Pop CultureOctober 30, 2018

Admit it: Rawdon Christie is better at fancy dress than you are


Alex Casey celebrates New Zealand’s king of the costume box, Rawdon Christie.

Here at The Spinoff, we’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the mystery man they call Rawdy. Gracing the couch on TVNZ’s Breakfast for four years, he was a beloved early morning oddity who interrogated politicians as sternly as he did alien abductions and the latest viral videos. The nation may still be longing for his searing sunrise takes, but at least we can find solace in the fact that he is now happier than he’s been in a long time.

Basically the only good news in a Rawdy-free media hellscape is that he remains an active Instagram user, providing blessed images including this interesting chip packet (#wheresmechips) and this melted Soda Stream bottle (#stillworks). But the pièce de résistance of his online brand is his ongoing dedication to the art of the dress up, one which embraces all forms of costume, carnival, pastiche and chaos.

Take your pitiful morph suit back to Look Sharp and don’t even think about drawing on cat whiskers: let Rawdy’s 10 most iconic fancy dress looks be your Halloween muse.


Straight up, this should win the Walter’s Prize. Consider the way that the wall, the wooden mirror frame and the rich red curtain parallel the vertical stripes of the snag. Consider how the setting naturally mimics the pigment of the bun, the sausage and the mustard. Consider the crestfallen expression of the subject. Consider the suggestion that he might, in fact, be completely naked underneath. As Horace himself once said, “a picture is a poem without words.”

You’ll need: A saggy sausie cozzie and deep sense of ennui.


Wow. An instant classic. Is it Dracula? Is it Nosferatu? Is it Uncle Fester going to a premiere? Why did he paint all the way down the neck, and yet leave his ears bare? A visionary of the form, even staying to true to character (assuming the character is at least 60% Dracula) by keeping the curtains shut and the pesky sunlight out of his lair.

You’ll need: Face paint, hair gel, an extremely popped collar and your ex-colleague Tim Wilson’s funeral bowtie.


It’s taken me eight years and several thousands of dollars, but I am overjoyed to admit that I finally have a reason to mention the Odessa steps sequence from the 1925 Soviet film Battleship Potemkin outside of a Film 101 tutorial. As demonstrated in the previous example, Rawdy isn’t afraid of drawing upon a rich source of pop cultural inspiration, and this is no different. 

You’ll need: An old pair of glasses and a working understanding of Eisenstein’s dialectic montage theory. 


A surrealist masterpiece. Is the very hungry eyebrow caterpillar heading to eat Rawdon’s joogly eye? Macabre if so. Also five stars for the classic Halloween colours making an appearance around the mouth area.

You’ll need: A craft box, glue and a sense of childlike adventure.


Look, you can’t really be a celebrity in New Zealand without your own cultural appropriation costume scandal. Here, in his lime green attic of wonders, Rawdy has chosen to embrace a lei alongside a sombrero and a curly blonde wig. Peep the bonus sombrero in the background as well as what appears to be YET ANOTHER curly 1970s women’s wig on a mannequin. So good.

You’ll need: Each and every piece of culture from across the world and a dim light to hide your face in shame.


Whatever is going on here, I love every single part of it. The wine. The novelty glasses (I <3 Lou?). The wig (NB: this means Rawdy has at LEAST three blonde wigs). The time (9.25pm). The pure joy.

You’ll need: To start living every day as if it was your last.


An easy last-minute costume which also doubles as a portable snack, this casual crustacean look would be great for a spooky seaside soiree. Also: back scratcher alert!

You’ll need: To literally get in the sea for this one. 


Not so much a costume as a moving art installation, this grab is from an exciting Breakfast trip to Rainbow’s End with none other than Sam Wallace from Sticky TV. Armed with some classic theme park snackage, Rawdy ended up wearing the Longest Drink in Town on the corkscrew coaster, so I think you should too.

You’ll need: To be okay with dairy and comfortable with increased attention from local ants. Also to have a celebrity friend.


In the words of user small_keewee, this is a regal Rupert Grint vibe for sure. There are further suggestions in the comments that suggest this look emulates an orange roughie, an Oompa Loompa or Mrs Doubtfire herself. My question is: does the ‘who’ really matter when the ‘why’ is raising money for children with cancer?

You’ll need: A heart of gold and synthetic hair also of gold.


We may never know for sure what this is, but you can’t deny its impact. When they yarn on Project Runway about the crucial silhouette of a garment, I assume this photo is what they are talking about. Other suggestions from The Spinoff HQ guessed a parachute, a baboon or Mario. The only thing I know for sure is that, somewhere out there, the Jelly Belly man is quaking.

You’ll need: To believe you can fly, to believe you can touch the sky.

Keep going!