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Sean Kelly, Lucilla Gray, Soontariya Utto stand out among Massey’s 2013 graduates


November 26, 2013/5.16

Through a sea of black-and-white and sheer chiffon came three stand-outs at the 2013 Massey graduate show, Launch. Sean Kelly’s desert-island-themed collection really stood out, as did the closing designers, Lucilla Gray and her crisp neoprene collection, and Soontariya Utto, with her refined, elegant gowns.

Matthew Beveridge/Matthew Beveridge Photography

   Kelly’s collection, inspired by an island, consisted of layered, tailored menswear in linen-looking khaki-greens and whites. This collection combines exceptional new ideas and design lines with impeccable tailoring. Quirky accessories also featured, such as a fishing-net backpack. Thick, brown leather hats, sandals and other leather items were specifically made for the collection to immaculate standards. Emphasizing impact and wearability through clever styling, Kelly has really hit the nail on the head here.

Matthew Beveridge/Matthew Beveridge Photography

   Gray’s collection created similar impact but for completely different reasons. The colour palette of fresh electric blue mixed with fluro-pink and the whitest white stood out from the dull colours of some other collections. Structured elements were innovatively moulded from neoprene to create out-of-this-world curved shapes where printed chiffon overlays bikini-like undergarments. This fresh collection really caught my eye for all the right reasons. We especially loved the curved, structural sleeve shapes and the tactile print in the white neoprene jacket. Lucille’s collection reminds me of a different take on Nicolas Ghesquière’s use of neoprene at Balenciaga and the Australian designers’ obsession. Perhaps this is the New Zealand response to the comeback of neoprene, which is no longer restricted to the un-shapely wetsuit.

Matthew Beveridge/Matthew Beveridge Photography

   From the opening outfit of Utto’s collection, there was something special in the making. The precision cutting and the exceptional tailoring to the couture-like nature of her garments all spoke of a refined elegance, which can so often be lost in ready-to-wear clothes. For someone so young, her taste level far exceeds her years. The moulded hips of her ball gowns matched her jewellery, which was made by hand, bringing a tactile old-world feel. The collection was sewn by hand, bringing it to life. Although crafted all in black, it was still evident that a lot of attention to detail had gone into this collection, from the pin-tucking on the structure corsets and bodices, to the cut of detailing and ostrich feather plumage that appeared on collars and peplums. This was a collection made for the red carpet and was a true show-stopper.—Anna Deans and Sopheak Seng, Fashion Editor

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Filed by Anna Deans

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