Fashion turned feral as animalia hit the runway at Fashion Week yesterday.

Anything for attention on day two of four days of trade shows where 45 designers are seeking the spotlight. For Annah Stretton that was a model wearing a boar's head.

The Morrinsville designer's show, Feral Beauty, also included stuffed budgies perched on the bodices of her vibrant clothing.

The boar's head was sourced from a taxidermist's freezer in the Waikato and was topped with a tiara and worn with a 1950s-style white prom dress strung with pearls.


The outfit won second place in the avant garde section of the Nelson World of Wearable Arts last month and Stretton was thrilled to be allowed to use it for her third-year show at the Air New Zealand-sponsored fashion event. Last year she presented a futuristic collection, Time Pirates.

The idea to use stuffed items, including doves and parrots, to convey a "raw and indigenous theme" came because she worked on the Wearable Arts and Fashion Week entries at the same time.

Stretton, who had approached pet shops to get any dead birds, said she had had "the vision over the last six months".

The range also included possum and was shown to a visceral soundtrack including music from Once Were Warriors.

Reaction afterwards ranged from "stunt" to "shocked", with some saying the boar's head suggested women were pig ugly, but Stretton told the Herald last night: "People loved the show".

The designer exports to Australia and Britain and has 25 outlets in New Zealand. She said part of the reason for the show concept was "trying to build a profile here as well".

"It was feral and quite wild."

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