Fashionista and avid shoe collector Rosie Dawson-Hewes is a New Zealand Fashion Week first-timer. Here she shares her daily highlights from the fabulous fashion to who's sitting on the front row.

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Tuesday August 30th
12.36pm: So, my dear photographer Michelle and I have just learnt our first New Zealand Fashion Week lesson: Allow at least half an hour to find a car park.

This may seem obvious to Aucklanders but it was a hard lesson learnt for this Tauranga-based reporter!

We were a mere seven minutes late for Ingrid Starnes' debut show but that was seven minutes too late for the lovely security guards who told us the show had already begun.

A disappointing start to the week, but a mistake that won't happen again.

Luckily there are still seven more shows to see today!

Next up is Tauranga's Blak Luxe, with shoes by Chaos & Harmony. And at least we are here an hour early!

1.01pm: I'm safely seated at the Coop show.

So far I've spotted Colin Mathura-Jeffree, Trelise Cooper, Amber Peebles and Kate Rodger. The new venue at Halsey Street is amazing and the atmosphere? Well there's no other word to describe it other than 'buzzing'.

1.18pm: At Coop there are very short skirts, ethereal with a hard edge and lots of leather and velvet paired with tie-dyed floaty silk.

I'm too far back to get any decent photos but hopefully Michelle should get a few.


1.40pm: The debut show from Coop had a distinctly 80s vibe.

Lots of loose cropped knits, super tight mini skirts and lace/chiffon contrasted with leather and structured shoulders and buttoned up shirts.

It started out monochrome, then moved into greys, fuchsia, red and Aubergine.

Skin tight leather shorts were paired with loose flowing shirts.

All in all a strong start for the pair who trained under Trelise Cooper.

1.54pm: Despite the music cutting out at the Blak Luxe show the models walked stoically on!

2.17pm: Tauranga's Blak Luxe featured lots of beautiful flowing fabrics. Deep burgundy lace layered over black leather panelled leggings.

The whole show had a slightly Wiccan in the garden feel, with twig crowns and long mussed up hair.

Hemlines were longer and longer at the sides.

A beautiful black and white slightly gardenesque print used throughout. There was a particularly stunning shirt in the black and white print but with a black lace collar.

One of the standout pieces was a full-length, red quilted velvet dress...

Although it may have been the sucked lemon reaction from Petra Bagurst that made it memorable!

2.40pm: Handed glowsticks on the way into the Andrea Moore show - I hope this means lots of great colour in the collection!

2.57pm: Andrea Moore's collection was a breath of fresh air! The colour!

Lots of bold purples, blues, reds and turquoise with flashes of grey, orange  and mustard yellow.

Packed with her usual beautifully tailored wool coats and cropped, cuffed skinny suit pants, it was definitely a mature take on winter.

Feminine satin prints were offset with wide, patent obi-style belts and separate fur collars in deep red, blue and purple.

Coloured tights contrasted chunky heeled patent shoes. A number of cropped tuxedo style coats were beautifully fitted and eminently wearable! Yes please!

All in all, it was really nice to see a collection of tailored garments for those of us that aren't six foot tall glamazons!

4.14pm: So Hailwood's show was pretty good.

I had a total fangirl moment when I realised shoe designer Kathryn Wilson and jeweller Nick von K were standing behind me in line.

Was too shy to say hello, but updated my Facebook status immediately(of course)!! Adrian Hailwood's collection consisted of beautifully constructed garments that can only be described as works of art.

The styling had a slightly Amish feel with wide-brimmed hats, though the models wore killer studded heels that I don't think the Amish ever would!  His final piece was a full-length gown of draped tassels.

Other standout pieces included a cape-sleeve jumpsuit with tassels down the outside of the leg (very urban cowboy) and a cute cape bordered with black pompoms.

While everything was beautifully fitted and looked amazing on the runway, I did wonder how some of the pieces would look on the streets of small-town New Zealand.

6.15pm: Next up was Starfish, with some new celebs appearing in the front row, including Jackie Clark and Boh Runga (wearing satin, lace-up Kathryn Wilson boots).

The eco-friendly label churned out a collection of simple, flattering forms in jersey knits and wool. It was one-piece dressing at its best - great draped shoulders and figure-flattering cuts that would really suit the every-day Kiwi girl. Designer Laurie Foon used layers to add interest along with a beautiful starry print.

There was a great blue on white star-printed blazer that I would wear to death!! Goodie bags included eye makeup from the Body Shop and a Bobble water bottle that filters your water as you drink.

7.17pm: Annah Stretton's Living Dolls collection is my pick for best styling. Big hair and doe-eyes withe pouty lips made for models really look like dolls. I wanted to pick one up and take it home! As for the clothes?

There were a lot of teeny tiny shift and baby-doll dresses, bows and frills, along with some beautifully tailored high-waisted pants.

There were also a couple of really nice sheer pussybow blouses.

Comedienne Michelle A'Court was front row at Annah's show, with an audience that seemed to have many non-industry fans in it - certainly more so than previous shows.

When we got out of Annah's show Michelle and I realised we'd only eaten a muesli bar and a couple of Werther's originals since breakfast and were pretty much starving! We were both so exhausted we decided eating as soon as possible was imperative, so skipped Juliette Hogan and Salasai in favour of a home-cooked meal prepared by her gentleman of a husband. Food never tasted so good!!

9pm: Back out for the Twentyseven names exhibition at the Hopkinson Cundy Gallery in Newton. Deciding not to have a runway show, but a collection of large-scale Guy Coombes photographs of their work, was, in my mind, the best decision they could have made.

The low key drinks with a chance to mix and mingle was the perfect end to such a frantic day.

We spotted Shorty star Beth Allen and chatted to Shannon Ryan and Antonia Prebble (both of whom were absolutely lovely). It was such a great way to finish. Came home totally buzzing, despite being dog-tired with a blister making its home on the majority of one of my toes!

Day three starts with Ruby showing out in Grey Lynn at 10am. They've coaxed us out of bed at an early hour with promises of breakfast, wine and the first viewing of their new label Liam.


Wednesday August 31st
9.57am: Everyone's had their fill of fruit, croissants (chocolate and salmon) and most importantly coffee. There are heaps of people here, starting to file in for Ruby & Liam. Am interested to see what Liam offers!

Ruby took the chance this week to relaunch their Madame Hawke brand as Liam, with strong, feminine elegant silhouettes.

If Ruby is a tall, thin 19-year-old hipster with a playful attitude to life, then Liam is her classy older sister - more mature and confident with a penchant for beautiful tailoring and clean lines.

Full-length dresses skimmed the body, while flattering and accentuating the beauty of the feminine form.

Neutral creams and large-scale gold lace were accentuated by pops of cobalt blue, orange, teal and turquoise.

Sheer, free-flowing fabrics were worn against strong wool coats.

It was the kind of collection that would appeal to an older market than Ruby's current clientele.

Admittedly, I would rock the crap out of a brilliantly constructed cobalt suit in the office! I found Ruby's collection, while accompanied by great live music, to be a little disappointing.

The only standouts for me were a bronze leather bustier and the contrasting print tops in blue and green.

The rest of the collection consisted of oversized knits and polos, sheer button ups, wide-legged pants and crisp white jeans.

While it was nice enough, I wasn't wowed. Though there was a great sleeveless black and white print trench coat near the end that redeemed it for me!

12.30pm: Celine Rita's debut show was exactly what I expected - sheer romantic fabrics in soft shades of cream and dusky pink offset with deep red velvets, big rose prints and sheer black. The dresses and skirts were floaty and whimsical, while the pants and shorts were high-waisted and fitting.

The music took me back to my late teens, with songs like Polyester Girl and The Cardigans' Favourite Game. The bold music set off the soft colours, which included pale blue and teal.

Only disappointment was the number of empty seats, which I hear is highly unusual for NZFW, but has plagued other shows as well.

Although, thanks to the nice person who didn't turn up for their front row seat I had a nice wee gap to catch the tail-end of it all on video!

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3.55pm: Jimmy D's highly anticipated show did not disappoint.

The collection was called It's a Kind of Magick, so it was appropriately opened to the Queen song of the same name.

Equal parts dark and bondage, leather spiked harnesses were contrasted with sheer, floating silhouettes.

The makeup had a slightly tattooed look around the eyes, while the hair was half-braided, half loosely curled, combining for a very striking, dark look.

Draped, floating black tops were layered with oversized sweatshirts.

It wasn't all black though, with a white on black digital print and red for those of you who are colour-inclined.

The standout was a sheer black, draped top over a studded shoulder harness that created a spectacular silhouette.

The whole show was such a strong showing, you couldn't help but love it, even if it wasn't to your particular taste ( as was the case with Michelle).

I can imagine any woman of any shape or size could throw on one of his draped sheer tops with a pair of skinny jeans and instantly look feminine, graceful and elegant but with spunk. Ultimately the collection was made up of very wearable pieces, easy translated to the High St, which is what it's all about, isn't it?

4.55pm LONELY HEARTS: When I sat down at Lonely Hearts I realised I didn't have a firm idea of what to expect.

I was greeted with racer back dresses aplenty. While the first two models out were striking in leather shorts and jacket and a beautiful bold gold and bronze striped racer back dress with a short, full skirt, the rest of the show didn't really measure up.

While I liked the grey marle racer back dresses that seemed as though you could throw them on to go to the supermarket and still look super cool, they just didn't have the wow factor I was expecting.

Having said that, there was a stunning powder blue silk shirt dress with a "mullet hem" (shorter at the front, longer at the back) that was really effortlessly elegant and chic. Very wearable.

I fear this whole experience may do my bank account some serious harm!

7.35pm: Trelise Cooper's show ran about an hour late, which was disappointing as all the other shows so far have managed to run to time. It meant the vibe before the show was pretty stressed out, within the media at least, who were obviously concerned about the late show affecting our abilities to make it to Stolen Girlfriends Club on time.

Trelise showed three brands within the one show, meaning there were at least 60 outfits - it was a lot to take in!

Starting out with cowboy-styled Cooper, followed by her own Trelise Cooper label and rounded out with her new brand Boardroom (simpler pieces for the stylish executive woman) the show was cheeky, well-orchestrated and worth the wait.

As always with Trelise, the clothes themselves were beautifully constructed and more wearable than I was expecting. Personally, I usually find her stuff a bit froufrou for my tastes, but in amongst those 60-odd outfits, there were at least a few pieces I would wear.

9.30pm: Stolen Girlfriends Club was a completely different kettle of fish. Held in an industrial shed on Wellesley St West, we arrived to a packed outside, with a pre-show runway and portaloos!

Being a total midget, even in my high heels, I still couldn't see the pre-show collection over the people in front of me.

I kind of wish they'd raised the runway, so everyone could have a better view of the men's collection on show.

Once we'd wrestled our way inside the venue we were met by scaffolding that the models weaved their way around.

The show opened with Madonna and models in 80s prom dresses with massive earrings. It was so good.

There were probably about 1000 people there, so anticipation levels were pretty high by this stage and the models stripping off their prom dresses to reveal the collection pieces underneath just added to it all.


Amazing. The clothes themselves were all lace, leather and fur.

Some really cute wee party dresses wove their way around and the collection ended with a giant fur coat that I loved. It was like Chewbacca gone fashion.

Another standout piece was a beautifully shaped oversized knit jersey in navy. While we've seen a few oversized knits this week, the reason this was my winner was its shape. It was perfectly constructed to flatter the figure, not all all hobo (which, let's be honest, some oversized knits are).

I spent the show curiously watching the reactions of Anna Hutchison, Esther Stephens and Bronwyn Turei from Go Girls, wo were clearly loving it. It was great.

In fact, all the hip young celebs were out for this show. We also spotted Jared Turner, Sally Ridge, Madeline Sami, Steve from Huffer and Kate Sylvester, though I'm sure there were many, many more.

Photos-wise, it was extremely frustrating. Poor Michelle wasn't able to get a single good shot as there just was not enough room in the photogs' pit for all the photographers they'd invited.

It's quite disappointing as it was a great show, but we don't have any great photos to show for it!

By the time we got out we were both so knackered we decided to skip the apparently epic after-party in favour of Burger King and bed.

10.55pm: The loot so far...

Highlights include:

- a wee leather pouch 

- nail polish and GHD heat protect spray from Ruby/Liam

-bangles, coffee and L'Oreal from Trelise Cooper

- a gorgeous wee tote and teddy brooch from Stolen Girlfriends Club.

Thursday September 1st
12.21pm: I was going to use today's downtime to get more sleep and unwind a bit before the shows start at 2pm, but when the chance to catch up with my old friend Gala Darling came up, I grabbed it with both hands!

She's over from New York and it's been so lovely catching up on all the goss. So pleased.

4.00pm: So after I met with Gala and we talked about clothes and boys (husbands actually!!) her Tourism NZ host very kindly invited me to join them for lunch with the other international media being hosted.

While I was dining on pork belly and creme brûlée at Kermadec, little did I know Michelle was trapped on the balcony off the media room at the Events Centre!

While she thought it was funny at first, the humour soon wore off.

You see the door to the balcony is really, really heavy. And the weather has been so up and down that someone closed it to keep the cold out.

Problem was the lock jammed, thus trapping poor Michelle outside on her own!

She had two fellow media helpers on the inside who were messaging on their phones and holding them up to the soundproof glass! One security guard arrived, couldn't open the door, so wandered off. They still couldn't get the door open...

 Meanwhile I was deep in fashion conversation with Gala, Christene Barberich (of Refinery 29) and Fiona Milne (of The FiFi Report). By the time I finally realised what was going on Michelle was understandably frustrated!

Twenty-five minutes trapped out in the cold will do that to a girl. Many frantic tweets and texts ensued and I raced down to rescue her!

One New Gen show and one coffee later and we were both in much better spirits and able to laugh about it again... I mean, it wouldn't be fashion week without a little drama, right??

4.32pm: The New Generation show featured five hand-picked new designers.

First up was Two Wonders who wove a delightful, slightly Middle Eastern tale with long, glamourous dresses in bold reds, oranges and golds. The whole collection was so well-considered, with each piece building on the last and informing the next with its detailing, shapes and accessories. It was a very strong start.

Next up was Dannevirke-born Deryn Schmidt with a modern take on 40s styling. The models wore headscarfs that complemented the array of beautifully fitted wool coats, amazing tailored pants and tops made of a slightly hessian looking knit. Beautiful furs, silk shirts and crushed velvet pants and an amazing printed blazer rounded a cohesive, beautifully made collection.

Egoist was next up with urban streetwear for men. While totally not my cup of tea, they had some nice attention to detail with layered up outfits accentuated by pops of bright pink and orange in the form of belts, braces and contrasting pockets.

Katie-Maree Cole was next with a prairie-like use of crocheted lace and loose, flouncy silk midi skirts. With bright orange, a blue/red check and steel blue, the collection was a good start. Though I did feel like it was lacking a 'wow' piece, you know that one outfit that makes your jaw hit the floor.

Nelson's Emma Manhart certainly had wow down pat, opening her collection with a stunning bright yellow cocoon jacket made of what looked like felt.

She also had beautifully worked, gathered merino, an emerald green wool coat and a stunning fuschia blazer. It was truly a story of colour and a nice bright end to the show.

Next up this afternoon was MisteR. Amazing. Easily my favourite show so far. Titled Not So Grimm, the show was just plain fun!

Opened by Joshua Perry of Christchurch looking great in a bold leaf print shirt and a tie bowed as he rolled down the runway in his wheelchair. It totally set the tone for what was a really bright, enjoyable show. I couldn't stop grinning the entire time!!

Bold stripes, spots and checks gave life to impeccably tailored waistcoats, jackets, pants and skirts.

With something for both sexes, it took preppy to a whole other level. There was a lovely wool check blazer, with a contrast check lapel for the ladies, and super-fun ties as bows for the boys.

I want the entire collection - and I don't want to wait till next winter for it either! There were adorable wee felt gingerbread men brooches, great makeup and beautiful use of colour throughout. It is easily my favourite show so far. Can we go do it all again please?

So Josh Perry (who happens to be the cousin of an old friend of mine) goes to CPIT, where Mickey and Ra, the designers behind MisteR, studied. Josh approached MisteR's PR folk about his dream of modelling at NZFW. MisteR decided that seeing as showing at Fashion Week was their dream come true, they'd pay it forward by including Josh in their show. How flipping nice is that? Makes me have even more admiration for the super-talented, big-hearted pair.

5.30pm: This week has been totally eye-opening. I was under the impression the fashion industry was supposed to be bitchy and horrible. It hasn't been at all! Everyone has been so lovely and helpful, it's been really great.

The highly anticipated Zambesi show was star-studded and packed out. I got a great wee pic of Holly Smith on her way in (totally stalker-like) but there were so many other celebs floating around it was impossible to catch, or name, them all!

There was major buzz going on.

The collection consisted of luxurious sportswear crossed with tailored suiting, in blacks, whites, charcoal and brown highlighted with mustard yellow, aqua blue and fluorescent citrus yellow.

Only Zambesi could pull off such a colour scheme!

Rocking along to The Knife, the stand-out pieces for me were a backless boiler suit with long sleeves (amazing!) and a couple of woollen coats that were cut waist-length but had long detachable bottoms that went down to the knee.

It was all beautifully constructed (as always), beautifully fit and beautifully presented with great attention to detail.

I also loved that the models were all wearing either cherry red Doc Martens or black Converse All Stars. Nice.

It was a completely classy affair, as to be expected from one of the veterans of New Zealand fashion.

We skipped Huffer in favour of some much-needed downtime (both Michelle and I have realised we can't cover every single show, it's just not physically possible) but we heard it finished with Aja Rock jumping out of a giant fake cake and an enforced dance party for the audience on the runway! Sounded like fun.

9.30pm: We closed out our evening with the long-awaited return of Workshop and Helen Cherry to NZFW after a five-year break.

Held at the Town Hall, it was a very slick show. The models would walk across the stage then come down into the main hall and weave their way around the clusters of long benches people were seated on.

I was sitting opposite a completely celeb-packed front row, with the likes of Matthew Ridge, Carly Binding, Sonya Grey, Paula Penfold (60 Minutes), Mike McRoberts and Kate Rodger (TV3), Australian blogger Nicole Warne, Brooke Howard-Smith, Wendy Petrie from TVNZ... the list goes on!

But then there was so many front row seats everyone had a great view. Workshop showed lots of leather, checks and denim (obviously) with a very youthful, edgy styling.

Smoking hotness award of the day goes to the sultry Angelina-like model who glided around the venue in a pair of truly body-defying cropped leather cigarette pants, an oversized white tee tucked in and killer black heels. It was just downright sexy.

Helen Cherry showed an extremely classy, elegant, feminine show. Beautifully accessorised with wrist-length leather gloves, fedoras and pale grey fur, there were many long skirts, dresses and pants that elegantly skimmed the female form.

It was really refreshing to see floor-skimming garments that weren't floaty and bohemian. This was dressing for grown-ups and totally my drink of choice.

The collection included stunning reds, cobalt blues, black, charcoal and a watercolour-type print of cream, navy, red, and turquoise which beautifully tied it all together.

It was a really well-designed show that was a real credit to the planning team, and to Murray Bevan and his team at Showroom 22 who managed to get about 1000 people in and out of the Town Hall completely painlessly. Another truly professional affair!

Friday September 2nd
10.30am: Can't wait for today when we have the Miromoda group show, then the media circus that World's show and New Zealand's Next Top Model will bring! Best run and get dressed now...

12.25pm: We slept in. Whoops. And then decided going to Smith & Caughey's to buy teal tights and get Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast was more important than going to the Miromoda show. However, we did have the advantage of having friend and up-and-coming designer Shiana Weir dressing the models backstage, so she was able to give us the inside scoop on the show.

She described it as absolute chaos. Apparently all the racks had to be rearranged last minute, they didn't have enough shoes, then they did, then they didn't... I wondered why someone didn't just count them?? Shiana's overall take was that very few people knew what was going on and those who did were super stressed. (You'd never know any of this from what you see on the runway!!) As far as the collection itself goes, it seems the general consensus was that there were a couple of really great pieces and a couple that erred on the side of costume. So we didn't feel like we missed too much.

1.30pm: We then went to the merino group show. A couple of the collections were, well, I found them quite dull.

Let me put it this way, when I find myself more interested in what's in my twitter feed that what's on the runway, it's probably not a very good sign.

Having said that, Starfish showed another strong, wearable collection. Bold black and cream stripes were interspersed with blacks, charcoal, browns and dusky pinks.

It was beautifully styled, with the models all wearing super cute wee hats. There was some masterful draping and gathering - it was just enough, not too much.

A lovely tailored pair of grey pinstripe pants also caught my eye.

Overall, it was a very well-edited collection, not excessive, but dramatic enough to grab your attention.

Taylor's collection was very avant garde and dramatic. Layer upon layer upon layer of fine merino, sheer tops and chunky knits created models that you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley.

Some of the pieces had a very sculptural quality, which we haven't seen a huge amount of this week, which was nice.

Next up is coffee, hopefully a meeting/interview with the designers behind Nude shoes (eeek, insert gushing fangirl moment here) and lots of writing up the best of the week for tomorrow's papers before World tonight.

9.24pm: So Brigette Thomas was the winner of New Zealand's Next Top Model.

I totally picked it. She had it in the bag since the Abu Dhabi desert shoot. Having said that, she easily had the best walk tonight.

You could pick Rosanagh and Bianca on the runway, but Brigette was indistinguishable from the professional models.In fact the only reason I knew it was her was because my husband text me to tell me she looked like Elmo, which of course meant she was in the shaggy red fur coat with black short-haired black border with the spectacular spiked headpiece!

The show itself was typical World - irreverent, colorful, bold and totally oblivious to everything else going on this week (in a good way). That's one of the things I love about World, they always put out whatever the hell they want, and it's always amazing.

They showed a bold rose print, dark teal, gold and dark pants with hot pink piping. There was lots of fur, strong structural shoulders and the reintroduction of their waist bow belts from several years ago.

The show opened with Tron-like illuminated suits, which totally appealed to my geek side, while it closed with a full-length white fur coat with another spectacular headpiece, the entire outfit reminiscent of the ice queen on  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

All in all it was a great show, packed out, with a totally amped atmosphere, unlike any other show this week...

Only Zambesi came close. But then, it is the veterans of New Zealand fashion that have the pulling power!!