The Week that was NZFW 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

An outfit from Lucilla Gray's beautiful New Zealand Fashion Week 2015 presentation.

It's hard to believe New Zealand Fashion Week 2015 has been and gone already, this time last week it was near the end of day two of the shows and we had already taken in some stellar debuts and many other captivating collections that mostly showcased winter 2016. Much like many other fashion weeks all over the world NZFW has been slowly shrinking for years and now the trade side of the event is three days long with another three days for public shows and events.

It's an interesting shift driven by the huge advancements in technology which means buyers and media no longer have to travel if they don't wish to as everything can be viewed online (although you could argue that nothing beats seeing and touching garments in person). There is also an increasing impatience amongst the public to be able to shop things quickly after seeing them on the runway so focusing on shows where customers can do that is beneficial to both the retailers and consumers as it drives sales.

But back to this year's shows which had lots of collections to be excited about. One of the best things about fashion weeks is getting to see new labels on the runway, how they present themselves is often as interesting as the collection itself and there were certainly some very slickly styled ranges that got noticed. Harman Grubisa were definitely a stand out for their luxurious range of chic garments that had such beautiful hues and epitomised modern elegance. No doubt their Mongolian sheepskin pieces will be highly coveted next season. Sean Kelly's show was one of the most buzzed about in the lead-up to NZFW as he won last year's season of Project Runway, his presentation included a sleek collection of well-edited looks in white, french blue, black and crimson which will likely make it on to the red carpet in the near future. His carefully draped dresses and marabou feathered looks were my favourites.

Another label making a strong debut was Lucilla Gray, who presented the first off-site show for the week and drew the crowd into her magical garden set which included models in pretty pastels and florals in contemporary silhouettes. She debuted at London Fashion Week earlier this year and going by her polished collection she is definitely one to watch in future. Third Form also made their debut this year and interestingly for an Australian label they decided to show in NZ first before at home. Their collection was very modern in structured shapes with cut-out and mesh details adding a sensual appeal. Julian Danger was another label showing for the first time at NZFW and nailed a clean aesthetic with layered wools and suiting making for a fresh and sophisticated look.

Much to my delight there was lingerie and sleepwear on the runway this year, which is pretty uncommon for NZFW but some of my favourite things. Her Apparel and Willa and Mae had a shared show which opened with Her Apparel's sheer pieces in delicate lace that were oh so winsome and had bright pops of colour contrasting with lots of white. Willa and Mae debuted their sleepwear line Mae by Willa and Mae which was one of the most well-styled shows of the week and featured soft cotton night shirts over shorts that were unbuttoned from below the bust for a subtly sexy look. Their main silk line, Willa and Mae, comprised of lovely chemises, robes and pyjamas in apricot, periwinkle, ivory and black, with both ranges making containing very covetable pieces to make going to bed that much more enjoyable.  

One of the more established labels and one of my favourites, Twenty-seven Names, kicked off the week with a sweet outdoor show that contained some of the most well-tailored looks of the week. Their divine dresses, pared-back colour palette and use of soft peach made their collection impossible to look away from. Their chunky knit pieces will likely make many people's wish lists for next winter too. Another of my favourite labels, Ruby, also held a show that had the crowd riveted to the runway, partly for their gorgeous collection which was set to the Smashing Pumpkins 'Tonight, Tonight' (which always takes me back to high school) and partly for the brilliant comedians that took to the runway to dance and send up the models at the end of the show. It was nice to have something light-hearted that had everyone smiling and laughing when often fashion week shows are super serious. Ruby's sublime collection was available to shop immediately afterwards at an all too convenient on-site pop-up shop and also online now.

One of the shows I was highly anticipating was Kate Sylvester, especially after her amazing MBFWA show back in April which I adored. Her new winter range was inspired by the artist's muse and featured some charming dresses and a navy coat worn as a dress which was my favourite look (see below). The over-sized gold jewellery, 1940s silhouettes and delicate lace pieces had me wishing it was next winter already. Hailwood also brought a stellar collection to the runway and aside from his divine sequined evening ensembles which always get my heart fluttering, I loved his use of soft knits over long evening skirts which were a very cool day to night look. His delicate blue and white porcelain print also caught my eye on a matching bomber jacket and skirt.

There were brilliant showings by several other labels including Nom*D, who always does the most creative draping and I adored her use of tartan which reminded me of some of my favourite dresses from the nineties. Then there was the clever tailoring, beautiful velvet and shimmering sequins at Zambesi with delightful hues of burgundy, plum and grape adding a warmness to their sophisticated looks. Andrea Moore won me over with her delightful coats that were cinched in at the waist to emphasise the feminine shape, I also loved her imaginative use of gold right down to the gold eyebrows and hand painted tattoos on the models. Special mention also goes to Natalie Chan's presentation as part of the New Zealand Weddings Magazine show, her exquisite hand-painted dresses covered in pink petals were utterly stunning and combined with her oh so pretty headwear made for some very romantic and simply spellbinding looks. 

It's fair to say that there was lots to love at NZFW this year and I could continue on with this post but it would turn into a novel before too long. Without wanting to sound too sentimental about it, NZFW always makes me feel really proud of all the wonderful talent we have in this country and I'm looking forward to seeing these collections in store and most of all to see what all these labels do in coming seasons. New Zealand fashion really is world class and I don't think anyone would argue with that. 

Andrea Moore
Harman Grubisa
Her Apparel
Julian Danger
Kate Sylvester
Natalie Chan
Sean Kelly

Third Form
Twenty-seven Names
Willa and Mae

Images: Yvonne Shearer Photography, except for Harman Grubisa and Kate Sylvester by Viva and Lucilla Gray, Nom*D and Julian Danger by Michael Ng.

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