Fashion: Plastic fantastic

By Rosie Dawson-Hewes

When Charlotte Olympia released clear Perspex box clutches last year, the fashion world went nuts for them. They were an instant hit.

Anything that gains that much attention is sure to become a trend and this occasion was no different. The clear plastic trend has since hit New Zealand, starting small but gaining traction as the seasons pass.

Admittedly, you'd have to be a certified crazy person (or a die-hard fashion junkie) to walk around in a clear plastic outfit. This is for two reasons: PVC doesn't breathe (at all) so it would get awfully sticky and you'd struggle with condensation issues. I actually had a conversation with a very distinguished fashion editor at New Zealand Fashion Week about just this - they took some clear PVC pants to Shanghai for a shoot, but struggled to use them as you could see the condensation from the heat building up inside the pants! The things we put models through for fashion ...

The second reason for not wearing a clear PVC outfit to the office, or down the street in Whangarei, is that everyone would be able to see your undies (or worse)!

Thankfully, for the sake of the New Zealand public, the clear plastic trend has largely kept to accessories and outerwear.

This summer you'll see plenty of PVC detailing on shoes and bags. You'll also see clear clutches with interchangeable inners. Wellington label Mardle has been doing clear PVC clutches for a couple of seasons now. Mardle also collaborated with Ashley Fogel on a series of inners, so there are plenty of print and colour options to choose from.

And next winter there'll be great PVC belts from Cybele (that walked the runway at NZFW this year) and the odd loose-fitting cape/outer layer to look forward to.

I love the idea of a clear jacket or cape, so the glory of your outfit isn't lost as soon as the rain starts to pour!

You can integrate the PVC trend into your wardrobe in two ways.

You could approach the clear plastic like a neutral - pairing it with bright colours, prints or even solid black.

This also leaves room for the coloured PVC options as well, such as Kathryn Wilson's black Tara wedge.

Or you could treat it like a futuristic feature by pairing it with metallics, clean lines and sleek forms. Think crisp whites, blacks and silver.

However you do it, heed my cautionary Shanghai tale.

Keep the PVC in small doses, as a detail within your outfit, so you don't end up all sticky and steamy inside that plastic!

- Hamilton News

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