I always feel so bumpkin when I’m in Queenstown, though it’s not because I’m not wearing Armani, excessive makeup or a fur coat. It’s more a subtle style thing. Kiwi style and design is totally different to the many places I’ve visited, including such “fashion capitals” as Paris and New York. To my untrained eye it’s this fabulous melange of so much – I see classic lines, vintage cool, urban edge and a touch of whimsy. There are a ton of local designer boutiques in Queenstown, and there’s a palpable pride about these designs – I‘ve had more than one shop clerk tell me that their products are locally made. Beyond the unique (and beautifully made) clothing, there are also a number of design shops promoting New Zealand designers, including Saben and Jill Main. Heck, even the national tourism board has an official souvenir shop that stocks some credibly cool looking products that don’t look mass-produced in China (even if they are).
And then there’s the architecture, which both N and I really like. Too bad there’s no hope in hell that anything like this will be built in McMansion-Cabin Tahoe.