Estates West, an online magazine that showcases luxurious living had this to say
Air New Zealand Fashion Week is an annual event-taking place late in September in Auckland. The Week is similar in scale to what once was LA or Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Big difference is unlike the now defunct LA (may she RIP); New Zealand’s Week is a well-oiled machine that’s fashion forward yet fun. Thanks to a mother daughter team behind this fashion fest for proving that it can be both. Well-done ladies. The Kiwis have a thriving fashion scene year round where many of the local, now global stars have their own flagship stores in New Zealand such as Karen Walker, Zambesi, Nom D, Trelise Cooper and others. One day in Auckland and a bop around the shops, you quickly know the vibe, style, scene and who’s who on the fashion front. New Zealand fashion has long been linked with Northern European and Belgian designers. Unlike Aussies, they’re known for their dark, edgy, independent, intellectual and at times irreverent and elusive clothing. The comparison to Aussies and Kiwis can be likened to New Yorkers and Angelenos. One is darker and definitively more intellectual and edgy while the other is showier, brighter, much more body versus brains, based. The inherent ethos to Kiwi designer’s remains intact yet there is a fair amount of whimsy; playfulness and even bright bold colors making their way on to the runway and subsequently the streets. Anything goes now, from color to creativity.
One thing is for sure; the fashion drug of choice in New Zealand is a wild streak of independence. Make note, they are not in it to please you. Au contraire fashion savvy friends! It’s all about their passion and pleasure. You’re merely invited in to watch and or participate if it’s your pleasure. Whatever the color or the case, there are many swatches well worthy of a watch in New Zealand. This year’s #ANFW will showcase twenty-seven designers. Trelise Cooper, the tour de force of the Kiwi cloth, the Kiwi Donna Karan with her many licenses and businesses is their woman of whimsy. She’s never been afraid of color and creativity. Her shows are the longest most elaborate of all with an unfathomable number of designs, which may also include wedding, lingerie and or children’s collections which are delicious. Whatever the presentation, from a distance one can see the richness in the fabric and the attention to detail in each and every one of her designs. Her quality is unrivaled.
Trelise calls on past icons and Hollywood luminaries to inspire her expansive collection. Whatever the pull, it’s working. Julia Roberts once bought a complete season in one full swoop. Beast! Its no wonder Lady Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan and Southern Belle Ms. Witherspoon are fans of these tres’ feminique fabrics.
Nom D is a quintessentially New Zealand Design. Designer Margy and her line are a clear fan favorite each year. Expect the unexpected with bulky sweaters twisted and wrapped, classics reconstructed, clothes worn inside out, revisited, reworked and realized. Somehow she makes it work, as it remains wearable, her wild weave of the impractical and practical. She goes far beyond fashion presenting a moving, flowing installation of art. Her inspired shows with heroin chic or mentally anguished models are wildly evocative. Quite simply, it’s Art. Like art it is inexplicable.
The iconic Karen Walker is a superstar, globally. She has flagship stores in New Zealand and one in fashion forward Taipei. She is absolutely massive in The UK and The US and is worn by sultry Sienna, J Lo and Kate Hudson. Her designs, be it dresses or coats are masculine, feminine, tailored, casual and luxurious. These Kiwis are a mad mix. Karen’s street savvy sophistication yet sprinkled with whimsy, all the while remaining Kiwi to its core. Clothes aside Karen’s presence alone in a room can raise the confidence level in a crowd.
Zambesi is seamless, edgy, moody, a definitive mad mix of masculine and feminine, seduced by the future yet pulling from the past. Zambesi to me is fashion nirvana. Each piece warrants the time to touch as texture, cut and color all play prominent roles. A Zambesi piece is a head turner. Simply sublime!
Other fashion faves are Kate Sylvester, Annah Stretton, Cybele, TWENTYSEVENNAMES, Huffer and Stolen Girlfriends Club. The designs run from hip and edgy for a younger audience to sophisticated couture.
If you simply just can’t get enough of the Kiwi Couture, you can also take in the Breakthrough shows where fashion stars of tomorrow are discovered. Or perhaps slip in to the Exhibitor’s Floor. That is where I discovered Artist Goldsmith and her amazing jewelry last year. She stopped me dead in my fashion tracks. I was simply gob smacked. Every piece had a story. Her rings were big, bold and beautiful, my favorite kind.
Everything about NZFW is flawless on the fashion front from on site restaurants set up for the week, to the endless flow of Moet in the many tents and the lush lounges. Even better if you need a break from standing and keeping your faux fashion front up, you can walk a mere steps away to The Westin Hotel, the five star hotel on Auckland’s waterfront. It’s easy, breezy and yet another place to lounge with a chilled bubbly one while you gather your couture thoughts. Sipping on my last Moet while looking back on my Kiwi Week, I think what I loved most about NZFW was their reckless sense of abandonment and their wild streak of fashion independence. Living in the land of the bLAh, where conformity reigns supreme, their strong, independent expressions were a fresh fashion breath of fresh air. Just Breathe…Just Breathe…
To complete this level of perfection, fashionistas, I must say, there’s simply nothing more fashionable than slipping in to business class on Air New Zealand. Oh and if you strike up conversation with your cabin mates you just might find out that the hottie in front of you knew the one Aussie designer showing at NZFW as he and his GF double dated with her and her famous culinary a la chef friend. To add intrigue to intimacy he also provided the fabric to the designer’s at Zambesi who then made the in flight uniforms for the fashion savvy flight crew at Air New Zealand. Holy Haute couture!
That fashion chatter mixed with a big bold glass of one of the many decadent New Zealand reds, paired seamlessly with their divine in-flight dining, and a cozy couture tuck in to a delicious flat bed made for a queen made me feel like I had died and gone to fashion heaven. It just doesn’t get any more fashionable than that.
As I drifted off to sleep I was clicking my fashion savvy heels, sleep talking and high heel walking, chanting, There’s no place like New Zealand. There’s no place like New Zealand. There’s no place like New Zealand.
To see author Karen Loftus’ on her own page visit: