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Colour key to ball gown glamour School balls are a long-standing tradition that is as popular as ever, providing teenagers with a rare chance to dress up and socialise in a formal, glamorous setting. Deirdra Anderson of Chocolates for Breakfast in Orewa has been dressing girls in elegant gowns for their school ball since 2008 and says there is as much excitement in the air as the dresses are tried on, as ever there was. “The ball is still a very big deal and might be the only one they go to in their lives,” she says. “Sadly there are very few formal dances for adults held these days and that’s made the school ball even more of a special occasion.” The search for the perfect gown at the right price is a task that teens and their parents begin well before the date of the ball. Deirdra says that pricing is a big consideration for local parents and this year she has introduced a new range of ballgowns priced from $249. This season she has also brought in a top quality range of shoes from New York and these, coupled with accessories such as jewellery and clutch bags, mean girls can leave the store with a complete outfit. Dance floor colour Deirdra says long gowns are more in demand than the shorter, cocktail

A red dress, short or long, makes a statement at any school ball. Gowns pictured are from Chocolates for Breakfast.

Suit pictured, from Orewa Menswear

dresses this year and, as many long dresses can be altered into short ones and worn again, they are versatile. Whatever the length, colour is handsdown beating basic black and neutrals. Bright jewel-like colours, right through to pastels, are popular with bold red in particular making a splash this season. Ruffles, diamante and metallics add a fun element, while more unadorned styles allow the girls to add glitz with jewellery.

Flowers & Gifts

Boys go for Bond Orewa College’s theme of James Bond should give plenty of scope for fun. It is the main reason why suits like this are being hired in large numbers from Orewa Menswear. While the ball dresses are more colourful than ever this season, Orewa Menswear owner Tim Green says boys are generally sticking with traditional black and white tones and slim fit suits. Some are dressing the suits up with braces and the Year 13s show their increasing confidence by wearing a colourful shirt.

Instant images in demand Local photographer Daryl Brown of APL ( has been at hundreds of school balls over the years, and says the desire to get images up on social media has changed the process entirely. He says 10 years ago the process involved two photographers spending all evening at the ball, but now, in addition, there is a web technician who enhances and uploads the images to social media throughout the evening as well as a photo booth. Images are saved to a hard drive from the booth and also uploaded to social media. Video is captured using multiple devices including a GoPro camera and a high definition video camera that records personal messages from the ball goers. “Ten years ago we were photographing College Balls for free then selling the prints and enlargements, photo frames and photo gifts at the local photo shop for 6–8 weeks after the event,” Daryl says. “Fast forward to 2014 and the students are all too happy to pay $4000 plus for the photographic service as long as they get the images immediately. That is what the current generation is used to and expects.”

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Hibiscusmatters 21 May 2014 | 13

Ball season

Staying ahead of the trend Once the ball dress has been found, booking a hair appointment for the day of the ball is the next big thing to tick off the ‘to do’ list. The day of a school ball is one of the busiest of the year for local hair salons – stylist Alanna Pleasants of Hair Designers in Orewa says their team spends the day almost exclusively doing hair and makeup for young clients. “Turning them round to face the mirror when the makeup is done is a big moment,” Alanna says. “First time ball goers especially just light up when they see themselves looking sophisticated and glamorous.” Alanna says that the most popular hairstyles this year are sleek looks inspired by the 1950s or a slightly more edgy Rockabilly look. Soft, pretty curls are a more informal but still stylish way to go. The side-swept look that has been seen on the red carpets this season is enormously popular and can be achieved with medium length or long hair. Most girls keep additional hair decoration to a minimum, but flowers, especially daisies, are a big trend with floral garlands in demand. Alanna says the consultations she has with her young clients include seeing a picture of the ball dress, and that personality is also a key factor.


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Looks like these will be turning heads at local school balls.

“Some are confident enough to want a high fashion or funky look, while others like more traditional and pretty styles. It’s important to talk to a professional so that your hair will suit not only your dress, but also your personality and facial features.” League inspires boys Brad Horton, owner of His Place in Orewa, says haircuts inspired by rugby league players, such as Sonny Bill Williams, Benji Marshall and the Coast’s own Shaun Johnson, give the boys a sharp look for the ball. Because these are looks that require regular trims, he recommends that boys have their hair cut just a few days prior to the ball. The team at His Place also show clients how to apply product to keep the style looking good.

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Ball season

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Brittany Waterworth of Kingsway College dressed in a winter stormy blue for her school ball last month and had sultry makeup to match, applied by Talya Hugill.

Putting your best face forward By Talya Hugill of Amazing Face, Ball season is upon us, and every girl wants to look and feel a million dollars on this special day. Just like a wedding, research and planning is key. Most schools have ball themes to dress around. Kingway School’s recent ball was themed Four Seasons, so the girls dressed to reflect this; stormy, floral, icy and so on. As your dress is pivotal to the whole look, choose wisely. Don’t be duped into buying the latest fashion, but rather buy a dress which compliments your particular body shape, so that you will feel comfortable, as well as look great. When it comes to shoes, if you opt for stilettos, at the very least make sure you wear them in before the day – and if possible, take flats to dance in. Nothing will ruin the look, or your night, more than hobbling around with sore feet. Next, book your hair and makeup artist. It’s a busy season for these

professionals, so book early to avoid disappointment. Don’t see hair and makeup as secondary to your dress, but as something that will tie the whole look together. Even if you’re confident enough to do your own makeup, take the time to practise your look. If you are using a professional, book a consultation before the day to discuss what you want. Share pictures, and ideas, but be guided by their advice. Makeovers can be obtained from a makeup counter and this can be an affordable option. Alternatively, some hair and makeup artists can come to you and this is worth considering as time is of the essence on the day, and there is nothing more stressful than having to rush around. Leave plenty of time between hair and makeup appointments. Even if you are 10 minutes late, that may mean the difference between an average or an amazing makeover.

Ball preparations underway Life Pharmacy Orewa 8 Tamariki Avenue, Orewa Ph 426 4087 | Fx 426 4088


Ball preparations are in full swing at local colleges. This year Whangaparaoa College is holdings its Greek Garden themed ball at the Aotea Centre on August 16. Orewa College has selected a James Bond theme and its ball is on June 14 at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland city. Wentworth College’s ball is on August 2 at The Wharf, Northcote Point, and does not have a theme. Kingsway School held its ball last month.



Hibiscus matters ballseason feat2014  

Hibiscus Matters Ball season feature 2014