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Lucire 2011 Mister: a fairy-tale inspiration led to a fairy-tale ending: a standing ovation at New Zealand Fashion Week.

A fairy tale come true

No wonder they got a standing ovation. Sopheak Seng looks back at the acclaimed Mister autumn–winter 2012 collection as shown at New Zealand Fashion Week


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 year’s New Zealand Fashion Week.

The support of local suppliers has help ensured that Mister’s 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 year’s 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 fashion—after 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 wool–silk 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 duo’s capability to offer something unique. This is clothing for women who want to wear men’s 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 didn’t push the boundaries too far, offering women complementary styles to the menswear pieces. As the women’s 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 women’s range. The pièce de résistance of the women’s 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 year’s 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.




Related articles
Lucire 2011 | The Global Fashion Magazine Other-Worldly
In the first of our in-depth New Zealand Fashion Week features for autumn–winter 2012, Vicki Matias reflects on her (out of this) World experience
photographed by Lisa Wilson/Lisa Wilson Photography
Lucire 2011 | The Global Fashion Magazine Mister, its spirits unshaken, is stronger this summer
Sopheak Seng looks at Mister’s spring–summer 2011–12 line, which he believes, thanks in part to the addition of womenswear and a post-’quake determination, is the label’s strongest



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