Kate Winslet drops in on Masterton
Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet dropped in on Masterton yesterday - along with Sir Peter Jackson - but sleepy locals hardly blinked at the star turn.
The English actress was seen walking along Queen St with her new husband Ned Rocknroll, the nephew of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson, Jackson and his daughter Katie.
It isn't clear if the British couple were visiting for business or pleasure after tying the knot in a private ceremony in New York in December.
While the ladies shopped, the blokes went to a nearby cafe all the while remaining largely inconspicuous.
The 37-year-old Titanic star was seen carrying a shopping bag from women's clothing store Pagani and was dressed casually in a white sundress and jandals.
Pagani saleswoman India Kawana took a second glance at Winslet when she walked in, but then said to herself "no way, it can't be - this is Masterton".
Winslet tried on a few things and was perfectly friendly to staff before settling on a couple of dresses, two short-sleeved blazers, some jewellery and a pair of sunglasses, spending more than $300.
"She didn't even try the sunglasses on," Ms Kawana said.
"I wish I'd realised it was her, I so should have got her autograph."
Winslet was photographed wearing her wedding ring, which she debuted in public for the first time last week while out grocery shopping in Hampshire, England where she shares a home with Rocknroll.
She made her film debut in Jackson's 1994 film Heavenly Creatures as a 19-year-old, and made her name in James Cameron's blockbuster Titanic, before starring in a string of arthouse and low budget films.
Masterton photographer Phil Brazier, who spotted the stars, said Jackson and Rocknroll went into cafe Iberia for "what looked like a coffee and a chat".
"Initially I only saw Peter and Ned, but the ladies - Kate and Peter's daughter - joined them. They then all walked down the street to a car together."
While a couple of people stopped Jackson in the cafe for photos, nobody seemed to pick up on the movie star in their midst, Brazier said.
"It was pretty quiet . . . She wasn't obvious, dressed pretty casually.
"I think Peter and his bare feet were noticed a bit more."
Iberia owner Wayne Dellabarca said he did not see Winslet take a seat inside the cafe, but said Jackson ordered a green tea.
Despite Jackson owning a multi-million-dollar mansion in Masterton, complete with a 100-seat cinema, castle, lake and railway, he was not a regular at the shops, Mr Dellabarca said.
"I've been running cafes in Masterton for quite a while and have never seen Peter Jackson around before. He doesn't really wander around town too often."
Winslet has recently appeared in this year's headline-attracting Movie 43, a black comedy which has been panned by critics worldwide, including being described as one of the worst films ever made.
She's been tipped to appear in action sci-fi film Divergent, which is due to begin filming in Chicago in March.
A mother of two, Winslet's marriage to Rocknroll is her third, following a three-year marriage to director Jim Threapleton and a seven-year marriage to director Sam Mendes.
Jackson's spokesman did not return calls.
She has worn a sleek Alexander McQueen suit to Buckingham Palace, regularly steps out in figure-hugging Stella McCartney gowns and dazzles in sequinned dresses designed by Kate Middleton's favourite, Jenny Packham.
So why did Kate Winslet spend up large in Pagani during her weekend shopping trip to Masterton, asks Lucy Corry.
Winslet bought a couple of dresses, two short-sleeved blazers, some jewellery and a pair of sunglasses, spending more than $300.
Perhaps it was the company she was keeping - Sir Peter Jackson is hardly a model of sartorial elegance and Pagani is perhaps more suited to his daughter Katie - or perhaps she was just keeping it real (remember, this is the woman who fed guests bangers and mash at her first wedding).
In any case, it's a red letter day for Pagani, a New Zealand-owned chain of 40 stores selling clothes designed here and made overseas.
National retail manager Julia Forbes said the stores were for special occasion shopping, which put them in a class of their own.
"We're more specified to occasional shopping - it's more about glamour than necessity," she said. "We see ourselves more of a niche brand."
It's certainly a good place to shop if you're on a budget - in the online store jewellery starts at $12.99 for a diamante ring with a whopping 1.3-centimetre diamante stone, rising to $89.99 for a pressed-pleat polyester maxi dress with thin gold belt.
For the most part, Pagani is about party clothes for street princesses who have stars in their eyes and coins in their pockets.
That's hardly Kate Winslet, who at 37 has appeared in nearly 30 films and was awarded a CBE for services to drama in 2012.
While Masterton doesn't have the high-end boutiques of nearby Greytown or Martinborough, Helen Tickner, member services manager at Destination Wairarapa, said it remained a good place to shop.
"People come from out of town to shop at Saunders' Shoes and Milady, and we've got Farmers, Just Jeans, Postie Plus, Cotton On ... " she said.
Fashion stylist Angela Stone said she was surprised at Winslet's choice. "You don't have to spend a lot of money to look good, but there's a big difference in the quality of fabric and how those fast fashion clothes wash and wear. Maybe she was looking for a throwaway wardrobe."
Stone also suggested Winslet was shopping to fit in. "That happens a lot when people go on holiday, it's why you go to Hawaii and come home with a Hawaiian-style dress," she said.
"People look at what the locals are wearing, it's about fitting in."
The Dominion Post