Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Must-have accessory this ball season: lots of cash

Bianca Mangakahia bought her ball dress online from the United States. Photo / Richard Robinson
Bianca Mangakahia bought her ball dress online from the United States. Photo / Richard Robinson

Ball season has arrived - and so have the costs, which can approach $2000 once the dress, shoes, spray tan, hair, makeup, nails and tickets have been paid for.

As school balls have become more extravagant - with elaborate props and decorations - so too has the preparation.

Jacqueline Recchia will fork out about $1800 to send her daughter Montana, 17, to the ball this year.

That cost covers the dress, alterations, shoes, hair, make-up, nails, spray-tan and tickets to the pre-ball and ball.

The Westlake Girls' High student picked up a dress for $1200 during a trip to Brisbane.

Ms Recchia said although it was a lot of money, she was happy to pay.

"She's only going to one ... they just have one in their final year now, which in hindsight is a good decision because it makes life cheaper.

"The cost of the ticket - $100 - that's the cheapest part of the whole thing."

Many students have booked beauty treatments months in advance to secure an appointment at their favourite salon.

Ashley Kellett, owner of Beauty on Demand, said her 18 stylists would be flat-out over ball season. They could treat up to 15 clients on school ball days, and also did spray tans and manicures in the lead-up.

"We have a saying that the ball girls are just as important as the brides-to-be, it's nearly like an example of walking down the aisle, but it's their red carpet."

Girls were picking up dresses from shops including Zambesi and Moochi, and then adding expensive accessories.

Epsom Girls Grammar student Bianca Mangakahia will be getting her hair and makeup done through Beauty on Demand for her school's ball on Friday. That would cost about $130. She said all-up the event would cost her about $400, and she was paying some of that herself.

The Year-13 student had ordered her dress from the United States and said buying online was common to avoid wearing the same thing as others, and it was cheaper.

Lorde look now hot trend

Her songs will likely be on the playlist but Lorde's influence will also be seen in the hair and make-up of many at their school ball this year.

The straightening irons are being put away for those with naturally curly hair like Lorde's.

Ashley Kellett of Beauty on Demand said Lorde's style - including trademark dark lipstick - was a trend this year.

"Lorde has brought back quite a bit of a natural beauty aspect ... I think it's helping younger girls accept themselves a little bit more."

- NZ Herald

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