Fashion festival hits the city

By Josie Steenhart

Ten intense days of events — including turning Queen St into a catwalk — will transform the Heart of the City into fashion central. Josie Steenhart finds out more.

Trelise Cooper on the Britomart runway during the Heart of the City's 10 Days of Fashion.
Trelise Cooper on the Britomart runway during the Heart of the City's 10 Days of Fashion.

Ten days might not seem a long time, but you can fit a lot into a week and a half - a runway show set on a jaw-dropping 125m catwalk complete with 40 models and 70 outfits, a luxurious "luncheon in the sky", six fashion sessions showcasing 12 local and international designers, more than 100 instore offers for shoppers, a fashion show in Vulcan Lane, a wrap party, a chance to take a peek at the Vogue archives, a fashion museum exhibition, vintage high tea, fashion films, parties, workshops, markets and talks.

It's a lot to take in, but the exciting 10 Days of Fashion in the City - running from February 28 to March 9 - well and truly has something for anyone with a passion for fashion.

Let's start at the beginning, with a launch event to kick things off in high style. "The Height of Fashion" is an exclusive luncheon at the most desirable dining address in Auckland - Peter Gordon's The Sugar Club.

Guests will be treated to a glass of Moet and a pre-show of decadent jewellery and lingerie in SkyCity's exclusive private bar X.O.

before being whisked to the 53rd floor where they'll be served a bespoke menu with matched wines, highlighting the top chef's famous fusion cuisine (including the three-day-marinated Beef Pesto, The Sugar Club's signature dish first served in 1986 at the restaurant's original Wellington incarnation).

Seated alongside some of New Zealand's most renowned designers, from Trelise Cooper and Adrian Hailwood to Yvonne Bennetti and Kathryn Wilson, guests will have the opportunity to mingle and marvel at the views before a full fashion show.

The launch luncheon is on February 27, with a second elevating sky luncheon scheduled for March 7.

Another highlight of this fashionable 10 days will be "New Zealand's Longest Catwalk" on March 8, set to bring Queen St to a stylish standstill with a custom-built runway stretching 125m between Shortland and Wyndham Streets.

"We have such a huge depth and diversity of fashion in the heart of the city and a fashion show on such an epic scale seemed like the perfect way to showcase it," says Heart of the City events manager Jane Stewart. "What better way to create a splash than by building a 125m-long catwalk down the middle of our golden mile? Our hair team at Schwarzkopf are creating a series of beautiful fashion hair looks, and the design teams behind the 40-plus brands appearing on the catwalk have all contributed.

"There are definitely some complicated logistics involved in staging an event of this scale - figuring out how to build the catwalk on a sloping street, working with Auckland Council to redirect buses, co-ordinating videographers, models, music, hair and makeup, making sure everyone gets a good view of the show. There are hundreds of things we've had to consider to make the event happen."

The event will be hosted by Shannon Ryan. All garments, shoes and accessories selected by super-stylist Kylie Cooke - who headed the wardrobe teams for X Factor and New Zealand's Next Top Model - come from the city's most coveted boutiques and fashion retailers.

From Moochi and Barkers to Huffer, Coach and Smith & Caughey's, every item on the runway will be available to shop right away - and you won't need to take notes as a slick lookbook has been put together for your convenience. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, set on New Zealand's most famous street, is free - which really just means more money for shopping . . .

"I've been working with the Heart of the City team since December last year, getting designers and brands on board and sourcing the outfits you'll see in the show," Cooke says. "I'm really excited about the result and look forward to seeing it on the runway. The best comparison I can draw on in terms of this project's scale is when I worked on X Factor last year.

"My hope is that people will be inspired by what they see, and take a fresh approach to their wardrobes. Hopefully, the outfits give the public some great ideas for how different collections can be worn together in a fashionable and accessible way."

"We're really thrilled at the selection of events and offers from our central city fashion community," says Stewart.

"And if you still have some gas left in the tank, we'll be celebrating the end of our 10-day extravaganza with one hell of a party hosted by George FM at Britomart Country Club, with goodie bags for the first 50 guests."


• For more information and a comprehensive list of events, visit heartofthecity.co.nz/fashion.


- VIVA

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