Shows from young labels Twenty-Seven Names and Salasai were highlights on day three of New Zealand Fashion Week.

Twenty-Seven Names' anticipated show opened the day, with its collection The Fearsome Five, which looked back to designer Anjali Stewart and Rachel Easting's late 90s high school years. This sense of schoolyard nostalgia was seen in knit cardigans, uniform blazers with crests, Letterman jackets and friendship bracelets. The week's prevalent trend of looking back appeared with 90s references like velvet, shirts tied awkwardly around the waist, busy floral prints, and Veruca Salt on the soundtrack.

The group mini show that followed was an opportunity for designers to share the costs of a runway show. A wise move for Liz Mitchell who, despite recent business difficulties, showed she is still the queen of glamour with elegant dresses and a couture-style strapless gown which was made for the red carpet.

Turet Knuefermann is renowned for her chic outfits that celebrate the female form with body skimming satins and jersey knits, while her tight fitting neo leather pants rocked when teamed with a faux fur shaggy coat. Taking Maori design and making it contemporary was label Whiri with its bold colourful prints of birds and moko patterns, plus feature pockets made using traditional weaving techniques.

The Carpenters Daughter is always one of the most fun shows of the week, if only for the audience enthusiasm. This label has committed followers who ate icecreams, drank bubbles and clapped and whooped the models down the runway. At the end, they gave creative director Caroline Marr a standing ovation.

Marr again showed that when it comes to designing for the fuller figure it's all about clever layering. This year she stuck pretty much to the always slimming black relying on clever cuts and textures ranging from lace trousers, to woven vests, fur collars and sheer flowing fabrics. Tailored short jackets added a sense of structure and strength to the feminine silhouette. Touches of sparkle and rich red velvet added a sense of extra luxury.

Nicole Miller came to NZFW keen to see a new part of the world and, she says, hopefully pick up some new stores from Australasian buyers.Models stepped out in a collection made up from a number of Miller's ranges including spring (which was shown in New York last week) and her pre-fall collection which had its first showing here in New Zealand. This included pieces embellished with sequined skulls, short sexy dresses in black crinkle knit and body-skimming jersey pieces adorned with straps and bondage hardware.

A jewel encrusted bodice and black tulle cocktail dress was teamed with a black twill biker vest with sculptural shoulders which added to a sense of dominance and strength. On the softer side, a sheer silk maxi skirt - which faded from grey to white - was teamed with a ladylike grey short sleeve knit.

America's Next Top Model, Krista, slinked with catlike charm to the end of the runway in the dream grey sheer silk and again in a black lace-up jersey maxi dress with cut out pieces.

The technicality of fashion was on show at AgResearch, with 10 designers creating pieces from unique fabrics developed by the company - think anti-odour fabrics, machine washable wool and two-colour fabric produced with a single dye. While not as sexy as the knife and gunshot proof fabric that featured in 2008, the fabrications all have commercial potential for the designers on show this week. Highlights included Blak's black cape with ruffle neck detail, Salasai's orange and black dyed wool for men and women, and Stitch Ministry's black and white merino panelled cape.

Annah Stretton followed with a collection that looked to Calamity Jane for inspiration - think Annah does Western.

Salasai's evening show at the Hilton was a coming of age for the label, with a standout collection that stripped everything back and provided some much needed theatrics and buzz to the day. With a mirrored backdrop and dramatic soundtrack, models walked the runway in a strict palette of white, black, beige and earthy tones; with gorgeous gold leaf on the back and front of the hair. Boys wore wool kilts with sharp pleating and girls wore menswear inspired shirting, with 34 outfits that had local and international fashion editors heading to congratulate designer Kirsha Whitcher after the show.

Stolen Girlfriends Club closed the day at the Mercury Theatre, with a collection called Last Night's Party - with many NZFW attendees no doubt nursing a sore head from last night's after party this morning.

Designer takes note
Leading American designer Nicole Miller has been front row at a good number of this week's shows. Having researched all the different New Zealand designers before she got here, she knew exactly who she wanted to see. "I've been really impressed by how avant-garde people are here," she said backstage after her show. "I've been particularly impressed with the likes of NOM*d, Zambesi, Cybele and Jimmy D." Miller is filing for the renowned website while she is here.

Fast fashion on the out?
At London Fashion Week, the talk is all about the rising cost of fabrics. Will this lead to the end of mass-produced fashion? NZFW American ambassador Brian Long told the Herald he's been impressed by how our designers have responded to the economic climate.

Star power
Local stars spotted this week sitting front row: actress Rose McIvor at Juliette Hogan, Boh Runga at Sera Lilly; Anika Moa flew the flag at Cybele. Kathryn Wilson's shoe show was supported by her besties as ushers - including Shortland Street's Kimberley Crossman. Kate Hawkesby sparkled at Trelise Cooper; Keisha Castle-Hughes has been spotted at a number of shows, while Len Brown and John Banks looked suitably bemused at World.


For the latest Fashion Week updates throughout the day go to We take you behind the scenes with Noelle McCarthy's video interviews, show images by award-winning photographer Babiche Martens, runway reports with fashion writer Janetta Mackay and catwalk beauty looks with Catherine Smith.