Feathers Jewelled Clutch

Happy Satuday, motorinas! Don’t forget, for us Melbournites, at 3am tonight it’s all about the daylight savings change, so don’t get caught out! We’ve had all sorts of awesome Fashion Week shenanigans going on in town, including the very memorable Curvy Couture Roadshow (those of you there may have seen me repping the gorgeous Misty Belvidere brand), so I decided to do a decidedly non-motoring post tonight. I draw your attention to the most gorgeous clutch I think I’ve ever seen, currently available at Feathers for $199. Happy shopping!

Jewelled Clutch at Feathers

Jewelled Clutch at Feathers

Gazelle Rally Final Rankings

The Gazelle Rally (otherwise known as the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc) has finished for 2014, with the 4×4 winning team being team 161, Jeanette James (Britain) and Anne Marie Borg (France), taking the flag with a final penalty of 59.24.They drove the Volkswagen Amarok.

The Winning 4x4 Team 161, Jeanette James & Ane Marie Borg

The Winning 4×4 Team 161, Jeanette James (r) & Anne Marie Borg (l)

The Motorbike / Quad Bike category is another important one to watch, with French Team 27 comprising Betty Kraft and Sarah Maire taking out the honours on a pair of Polaris Scrambler 850s.

The Final Category is the Crossover Category, which has everything from vans to compact 4x4s participating and this year, German Team 320 comprising Astrid Ebermann and Sabrina Trillman, took out the honours in a Mercedes Sprinter Van!

Congratulations to all of the Gazelles for another fabulous race.

For a full ranking list of all participant teams, click here to the official site. Go Gazelles!

gazelles

On the topic of lipstick and gearsticks ;)

On the topic of lipstick and gearsticks ;)

The Gazelle Rally 2014

The Gazelles are well and truly out of the blocks in Morocco at the Gazelle Rally, tearing up the sand and dodging camels.

Officially known as the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles, the Gazelle Rally has competitors ploughing through the sands of Morocco. This incredibly tough cross-country rally is open only to women & the competitors are known as Gazelles.

Muppets can shelve the rather pathetic “women can’t read maps” argument right now, because the very determined Gazelles spend these eight days in the Moroccan desert with no GPS in their vehicles. All navigation is done with a compass and map (the map is in French just in case it was sounding like a trip out to get a sammich). They receive a daily (very succinct) Road Book with the day’s course and have a series of checkpoints to hit.

The point of winning isn’t being the fastest, but actually going the shortest distance; the Gazelles get the best results by being smart and navigating brilliantly. The winning Gazelles team is the team with the least number of kilometres clocked.

Taking off at dawn each day, each daily course takes around 8-10 hours on average. Oh, and did I mention that the entire race is off-road? Just checking.

And what does the US Indiana Joans team (team 183 this year) have to say about the rally?

With determination as the only selection criterion, whatever their age, social background, nationality or experience, the participants in this rally come to experience a competition that respects the local populations and the environment.

This brilliant rally is in its 24th year and was founded by Dominique Serra with the following principles in mind:

Commitment, audacity, determination, courage, generosity and solidarity.  The Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles resonates with thousands of stories; it makes women more beautiful, and brings their true potential to light. More than 21 years later, the gamble has paid off.

Another great aspect of the Gazelle Rally is the Coeur des Gazelles (Heart of Gazelles).  25% of the rally fees go to the non-profit arm of the rally that provides medical and educational services to people in the most remote parts of Morocco.

It’s brilliant, brilliant stuff. Go Gazelles!

This year there are three competing categories covering quad bike / motorbike teams, 4WD / truck teams and crossover teams. Crossovers are your standard smaller SUVs, with vehicles like the Renault Duster competing.

If you’re an Instagram fan like us, go check out #gazellerally and @usagazelles and @mmmotorsports for epic selfies, action shots and behind the scenes pics. For live coverage of the Gazelles in action, head here.

Go Gazelles!!!

OPI Nails and Mustang are Racing Red

I would like a custom nail polish by OPI for my birthday too
I would like a custom nail polish by OPI for my birthday too

I would like a custom nail polish by OPI for my birthday too

This is the sort of collaboration we love to see! OPI and Ford Australia have gotten together for the Mustang’s 50th Anniversary this year with the Limited Edition polish colour Race Red, which is out in July. I shall wear it all that month.

Thirsty work

Diane Kruger with her Mercedes F-Cell

Actors Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson recently purchased the eco-friendly Mercedes Benz B-Class F-Cell – which has pure water as its only emission – and promptly put it to the test by taking it camping for two days in California’s Death Valley. The twist is that they took no water supplies, and relied on water created from the emissions of their F-Cell to survive.

Diane Kruger with her Mercedes F-Cell

Diane Kruger with her Mercedes F-Cell

Mercedes F-Cell Diane Kruger Joshua Jackson lipstickandgearsticks.com

Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson take the F-Cell to the desert

 

“We’ve become absolute fans of the fuel cell,” Diane said of the trip, documented in the short video below.  The good news was the trek was a success and they didn’t run out of water.  “The car usage is so easy. On a day-to-day basis our normal mobility isn’t restricted at all – and we had no water problems in Death Valley either.”

 

 

 

The BMW 523i and her obsessed owner

Lipstick and Gearsticks Hikuia Ranges

I want to introduce you to my good mate and guest blogger, Bella from Squee. I asked her to write for Lipstick and Gearsticks because she’s obsessed with her BMW 523i. When she goes back to New Zealand, she usually doesn’t book a return ticket, because she’s disappeared into the ether in her car, roaring around the north island and generally going missing. Her car is her down time and her obsession. She loves how it drives. She loves how it sounds. She loves the freedom. She loves having a beautifully maintained, fine-tuned beast to roar around in. So readers, meet Bella.

BMW 523i

Some drop kick backed into me on Ponsonby Road – parked at the beach house

“From the first moment I test drove this car I fell in love. My BMW is like an expensive mistress. She looks the part though – smooth, sleek and expensive.

Expensive – in many ways yes, but the driving experience makes it all worth while. So when I go back to my country of origin, this is what I drive.

The 523i has elegant styling and looks great from any angle.  Inside, the grey leather seats are more like armchairs, with far above average comfort.  Being able to activate the sun shade on the back window from the drivers seat has come in handy many time for the comfort of back seat passengers. Road noise is little to none, although there is a weird acoustic effect if either of the back windows are down … the interior is roomy and comfortable. For part of this trip I drove with three adults, including their luggage (upwards of 80 kilos) and noticed little to no inconvenience.  I had many compliments on how easy the long trips were for for the passengers involved, and how rested they felt.  Not something that can be said about every car!

Lipstick and Gearsticks Hikuia Ranges

Hikuia Ranges at sunset

For the audiophile, a factory standard radio/stereo comes complete with a six-cd stacker in the boot, and ten speakers in the interior. You read that correctly. Ten speakers.

There are a total of five computers on board, but the one I’m most interested in is on the indicator stick. This updates me on fuel consumption, cruising range, etc.

Volume can be adjusted on the steering wheel (additional to cruise control etc) and illuminated vanity mirrors are provided for both front seats. The external wing mirrors are electric, with auto reverse. Double interior lighting completes the picture, along with lightly tinted windows.

The boot is incredibly roomy, with BMW accredited tools kept safely in a tray that drops down from the inside of the boot when it is lifted. No amount of travel or shopping bags can defeat this space. Believe me, I’ve tried!

The six airbags give peace of mind, especially as it is very easy to put your foot down in this car. Handling is smooth as silk, and the 523i sticks to the road as if on rails.

Pickup is a bit slow (especially when loaded to this degree) but the 523i performs like a star on the open road. Fillup is a bit of a smack to the wallet as the 523i boasts a 70l tank, making pricing approximately $157:00 each time. However with 11.0L/100k’s, I wasn’t too unhappy – the payoff in power available and long distance comfort was fair enough.

Points to remember if you’re thinking of taking on a 5-Series BMW:

These cars absolutely must be maintained on schedule. You will see green lights that activate on the dashboard on ignition; lessening in number as you get closer to the preferred time of service. A service costs around $500:00 a time in New Zealand. I use an accredited BMW dealer.
In the first year or so after purchase, I replaced the suspension all round, and the transmission. The suspension could have waited (but I am picky) and the transmission (5 speed Steptronic) unfortunately spat tacks at me and had to be done urgently. I will not tell you how much this cost me.

But it was worth it.

BELLAmontage

Aston Martins on Ice

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Aston Martin on Ice is a recurring event that, for the first time this year, left Europe and headed over to Colorado in the USA, with gorgeous results. The exclusive Aston Martin on Ice driving event featured a stunning line-up of Aston Martins, including V12 Vantage S, Vanquish and DB9.

The event offers a very exclusive Aston Martin clintele the opprortunity to experience Aston Martin in a totally new way, honing driving skills in their challening handling and dynamics course. Naturally, all drivers are under the expert guidance of their professional driving instructors.

The result for you, dear reader, is some utterly stunning Aston Martin photos and videos. So feast your eyes and get excited. I know I did.

Below is some rather gorgeous footage of the Aston Martin on Ice event at St Moritz in Switzerland in 2013.

If you want to find out more about Aston Martin on Ice, click here. All images and video provided by Aston Martin.

Parking Victoria Beckham out the front of your house

In the 70’s, fashion designers and luxury brands were frequent collaborators with the finest car brands, with Oleg Cassini (Jackie O’s designer of choice), Cartier, Bill Blass, Givenchy, Pucci and Pierre Cardin all doing high-profile releases with brands like General Motors. In a trend that we’ve seen build momentum in the past few years, they are back at it with a vengeance.

The Fiat by Gucci. Image via Fiat

The Fiat by Gucci. Image via Fiat

Solid market research and a fresh set of creative eyes on a car design is a brilliant thing and I’d personally love to see more of it. At the moment, unless you’re in the Aston Martin price bracket and can totally customise your interiors, you’ve got a choice of your wheel covers, paint colour (typically in a very limited selection), a pet grille to keep Rufus safe in the back and possibly / sometimes a choice in trim colours.

Charcoal or Navy? Gee. That’s a hard one. I’m so bored I think my brain just stopped working.

In the last decade, Versace collaborated on a Lamborghini Murciélago, and Hermès worked with Bugatti on the special edition “Bugatti Veyron Fbg par Hermès.”

Then just last year, the Roberto Cavalli Mini Paceman had luxurious leather seats embellished with the Cavalli logo in gold on the headrests. Also last year saw Zac Posen and Nissan’s luxury Infiniti line, which boasted an ombré effect and a beautiful matte finish on the exterior, as well as a luxurious interior covered in velvet, shagreen, and leather. Oh, and let’s not forget the Gucci Fiat. Ermenegildo Zegna collaborated on a Maserati and put the Zegna elegant, luxurious stamp on everything including the car’s door panels, seats and roof lining.

Images via Maserati

Images via Maserati

So why is this happening? What is the value for car brands? Firstly, and most prosaically, car brands are looking at the bottom line and have recognised the power of the female dollar. They are also savvy enough to recognise the incredible success and brand loyalty that iconic fashion brands have garnered and want some of that brand fairy dust for themselves.

Ariane Reinhart, Bentley’s personnel director, told the Journal, “Only 12 percent of our customers are women, which isn’t good enough. We want to double this percentage within the next five years.”

Luxury brands gain market share in our emotional brain. It’s why people fly to Sydney just to visit the gorgeous Hermes shop for a single, iconic enamel bracelet. It’s why, as Maggie Alderson has described so gorgeously, so many French women see it as a rite of passage in their 20’s to save up for an Hermes Kelly bag, lovingly take care of it, and wear it with panache and confidence for their entire lives.

Image via Range Rover

Victoria Beckham collaborated with Range Rover on the Evoque Special Edition

Luxury fashion brands hold the brand love and attraction that car brands can only dream of having. So when it comes to sprinkling a bit of that limited edition, luxe fairy dust onto a largely utilitarian item, these collaborations deliver a dash of extra prestige and romance. And it’s very attractive.

These collaborations are less about redesigning a car from scratch and more about unique interiors, fittings, wheels, colours and textures.

Indeed, when Victoria Beckham worked with Range Rover on the Limited Edition Evoque last year, her requests to make changes to the front and rear bumper designs were declined. But the utterly stunning result on the Evoque – sold only in China with an initial run of 200 cars at $120,000 a pop – shows just how big an impact can be made with paint, seats, interior colours, wheel rims, luggage and accents.

Taking a closer look at the Victoria Beckham’s Range Rover Evoque Special Edition

The Range Rover Evoque series launched in 2011 and it’s been a strong performer for Range Rover, with 70% of the buyers being new to the Range Rover brand and new to SUVs. Being a quintessential British Brand, Victoria Beckham seemed, on the surface, to be the perfect creative design director on the Special Edition. And she followed through. Despite not being able to change the structure or body of the car at all, the Evoque Special Edition is special indeed.

Firstly, the Evoque stands out with a combination of a hand-finished matt grey paint contrasted with glossy Santorini black trim on the roof, side sills, bonnet vents, wheel arches and forged 20-inch alloy wheels. This look was followed through with black being used for the Range Rover body lettering, fog lamps and exhaust surrounds. Darkened headlights and taillights contribute further to the sleek, standout look.

Rose gold accents (both inside and outside of the car) bring a sense of warmth and prestige and frankly I just love the look of rose gold on black and the Evoque Special Edition has it in spades. The dash is black in a range of textures and accented with dark machined aluminum. Sounding sexy yet?

Then I shall present to you the mohair floor mats, a microsuede headliner and an exclusive four-piece leather luggage set, which is lined in the same microsuede as the roof. Oh, and your car manual has a leather cover by Ms Beckham who has taken the time to autograph it for you. Going shopping yet? I am.

Oh, I was so distracted by the sexy black, matt grey & rose gold lusciousness of it all that I nearly forgot the seats – Vintage Tan leather sports seats with baseball style stitching – inspired by Mr Beckham’s sporting prestige are a question mark. I get it, I appreciate it, and I sure as pants would have preferred something else. But I get it. Many will love them (what do I know, anyhow?) and it does add a warm touch to a very masculine vehicle.

So there you have it. Car brands that do these collaborations would do well to remember why they’re doing it in the first place, and it’s not to have an excuse to put out a press release or pay lip service for the ultra powerful female car buying market. It’s to re-inspire an existing car with a fresh eye that hasn’t spent it’s entire design career hanging out with a bunch of engineers. It’s to improve car design standards. It’s to inject personality. It’s to allow car brands to be less safe in their design choices. It’s to provide that fresh layer of luxe brand fairy dust that transforms a car from a ‘must buy car’ thing to a ‘have to have car’ thing to lust and obsess over.

That is when car brands will have achieved the design holy grail. And not before.

Torah Bright is a Porsche Girl

The Porsche Cayenne. Images thanks to Porsche.

You’ve got to admire someone who loves going fast and has such a passion for life. Torah Bright, the Australian snowboarder who is about to represent Australia at the Sochi Winter Olympics, is a keen motorista and spoke recently about her passion for Porsches.

TORAHmontage

The Porsche Cayenne. Images thanks to Porsche.

The Porsche Cayenne. Images thanks to Porsche.

 

Watch Torah win Gold at the Vancouver games in 2010.

Torah, we wish you all the luck in the world for the Sochi Olympics.

Readers can follow Torah on Twitter here.

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