Fashion Week: Day 1 show reports

By Janetta Mackay, Zoe Walker, Fiona Ralph, Anna Lee

Salasai. Photo / Getty Images.
Salasai. Photo / Getty Images.

New Zealand Fashion Week has begun, with NOM*d opening proceedings this morning. Keep visiting throughout the day for show reports, runway highlights, backstage access and street style. Follow Viva on Instagram for instant updates - @NZHViva.


NOM*d

Who
Iconic New Zealand brand NOM*d, returning to NZFW after a four year hiatus. Founder Margi Robertson and her team opened the week with a bang and a crash: seven drummers in NOM*d printed tees and balaclavas playing at full volume throughout the show.

What
The collection was called Noise, with founder Margi explaining backstage that the idea was about the brand reiterating its voice - with strong NOM*d signatures, knitwear, kilts, sleeveless vests and pinafore dresses (this time in beautiful, light silk).

We liked
NOM*d always puts on a true performance - their last show at NZFW was an installation that featured kissing and dancing models, a burnt out car and a duvet made out of vintage lingerie.

This presentation felt like a concert, and started NZFW off with a much-needed buzz.
Also: everything was iconically "NOM*D", down to the black ear plugs handed out to guests.

Not so much...
A democratic standing room only seating plan - like GA at a concert - meant we didn't see much of the clothes, but it did add a sense of occasion.

Beauty note
Chong Li of Stephen Marr salon explained backstage that the hair was about mimicking the movement of the drums and music - using a lot of O&M hairspray to create the crispy look. The models' black painted ears were courtesy of M.A.C.'s Kiekie Stanners.

Sell-out piece
The series showerproof jackets with double sleeves were interesting, practical - and cool.

- Zoe Walker


SHEN

Who
The debut Fashion Week show from Shen, the label of Mary-Ellen Prendergast.

What
A grown up collection of distinctly commercial pieces - think smart sheath dresses, loose tailoring and diaphanous silk chiffon.

We liked
The sensual, liquid feel of most of the clothes, with beautiful silks and loose silhouettes.

Not so much...
That opening: three models standing at the start of the runway, as a hair and makeup "team" making final touches. Zambesi opened up their backstage to show off the hardworking team last year - that was genius - this felt forced.

Sell-out piece
Not so much a sell-out but a definite stand out: any of the gold paisley pieces, in particular a dramatic bat-wing sleeved gown.

- Zoe Walker


NEW GENERATION

Who
A selection of New Zealand's emerging designers, Amber Whitecliffe, Desiree and Frances Jerard.

We liked
Whitecliffe presented a collection inspired by a summer in Portugal. The rich reds and smooth creams accessorised with large gold earrings and a ruby red flower behind the ear transported us to hot summer days.

Not so much...
"I'm inviting you to be brave with your fashion choices," Wendy Jerard's voice echoed over the runway as a video of her jumping off the Sky Tower played to launch her new label Frances Jerard. This was followed by a brave selection of sparkly pink tweeds, a confusing colour palette (think every colour under the sun) and predictable floral prints as models almost danced down the runway to Pharrell's Happy.

Desiree's collection featured a predictable winter colour palette of classic black and grey with a small purple and blue colour injection, which left us feeling a little uninspired.

- Anna Lee


LELA JACOBS

Who
Lela Jacobs, a relatively new addition to the Fashion Week scene. Jacobs produces her pieces locally and fits the dark, grungey vibe Nom*d launched the day with; she credits childhood shopping trips to Nom*d's Christchurch store Plume as her first taste of fashion.

What
Post Dystopian, a dark - and at times light - layered collection which explored themes of sleep, future, and text.

We liked
Oversized knits, in dresses and vests, and the play on volume in charcoal cocoon coats. We also liked the androgynous feel, with boys and girls dressed in similar styles.

Not so much...
The sometimes too literal theme - screen printing the collection name onto pieces felt unnecessary.

The music
Monastic, medieval chants and lighter operatic tones for the lighter half of the show.

Beauty note
A sooty wash over the models face which fit the mood of the range, with cool slicked pigtail plaits on guys and girls.

- Fiona Ralph


SALASAI

Who
Designer Kirsha Whitcher's edgy 'Bones' collection for Salasai, inspired by the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat, and, rather fabulously, the polished-yet-eccentric ladies who buy it.

What
It's the first time the Perth-based designer has shown only womenswear and this was celebrated through the show, with a strong line-up of established models (Penny, Ngahuia, Avril and co.), Beyonce on the soundtrack, and powerful silhouettes.

We liked
A lot. But specifically, the Bones slogan on a striped pink tee, the signature bronze Basquiat print on dresses - ranging from pinafores to fit and flare, and cool leather biker pants.

We didn't like
The eye motif, although obviously a Basquiat reference, felt a little last season, when lots of local designers followed Kenzo's lead, reproducing this motif.

The music
Melodic piano riffs by Alexandre Desplat, building to pop and rock anthems from Beyonce and Radiohead, and finally, 50 Cent.

Beauty note
Simple and elegant chignons paired with minimal faces - apart from an eclectic nod to the art-lovers with yellow eyeshadow extending into the brows.

Trends spotted
The return of the rosette in oversize hydrangeas; more volume everywhere, and button-down collars.

Sell-out piece
The signature print dresses, and a gorgeous burgundy two-tone wrap dress.

- Fiona Ralph


See runway highlights here:



UNDERGROUND

Who"Part exhibition, part live installation", Underground focuses on experimental and boundary pushing creatives. Six designers, from new to established, created works, including leather brand Blue Bank, new designer Jason Lingard, creatives Jojo Ross and Thprks, designer Jimmy D and popular jewellery brand Meadowlark.

What
The wittiest print we've seen all week - subverting spam stereotypes and slogans, like "Live Video Chats", "Meet Exotic Russian Brides", "Jiagra" pills - Jimmy D designer James Dobson looked at the dark side to the internet and our digital obsession with his collection Reality Bytes. Dobson's dark humour translated through to his installation, with two models sitting in a generic office space complete with filing tray, pot plant, coffee cup and glazed look of office boredom.

Jojo Ross cleverly combined technology and design, with model Maia Cotton (artist Shane Cotton's daughter) in a white "structure" with clear panel windows and falling water inside.

The creepy cool debut collection from Jason Lingard looked to Marilyn Manson, with a screaming Manson soundtrack and requisite goth black and occult references. I look forward to seeing more from Lingard.

Where
Inside the atmospheric silos near North Wharf, each designer was given a silo of their own to do with what they wanted.

We liked
The celebration of fresh and interesting talent and creativity that isn't necessarily focused on sales or media hype. In her keynote speech at Monday night's opening event, Kate Sylvester talked about the importance of support and funding for today's young talent, as established names like her were given all those years ago. It may not government funding, but concepts like Underground are essential for our local industry and keeping that creative energy alive.

- VIVA

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