Winning return from OE no fantasy

By Zac Yates

A young Wanganui woman has taken one of the top prizes at an Auckland avant-garde fashion show.

Stefanie McKnight's entry was the winner of the Flight of Fantasy category at Cult Couture on October 20, one of six themed categories at the Auckland Council-run event.

Inspired by research she carried out while studying at UCOL, her neoprene garment called The Whole Hole shows a concept she calls "disparate convergence". "It's all about the idea that for one idea to have context it needs its opposite, like black and white need each other, up and down, positive and negative and so on."

Her prize, sponsored by TelstraClear, was $500 worth of broadband services and an undisclosed cash prize."I don't actually know how much it is yet, I've just sent my bank details and I'm waiting to hear back from them," she said.

Miss McKnight had spent the previous four and a half months in the UK on her OE and came back especially to enter Cult Couture. With the win behind her, the next big challenge was what to do next.

One of her jobs in London was working as a customer care representative for online luxury store, selling work by designers such as Alexander McQueen, Michael Kors and Stella McCartney. "My job was basically to take calls from customers, all the rich and famous, and help them decide what they needed.

"Someone would call for advice on what to wear for a premiere, I'd suggest a certain Jimmy Choo bag would work with that shoe, it was more about a lifestyle than just clothes. It was a very interesting experience," she said.

She graduated from UCOL with a Bachelor in Computer Graphic Design with Honours and a Graduate Diploma in Fashion last year, having displayed her works at various shows in Wanganui. One of her biggest design inspirations was the Versace dress worn by actress Elizabeth Hurley at the London premiere of the movie Four Weddings And A Funeral in 1994.

"That's what I've been aiming for, that magnetism, making you want to look back," she said.

The awards were judged by Dan Ahwa of Canvas and the NZ Herald, Tina Moore of Remix magazine and the NZ Fashion Museum's Doris de Pont, and were given in recognition of how designers pushed boundaries with their one-off garments.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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