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Par excellence It was easy to see why Alexandra Owen is one of the top designers in the country, writes Sopheak Seng.

Alexandra Owen: the art of fashion

In our series of our favourite New Zealand Fashion Week autumn–winter 2011 collections, we kick off with Alexandra Owen. Sopheak Seng reviews her latest
photographed by Janet Liu/Vision 8 Photography


ALEXANDRA OWEN IS the one to watch.

Having just shown at New York Fashion Week for the second time, her NZFW show—her fourth to date—displayed the young designer’s maturity, impeccable taste and attention to detail that has propelled her to the forefront of New Zealand fashion.

The collection focused on Owen’s strong signature of juxtaposing soft draping with structural elements. Quilting that resembled a Chesterfield couch stayed true to Owen’s love of detailing.

It heavily featured on jackets, pockets of dresses and winter coats. A combination of draping and origami-precise pleating created exaggerated shoulders on suiting, while stuffed lapels on blazers were trimmed with braided piping.

Ruching, gathering and tucks on panels of dresses were also key features. Eye-catching yet still wearable, each piece could be easily integrated into an existing wardrobe or displayed as works of art.

They seemed more art than fashion, more architectural and interior-like than their purpose of actually clothing the body. Stand-out pieces would be the floor-length crèpe de chine dress, which could easily be transformed from day to night, and the red riding coat jacket with contrasting black collar, amazing for its warmth and colour.

There were the billowy silk harem pants in rust red teamed with a sheer button down, the metallic foil-like cowl-neck shirts (with fabric-covered buttons that could change the neckline), and the devoré silk dress, gathered and tucked to create a tactile textural quality to the dress-something soft enough to lay ones head against perhaps?

Models walked down the runway with their faces covered in an armour-like masks or gauzy head coverings giving an ethereal touch, hauntingly beautiful beyond words. Although mostly muted, the collection’s colours spanned soot to dove greys; burnt sienna brown, inky blues and onyx black and were mixed back with scarlet red, saffron gold, and aubergine.

Gossamer cottons, silks, metallic foils and brocades mixed with winter wools created a uniquely sumptuous and decadent collection. •





Sopheak Seng is fashion editor of Lucire. Uma Lele and Elle Hopper contributed to this article.


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