In conversation with KieKie Stanners and Benjamin James for Zambesi at NZFW: Kahuria 23

Last week's evening Zambesi show brought forth a captivating fusion of fashion and artistry to NZFW: Kahuria 2023. The outdoor showcase in front of the picturesque waterfront with a backdrop of the Auckland cityscape made for an unforgettable experience that had everyone talking. Amidst the iconic avant-garde designs that Zambesi flaunts, the beauty looks that complimented them are worthy of sharing the spotlight. In classic Zambesi fashion, they dared to defy convention - with flashes of chalky pink hues paired with dark features, and hair designed to match each look. As the fashion world eagerly anticipated the show, Remix's Nina Franklin and Phoebe Holden ventured backstage to uncover the creative process behind these artistic beauty transformations. Speaking with makeup director Kiekie Stanners and lead hair stylist Benjamin James, Remix shares the inspiration and direction behind the beauty looks that graced the Zambesi runway this year.

In conversation with Kiekie Stanners

How did you come up with the creative inspiration for these looks?

The beauty looks are always a collaboration with Zambesi, and it is never something that is trend-based or referenced at all. It's always a case of us getting together pre-show and going through the collections. And looking at the colour palette and the silhouettes of the range and then thinking "Okay, what, what should we do this season?" For beauty that's going to be new, different and unique for Zambesi. We worked on a beauty trial and tried a lot of different ideas to see how we could collaborate together to come up with this beauty look. The look for this show is finger-painted eyes - the models all painted their own lids, so they are all unique, and then some of the girls have a dark lip.

What are the hero products this year?

We used M.A.C products in the show, and the key product is new, it’s called Strobe Dewy Skin Tint. This is on all of the bases to create a really, balmy and super glassy base, along with the illuminate highlight palette. Then for the girls that are getting a key colour for lipstick we’re using a shade called "pretty pleats,"  Which is a retro matte powder kiss. The pink on the eye is a custom mix of a lipstick and a M.A.C pro lip mix to create this kind of chalky shade of pink.


In conversation with Benjamin James

Can you tell me a little bit about the creative direction tonight with the hair?

The creative direction tonight is about making the girls look like themselves. We want them to look and feel super cool. We're dealing with Zambesi, right? Which is a super cool brand. Why would we not want the girls to look super cool!? So the whole idea is to keep the volume really flat and keep it really strong.  But then have a little movement. So it's telling me something. And there's a story behind it rather than just giving everybody the exact same look. So basically elevating the natural texture but also elevating them so they feel good about themselves.

Have they all got hair down or are there some hair up as well?

No, there are some ponytails going on as well. And just to help restrict the hair so that we can see their faces. So we can see the garment and see how it's looking.

And you're choosing the hairstyles to match with each individual outfit? 

Yeah, so that was done pre-show. So we've already had a look through on the test day, then we decided who was getting what.

What are your hero products tonight?

We’re using O&M Style Guru mixed with O&M Frizzy Logic to create weight and hang, so it looks effortlessly cool.


Photography by Phoebe Holden