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New Zealand Fashion Week autumn–winter 2014, day three: group shows and undiscovered treasures


NEWS
Filed by Sopheak Seng/September 5, 2013/16.41


NZFD Online
My Boyfriend’s Back
   Opening the runway for day three was Masterton-based designer Danielle Burkhart’s My Boyfriend’s Back, with its collection, She’s in Bloom. Dark, brooding romance, fresh innocence, and beauty in bloom appeared on the runway in devoré velvet and sheer rose print fabrics, fashioned into dreamy romantic dresses. Boiled wool was crafted into draped, oversized boyfriend capes and jackets, while sheer lace and silk were given the maxi-dress treatment (something Burkhart specializes in well). Colours of deep navy, sweetheart red and soft camel beige were grounded in onyx, slate and whites. The draped layering was there, but with it came structure, which is nice to see. This was a mature departure for Burkhart and showed her progression as a designer who is starting to become more confident in her designs.





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Millicent
   Wellington designer Paula Shepherd’s label Millicent débuted her New Zealand Fashion Week collection, entitled Blur and Focus. This was a collection that concentrated on the juxtaposition of textures, form and fabric. Leather mixed with wool, linen and silk, cotton and jersey, hard and soft, structured and relaxed. Stand-outs from the collection would be the leather pieces which were cut with a surgeon’s scalpel, fashioned into skinny cigarette-style pants with zip hardware detailing, and the finalé dress that Shepherd wore herself, which was shift-like in texture linen and with laser-cut leather sleeves. It was a beautiful cheongsam rose-print knit jersey with thigh-high split: a great fashion show-stopper that would appeal to everyone young and old.






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Sheryl May
   Sheryl May’s autumn–winter collection, Reign Falls, comprised spirited pieces that stayed true to the brand, taking inspirations from the streets of London (May’s second home). Her love of print was evident in her choice to bombard the runway with clashing tartans, florals and an avian owl. Skinny leg tartan pants were paired with floral long-line tunics, while the same floral print was repeated on an embellished body-con dress. The stand-out accessory of May’s section was the owl print bag which was paraded on the last model. Its kitchy cool vibe was the perfect thing to lift the spirits among those who were jaded.




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Mardle
   For Mardle designer Shiana Weir, the inspiration of Japanese onna-bugeisha (female warriors), French saints and Jeanne d’Arc were the inspiration. A collection of russet colours in jacquards and brocades were showcased in structured pants, and jackets. For a Wellington-headquartered title, it was great to see more of the capital’s presence at Fashion Week.


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Nikita Brown/Nikita Brown Photography

Love Hotel
   Love Hotel ended the showcase with its Love on Line collection. The brand stayed with floaty, ethereal chiffon and silk printed kimonos and négligée-style slips. They branched out and did wide-leg culotte dungarees which saw much-needed structure in the collection. While the soft and floaty kimono look works in warmer climates, it was hard to see it working in colder, milder weather. The oversized berets failed to add to the collection: the show could have been edited better.


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Matthew Beveridge/Matthew Beveridge Photography





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Daniel K

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Daniel K is just waiting to be discovered by more people. Beautiful, elegant pieces spoke of ease and purity of design. Opening the show was a series of wave-inspired-print pants, dresses and tunics in shades of grey and white. Upon closer inspection, the print had a cellular microscopic print which added to the allure and mystery. Harem pants were cut beautifully and draped perfectly for the right amount of fullness and fluidity. What stood out as the star of the show was the gorgeous knitwear: it was by far one of the best knitwear collections seen to date. The cherry red Wave Knit top and Blue Knot dress will be one of the biggest selling tickets come winter. From the gorgeous colour through to the manipulation of fabric creating texture and lightness, this was by far one of my favourite new discoveries: the show delivered on everything from styling to music. There was drama and a precise vision not only of a runway sense, but a commercial one. Great things are coming for this brand and it will be exciting to see how it further develops.





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BMW New Generation
The BMW New Generation showcase is often met with excitement and trepidation as three unknown designers are thrust into the spotlight. For this year’s three designers, it was exciting to see very distinct and clear personalities and design visions from such young brands.

Beverley Riverina
   From fleece to fashion, the label recalled 1970s’ home crafts as traditional methods of spinning and knitting wool were displayed in every which way possible. From macramé bags through to Afghan-style vests and dresses, everything had a homely quality.


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Nara Paz
   Nara Paz was a surprise hit: formal gowns and eveningwear are not what the New Zealand market naturally gravitates to. We may be more a T-and-jeans kind of country, but on the odd occasion where dressing up is required, this designer should be on your speed dial.
   While some of the pieces felt a little bit too understated for evening or too derivative of other designers (nothing is new in fashion; however, be careful when referencing that it doesn’t become copying), the stand-outs from the collection were the beautiful black ensembles that neared the end of the runway. A tailored satin smoking jacket was paired with a “mullet” hem-style tulle layered skirt: it was a fresh and interesting take on evening wear. The black sleeve knit dress with the plunging cut-out back and leather accents was the perfect dress for wowing an appreciative audience from all angles.






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Crooked Seven







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   Crooked Seven was also a surprise discovery, clean and modernist with its Mondrian-like print, tartan in cobalt, grey and black, and a flying moth print. This was young, edgy brand that would appeal to a mass market not only here but overseas as well. The splashes of red were unnecessary, but the collection left me hankering for more of its sporty-meets-glamour, easy-to-wear pieces. Reverse sheer shirts and trenches, beautifully cut jackets and pants all were crafted with a refined and mature hand.


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   This year also saw the public vote in a week-long competition in which BMW gave away a NZ$5,000 voucher to one of the designers who showcased as part of the New Generation show. Crooked Seven won, and it was not hard to see why.

Swimwear
For the first time this year, New Zealand Fashion Week offered a swimwear showcase, an opportunity jumped upon by Surface Too Deep and Tigerlily. New Zealand is one of those countries where togs are almost ingrained into the psyche of our nation when summer arrives: it was exciting to see NZFW embracing this as a focus to customers.








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   Surface Too Deep showcased their spring–summer collection, entitled Bonnie and Belle. Kaleidoscopic and floral prints, and classic black were shown in a range of colours and styles. Designer Sarah-Jane Abraham is one clever lady: the cuts of the Surface Too Deep swimwear don’t change too dramatically season to season, but the prints and colours are updated to sit with international trends. Having only recently shown this collection in Australia to a receptive crowd, Abraham was on to a sure thing. Shades of pink, fuchsia, turquoise and sea foam as well as black and jade were printed onto balconet bra tops and high-waisted knicker-style swimwear briefs with cute buckle detailing. This is swimwear designed with real women in mind. The collaboration with Wellington’s Flash Jewellery was the perfect relationship, simplicity and elegance rolled into one outfit. Bring on summer.
   Tigerlily showed tribal Aztec resort wear with string bikinis and beach cover-ups being the label’s mainstays. Fringing, tassels and an eclectic boho traveller vibe were seen, with a palette of dusky oranges, neon pink and chambray blues. It was interesting to see the pieces modelled, though an edited eye could have been cast over some of the looks as all the layering hindered the view of the swimwear.







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Pia Boutique
Pia Boutique’s solo début at NZFW was an interesting one. For the 24-year-old designer, this was an opportunity to showcase her spring–summer 2013–14 collection. The collection was nice with lots of prints crafted on to shorts and dresses with an overload of frills on hems and hips. It was a colouring box of magenta, shades of pink in all its guises, turquoise, and cobalt blue. Stand-outs from the collection were the almost-neon-pink lace shift dresses, and the printed gown at the end. While it was nice to see the collection in full, with all the colour variations that some garments came in, a more edited eye could have been cast, and newer design styles added to showcase the designer’s ability.







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Salasai


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Finishing the day’s proceedings on a high was designer Kirsha Whitcher’s label Salasai. Her 12 looks were a carefully styled collection of wearable cosmopolitan fashion that would sit well within any market. Clearly the move from Hawke’s Bay to Perth has had a profund effect on Whitcher, as Salasai is fast growing into a more polished brand. Everything from the knitwear to the outerwear and accessories was lust-worthy as the gathered crowd of appreciative and captive fans oohed and aahed at each piece that came down the runway. Best of show was the kimono-cum-bomber jacket (the best bomber of the week). A beautiful silk print of birds and fauna was fashioned with striped knit collar and hem. Creating a beautiful silouhtte, paired with artfully draped harm pants, this was a lookthat could be seen on any sidewalk of any international city. The short sleeve cape style coat was also stand out in its beautiful camel colour. The bird print also appeared in a shirt and pant combo that created the eautiful isllusion of one fo the season hottest trends the jumpsuit. For the boys, drop crotch trousers in deep slate grey and check tartans of black and white was paired with old school jumpers with contrasting colour lines. Ostrich feathers and wool shearling collars added a bit of fun and glamour to the proceedings as did the crystal accessories that adorned the models looks. This was by far the one of the weeks highlights and it was nice to see a show that was so clear in its message and self assurance of bradn identity that it only needed 12 looks to definie what the Salasai brand is all about.—Sopheak Seng, Fashion and Beauty Editor








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