Fashion Week Approaches.

For designers, Fashion Week allows collections to be shown with all the glory of models, hair, makeup, set design, music, lighting, and an audience with purchasing and publicity power. Although there’s an underlining sense that this is a preview of upcoming ranges, it is not necessary that everything shown will go into production. 

For some, the event is there to keep a label’s followers attentive, even if this is done with a helping of anarchy. Stolen Girlfriends Club’s fanciful ‘wedding’ was unexpected drama – as was their display of an in-house designed fabric printed with an uneasy mix of hydrangeas and cigarette butts. Memorable, also, have been a number of exhibitions both ‘main venue’ as well as ‘off-site’ which have sparked acclaim by their high standard of vision and execution. 
Starfish have used the event to preview fabrics which had a back-story of eco-friendliness which was anything but lip-service. Kathryn Wilson was the first show devoted to footwear with a runway set up at eye level. And the spirit of the Miromoda showcase for designers of Maori descent focused the international media.

For media, Fashion Week is nothing short of compelling. Through broadcast TV, a huge audience shares in the reporting of ‘behind the scenes’ where crews record, say, such details as the placing of sparkling diamonds on a model’s face with tweezers. We are given glimpses of the organisation of stylists as they ensure the designer’s visions are crisply presented. TV also knows it has an audience for the big stories like Pamela Anderson’s steamy sarong-twirling presentation, or the visit of America’s Next Top Model winner Krista White – many of her winning assignments having been shot in New Zealand.And broadcast TV is no parochial endeavour, as film crews from many different countries arrive to cover events for show on station from Tokyo to New York.

Photos courtesy Sam Lee

On First Meeting with Trelise

On first meeting with Trelise, the new Eau de Toilette from Trelise Cooper, we are immediately in the fragrant world of vanilla pods, and the glossy caramel developing under the heat of a brûlée torch. These are big fragrances: welcome home fragrances suggesting relaxation after a long walk through brown, fallen leaves.
And, spend some time in the perfume’s company and quietly revealed are other scents: the invitation of sandalwood, the enveloping, heirloom-quilt of lily of the valley, a sinuous thread of Janis Joplin patchouli. There are many components in this work.
Structurally, the component juices are sourced from the world’s spiritual 
home of perfume: Grasse in Southern France. Here is the cultivation of 
thousands of plants yielding their petals, leaves, seeds and barks to a 
centuries-old alchemy of extraction and distillation. Here, also, are 
stringent testing and verification certificates issued by the industry to 
assure a global market of quality. For Trelise, upwards of 18 separate 
juices were used to develop this perfume—one of the industry’s most 
complex orchestrations.

Greetings, Miromoda

In 2008, a marketing board was set up to promote the many designers of Maori descent working in fashion. Knitting together the Maori word miro (the weaving of fibres) with the Italian word moda (fashion), the newly-minted term Miromoda became the masthead for the board. It set out to encourage and promote and has enabled many designers with commercially viable output to come to widespread notice.
This year, Miromoda will have its third show at New Zealand Fashion Week. One of the designers to show is Adrienne Whitewood. This photo, courtesy of Miromoda, shows three of her garments as a capsule collection which Whitewood calls Te Aho Tapu: the Sacred Thread. These are strong works, and a sympathetic eye may well see a modern interpretation here of the photographic portraits taken of Maori in the 1850s and 1860s. These are the decades where traditional Maori garments meet European pattern making and materials. There is the use of tartan cloth – tons of this arrived in ports in these years for the use of clothing shops and dressmakers. 
There is leather – in Whitewood’s work this is the soft, silky leather of lambskin rather than the tough bullock hide used for raincoats and ammunition belts of the period. And there are bold echoes of the swift Maori adoption of woven materials like wool, cotton and linen into their spirit of folding, wrapping and cloaking where coloured borders stand out with drama. In Whitewood’s collection, this delight in bordering is strikingly apparent in the black cloak where the cerise borders are done in rough, raw silk.
For New Zealand Fashion Week, Whitewood will show a collection of six looks. Such an occasion is, of course, the result of a journey and along this path has been the support and interest of Miromoda.

The garment is the red Fencing Jacket.

It is from Alexandra Owen’s Autumn-Winter 2011 collection.
It is construction done in a high quality wool-cashmere, and revels in the architecture of quilting, padding and buttoning. For this collection, quilting is a motif running through all the garments like a melody. It is encountered in all colours and weights from the Prussian blue of a dress, the burgundy silk of a blouse, to the clean white of cotton.
Some of the collection’s blouses carry the title Tullio, and here we are in the world of Luchino Visconti’s 1976 film L’innocente. There is obvious homage to the film here and although Visconti’s character Tullio is a self-serving, overbearing aristocrat, it is much more the film’s visuals of moody establishing shots and lovingly shot rich details of clothes and fabrics which have buoyed Owen’s collection along.

Good as Gold: The New Shop

Behind masked windows, work had been going on for months. Good as Gold was moving their shop a few doors down into new premises at 120 Victoria Street, Wellington. And on opening, it was obvious the fit-out was not a hurried piece of retail standardisation, but a singular, crafted work of story-telling done with vast amounts of wood.
The new shop has all the hallmarks of being styled like a tree fort. It is this back story – this reminiscence of vigorous childhood – which purrs away throughout the place. The shop has three levels, not architecturally precise stories, but stages joined by sets of steps as if fitting around tree trunks too huge to remove. The top level, like that of a tree fort, feels siege-like with hinged windows you swing open and hurl missiles through at enemies: old food, perhaps slippers left behind by a distant relative.


The wood is macrocarpa, sourced from a specialist sawmill in the Wairarapa. It is the wood of farm construction – sheds, pens, fences, storage bins – and carries the honest smells of resin and circular saws. In places the wood is kept rough-sawn, but where used for display shelves it is polished smooth.
And, like whimsy, the dressing rooms for the ground floor stand in a row showing off their architectural heritage of part boat-shed, part outhouse, and a hint of dovecote.
The new Good as Gold is a visual draw card but also an astute marketing envelope. It is so appropriate for the business which showcases designers working in the orbits of the bold, the edgy and the wry.