Into Wonderland: Trelise Cooper in Wellington

Since it went up in 1906, the old Public Trust building on Lambton Quay has always fascinated with its Florentine-Edwardian architecture. Here is a full display of the polished granite, marble, limestone and red brick so beloved by the period’s best architects—the delicious Baroque notes, the little decorative surprises, the feeling that here is something special.
The new Trelise Cooper shop for Wellington is in this building, and serenely complements the old architecture with its own fresh wonderland offerings of Baroque notes, surprises and feelings.

The shop is like a long gallery. This is the architecture of fantastic first impression, followed by a thoughtful voyage through it, pausing and noticing. Overhead, skylights and wooden ceiling trusses add flavour, and escort us.
The design is the work of Penny Barnett whose long association with Trelise Cooper meant there was a deep understanding of what the brand stood for; what its story was. A Baroque spirit presides. 

This is no suddenly decided-upon notion, as the brand has had this spirit for many years. In this shop, the baroqueness appears in a wealth of bloom-and-tendril motifs. These appear in framed drops of vintage wallpaper, the moulded ormolu on the French furniture, the painted rondels on the floor and the copper and iron work which dazzles along the way. Particularly stunning are the peony-big blooms fabricated from copper sheeting left behind by a previous tenant of the space.
Garments are displayed both on racks set into shallow bays, and as styled mannequins. This styling work is exceptional: the mannequins show the exuberance of each individual piece as well as combining pieces so the visitor can really absorb the Cooper love of layering, colouring and embellishment.

Towards the back of the shop are the dressing rooms – big, glorious tents of bronze-flecked material jutting out to soften, and excite, the view. They hint at the lavish campaign tents that Napoleon used on his way to Russia. Such a military hint is also occasionally encountered in some of the garment designs where there is the use of braid, epaulettes, pipings and facings done in regimental gold and cord.

At the rear of the shop stands a magnificent mirror, so generous, and bordered by metal tendril work. On top of the mirror, like a coronet, stands the Trelise Cooper cipher, a lower-case ‘t’ beautifully engulfed with vines. It is the same cipher used for the signboard on the building’s exterior which signals Here Is Wonderland.
Terence Hodgson
Photos courtesy Trelise Cooper

Dallas and Carlos at Superette

It isn’t often that a design house names itself after two apartment blocks,   but this is the case with Australian-based Katherine Etheridge and Jess Constance.The Dallas and The Carlos were the apartment blocks the partners were living in in 2009; sited on the Brazilian island of Floianopolis with immediate access to the area’s forty beaches. 

It was this Brazilian stay which fuelled the idea of setting up a label. Both had been involved in the worlds of interior, fashion and styling design prior, but now was the time to burgeon and thrill with their own ideas. From the beach life came a love for vivid colours, the sounds and smells of a different country, and the juxtaposition of materials like leather made from fish skins, horsehair, rivets and plastics. 

Dallas and Carlos was now a brand making a range of accessories of careful craftsmanship and superb, carefree soul. The photo shows some of the designers’ wristbands – revelling in texture, small engineering and the almost gaudy colours of neoprene. The bands are available at Superette, 106 Victoria Street, where they are displayed with humour around lopped-off branches of silver birch.