The unexpected colour statement that made Zambesi’s NZFW beauty look out of this world


They’ve been famed for cementing the external impression that NZ fashion is all about black, but true fans of Zambesi know the brand is actually just as genius with colour.

That came to the fore at NZ Fashion Week on Monday night, and though the label’s chic marigold suiting deserves its own story, what we’re also talking about is the unique colour pops that turned up in the otherworldly makeup look.



When it comes to beauty, striking, isolated colour statements have been making their mark on international fashion weeks recently, so it’s only fair we get our own version, but there were still a few surprises about the look MAC Senior Artist Kiekie Stanners created for the occasion.

Kiekie Stanners discusses the inspiration behind the futuristic makeup look for Zambesi:

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“Fabric is always the kickoff point for creating a look for Zambesi and this time we were really inspired by the yellow suiting in the range. We decided to use it in an electric way under the eyes, then have a wash of chalky pastel lemon around the eyes paired with highlighted, luminous skin. The variation on some of the models is a soft baby pink with a pop of magenta.

“We did want it to look a little bit futuristic; it’s a modern take on future Zambesi. There isn’t any hardness to it, it’s not heavy, it’s lighter and fresher.”


Zambesi by Kiekie Stanners for MAC Cosmetics

All very well but the actual look isn’t that relatable for 9 to 5 right? Actually, Kiekie points out the lit from within skin, created by buffing on MAC’s hydrating luminous Goldlite Strobe Cream all over skin and then tapping an additional highlight on the high planes of the face with Pearl Cream Colour Base is absolutely a takeaway. Perfect for the arrival of warmer weather, the glimmering Strobe Cream was also used on limbs to provide a flattering reflective sheen.


“The delicate wash of pastel pigment over the eyes (created for the show with a mix of pro magenta and chalky white Lip Mix but easily recreated with pastel eye shadow) is also a really beautiful way to wear colour for summer. Wear it with loads of mascara on the top lashes.”


Extending the impression of a cool, slightly untouchable Zambesi tribe from the future? Director of hair, Redken’s Richard Kavanagh, chose to amplify each model’s unique look rather than implement a uniform hairstyle.

“The collection is diverse and the casting of the models was too, so we wanted to embrace and celebrate that by making each person look like the coolest version of themselves. We wanted to make them look like, if you saw them walking down the street, you’d do a double take and go ‘woah they look cool, not ‘oh my god, look at their hair!’”


Kavanagh says he used a mix of Redken’s One United nourishing, multi-tasking spray as well as Redken Fashion Waves Sea Salt Spray and Redken Triple Take Hairspray to complete each look.

Watch our NZFW post-show debrief with Liz and Dayne of Zambesi:

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Words: Megan Bedford
Photos: Olivia Hemus for MAC Cosmetics