEarthless Trees, edited by Pauline Frances

This collection features the work of several young refugees who came to New Zealand seeking security and freedom with their families. From an escape through mountains on an overloaded truck, to living through an explosion in urban Kabul, these stories touch on universal themes: survival, family, home and friends. We love that this collection gives a poignant and, at times, heartbreaking, insight into the lives of some of our refugees.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLike Wallpaper, edited by Barbara Else

The authors featured in this collection are a combination of established like David Hill or Fleur Beale and stunning newcomers like Natasha Lewis and Samantha Stanley. The settings are New Zealand homes and flats, local schools and roads, beaches, rivers, cities. There is a mixture of tone, voice, and form. Issues addressed in the stories range across aspects of peer pressure and friendship. Parents and family relationships feature as do young romance, sexuality, and death. All in all, it’s a capacious collection with several quirky stories you’re bound to love. Hopefully ponder as well.

book cover courtesy of Syndetics50 short short stories by young New Zealanders edited by Graeme Lay

Tandem Press invited New Zealanders aged 18 and under to submit a short story (no more than 500 words) for a writing competition. This collection is the 50 best entries they received. They provide a much broader overview than Earthless Trees of what being a teenager is like in New Zealand and over the course of fifty stories, the themes covered include all the joys and concerns of daily life: peer pressure, rivalry, first love, and questions of identity and belonging; of moving or subtle relationships with friends and family. These are great to read if you’re an aspiring writer yourself because they give an idea of the kind of style and content that one publishing house consider to be good.

Think you can do better? Then a list of writing competitions in New Zealand can be found here including details about the Re-Draft competition. The winners of that are published annually, several collections of which the library has here, here and here. However they don’t get a blurb of their own because they include poetry and because we promised a short post. So there you have it. Short stories are the best! They get to the point within the time of my attention span, they’re often strange and quirky and, best of all, they leave you wondering. And there we will end our very last post about New Zealand Book Month. May you now dazzle your friends and family with your knowledge of homegrown literary talent!

Happy Easter!

R n R

In today’s mail: Clockwork Princess

clockworkprincessblogOne of the better things about working in a library is opening boxes of new books.

Clockwork Princess, the final instalment of the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare, has just arrived. The 57 people waiting will be happy to hear this. Place a reserve now if you haven’t already – to the right you will see we have 13 copies (about half a leg’s worth).

We’ve also just received today the third book in the Chemical Gardens trilogy, Sever by Lauren Destefano, if dystopia is more your thing.

Here’s a book trailer:

Some Book Award News

Ketchup Clouds, the second novel by Annabel Pitcher has won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for 2013. In Ketchup Clouds, Zoe deals with a secret (and enormous guilt) by sharing it with a prisoner on death row in America.

Other contenders in the teen category included Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, and Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas: the complete list is here or here.

Love Hotel AW 2013

How cool was the fashion show last week?! I know you only got to see the pics and a video, so you’ll have to take my word for it – it was SO cool; very chic, edgy, glamorous and sooo fashionable. Loved it!

This week, I’ve been lucky enough to score an interview with the very lovely ladies behind sweet young label Love Hotel (who I’ve told you aaaall about before). The label is run by two sisters, Harriet and Ella. I asked them some questions so you get the goss on this super hot label.

Harriet and Ella, of Love Hotel.

How and when did your label start out? Have you always been interested in fashion?
We have always always been interested in fashion and have started other creative projects together. We officially launched Love Hotel at Wellington Fashion Week 2012 but had been working towards it for a while.

With the two of you in different cities, is it difficult to keep in touch and work together? How frequently are you in contact?
We are in contact most days, and we prioritise Love Hotel so we do spend large amounts of time together, despite living apart.

NB: I would very much like Harriet’s outfit. The whole thing, exactly as is, please. So hot.

Are there any designers you’re inspired by?
We are big fans of Sonia Rykiel, particularly the way she puts on a show. We adore Romance was Born, the way they draw from inspiration and obsessions. John Galliano is a guru. We love Miu Miu and their attention to textiles.

Which aspects of fashion and the fashion industry are important to you as designers?
It is important for us to create clothing that women feel good in when they wear it. Accessible clothing that makes the wearer feel feminine, flattered and a little bit sexy. We design with the mindset that we want a range of women to feel gorgeous in Love Hotel – beginning with ourselves. Fashion is a fabulous way to express identity; it is about feeling a certain way when you put something on, not just the way it is projected to the viewer. Timeless, rather than on-trend.

What were some of the ideas behind your winter 2013 collection?
It was based on the sometimes sinister world of orchid cultivation; the eeriness of glasshouses, the pedantic manicuring of plant cultivation, hobbyist dens, misty stark windows fogging up at dusk, with references to times of opium dens and layers of overcoats and satins.





Can you tell us about a typical day for you at Love Hotel?
Every day is very different. At the moment it is all about the summer collection, which will be showing at Wellington Fashion Week, so very much the fun stage.

Do you feel as though you have different roles within the company, or do you both do a bit of everything?
We tend to do a lot together but have been defining the roles more and more. We work together through all stages of design, Ella does the photoshopping and graphics things and I work through the production side of things.

Is it sometimes tricky to balance Love Hotel business around other commitments? For example, I know Ella is at uni, which must be demanding at times!
Yes it can be very demanding, but we have recently pushed a lot aside to get into doing what we really love. Ella’s final year seems to be complimenting our work so far, there is still so much for us to learn.

I really love your maroon cherry blossom singlet dress. Can you tell us more about it?
Thanks! The subtle black print on maroon really captures the feel of the winter collection. The vintage chiffon is a key feature in all of Love Hotel’s collections. We love the feminine beauty of the fabric, and it is great to wear. The cherry blossom print is our new AW screen print for this season. The hand-drawn detail is what sets this dress apart.

♥ this dress also! Be mine.

What trends are you enjoying at the mo? Any trends you’re looking forward to for winter?
I am enjoying the new textiles that designers everywhere are playing with…

Any trends you really don’t like?
The bare-all trend at the moment turns me off; sexy can be subtle, drapey and soft. I am curious to see how fashion bends gender boundaries in the future as it seems the lines between womens and mens fashion are becoming increasingly blurred.

What other collections would you like to get into in the future?
We are looking to move into lingerie in the not so far future; we love the idea of blending divisions between under and outer wear. Exciting things coming to you soon!

What are your favourite books?
I have always adored Caroline Quartermaine’s book “Unwrapped” which features a house dressed in her beautiful handpainted textiles. We have both recently read “Just Kids” by Patti Smith, which has become an huge inspiration for our summer collection. Also a fan of Egon Schiele’s sketches!

Syndetics book coverJust kids / Patti Smith.






Syndetics book coverEgon Schiele, 1890-1918 : the midnight soul of the artist / Reinhard Steiner ; [English translation, Michael Hulse].





All photos (apart from my instagram effort!!) taken by Chris Park at NZ Style Collective. Huge thanks for sharing your work with us!

Tremendous Trilogies, Volume Three.

Hullo! Today’s Tremendous Trilogy takes a step away from the fantasy genre and into the genre of awesomeness. That’s how good they are. They’re just one huge analogy of amazeballs that we can’t quite think of right now. And with that hype, we give you: Evil Genius, Genius Squad and Genius Wars by Catherine Jinks

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIn Evil Genius we are introduced to Cadel Piggot who by the age of seven was illegally hacking into computer networks. Now he’s fourteen and studying for his World Domination degree, taking classes like embezzlement, misinformation, forgery, and infiltration at the institute founded by criminal mastermind Dr. Phineas Darkkon. But how did he get there? Cadel is a hugely likeable protagonist and one who certainly doesn’t appear intrinsically mean spirited. He just grew up with some truly evil influences in his life. That is, until he meets the charming, equally intelligent, and inherently kind-hearted Kay-Lee. And so, Cadel begins to question the moral implications of his studies for the first time. But is it too late to stop Dr. Darkkon from carrying out his evil plot?

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGenius Squad introduces a host of other characters, good, bad, and a whole lot falling somewhere in the middle. It turns out that everything Cadel thought he knew about his life isn’t really true. He doesn’t know where he was born or who his father is. On top of this, there’s a dangerous criminal mastermind after him. And so, Cadel finds himself a part of the Genius Squad; a group formed to investigate GenoME, one of Dr. Darkkon’s pet projects. As awesome as the second instalment is, we have to confess; a huge part of why we loved Evil Genius was the intellectual meeting of the minds between Kay-Lee Sonja and Cadel which unfortunately disappears somewhat in Genius Squad. Instead the focus is on Cadel’s struggle with his new found morals and the dubious Genius Squad.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTime passes, and by the time we meet Cadel again in Genius Wars he has abandoned a life full of deception and mistrust. He’s found his niche, he has a proper home, good friends and loving parents. He’s even studying at university. But he’s still not safe from the criminal mastermind of the previous two books who is now a fugitive from justice and determined to smash everything that Cadel has struggled to build. When Cadel’s nearest and dearest are threatened, he must launch an all-out attack on the man he once viewed as his father. Can he track him down before it’s too late? And what rules will he have to break in the process?

Reading bits and pieces of these books again in preparation for this post reminded us how much we love them. Enough to read them all over again! Yes, Cadel is an engrossing protagonist with some incredible people in his life but mostly the awesome factor we raved about earlier comes from Catherine Jinks’s writing style. Some parts are laugh out loud funny and some parts will break your heart but without fail, each 400+ page book will draw you into the amazing world of Cadel Piggot.

New Books

The Last Minute, Eleanor Updale (268 pages) – There’s a sudden explosion in the middle of an English town, creating terrible destruction, confusion and panic. The Last Minute tells the stories of the people of Heathwick, in which there may be clues as to what happened, and why.

First sentences: Dust. A cold wind. The first shards of icy rain.

The Madness Underneath, Maureen Johnson (290 pages) – this is the second in the Shades of London series – the first (The Name of the Star) got librarian’s choiced. Rory returns to London to discover she’s developed the power to extinguish ghosts on contact. The Ripper copycat is gone, but there’s a series of new, unexplained deaths in the city, and Rory’s sure they are linked. But can she convince the Shades that something awful is going on? We do hope so.

First sentence: Charlie Strong liked his customers – you don’t run a pub for twenty-one years if you don’t like your customers – but there was something about the quiet in hte morning that pleased him no end.

Passion Blue, Victoria Strauss (342 pages) – “In fifteenth-century Italy, seventeen-year-old Giulia, a Count’s illegitimate daughter, buys a talisman hoping it will bring her true love to save her from life in a convent, but once there she begins to learn the painter’s craft, including how to make the coveted paint, Passion blue, and to question her true heart’s desire. Includes historical notes and glossary.” (catalogue description)

First sentence: The clouds broke apart and sunlight flooded down, burnishing the rough bark of the apple trees and tossing their shadows across the grass.

Miss Fortune Cookie, Lauren Bjorkman (276 pages) – Erin is the brain behind the advice blog Miss Fortune Cookie. All’s going well, and the blog is really popular, but things turn a bit custardy when her former best friend writes in for advice, and then acts on it. Erin tries to fix the ensuing mess, which leads to more craziness (but possibly also love).

First sentence: My friends and I were riding home from school on Muni, clinging to an assortment of slippery handholds, when Linny almost blew my secret identity.

Elemental, Antony John (326 pages) – In the near future, Thomas thinks himself unspecial: he’s the only child born into the Outer Banks colony without the power of an element. When pirates capture the colony’s Guardians and threaten to take over the island, Thomas and his friends run, fighting for survival in an abandoned settlement. There he finds secrets that will turn his world upside down.

First sentence: Thunder rattled the aging wooden cabins, but no one stopped to listen.

Hidden, Marianne Curley (325 pages) – Ebony is snatched at birth from her midwife and brought to earth to be hidden from her relatives who are searching for her. She’s grown up blissfully unaware of her origins, but things are about to change. When Ebony comes of age, she will be “visible” – to both her family and the one who stole her. “Who will find her first?” is the question the cover is asking.

First sentence: Do you ever stare at your reflection and wonder who that person is looking back at you?

Bad Hair Day, Carrie Harris (228 pages) – “Future physician Kate Grable is thrilled to shadow the county medical examiner, but when he is arrested for murder and Kate is left to run the morgue, she discovers that something is killing students – something very hairy and strong.” (catalogue)

First sentences: “Braaaains!” After all the zombie attacks, even the word made me twitchy.

Live Through This, Mindi Scott (289 pages) – Coley Sterling’s life appears to be perfect, and she works hard at this appearance. Underneath, she’s hiding a dreadful secret she’s kept for ten years. When it looks like her crush on Reece might turn into a real romance, the secret threatens to come out and turn her life into a nightmare.

First sentence: I’m on my bed, under the covers, and my boyfriend is kissing my neck.

Writing Workshop with Fleur Beale

If you’re interested in creative writing, then read on!

The Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie is hosting an afternoon’s writing workshop for teenagers with the great Fleur Beale on Sunday the 28th of April. Places are very limited, so be in quick and email books@thechildrensbookshop.co.nz – you can also visit their Facebook page for more information (time, cost etc.).

So many screen adaptations

YA fiction is very popular with movie makers. In more based-on-the-book movie news:

The Maze Runner (book by James Dashner) is currently being cast, but they’ve not done the big leads (Thomas, really) yet.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (book by Laini Taylor) is going to be a movie! This could take a while to appear on the screen, because they’ve only just announced who’s writing the script.

The Fault in our Stars (book by John Green) is also going to be a movie!! John Green fans will be very happy to hear this. Casting is in the “rumours” phase, so it could be a while before you can buy tickets, but it’s something to look forward to! (Also, how sad will this movie be?)

Delirium (book by Lauren Oliver) is – a little differently – going to be made for TV. I’m not sure if this means series, mini series, or TV movie, but it’s getting a cast, including Daren Kagasoff (from The Secret Life of the American Teenager).

Divergent (book by Veronica Roth) is also being cast, with Kate Winslett, Zoe Kravitz, and Shailene Woodley as Tris. (Shailene Woodley is also in rumours about The Fault in our Stars, busy.) Still no news on the title of the third book in the series (sorry).

On the Jellicoe Road (book by Melina Marchetta) has a script but no cast (we think). Still, this is progress! The author’s blog has occasional news updates, for interested readers. She announced at the end of last year that Saving Francesca is also getting the film treatment. Too much!

It is hard to keep up!

Winter Showcase 2013

Omg, last Friday night was sooooo cool. I was lucky enough to receive a VIP invite to the Winter Showcase 2013, held by young Wellington fashion labels Love Hotel, Mardle, highnoontea and phillipa&alice. Each label debuted their Autumn/Winter 2013 collection, which are all currently available online or in store.

It was held at Willis York Salon and, my word, did it get PACKED OUT! It was so busy that, unfortunately, some show-goers even had to be turned away. So busy. I don’t know if you’ve ever been up there? The salon has a very chic, edgy vibe; much like a New York-style loft, which complemented the fashion show incredibly well.


A T-shaped runway was edged with fairy lights (gorgeous) and at the end there were four chairs, each with a label name above it and done up beautifully – you could really see the designer’s touch on each of the displays, and I felt that each one really reflected the label’s style. (My fave’s on the left – that antique phone is BEAUTiful, and I neeeeed a chair like that! Love the colour tone that the glass brings in, too).

photo_2 photo_3








To start the show, four models came out in lingerie and got dressed from the piles of clothing that were on each of the chairs. It was such a great start to the show – so much more interesting than the standard walk-out. A full runway show followed, and my goodness, the looks were sooooo cool. I loved the models’ hair – it was big and volumous, clipped into gorgeous 60s styles but still with a contemporary edge. If I could do that with my hair, I’d be rocking it daily. The clothes were gorgeous, too, naturally – I saw plenty that I wanted to buy!!




Which was lucky, because everything that was modelled was available to buy straight afterwards in a temporary pop-up shop, which was open at Willis York Salon for the evening and also all day the following day.

The music was amaze (they had their own dj) and there was such a great vibe. Check out the video on this page to see for yourself! I had the best night, it was so fun and sooo chic. Also, it was incredibly re-assuring to see such brilliant and promising young talent in our fashion industry.

The fabulous designers, left to right: Sheryl (highnoontea), Ella and Harriet (Love Hotel), Philippa & Alice (philippa& alice) and Shiana (Mardle).

All of these photos (apart from my own instagram wonders) are brought to you courtesy of Caroline Atkinson at Caroline Atkinson Photography. Big ups for the beautiful shots! And a huge thanks to Love Hotel for the invite. Stay tuned for more deets on these lovely ladies next week. 😉

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