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Sophie Voon

‘I don't enjoy clothes unless there is a fun element to them.’

Sophie Voon

Above: One of Sophie Voon's designs as featured in Lucire, April 2000. Photographed by Nick Booth

SHE LOOKS like she has stepped out of a 1920s Vogue. Her shining black bob and slender frame are reminiscent of art-déco fashion illustrations, and her long limbs look perfectly suited to doing the Charleston.
   But Sophie Voon is a thoroughly modern woman, and she has even more of an interest in the world of fashion than the flappers of the ’20s.
   Voon, 24, designs delicate, yet durable, clothes for young, urban, contemporary women, and she has very definite ideas about fashion.
   ‘I don’t enjoy clothes unless there is a fun element to them.’
   Voon believes clothes should be interesting and different. She takes inspiration from the art-déco era, when ‘things were designed to be the best they could be.’
   VOON, her boutique on Wellington’s Willis Street, displays her love of old-world style. It’s like a dress-up box for grown-ups—fur stoles, bejewelled hairpins, hats and handbags complement VOON’s retro-inspired designs. Jazz music plays softly as customers try on empire line dresses and slinky skirts.
   Voon herself has a certain glamour. It’s hard to imagine her slopping around in a T-shirt and trackpants.
   ‘All my life I’ve loved dressing up,’ she says.
   Voon’s designs reflect her graceful style. She has an eye for fine fabrics and simple shapes, resulting in women’s wear that is glamorous, but not at all flashy. The overall effect is understated, yet attention to detail means VOON designs stand out.
   Voon was taught to sew by her mother, and her eye for design led her to Wellington Polytechnic, the training ground for many noted New Zealand fashion designers. She graduated with a Diploma in Fashion Design in 1995.
   Tutor Vince Beckett remembers her as a reserved, disciplined student with a definite sense of style.
   ‘Sophie always liked classic touches, and accessories. She used a lot of muted colours—they had to be just right.’
   While many of her fellow graduates set about trying to find jobs in the fashion industry, the newly married Mrs Voon and husband Douglas created jobs of their own.
   In 1996, with a mere $500 invested in fabric, they opened VOON in Global Tribe, a Wellington city youth venue with space for fledgling businesses. continued

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JY&A MediaCopyright ©2000 by JY&A Media, a division of Jack Yan & Associates. All rights reserved.
Photographs of Sophie Voon courtesy Voon. Used with permission.
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