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Fashion for the busy woman: Key Black

The beautiful Key Black boutique in Cashmere will offer you locally made and designed styles for your curves.



Specialising in foundation garments and styles you can work into your everyday wardrobe, the Key Black label is perfect for a busy woman’s lifestyle; easy to wear and easy to care for garments designed to mix and match from season to season.
Designer and stylist Rachelle Varnham believes shopping smarter is crucial. “You need to invest wisely to make sure you are maximising your purchases. If you do not wear 100 percent of your wardrobe, you are doing it wrong.”

Designed to mix and match, Key Black’s ‘Whaea’ collection features sharp angles and trims to make a subtle statement. The new ‘Fly High’ collection is arriving in store now and consists of feminine and floaty styles that will be teamed with tailored jackets and dusters to fit all your spring and summer occasions.

To make sure they have all shapes covered, Key Black includes New Zealand-design favourites like ‘The Carpenters Daughter’, which has been dressing curvy girls with attitude for more than 30 years. ‘Valpy’ is another favourite. Exclusive to Key Black and made here in Canterbury, ‘Valpy’ is all about florals and feminine prints, which complements the solid colours of Key Black’s collections. You will also find some ‘Sabatini’ styles and ‘Juna’ silk dresses.

Learn how to work your wardrobe and wear styles with confidence with free personal or group styling. Book through the website, or phone 03 337 1495. Find the boutique at 27A Colombo Street, Cashmere, parking out front.




Spring begins here: Made in the Shade

Spring has never looked lovelier than at Made in the Shade, with new stock arriving daily. From the vivaciously vivid to the dreamy pastel palette; from jaunty French-style “oh là là” tops to star-spangly sweaters; and from snazzy stripes to classy but classic check trousers, there’s something here for every gal looking to look a cut above the rest.

With clothes meticulously blocked from sizes 8 to 18, browsing here is a breeze.

This season’s trends feature tops with beautiful motif decoration; cute ’n’ crisp cropped cotton jackets; elegant wide-legged pants, and the colour green makes a welcome return in a wonderful variety of shades.

New Zealand-made brands, like Anne Mardell and Mardee, provide clever coordinate combos that deliver a different look every day, while Optimum showcases a stunning range of fine gauge knitwear for our warmer months; Optimum also offers a bespoke service of knitting special garments to order for individual customers.

For an unforgettable wedding ensemble or after-five outfit, New Zealand’s Bitter Moon have skirts and dresses to add sparkle to your special occasion.

NYDJ’s jeans make every bottom bootylicious, but if it’s bottom lift and tummy tuck that you’re after, then Canadian label Lisette is for you.

Globetrotters will love the exquisite European fine linens range – ideal for hassle-free packing and travelling in style.

Yes ladies, spring begins at Made in the Shade; pop in and be inspired – your wardrobe will love you for it!

Find the store at 151A Colombo Street, Beckenham. Phone 03 332 1238 or visit




If it suits

Suits are head-turning, confidence-creating and fabulously flattering – and have now relaxed into an exciting wardrobe staple. We check out the hottest suit styles for the coming season, to take us into 2020.




While women once minced in demure pencil-skirt and jackets of the 1930s and 40s, this season’s trouser suits are taking bigger, bolder strides leading into the next decade.

Anything goes in the material stakes. Ice-cream coloured pastels are a delicious summery wardrobe treat, while on the other end of the fabric spectrum, tweeds are teaming up as dapper trouser suits for dames. Everything goes, from slippery velvets, breathable summer-weight silk, perhaps black and white in a stylish wool-blend, hot fuchsia in cool linen, or metallic in modal. Suits make a unique statement.

Individual personality this season takes the suit far, far away from any corporate connotations – it’s all about suiting up and owning your own style. Celebrities from Michelle Obama to our royal influencers are flaunting floral-bombed patterning to gorgeous blocks of colours and timeless neutrals. In cute or courageous original outfits – the cue is to make your own mark.

Wide pants are swishy, slouchy comfort to the max – quite the opposite to what you’d expect to feel in the usual tailored two-piece. Go high-waisted and wide-legged from the hip, or do a glam Charlie’s Angel-style ’70s flare from the knee. Larger jackets have lots of wiggle room with full-on sleeves still a big fave. Teamed with high-rise heels or chunky flats – this look is quick to transform from daytime to drinks-time at the flick of a heel.

Cinched in via a wide tied belt or beautiful tailoring to show off the waist, a suit jacket adds flattering femininity. But equally so, the baggier, edgy boyfriend blazer will be strutting most of our streets, paired with perfectly matching pants. Structured shoulders are invited to team up with slouchy-crotched trousers. Tiny fitted tops are tasteful under long languid jackets; juxtaposition is, after all, hip.

Flattering for every figure, suits suit most bods. The silhouette-slinking sameness will elongate the shorter stature, and jackets and pants can be made to skim over or figure-hug any feature. No matter how casual the suit is stitched up, the wearer will always look somewhat polished and purposely dressed. Don’t forget, a tailor can alter any part of an otherwise perfect suit. Think about buying a suit that will look good with most of your summer shirts.

Emulate a dramatic three-piece with a matching coloured top. Plunging necklines also render a sassy suit, creating a sizzling contender to the little black dress.

And worth every penny is the suit’s sassy versatility in all weathers. Throw the jacket over the back of a chair and you instantly have a cooler, different look. There’s no need to find that co-ordinating summer jacket either – phew. It’s really a great two-in-one investment!



Luxe Locks

When it comes to our hair, we’re constantly craving change, which is great – after all, our hair just keeps on growing! So we’ve checked out the latest looks for locks you can expect to see in 2019/2020.



  1. Bobs and beehives
    We’re heading back to the 60s, when bigger was better! Yes, bobs and beehives have both been spotted on the runways this year and we’re excited to see what comes of it.
  2. Cherry blonde
    It’s the tastiest hair colour trend to hit 2019; cherry blonde is the new rose gold of hair colours and we’re welcoming it with open arms with the warmer months in store. It’s the modern incarnation of the classic strawberry blonde and sounds just as delicious!
  3. Smoky pink
    It’s the grown-up chance to go crazy with pink hair. Soft and sooty, it has smoky, sophisticated undertones.
  4. The blow-dry is back
    The blow-dry – that had once blown right on by – has hit the style consciousness again. Where we have previously seen undone, messier hair, we’re now craving a sleeker, smoother, more polished look and, whether that look is wavy, curly or straight, the blow-dry can get us there.



Chic & comfort combine: ECCO Shoes

In a world of fast fashion, the effortless elegance of classic French girl style becomes ever more desirable. The idea of valuing quality over quantity and curating an undeniably chic wardrobe that is relevant from year to year, is not only easier on the wallet but on the planet too.



In French girl style, ballet flats are as essential in the wardrobe as the Breton and the classic trench. Paired with jeans for weekend brunch, sharp blazer for work, or a dreamy lightweight skirt for picnicking, ballet flats are comfortable without sacrificing style. Now Denmark’s iconic designer, ECCO Shoes, has raised the bar in both comfort and chic with the Anine ballerina flat.

Named after Anine Frolich, an 18th century dancer and the first Danish ballet star, the Anine comes in a range of innovative and on-trend luxury leathers and also uses ECCO’s pioneering Fluidform™ Direct Comfort Technology. The soft PU leather is direct-injected into the one-component sole, wrapping and protecting the underfoot and delivering exceptional shock absorption and a bit of bounce.

Newly lightweight and with a 1.5mm heel, ECCO Anine comes in seven stunning colourways. Just as French girl style typically highlights one statement piece, the Anine range includes stand-out metallics, patent and the gorgeous Rose Dust Latica floral – a celebration of spring that will lift your heart and your heels. Find ECCO Anine at 195 Papanui Road, Merivale or shop online at



Crazy for crochet

As we crawl our way out of winter, we’re starting to spend our days daydreaming about our spring and summer clothing collection. 2018 was the year of the basket bag, paving the path for a trend of all things woven in 2019; enter an abundance of intricately entwined fabrics – crochet, knit, macramé and netting – in a variety of palettes; earthy, pastel and bright ‘n’ bold.




A crafty aesthetic is sweeping through the spring and summer collections of some of the world’s biggest fashion houses; NYFW saw Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Carolina Herrera and more utilising the homespun look in inventive ways, with two-pieces, long-sleeved maxis, shorts, frilly dresses and bags in a multitude of woven fabrics making waves on the runway. Are you ready to weave the woven trend into your wardrobe?

  1. Dip your toes into the trend with woven wedges or sandals and accessories, or if you’re feeling crazy for crochet, full-on woven maxis and midi skirts are your statement makers.
  2. Pair crochet and macramé pieces with cool, minimal fabrics like white or washed denim, linen, and add funky texture and oomph to any ensemble with netting and sheer knits in vivid colours like sunny yellow, bright green and neon peach.
  3. Heading seaside? Give crochet swimwear a nudge, or channel your inner beach babe with a cute open weave cover-up; think a plain white, cream or black maxi or midi dress hemmed with fringing – perfect for throwing over the top of a brightly coloured bikini.



The perfect pair: Kjole Style

Amongst the exclusive range of clothing at Kjole Style is a handpicked selection of jeans that many customers have claimed to be the most comfortable they’ve ever owned.



The Pulz brand includes three styles, with the Stacia Curve the most popular – perfect for pear-shaped figures – eliminating the ‘waist gap’ at the back. Another loved brand is the Dranella ‘Pam’ fit push-up, in various styles and colours, designed to beautifully shape the behind. Offering more of a straight-leg style, these are best suited to an hourglass figure.

Then there’s the sought-after Denim Hunter range, accommodating a wider waist and slim leg of an apple figure. The Celina Custom Zip, 7/8 in length with a short zip on the ankle, is ideal for those a little on the shorter side; and for longer-legged women, there’s the Celina custom long.

Kjole, meaning ‘dress’ in Danish, is located in Hanmer Springs at the Boulder Point Retail Precinct. Mother and daughter duo Stephanie and Penny Suckling import the clothing from Denmark, described as ‘luxury for less’. “The fabrics have a soft, comfortable feel. This range is great for women looking for something a bit different, while being fashionable and stylish with a pared back look.”

For a personal styling service, visit the friendly team in-store, or catch them showcasing the new spring clothing range at a number of events over the next few months, including the Ashburton Boulevard Day, The Christmas Country Fête and the Geraldine Fête.

Visit the store or shop online at



Empowering through style: Bibi Maber

As a personal stylist, Bibi Maber’s goal is to empower clients by helping them get in touch with their authentic self and develop their own unique style. This allows them to shift their focus to target their life goals and dreams.



She speaks from experience. While going through her own significant lifestyle changes and altering her outlook on life, she went through many ups and downs. This, paired with professional training, made her want to help others. “Sometimes we just need to feel inspired or motivated, and that’s where I can help, by bringing out their true personality in their style,” she says.

“Weight-loss is often people’s first focus when it comes to changing their image. I just want to bring to their attention that losing weight is not essential for people to feel good about themselves. It can begin with their style and that usually inspires people to work on themselves further, whether it’s attending courses, reading books, applying for a new job, or even weight loss, eventually – but feeling good about themselves first is key.”

Originally from Canada, Bibi started her first image consulting business in Toronto, but put everything on hold to start a new chapter of her life in New Zealand’s corporate world while keeping her passion for fashion burning on the side. In 2018, Studio Bibi was launched to help clients understand the power of colours, shapes, styles and accessories through one-to-one consultations and personal shopping trips.

Bibi’s running her first series of styling workshops in Christchurch through to mid-November, so why not get a group together today?



Many humanitarian hats

Zahra Hussaini first arrived in Christchurch as a 12-year-old Afghan refugee – the baby of eight siblings. Back then she didn’t speak a word of English, but the proactive 28-year-old is now an interpreter for the Muslim community. However, this is only one of the many humanitarian hats she wears.




Zahra graduated as a lab technician from Ara, but was encouraged, because of her authentic compassion and love for people, to stand as councillor and community board member in the local elections for The People’s Choice Labour Waimairi. She enjoys going door-to-door, alongside Jake McLellan, a candidate for Central Ward, and having personalised conversations.

“I’m so happy to see such diversity in candidates this year – such as Indian, Israeli and Afghan,” she says. “It’ll make a more inclusive community. That’s the beauty of it, to have the voice of everyone.”

Immaculately presented and gracefully elegant, she believes in the importance of taking pride in her appearance, to look and feel confident – while still staying true to her faith and culture.

Since studying fashion design as a student at Hagley Community College, Zahra believes women can have the best of all worlds, and plans to bring modest Muslim-inspired fashion, that’s also beautiful and modern, to Christchurch.

Zahra is in the planning stages for launching her boutique in the near future – so the community can shop local for New Zealand and international made clothing. “What made me think about this was that when you go shopping here, it’s so hard to find something modest! Much of what is available is often too revealing for Muslim women. It’s easy to shop online, but I like to feel and see the fabrics, and try things on.”


An expert in layering, she loves chiffon. Separate sleeves are often chosen to stylishly cover the wrists and turtlenecks are a flattering favourite. The colours Zahra absolutely adores are maroon and burgundy, which pair exquisitely with her neutral of choice for shoes, bags and scarves – tan.

A stunning agate stone of cultural significance is worn around her neck, set in silver, and long elegant jackets over skinny pants and this season’s high-heeled boots is a go-to. She loves Linden Leaves, Nars makeup and wears Burberry Black perfume.

Lots of interesting scarves fill her wardrobe, particularly one from Krama & Co – which supports Cambodian weavers – that she wore at a recent ‘Uniting Canterbury Women’ event. In Canterbury colours, she says it pairs perfectly with a nude-coloured hijab.

Busy planning and creating events, she’s committed to local environmental and water bottling issues and having a multi-cultural centre at Christchurch’s heart. She also volunteers for ‘Who is Hussain?’ – a worldwide organisation focusing on empowering communities.

Actively involved with community youth work, she loves children and is the ‘favourite aunty’ to her nieces and nephews.

Zahra lives in Wigram with her parents and says, “I’m so proud of my mother and the support she gives me. And my father, well he’s my champion – he has given me wings to fly.”



Red Hot

Red is the power player that has been vying for our attention, but in all the right ways.




As bold as it is brazen, red is the go-getter in the fashion stakes and its popularity is spreading like wildfire, as the fiery shade dominates the fashion shows this season. Symbolic of love, passion, fire and blood, few other colours are as bold and uncompromising. It’s shorthand for making a statement and designers across the board are making good use of it. Spring 2019 is definitely the season for experimenting with colour, so now is the time to go red hot or go home.

  1. Paint the town red: Pantone’s Spring 2019 colour list is packed with empowering and uplifting primary colours, with Fiesta Red and Jester Red topping the list. Whether you adorn yourself in this bold hue from head to toe, or play with fire and try a simple bold lip or heel, it’s time to paint the town red with this hot look.

  2. A fiery fiesta: Bright, fiery and almost orange, Fiesta is a hot fashion statement. But for those who err on the shy side, why not dip your toes in and pair your favourite jeans with a pair of fiery heels, or add some heat to your black blazer with a Fiesta Red handbag?

  3. Add some ‘kick’: Red is hot property for those wanting to add that ‘little something’ missing from an otherwise low-key outfit and it’s getting us all fired up about the possibilities in store for our wardrobes. It’s time to roll out the red carpet.

  4. All over red rover: If there was ever a time to rock a pair of red pants with a red blazer, red top, and red shoes, it is now. Yes, this is one time when it’s totally OK to opt for a bottom and jacket in the same hot shade, then mix it up with a top that creates contrast, whether it’s lighter, darker or perhaps patterned.

  5. Boots ‘n’ all: Not everyone is ready to jump in boots and all when it comes to this powerful shade, so why not start from the bottom and work your way up? Hot red pants or a skirt can still create statement style without feeling over the top. Pair your choice with something simple or pared back.

  6. Rocking the red top: Red can turn any garment into a statement piece. Yes, that means it can make simple, pared-back styles pop. So pair a red coat with jeans or a red tee with black pants and you’ll be looking hot.