Feast Marlborough and the Saint Clair Half Marathon coincide for one lively weekend

 

Saint Clair Vineyard Half with Thomas's - MarlboroughNZ.com

One weekend in autumn draws a huge crowd to Marlborough, but not for the vineyard rows turning spectacular shades of crimson, amber and gold against clear blue skies. It’s the chance to participate in a wildly popular event that delivers an intimate way to sightsee Marlborough’s vineyards: the Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon. Thomas’s joins the excitement again as an official sponsor of the event on May 13th for another sell-out year. There are lots of ways Thomas’s will be participating in the weekend events, starting with extended store hours to include Sunday following the race.

Icebreaker at Thomas's

The Saint Clair half-marathon has been drawing entrants throughout New Zealand for over ten years. This year, guests travelling to Marlborough will be treated to an added bonus, the launch of the newest foodie festival in the country, Feast Marlborough. The inaugural event takes place the same weekend as the half-marathon, celebrating Marlborough as a producer of fresh, local delicacies and world-class wines in a series of mini-events.

Feast Marlborough with Thomas's

Pork bao buns with Thomas's for Feast Marlborough's street party

Friday kicks off Feast Marlborough’s three day celebration with a street food fair right outside the store, where our own Thomas & Sons Café will join other local food producers and restaurants to show off the region’s best fare with amazing street food in downtown Blenheim (3pm–7pm). Renowned chef Martin Bosley is leading the charge and there will be incredible seafood, Asian pork-belly bao buns (that’s us!), Mexican and other delicious street food on offer. Turn up, enjoy some late-night shopping – Thomas’s will be open until 7pm – enjoy a great meal, and get your weekend off on the right foot. Saturday night’s Feast Marlborough offering gives the half-marathon participants a chance to celebrate their efforts with several venues hosting unique dining options, and finally Sunday closes with a collaborative brunch. What better way to celebrate the mum in your life (Sunday is Mother’s Day after all!).

If you need a bit of inspiration for what to wear on the big day, check out our range online and make us your first stop for insider knowledge on the best fashion, from competition time to kicking up your heels. Mons Royale and Icebreaker offer great options for Marlborough’s fluctuating temperatures that will see you through a cold morning start to a heated finish on race day. We also carry the latest from KowTow, Karen Walker, Ted Baker, Ketz-ke and more, for an instant uplift after you peel off running gear and join the celebrations.

See you on Friday night for the street food party, Saturday at the finish line, or come and see us in store on Sunday for a relaxed shop, coffee and brunch.

Best of luck to all the competitors, whether it’s your first time or your tenth. You’ve got this!

Thomas’s opening hours for the Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon & Feast Marlborough weekend

Friday

  • Shop: 9.00am – 7.00pm
  • Café: 8.00am – 7.00pm

Saturday

  • Shop: 10.00am – 4.00pm
  • Café: 8.30am – 3.00pm

Sunday

  • Shop: 10.00am – 3.00pm
  • Café: 8.30am – 2.00pm

Photograph of Marlborough vines: MarlboroughNZ.com

Love letters and magazines – a photo shoot with Lonely and Admire

 

Moody lighting, the sound of Billie Holliday’s velvety voice crooning down the hallway of a vintage theatre – that’s the ambience of our latest photo shoot with Admire magazine.

The photo shoot was a collaboration between Thomas’s stylist Ingrid Binsted-Pickering and photographer David James – setting the scene for Lonely lingerie. “Lonely is such a feminine, comfort, feel-good label. With beautiful cuts, romantic colours, the lace and straps – it’s something quite unique and special in comparison to your regular lingerie,” says Ingrid, who was inspired by 1930s Paris and young starlets getting ready backstage. Featuring local dance teachers and dancers Gemma Adams and Elly Molloy, with the Boathouse Theatre as backdrop, brought its own local charm to this set.

New Zealand-based design house Lonely is an advocate for real women, celebrating their strength and individuality. Finding beauty in the unconventional gave rise to their Lonely Girls Project, a journal that allows women to post candid photos of themselves wearing Lonely, with no touch ups. The result is a series of portraits where the natural, unrestricted beauty of women from all walks of life is proudly displayed without an ounce of inhibition; it’s a poignant campaign for positive body image. Add to it the fact that their designs are incredibly comfortable, and you can see why women are so passionate about this label. At Thomas’s this range is hugely popular with customers of all ages. In the words of Lonely designer Helene Morris, Lonely is:

“For women who wear lingerie as a love letter to themselves.”

Bringing to life our favourite labels is what Ingrid does best, for this spread designing a theatrical scene to showcase our two starlets, as they prepare backstage for the spotlight. Choosing such an intimate label for this magazine spread was an obvious choice for Ingrid, who calls it, “a fashion piece to be worn and seen. The minute the girls put the lingerie on they were in love with the comfort and femininity of it.” Paired with luxe robes by Cathy Campbell, you can see why these are pieces meant to be shown off.

The Lonely shoot appears in Admire’s latest edition, out 7 April – and the second to last Marlborough edition before it merges with the Nelson/Tasman spread. Working with Admire has been a dream, as they highlight local talent, entertainment and foodie culture as well as giving insight into who’s who and what’s what in Marlborough. Get your copy now.

The Lonely range is available in-store at Thomas’s – take a cue from our shoot and become your own Lonely Girl.

Lonely at Thomas's by David James Photography

Photographer: David James

Stylist: Ingrid Binsted-Pickering

Makeup Artist: Grace Simpson

Hairdresser: Ashleigh Nott

Models: Gemma Adams & Elly Molloy

Robes by Cathy Campbell https://www.facebook.com/Cathy-Campbell-1539029719670100/?ref=ts&fref=ts

Special thanks to the Boathouse Theatre for the use of backstage.

 

Built to last – a new and an old favourite for Slow Fashion: Nudie Jeans & Kowtow

Nudie Jeans and Thomas's for Slow Fashion

Slow fashion for men

Swedish label Nudie Jeans has officially arrived at Thomas’s. This is a brand that aligns itself closely with the emerging slow-fashion movement, where quality takes precedence over quantity, timeless before trendy. Nudie Jeans joins some incredible labels that we have carried over the years who strive to make eco-friendly clothing that will stand the test of time through classic designs, organic materials, and superior craftsmanship.

Nudie Jeans at Thomas's

Nudie jeans is a label born from an absolute adoration of denim, from the way the fabric is made right down to the life and feel it takes on as it ages. If you’ve ever owned a favourite pair of jeans that’s lasted for years, known the way the soft fit feels like slipping into a second skin, then you understand the sort of experience Nudie Jeans aims to provide. But they know that experience doesn’t happen straight off the shelf; this is familiarity and maturity that can only happen over time. The mindset is that a good pair of jeans carries “history in every rip and repair, like pages in a diary.” Nudie jeans reflects you as an individual over time, meaning they need to be built to last.

Nudie Jeans from Sweden at Thomas's

Of course, Nudie jeans takes the task of building durable jeans to the highest level, using only organic cotton and insisting on production that is fair and transparent, a small step that hugely influences the quality of the final product. These are jeans that don’t care what the current trend is, instead focusing on how you feel and look in them. Once you’ve met your perfect pair, the company even offers repair kits to keep them a part of your wardrobe through the long haul. You will also see that they recycle and resell their older gear, yet another commitment to the eco-friendly nature of their label. It’s a mindset that feels good to wear.

A good pair of jeans carries “history in every rip and repair, like pages in a diary.”

Slow fashion for women

While we’re on the path of looking at labels that aim to make sustainable fashion, one of our absolute favourites is Kowtow. Kowtow slows the fashion world right down with their building block basics; timeless, multifunctional pieces like skirts that untangle to become shirts or simple dresses that layer under or over the louder collection pieces. Kowtow has been creating clothing that doesn’t just physically last, but escapes the need to be trendy with time-honoured classics you will wear over and over.

Kowtow at Thomas's

Kowtow evolved under the passionate guidance of Wellingtonian, Gosia Piatek. She found her niche in the fashion industry with a simple insistence that whatever she created, it had to be done ethically and sustainably. Kowtow has stuck to that, becoming certified Fairtrade and sustainable “from seed to garment”. By using only certified organic cotton and truly involving themselves in every stage of the line’s production, this is a label making waves on an international level for slow fashion.

There is beautiful structure even to Kowtow’s most basic pieces, sometimes voluminous with layered sleeves or generously wide pant legs, while at other times slouchy, flowy and relaxed.

There is beautiful structure even to Kowtow’s most basic pieces, sometimes voluminous with layered sleeves or generously wide pant legs, while at other times slouchy, flowy and relaxed. These are elements that make the line timeless; starting with simple, high-quality material and transforming it into a work of art through nothing more than shape and cut. Kowtow’s clothing is so incredibly multifunctional, dressing up or down with ease, that you find a million ways to wear one piece over the years. What’s amazing is how Kowtow manages to make every detail a signature of their philosophy embracing simplicity, durability and sustainability, from fabric and stitch to beautiful hemp buttons.

Kowtow comfort and style at Thomas's

You’ll never regret choosing classic pieces in high quality fabric with traditional cuts, which is why the slow fashion movement is gaining traction and guiding people away from fast fashion. So, if you’ve been wanting to slow your own world down a little and get off the treadmill, come in and see how these labels look and feel in person. It might just be the beginning of a journey with a piece you’ll be wearing for years to come.

Q+A with Zambesi’s Liz Findlay

Liz Findlay from Zambesi talking to Thomas's

Liz Findlay by Marissa Findlay

 

One of the pleasures of working in a business like Thomas’s is bringing the best clothing and designs in the world for our customers to shop right here in Marlborough. Forming enduring relationships with the creative forces behind these designs is another pleasure. Working with Elisabeth and Neville Findlay from Zambesi which the husband and wife team founded in 1979 has always been a delight. Liz has kindly agreed to answer a few of our questions about the art and inspiration behind this leading NZ brand and its creators.

 

Q. You place great value in your clothing being entirely New Zealand made. How have you managed to sustain this while other designers have had to look overseas?

First of all we are very proud that we are New Zealand made. This is a commitment we made early on and we are determined to continue on this path. There are challenges and consequences, however, this is something that is very important to us at Zambesi. We have a workroom in Newton, Auckland which is a very creative environment for many sets of skills required to pattern and construct our garments.  

Q. How can we try to preserve, or re-introduce, specialist manufacturing and machinist skills in this country? How important is this?

By encouraging young people with the desire to make garments to take this on as a career move we could build a stronger manufacturing base. The construction of garments is an art and I feel it has been undervalued for some time.

 

The construction of garments is an art and I feel it has been undervalued for some time.

 

Q. We’ve heard you say you find inspiration in the fabric itself. Where else do you find inspiration – from your travels or from friends, people you meet?

I am continually inspired by the talented, creative staff around me in the workroom and our Zambesi stores. They are all individuals who wear the brand in their own way, keeping it real. We are so fortunate to have a loyal following which has been built over the years and this is inspirational as it continues to provide the challenge to create.    

Q. Do you have a particular Zambesi muse? What does she embody?

Not really a particular muse! I find myself thinking about what I would like to wear, or see being worn. Pieces that may be missing from my own wardrobe and re-creating pre-loved garments from the archive.

Q. You’ve been producing Zambesi collections for more than thirty years. Do you have a favourite collection from these years or does each new collection become your favourite?

I don’t think I have a favourite collection and in fact I think we have produced one great big collection that is ongoing.

Q. What is your favourite piece from the Spring/Summer 2016/17 collection?

I love to mix things up a little so that would mean several pieces!

 

 

Q. Who in the world would you most like to see wearing Zambesi?

Anyone with an imagination – head in the clouds, feet on the ground.

Q. Favourite spot in New Zealand?

Home! Anywhere with the family!

Q. Favourite city in the world?

I do love Paris! I am so lucky that I go twice a year to buy imports for our stores, so that is like going shopping for others which satisfies my desire to choose things.

Q. Who would you love to invite to dinner and what would you serve?

Leonard Cohen – something Greek!

Q. Favourite designer of all time – past or present?

Hard to choose! Maybe Martin Margiela.

Q. Any words you try to live by?

Don’t be afraid

Never give up

There is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in.

 

Two powerhouse New Zealand designers now have their own areas in store

Karen Walker concept area at Thomas's Lonely concept area at Thomas'sWe’re delighted to have launched new concept areas recently in store with two powerhouse Kiwi brands – Karen Walker and Lonely.

Karen Walker – one of New Zealand’s biggest fashion exports – made the news over the weekend with her decision not to show at New York Fashion Week this season. She’s been a regular on the New York fashion circuit for a decade but has just announced that with the changes in social media marketing New York no longer works for her. You can read more about it here. Brave call for a brave designer and it is testament to her status and influence that this decision isn’t likely to hurt her sales.

The Karen Walker aesthetic captures a sense of eccentric elegance and her clothes and accessories are beloved around the world, including by personalities such as Alexa Chung, Lorde, Rihanna, Gigi Hadid and Florence Welch. Come in and experience the Karen Walker phenomenon with a new spring range that is all about colour and distinctive patterns.

Karen Walker concept store at Thomas's“Fostering a sense of positive body image and freedom of expression, Lonely eschews conventional marketing, bringing its collections to life via the Lonely Girls Project, a journal featuring women around the world from all walks of life captured wearing Lonely in their way.”

These are the words of Helene Morris, Lonely designer, who along with Steve Ferguson makes up the Auckland-based Lonely duo. The Lonely Girls Project focuses on real women – of many sizes and shapes – being photographed in their underwear. And it is due to this refreshing approach to marketing, as well as the beautiful designs, that Lonely is fast gaining cult status across the globe.

These guys are big on Instagram. Follow along to find out more about the Lonely Girls Project.

Lonely - new range at Thomas'sLonely celebrates women’s strength and individuality with beautiful, and comfortable, lingerie, swimwear and clothing. This latest spring summer 2016 range was inspired by the movie Ghost World, starring Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson.

Lonely is appealing to a broad range of women here in Marlborough – all ages are snapping up the lingerie and enjoying the flexibility of the clothing which can be dressed up or down. We’ve had great feedback and there’s more lingerie and lounge wear arriving at the end of the month and then again in November, when the swimwear will make its appearance.

Come in store and see what all the fuss is about. Our wonderful staff in womenswear would love to help you discover the Karen Walker and Lonely collections for yourself.

Image credit: In-store photographs by Peter Burge

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Spring into new fashion – what to look out for this season

Trends for Spring 2016 at Thomas's

At Thomas’s we like to stay at the forefront of fashion so we can offer you a broad selection of the best designs available, right here in Marlborough. As well as keeping our eye firmly fixed on design trends, we are also committed to supporting beautifully, ethically and sustainably made clothing, created from enduring and high quality fabrics. We want to sell you great clothes that last – so you can feel good while you look good!

Hamish is our fashion buyer and he and Tim frequent the fashion show front rows to keep up to date. We put some questions to Hamish about what to look out for in spring trends this year.

Spring 2016 Trends – Q&A with Hamish:

Q.  What are the main trends we should be looking out for in spring 2016 fashion?

A.  Off the shoulder styles are going to be strong, especial in preppy blue and white fabrics. Anything Victorian – ruffles, puffy sleeves, high-collar necklines and loads of flowers. Also look for lightweight denims and bomber jackets.

Q.  What’s else is happening in denim – are flares still the thing? Anything new?

A.  All our international brands are showing high-waisted straight leg jeans in light coloured denim, think 1990s, look for holes and raw edge hems. There has been a move on from flares, look for cropped bootlegs such as these from Neuw below. There is still dark and black denim as well as the boyfriend fit.

Neuw flared pant from Thomas's

Q.  What’s up in colours for this coming season?

A. Orange is strong, as is khaki, and look for white, prints, dusty pinks and light-coloured denim.

Spring 2016 Trends with Thomas's of Marlborough

Q. Is there a great difference between new ideas in men’s and womenswear?

A.  Fashion is always lead by women’s trends and men’s styling is taken from there, like colour, fabric and styling.

Q. What would be your favourite NZ label in store this spring – for men and women? What great things are Kiwi designers doing?

A. That would have to be Kowtow for women and Huffer for the guys – you can see both in the photos below. Both labels fit our Kiwi lifestyle, Kowtow uses organic cotton which has an amazing feel, and is so comfortable to wear.  We stock Kate Sylvester, Zambesi, Nyne, Workshop and have just opened our Karen Walker and Lonely concept area which is very exciting. We are so proud to stock so many outstanding NZ labels. It is very important to know your customer and keep true to that, it keeps people coming back season after season and that is what makes NZ labels so popular.

Kiwi cool from Kowtow - Sunday Jumpsuit 2Huffer for men from Thomas's

Q.  Which is your favourite international label in store?

A.  Ted Baker, both men’s and women’s. Their attention to detail is incredible, they use the best fabrics and cuts.

Q.  What labels do you recommend for those who want to be at the forefront of new trends?

A.  Karen Walker (see below left), Zambesi or international labels Ksubi or Diesel.

Q.  How about for those of us who are a little bit slower to get on board or who prefer a more classic look?

A.  Caroline Sills, or Obi, both have beautiful knitwear, dresses and pants and of course both are from NZ.

Q.  There’s a real feel of comfort in the new Camilla and Marc spring range, as witnessed in the image above. Is the comfort factor spread across other labels too?

A.  Comfort is the key to all labels – you will see brands do beautiful dresses for evening wear and casual clothing for the weekends.

Q.  And what’s your take on the must-have accessory for the coming months?

A.  Hoop earrings, mules for shoes and a Yu Mei bag.

You heard it here from Hamish first. Check out the new spring range online or come in store to see it for yourself. We have fantastic friendly staff who’re highly skilled at helping choose the perfect clothes for you.

We’ll leave the last word on the topic to the inimitable Vivienne Westwood, who once said “Fashion is very important. It is life-enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

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Q+A with Kathryn Wilson

 

KW Pic

 

Long-time friends – Thomas’s and Kathryn Wilson – recently caught up about her plans for the future, summer essentials and that Beyonce post! Kathryn Wilson has established herself as New Zealand’s premier footwear designer, and has big plans to take on the world. As she says herself ‘the world’s her oyster’ and are every bit sure she’ll be dominating the global footwear scene in no time! 

Kathryn Wilson and Miss Wilson have a strong following – who’ve you been most chuffed to see wearing your shoes?

 I was pretty excited this month to see Beyonce’s post on Instagram of her Kathryn Wilson shoes and Little Miss Wilson brogues for her daughter Blue Ivy… definitely a career highlight!

beyonce Insta

Beyonce’s Instagram Post

 

Tells us a bit about the inspiration behind your soon to be released AW14 collection?

The Winter collection was designed while celebrating our 10 year anniversary of Kathryn Wilson Footwear.  We chose to re-develop some of the favourite shapes and silhouettes over the years to offer loyal customers an updated version of the top-sellers. There are stacked platform heels in floral embossed leathers, tortoise shell heels and a palette of mid-tone pastels in mint green and rose pink. A personal favourite of mine is a feminine open toe heel in blush pink patent with a leather frill on the toe that I plan to wear at my wedding next year!

Where do you find inspiration for your designs? Is the design process the same for each range? How does each shoe come to be?

It is a very selfish process that I design each collection based on what I want to be wearing next year!! I always have far too many ideas and shapes that have to be simplified back and reduced to the favourite few that get sampled. I get inspiration from friends, travel, movies, music, all year around so by the time I am ready to draw up a season there are plenty to draw from!

What’s your favourite thing about doing ‘what you do’?

I help to make women feel good about themselves and hopefully give them confidence to ‘take on the world and go their own way’.

You were the winner of an AMP scholarship, how did this achievement help with your career?

It was a great kick-start when I was 22 to receive $5000 which enabled me to sample my first design in NZ. The backing of a big name like AMP made me feel like my idea of building a career in shoe design might just be a good one!

You have worked with Jimmy Choo and sent a pair of shoes to Beyonce Knowles, what and who is next?

Haha there are no limits… being a boutique brand with a global vision ‘the world is our oyster’… we are really excited to build the brand online and make our shoes accessible for people all over the world.

What are your wardrobe essentials for this summer?

A pair of havaianas, a colourful wedge for summer weddings on the grass and a good pair of nude colour heels.

Do you have a favourite pair of Kathryn Wilson shoes and what are they?

Every season I have a new favourite!! At the moment it is the ‘Teresa Heel’ from the current summer collection with the gold filigree heel detail. I got a pair for myself in every colour!!

108 Teresa Heel Black

The Teresa Heel

What’s on your playlist at the moment?

The Preatures – “Is this how you feel?”

Your favourite holiday destination and last time you went?

Anywhere warm and sunny… I spent a week in Rarotonga with my mum and sister last month which was a relaxing break celebrating our 10 year anniversary.

We hear that you are soon to be married, any chance of letting us in on your choice of footwear for the wedding?

A pair of Kathryn Wilson heels of course! The LA Brandt heel is a favourite at the moment.

If Vivienne Westwood was coming for dinner, what would you serve her?

She is a bit strange… so maybe something colourful and lots of martinis!!