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New Zealand Fashion Week autumn–winter 2014, day one: a quality start—it surreal thing


NEWS
Filed by Sopheak Seng/September 3, 2013/15.37


Twenty-Seven Names

Matthew Beveridge/Matthew Beveridge Photography

Opening New Zealand Fashion Week this year was Wellington brand Twenty-Seven Names with its brand of kitschy cool ’90s nostalgia. From the opening bars of a Mariah Carey song through to the casual coolness that their clothes have come to epitomize, designers Anjali Stewart and Rachel Easting looked towards the famous work of Réné Magritte, the famous Belgian surrealist artist, for their Winter collection, entitled I’m Lost. The collection was very much one of what the brand does well: easy-to-wear dresses, shirts and cool pants that will appeal to their current customer base while attracting more converts. However, for winter, the duo put some real effort into the outwear component of their collection. One stand-out was the Bella Caped trench, showcased in beautiful navy wool to dramatic effect. The other stand-out was the swing coat in cherry red. They were a great departure for the designers and showed the brand’s continued growth and its maturity as it develops. For lovers of Twenty-Seven Names, their fun and playful prints will appeal this season, showcased in the love hearts featured in a great brocade, while Magritte’s famous apple and bowler hat motifs also appear as well. The pair’s foray into knitwear was also a great string to add to their bow; the cable-knit jumpers were luxurious and on-trend. A rich and playful colour palette of deep navy, cherry red, camel and gold set off the Twenty-Seven Names winter collection and was a welcome and playful start to the season.



Nikita Brown/Nikita Brown Photography







Matthew Beveridge/Matthew Beveridge Photography

Lela Jacobs


Nikita Brown/Nikita Brown Photography






Matthew Beveridge/Matthew Beveridge Photography

Next up was Lela Jacobs, an ex-Wellingtonian, now based in Auckland. Jacobs is a master of fabric and textiles, manipulating, bending and shaping them to her will. It was evident in her show where her layering of fabrics featured in a beautiful cerebral meditation show, where live musicians played the soundtrack for the catwalks and models paraded in a trance-like state down the runway with candyfloss like hair and pantyhose skullcaps. The classic Jacobs colour palette of black, white and cream appeared in gossamar silks, raw linens, and cottons and beautiful reserved vintage fur. Jacobs’ work is one where it is best showcased up close and on the walking form, where it is better understood how she envisions her pieces to be worn. Stand-outs from her collection were the vintage pieces of reversed exposed leather and fur inner, the beautiful washed-wool capes that would be worn a million and one ways, the open-weave scarves, as well as the many silk pieces that are layered over. By the number of devotees to the label that sported a Jacobs piece, it was evident this is her signature and she is great at it.

Company of Strangers



Nikita Brown/Nikita Brown Photography





Matthew Beveridge/Matthew Beveridge Photography

From the cerebral to the grungy underground car park of the Sofitel Hotel, the Company of Strangers show was one to behold. Entitled Libertine, the show was a perfect platform for demonstrating designer maturity and the development of the brand. It was also a great show for amazing coats and jackets. Inspired by the work of Austrian expressionist artist Egon Schiele, the collection drew upon his paintings and drawings, which inspired the zig-zag, almost-tribal-punk-era motif fabric that ran throughout. The soft, draped silk pieces were juxtasposed with the strong utilitarian vests and coats that stood out as strong contenders for next season’s wish list. From street-style fighter pilot jackets reimagined as capes with zipped detailing through to war-era trench coats with patch leather detailing, there was something for everyone, each more lust-worthy then the one before. Burnt umber, muted rose, rich plums and emeralds punched colour into the deep black, charcoal and white base palette. This collection also saw the introduction of merino knitwear into designer Sara Aspinall’s repertoire. She didn’t disappoint: the deep V-neck jersey knit dress will definitely be one to have for the coming season as its beautiful cutaway hem and understated elegance are to be treasured. The collection was definitely in keeping with the title: it had a maverick spirit about it and knew no bounds of pushing the brand further into people’s minds.

Hailwood

Nikita Brown/Nikita Brown Photography

Hailwood showed next, with a notable and well rounded collection of separates, something designer Adrian Hailwood does well. This season saw the introduction of the new Hailwood denim collection, H by Hailwood, a dream that designer Adrian Hailwood has long had. The collection opened with a strong focus on casual separates (something that Hailwood does well), caped coats in camel, and deep wine and olive green wools were paired with denim, Ts and jumpers. Bomber jackets (a perennial favourite) were fashioned in washed silk, and came in a plethora of colours. The mood shifted as after-five wear started to appear on the runway. Les smokings and draped cocktail gowns were fashioned and stood out: Hailwood has an inate ability to dress and design clothes that suit an everyday woman that works with a modern, professional lifestyle. A cheetah motif appeared numerous times on the runway but it looked best in a short bustier-style cocktail dress, which would sit well with a broad age range of people. The final gowns in the show were also brilliant and closed off proceedings nicely, a silver lâmé-look gown and mint and gold sequin flower-embellished dress added a touch of glamour.








Nikita Brown/Nikita Brown Photography






Matthew Beveridge/Matthew Beveridge Photography

Andrea Moore

Matthew Beveridge/Matthew Beveridge Photography





Nikita Brown/Nikita Brown Photography





Matthew Beveridge/Matthew Beveridge Photography

Andrea Moore’s winter offering, entitled Northern Lights, was a great explosion of colour for winter, everything from chartreuse, orange, fuchsia, navy and cherry red. Moore is one of those designers who isn’t afraid of colour and knows how to use it to her advantage. Her collection has been inspired by a tale of a trek through dark Nordic woods and the fairy tale of princesses turning into swans, and foals as princes in disguise. The collection was a fairytale to behold. A dark Gothic thread wove through most of the pieces and, like all good fairy tales, there is lightness and a happily ever after. Outerwear, which is a strong suit for Moore, was evident in her precision-cut coats and capes that flattered the body and gave shape to the female form; silhouettes were focused back on to the waist as jackets were nipped in to accentuate. Stand-outs from the collection were the fuchsia pink jumpsuit which was paired with a royal blue jacket, the swan-print tank dress which was whimsical and magical at the same time, as was the beautiful cocktail dress with circular frills around the hem and necklace. Fashion and fantasy collided to make wearable clothes which will be coveted by many a woman come next season. Moore knows clothes and knows what women want to wear, and is a master tailor in getting the fit right.

Zambesi

Matthew Beveridge/Matthew Beveridge Photography






Nikita Brown/Nikita Brown Photography

Zambesi is always a hot ticket and seats to their show are like gold to the fashion élite. This year’s showcase did not disappoint. The show opened with the back door of the runway sliding open to reveal a calm and almost serene scene of backstage madness. While models lined up ready to take to the runway, we got to see the full glory of their being touched up by hairstylists and make-up artists, and being lint-rolled before taking their entrance onto the runway. However, all of the theatre did not detract from the clothes, which, after all, is what fashion week is all about! Zambesi does what it does best, and that is the soft yet structured tailoring in both their women’s and menswear. From the coats through to the leather T-shirt, everything is about finishing and quality, and the dark edgy cool vibe that the brand does well. The dark colour palette of winter blacks, grey, khaki and sand was broken up with chambray blues and olives, fashioned into cocoon-, almost Balenciaga-like couture proportions; tailored pants and suiting were strong points as well as the military coats, bombers and trenches. The final outfits of the show are what stood out for me: the blood, almost cherry, red was a great colour palette to end the show on. Giving a feeling of jubilant festivities to end the night, ’50s-style knee-length skirts with a daisy camouflage print motif stood out as the crowd favourite, its gossamer lightness providing a nice finalé to all that structure.—Sopheak Seng, Fashion Editor













Matthew Beveridge/Matthew Beveridge Photography

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