The Great Hall of Fashion

Chloe Graham photographed by Prue Ibbotson.

Home to Massey University’s fashion design school, the old Museum’s Great Hall was a fitting place to host Wellington’s first Fashion Week, with runway shows from 32 designers, established and emerging. From the gauzy, metallic bodices of Hermione Flynn through to the rich enveloping brocade of Liz Mitchell

Miss Abigail made sumptuous use of big, brassy materials in her wonderfully over-sized pale green shrug and velveteen used in a virtuoso display of flouncing. Lucy McIntosh’s soft mustard hues and garments almost like altar vestments, and the magnificent deconstructions of Jacque Shaw filled with stripes, layers, bands and gaps all shimmering with big jewellery like table settings.

The work of the makeup artists led us through the delicate, then into sweeps of tribal marking/war paint for the Taylor Boutique show, and on to the brilliance of sparkling, subtle eye work. Hair styling was also superbly crafted and ebullient. We fell to the charms of updated vintage techniques like schoolgirl pigtails to Renaissance-influenced tight braiding and 1930s buns and springy finger waves. 

Wellington Fashion Week was a big boost for the industry right across the board with people in related industries who like the Breakers, were given a chance to shine on their home court. Congratulations to Cameron Sneddon and the team who worked so hard to make this event a success.

Terence Hodgson

Wellington Style

Retail does not exist without the replenishment from the designers, and our cool little style capital is home to some exceptional designers. The range of output is stupendous. It covers all bases from the avant garde art-performance-garments of Hermione Flynn to the delightful inventions of Starfish and the fluid silhouettes from Philippa & Alice. These designers export: both their garments and their design stories. Many Wellington designers regularly show in the long-established fashion shows of Dunedin, Auckland, Melbourne and New York. Their works are featured in the international press, both magazines and online, and many overseas boutiques make room for a showing of local labels. Such international applause is not given to the sleepy.

For established and emerging designers, Wellington’s being home to Massey University’s fashion design school is simply treasure, and many well-known names like Alexandra Owen have been through their courses. The school’s curriculum, access to professionals in the trade, and its annual show more than hint that this part of the economy has weight. The fashion school pinpoints Wellington as a destination where things are happening --  a fact supremely buttressed by the city also being host to the World of WearableArt competition and extravaganza.
Silence Was
So many factors support Wellington as a fashion hub, and this year’s Wellington Fashion Week will promote the city, the region, and all who take part in its exuberance. In particular, the week’s runway events will exhibit a number of new labels who, in spite of economic sluggishness, have emerged because they are driven by inspiration and accomplishment. 
The label Kelsey Genna, established last year, will show her work which is very limited (editions of ten), and predominantly sells online. We will get to see her trim use of mouth watering colours like berry fruits mixing with the peaceful marzipan shades of cream and pink. We will see Silence Was, established in 2011 with an emphasis on a romantic and bespoke tailoring ethic. And we will see Nouveau, a range from Pixel Ink which promotes an urban, street-wear graphic thrust – quite often eccentric and quizzical like their Tourist Box T-shirt showing a tui seemingly using an old Victorian bellows camera to take our photo. Wonderful.