NZ Fashion Festival: Monday

Date: February 27, 8.30pm

Coop co-designer, Alexandra Dunn, says the top style tip for winter is to focus on bright colours as they 'cut through a gloomy day.' Photo / Supplied
Coop co-designer, Alexandra Dunn, says the top style tip for winter is to focus on bright colours as they 'cut through a gloomy day.' Photo / Supplied

Who's who at this year's festival of fashion? Some of New Zealand's top designers and well-loved labels will present their autumn/winter collections at the New Zealand Fashion Festival, with nightly runway shows showcasing the latest trends and what's available in store. What to expect on the runway? We find out the details of each designer, and a little about their approach to the season.

COOP
Co-designer Alexandra Dunn

For winter we were thinking about the power and beauty of the elements - ice, rocks, earthquakes, ash and lava. All of our prints were designed in-house and are inspired by icicles and crystal caves, giving the collection an ethereal, glassy undertone. My favourite pieces are the "Ash Cloud" coat because it's cosy and warm but looks super sexy and tough, and the "Fearless" dress (pictured) for its oversized sleeves, lace panelling and electric colour.

Top winter style tip?
Bright colours cut through a gloomy day.

I love fashion because ...
It's the visual expression of who we are.

Favourite stylish places?
The Britomart area for bringing style back to Auckland's CBD. It has the city's most beautiful old buildings, coolest stores, best bars and restaurants, and public spaces that you can lounge in for hours.

* Find us on Facebook under Coop Boutique. Stockists ph (09) 379 5005

STARFISH
Designer Laurie Foon

This season we were seduced by David Bowie's burst into the glam rock era, Blondie's iconic punk persona and Alexander McQueen's fearlessness. We boiled them together and came up with Lunatopia, celebrating those daring to be different. The feel of the range is a relaxed take on glam rock, and power dressing.

Favourite pieces?
I love the "Moonage" jacket because it's a little bit rock 'n' roll, with the star print in organic cotton sweat shirting for comfort, and also the "Rascal" pants (pictured) which are a vibrant colour made from up-cycled nylon Lycra.

I love fashion because ...
We can all feel so transformed by the way something feels on our body. I love combining practical elements with style extravagance.

NEVERBLACK

For winter we were inspired by Maurice Sendak's classic children's tale Where The Wild Things Are and the decadence and decay of 1970s documentary Grey Gardens. The collection fuses natural fibres with extravagance to bring the juxtaposing stories of fantasy and reality to life. Some of our key pieces are the "May" dress which is a fusion of cotton lace and hand-sourced silk, heavy woollen coats, men's suiting, chunky Norsewood socks and the use of angora wool and silk velvet.

Top winter style tip?
Invest in a beautiful wool knit or a heavy wool jacket.

Favourite stylish places?
Gisborne and the East Coast as it is so relaxed and unspoilt.

BLAK BASICS AND BLAK LUXE
Designer Teresa Hodges

For winter we were inspired by dark fairy tales and warped dreams; pieces are slightly gothic mixed back with pretty elements. Some key pieces in the collection are the "Clairvoyant" dress, a long-sleeved, full-length flowing dress in our exclusive print - such a dramatic statement piece - and the "Wish Upon a Star" dress, an ice-skater-style fit in garnet-coloured lace with silk waist panels. The colour is amazing.

Favourite piece?
The "Enchanted" shirt in our exclusive print with an amazing black contrast lace collar and poet sleeves.

Top winter style tip?
I'm loving lace for winter and experimenting with wearing the new midi length.

* Stockists ph (09) 368 1981

STORM
General manager Deborah Caldwell

For winter we were inspired by our customer. We love creating pieces that inspire them to feel fashionable, stylish and edgy. The key feature of the collection is colour. The "Embers" combines smudgy prints, lacey knitwear, suede finishes and beautiful drapey silk pieces all in rich berry tones.

Favourite piece?
The one item I seem to be wearing with everything are our "Rockerfella" suede boots. Great with dresses, skinny jeans and skirts.

Top winter style tip?
Mix it up. Layer chunky knits and leather over delicate lace, mix colours - berries with mustard, olive green with soft pink. It's a great season to experiment.

Favourite stylish places?
James restaurant in Stanley St. It's industrial, but soft and intimate at the same time.

* Stockists ph 0800 042 092

SALASAI
Designer Kirsha Whitcher

For winter we were inspired by the history of England. The key piece for me is the "Gabriel" dress - the full-length pinafore smock that is such a great shape, and takes on that feeling of old England in a humble yet beautiful way. Other key pieces are those in the soft, sheer, check print that we had printed specially to accompany the khaki check in the silk wool, a softer more delicate version of the silk wool check. We have raw silk edging, leather blocking, textural detailing and a great old world colour palette.

Favourite piece?
The "Regent" dress, which is derived from a dress my grandmother gave me from the 1940s.

I love fashion because ...
It defines how we want to be perceived: are we a follower of fads or do we create our own style?

Anything else that you would like to add?
Salasai is now based in Perth, Australia, and has just opened its first online store.

WE'AR
Designer Jyoti Morningstar

For winter we were thinking about how good it feels to be naked between luxurious sheets under a downy duvet when a storm is blowing outside. We've built a collection of textured layers that pays homage to naive sexiness - the rugged up opulence of caressing textures and layers of sensation. The key pieces are a quilted swing jacket in luscious natural fleece, silk and velvet, the ultimate off-duty knits and next level kabuki lace-up boots in canvas and sheepskin. This season prints are sublimated to texture: layers of luxe natural opulence like silk velvet, thick, flocked cottons, bamboo fleecing combined with hand-spun wools, hand-tooled lace and raw organic denims.

Favourite piece?
A difficult choice - either the pernod pants for their particular fusion of jazz-era dapperness, or maybe the "duff deluxe" quilted pea coat for its chic-as mission worthiness.

I love fashion because ...
It's my creative expression, it's beauty and freedom to be who and what you want, it makes me present by challenging me to dig deep into each season as it happens.

Anything else you would like to add?
Enjoy being your own self. Let yourself play with new stuff ... let go of defining your look or life.

* Stockists ph (09) 358 0030

MOOCHI
Designer Kellie Taylor

Musicians and songs inspire our mood for the season. Hit the open road with us, sounds blaring, and immerse yourself in this season's mix tape - true to the heart. The Moochi autumn collection, called Mix Tape, is full to the brim with goodness. The key pieces have some element of luxury, with fur, foil, sparkle and studs adding more to your day or night. We have five "tracks" for the autumn collection and each is anchored by our own print development. Track 1 is all about glamour and has Kiss by Prince , and what better print match-up than a tonal snake on chiffon? Track 2 heads to the wilderness with the Fleet Foxes' Tiger Mountain Song and we wrap up in plaids and a wicker basket print. The Kills' Tape Song is for Track 3, oozing of rock royalty, with iconic black and white stripes on silk, breathing a sense of power. Track 4 has a modern play on Americana, with Guns N' Roses' Sweet Child of Mine inspiring star motifs and star prints on satin. Track 5 is Elton John's Tiny Dancer, while we sway in paisley dresses and printed jeans.

Top winter style tip?
Buy things that make you feel happy and also buy things that you can get lots of value-per-wear from.

Favourite stylish places?
In Auckland we love Depot for fun easy nights, Imperial Lane for its multi offerings and interiors, and Zus and Zo cafe for my local.

Anything else you would like to add?
The shoe collection for autumn is super exciting, with sexy heels, shiny slippers and boots galore, everyone loves what we've created.

* Stockists ph (09) 373 9823

SKULL AND BONES
Creative director Matt Zwartz

Being streetwear, our collections aren't seasonally driven. Rather, we're offering two ideas: the Zodiac, and our Perennials. Our inspiration for the Zodiac came from the absence of anything really cool to wear in this area. The Perennials are a collection of original designs that we like. Every T-shirt has its own video, and these can be found on YouTube. The key features of our collections are the original illustrations on all the prints. Their execution with gold and silver metallic inks make them feel lustrous and rich to wear, and helps elevate them past normal streetwear a little bit. Then there's the sense of belonging you get by representing the brand, which we're frequently told is quite a special feeling.

Fashion is such a wonderful form of personal expression.
Dressing in clothes that you love contributes to feeling good about yourself, which can then manifest into a better day. Fashion is such a terrific theatre of dreams.

Favourite stylish places?
Britomart Country Club, which is a beautiful concept really well executed, and for which the Bones did the brand identity. Actually the whole Britomart precinct is hugely vibrant. The French Cafe, which is the best restaurant in the country, and is an ongoing expression of haute style. And the Bones office, which is really just a big living room, filled with books, ideas and humour.

* Facebook page here

* Herald Online Life & Style Editor Nicky Park will be blogging from the New Zealand Fashion Festival. Follow her on Twitter. We'll also have plenty of video coverage so stay tuned.

The New Zealand Herald and Viva are sponsors of NZ Fashion Festival 2012.

- NZ Herald

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