wonder they got a standing ovation. Sopheak Seng looks back
at the acclaimed Mister autumnwinter
2012 collection as shown at New Zealand Fashion Week
PHOTOGRAPHED BY MICHAEL NG
LIKE ALL GOOD FAIRY TALES, tragedy
often befalls a protagonist before she can find her happily ever
after, and no more does this sentiment ring true than for Christchurch
label Mister. From losing its workroom in the devastating quake
that hit the city, and its main supplier leading to it being unable
to produce its range, Mister has managed to turn things around.
It has found solace in the fact it can still produce clothes, returning
to its grass roots by working out of home and producing one of the
stand-out collections from this years New Zealand Fashion
The support of local suppliers has help ensured that
Misters dream to show at Fashion Week bore fruit, with many
lending machinery and tables.
Having long been fans of the Mister label since its
inception, it was a touching moment to see the label on the runway
at this years showcase.
Inspired by the fairy tales and make-believe of the
brothers Grimm, that we have all come to love as children, the old
faithful characters of Pinnochio, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel have
grown up in the Mister world to cast a spell upon us as adults once
again in its aptly named collection, Not So Grimm.
The collection was a celebration of the journey so far,
and the journey for the future; a message of hope that even though
they are down they are still not out. Designers Mickey Lin and Ra
Thompson wanted to bring joy and life back into fashionafter
all the things we have been through, we just want colour and joy.
They delivered in spades.
The keystone of the Mister brand has long been its understanding
and appreciation of fine British tailoring, applying that to a unique
and playful æsthetic, fusing it with the street style of Asia.
The collection was well edited and cohesive, which is
hard to do on a runway for even the most seasoned professional.
It was pitch perfect, the right mix of tailored and street casual
for the market. It featured the perfect soundtrack, hair (scary
teased-out candyfloss mops for girls and slick pompadours for the
boys), the make-up (bright pink blush China dolls), the right styling
(multi-coloured nail polish, colour-coordinated accessories), all
coming together for a stellar performance from the designers.
For men, jackets came tailored and cut sharp like those
found on Savile Row, but crafted in playful fabrics of the finest
of wool and woolsilk checks, stripes and plaids. Matching
trousers were cut slim, giving a European sensibility to the suiting.
Jeans, which are one of the most sought-after pieces from this label
for their use of fabric, cut and fit, came with contrast stitching
in bright colours, offering something different to the traditional
denims on the market. Check plus-fours offered an alternative to
the traditional trouser, while shirts came in colourful candy stripes,
polka dots and a beautiful autumnal multi-coloured leaf print peppered
with a sprinkling of hundreds and thousands good enough to eat,
a theme carried throughout the collection. Old-school baker boys
and cheese-cutters with perfectly paired and matching bowties and
ties turned into bows; little gingerbread men and hearts finished
off the styling but never veered into the comical, keeping it all
very playful and cheeky.
While some have criticized that the womenswear as being
too derivative of the menswear, the fact that it works cohesively
shows the strength of the husband-and-wife design duos capability
to offer something unique. This is clothing for women who want to
wear mens clothing in a feminine way, cut to flatter and suit
their flowing curves rather than hide that beauty. Being their second
outing with womenswear, it was great to see that they didnt
push the boundaries too far, offering women complementary styles
to the menswear pieces. As the womens market begins to cotton
on to this label, it will continue to expand its repertoire. However
for winter, gumdrop-sized polka dots came on knitted shorts, jumpers,
and sweater dresses in candy colours, while pleated skirts and reversible
school-style blazers in the signature Mister check vie for favourite
pieces in the standout from the womens range. The pièce
de résistance of the womens collection had to be
the full plaid suit with a candy cane stripe tie.
The label is experimenting with knitwear each season,
growing more confident in producing garments that not only have
a wearable æsthetic, but are highly designed. Mister again
proved successful with cardigans coming in blocked colours of rust,
navy and charcoal for men, and knitted shorts and long line sweater
dresses for women. This season also saw a continuation of its development
of knitted accessories, notably its two-tone scarves that were fashioned
into oversized bows on some of the female models.
As the label has grown it never ceases to each time
amaze and delight with each new collection. As this years
Fashion Week début has shown, creativity, originality, and
tenacity will continue to produce amazing work and truly wonderful
clothes. Hopefully this showing will allow more people to come to
recognize the brand, and potential stockists can see what Lucire
has always known about the label.
In the words of Lin and Thomson: Remembering that
life is not so Grimm will always see you through to your very own
happily ever after.
Sopheak Seng is fashion and beauty editor of Lucire.
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