3 Wise Men

Craft of construction and superb colour matching describe so much of the offerings at 3 Wise Men at 195 Lambton Quay, Wellington. The ties are like long works of art, sometimes mellow and attractive in the manner of a dessert, other times strong with dark backgrounds shot through with bolts of brilliant colour.

In this slightly undercover photo – perhaps taken by a spy – the ties flank a glass jar full of cufflinks. These are cufflinks done in knotted cord, rather than the more familiar metal. They are like fanciful toggles, great works of knotsmanship, and are individually packaged.

From Oslo to Wellington

The Scandinavian designer Henrik Vibskov is one of those rare polymaths who stride across many disciplines – clothes design, installation art, music, and the production of limited edition books. A graduate of St Martin’s in London, his main retail outlets are in Oslo and Copenhagen, and his shows introduce their audiences to dazzling concoctions of big colour patches, fur, quilting and knitwear with curious collection names like ‘Land of the Black Carrots’ and the ‘Fantabulous Bicycle Music Factory’.

It is seldom his works travel the thousands of kilometres to New Zealand, yet one outlet, the Good as Gold boutique at 140 Victoria Street, Wellington, under the helmsman ship of Ruben Bryant, has come to stock some of Vibskov’s work.

The photo shows one of the items from the collection titled ‘The Slippery Spiral Situation’. It is a wonderful work of big wool knitwear, basking in the theatrical design voyage of oatmeal colour at the top to night-black at the hem. And, like little tufts, or snagged seed pods, miniature balls of white wool parade themselves all over the garment.

The I-can’t-take-my-eyes-off-you-pink shoe is from Nude of Australia. It’s glossy, bold, and might not take no for an answer. Its companions, a little calmer with their watercolour patterns done in pared-back hues are also from Nude, and both are at Ultra Shoes in Manners Mall.
Dotted along the display shelves are young plastic trees in black pots. These are mini-reminders that Ultra supports Project Crimson where a percentage of sales goes to the protection of the country’s pohutukawa and rata trees.

Massey Unzips

At the end of four years study for Massey University’s Bachelor of Design in Fashion comes the sadly brief, but rewarding glitter of a catwalk show. This year’s show was titled UnZipped and was crisply performed with great lighting and an excellent variety of music.

The work of 54 students, each presenting four ensembles, was sent out along the catwalk for a very interested public and media viewing. And there were, of course, 54 different takes on clothing, textures, materials and underlying spirits. On view were inspirations from Dada art, 1960s retro, the Mordor-doom scenario, culture-specific motifs and the animal kingdom. Materials ranged from the luxuriously silky through to big-knit wool, bamboo, PVC and unnervingly delicate crystals.

As a show, it was sparky and rapid-fire. Yet, wistfully, one ponders what will happen to all this work so exhaustively produced. Pieces might be taken apart, perhaps boxed up, or given away to admirers. Whichever outcomes transpire, the show is certainly a high peak in the university’s curriculum.
The photo shows the four ensembles presented by Emma Hewson under the collection name ‘NightSwimming’.

Kate Sylvester dresses up

The top is the ‘Roberta Dinner Shirt’. It is cotton, but given a wealth of finery which enlivens it. Old-fashioned lace techniques of thread-pulling coupled with very fine pin-tucking, back-stitching and steel rivets makes this a delicious work of art, yet supple and comfortable.

The dress is the ‘Harmony Skirt’, done in a colour Sylvester calls Summer Grey. An astonishing amount of careful stitching has enabled all the bands of fabric and shimmering gauze to layer and fall without any awkwardness, while a cotton lining performs the task of soft scaffolding. The skirt, even with the smallest movement, glistens and easily suggests something impressionistic, something painterly.

It could be a ‘Moon over Mudflats’ painting, or a photo of city lights taken through a windscreen in the rain. The illustration comes from the designer’s Summer 10/11 look book, and the garments are at Kate Sylvester, 32 Cuba Street.

Coming to an arrangement with World Man

From World comes a range of men’s clothing of great architecture and finish. The range nicely avoids being dour, and with subtle detailing and flicks of colour, talks of poise.

The shirt on the obliging mannequin is called ‘Hills Alive’ – robust cotton, with brilliant orange buttons against clean stripes of blue. Over the shirt is the ‘Friedrich Jacket’ – done in a fine-knit wool in tones of charcoal and mushroom. Across the breast is embroidered, in silver thread, the word MAN in a fascinating cross between typography and seismic charts.

And the trousers are ‘Hills Alive’ shorts – worked in a heavy waxed cotton, given a few splashes resembling bleach spots, and secretly lined inside with panels of enchanting print depicting lots of little houses.
World Man’s clothes are both garments, as well as voyages into the stylish.

Spotted at Kilt, 100 Victoria Street, is this ‘Ruffle Clutch’ bag. It is a big, bold, squishy, synthetic piece of fun accessory. And it comes in a number of unusual pastel colours like sunset-yellow, mocha-brown, and powdery-pink.