Liz Wilson is one of the next generation of designers expected to impress at NZ Fashion Week when her label Eugenie makes its runway debut.
Since launching two years ago she has gained considerable clout, selling her clothes through her Mackelvie St store in Ponsonby and online.
Wilson hopes the event will help to initiate a move into wholesaling throughout New Zealand, Australia, and one day, London, and she's buoyed by the fact she has buyers' appointments booked in pre-show.
Among her VIP guests is her biggest cheerleader, Sydney-based fashion market editor Chloe Hill of Oyster magazine. She's also dressing popular Aussie style bloggers Brooke Testoni and Talisa Sutton.
"It's great because everyone is in town at the same time," Wilson said. "The connections that Fashion Week has - like buyers from [department stores] David Jones and Myer - I don't have access to those on my own."
It's been a tough two years, but working in her own store has given her invaluable feedback. "I remember Michael Kors saying the best thing a young designer can do is stand next to their designs on the shop floor. It can be soul-destroying but it means you can tell straight away if your pants go up someone's bum. You learn so much."
Since her initial concept collection that focused on suiting and tailored pieces, Eugenie's designs have become sexier and more versatile. Wilson's winter 2017 collection for Fashion Week will run the gamut from beautiful to tough, she says, inspired by the "punk spirit of Debbie Harry and the grit of Charlotte Rampling". Look out for velvet dresses, slips in silver and blush, and a lot of leather and denim.
"I'm not really making clothes for princesses, they're for real tough girls," she says. "But you don't have to be tough to wear them."
Fashion Week kicked off last night with a show by Harman Grubisa, and continues until Sunday.