Wellington Fashion Week: The main event (+photos)

By Zoe Walker

Trelise Cooper showed last night at Wellington Fashion Week.
Photo / Janet Liu
Trelise Cooper showed last night at Wellington Fashion Week. Photo / Janet Liu

In an age defined by newness and hype - One Direction fans, the harsh build up and subsequent savaging by the press of songstress Lana Del Rey, HBO's new TV show Girls, written about so much that it felt like the first episode had screened long before it actually had, or the deluge of inane instant updates on Twitter and Instagram - there is no time for what has been or what is current. What's new, what's next?

It has always been the way of fashion, but the speed and increasingly disposable nature of the traditional fashion seasons and of the collections designers spend months labouring on have reached ridiculous levels. Does what's available in store matter anymore, when consumers are already invested in what's to come?

At Wellington Fashion Week, the lines feel a little muddled. Showcased on the runway last night at the first group show - open to the public as well as buyers and press - were some spring/summer collections, that aren't produced for another four or so months, some current in-store winter ranges, and a mini capsule collection that arrives in store today.

The week has promise, sure - there was certainly a buzz last night, and the house seemed full - but the organisers need to decide what it is: an industry or consumer event? Although maybe they have worked it all out before everyone else: the way for a fashion week, traditionally a trade event that's the domain of buyers and media, to make money is to charge the public to come and watch.

Held in the cavernous old Museum building at Massey University, the show saw crowds of excited ladies sipping their free fruity cocktails in the atrium while upstairs photographers hovered, ready to snap anyone with the slightest hint of style. The show was long - eight labels, roughly 20 outfits each, a long catwalk and sluggish walking models.

Highlights included Lucy McIntosh, who showed promise with her interesting take on shirting and tailoring, albeit with hints of Wellington designer Alexandra Owen (who, interestingly, isn't showing as part of WFW but will present her spring/summer collection to media and buyers with a show on Tuesday night in Auckland). The spring/summer collection from Ashley Fogel - who is ill in Australia, so unable to make it - was a crowd favourite, with wearable jackets and coats, playful prints and touches of leather. It's easy, casual dressing for women who want to look nice but not too fashion forward and silly I suppose; without drapey bits and unnecessary layering of sheer fabrics.

Moochi's capsule collection - wearable with hints of sportswear; textured black punctured with a piercing neon - showed some very smart marketing. It's available to purchase from their Wellington store from today, and the excitable reaction of a girl sitting behind me summed it up best. "YES!"

A confession: I left before Taylor Boutique and Trelise Cooper's collections could walk. I'm a terrible person, aren't I? But hey, the show was running late, I was desperate for dinner before the next show - and those models walked so slow, one girl on the runway at a time, that I may have screamed if I had stayed. Blame the hunger pains on the frustration.

The Julian Danger show later, felt playful and a bit rough around the edges, with the audience crammed into an upstairs hair salon to watch models in candy coloured wigs walk a runway lit up by twee flower fairy lights. There were parallels to a Meadham Kirchhoff show at London Fashion Week last year, with pastel babydoll nightie dresses and the Courtney Love in the 1990s overtones, but I liked it. It was a fun show that felt a little like an ambush, off-schedule presentation - something that I think is desperately missing from the young designer scene across New Zealand.

Check out photographs from the event here.

Tonight's group show features collections from labels including Starfish, Robyn Mathieson, Kelsey Genna, Neverblack and Storm.

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