Expert Eye: Sabatini

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Models wear creations by Sabatini on the first day of New Zealand Fashion Week 2011. Photo / Eveline Harvey
Models wear creations by Sabatini on the first day of New Zealand Fashion Week 2011. Photo / Eveline Harvey

The close knit family behind local label Sabatini kicked off NZ Fashion Week celebrations this morning with champagne and canapés at the Hilton's Bellini bar.

We liked the thoughtful little shot glass of scrambled eggs as the fashion set had their first opportunity to eye each other's outfits before the show began.

It was a strong turn out of insiders, family and friends and - being the first official event on the NZFW schedule - there were plenty of TV faces too: Petra Bagust, Kate Hawkesby, Kate Rodger and Colin Mathura-Jeffree (he's the official NZFW ambassador, whatever that means).

Longer lengths may be ruling the international runways, but here the telly babes wore hiked hemlines.

The standout of the show was also super short - a little blood red tutu that was a youthful update on the classic 50s dress shape, fitted through the body then flaring wide, but cut Sydney short.

The range shown on the runway was from Sabatini's more fashion-focused line, Sabatini White; a small, capsule collection titled Many Happy Returns.

Fitted jackets with leather-piped panels nodded at the 80s, as did the big hair with flicky ends, but the knit fabrication made the tailoring more contemporary and a blackberry lip updated appearances.

Also featured was an elegant sheer long knit gown and sexy knit slip dresses, with sheer and leather detailing.

Big hair and the dark lips added to the glamour - something you don't necessarily see enough of at NZ Fashion Week.

This was a special show for Sabatini, celebrating 20 years of a label that grew into a successful exporter from the Milich family's beginnings with Sonny Elegant Knitwear.

Managing director Tony Milich, who started proceedings with a lengthy speech, drew a round of applause in pointing out that the vast bulk of Sabatini's production is still made right here in Mt Roskill.

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