Date: March 1, 8.30pm

Who's who at this year's festival of fashion? Some of New Zealand's top designers and well-loved labels will present their autumn/winter collections at the New Zealand Fashion Festival, with nightly runway shows showcasing the latest trends and what's available in store. What to expect on the runway? We find out the details of each designer, and a little about their approach to the season.

Designer Kate Sylvester
Top winter style tip?
Subvert everything - mix prim and sexy, mix print with print.

I love fashion because ...
It's dress-ups for grown-ups.

Favourite stylish places?
The Auckland City Art Gallery because it's beautiful, intelligent and international. Cafe Hanoi because the food tastes as good as the restaurant looks. It's charming and relaxed.


* Stockists ph (09) 524 8872
Designer Chris Cherry

For winter we were inspired by classic, heritage, utilitarian work wear with a rock 'n' roll edge. Intrinsic attention to detail, quality of cloth, cut and construction. The key feature of the collection is the leather story - classic washed biker jacket, leather dress, biker jeans, leather-sleeved peacoat, boiled jersey jackets and leg panels on velvet jeans. Max Gimblett collaborated with us during NZ Fashion Week painting directly on to garments for the show. He also designed a series of exclusive prints featuring his signature skull and quatrefoil motifs, printed onto shirts and T-shirts.

Favourite piece?
The tailored 14oz denim suit jacket - it's kind of eccentric and doesn't really make sense, but that, and its beautiful tailoring, is what makes it work. Alternatively, the men's cotton linen selvedge shirt and the vintage wash 24-dip Japanese selvedge jeans - they both immediately feel like old favourites.

Top winter style tip?
For both men and women, a perfectly cut pair of dark indigo denim jeans and a great pair of boots, everything else can follow from there.

Favourite stylish places?
Golden Dawn, Depot, French Cafe, Bambina and I'm loving the new Auckland City Art Gallery, not only for the architecture and the beautiful kauri but for all the magnificent New Zealand art that has been locked away for years.

Anything else you would like to add?
Kind of off-topic, but it's on my mind at the moment - the High St district must be saved and protected, not only because it's the cradle of New Zealand fashion, design and street culture, but more importantly because it's Auckland's only old-fashioned street front shopping district with a bustling mixture of shops, bars, restaurants, pedestrians, cars and heritage architecture.

* Workshop Newmarket, ph (09) 524 6844
Designer Theresa Brady

For winter I was influenced by artistic movements, and this range pays homage to artists, particularly the French impressionists. The key pieces in the collection are beautiful merino dresses and knits in teals, magentas and silver. The collection is designed to fit flatter and impress!

This season Sable and Minx prints are influenced by Monet's waterlilies in our gorgeous unique Monet print. There are also sensuous velvets and silks and autumnal prints from the Baroque age in our Matahari print.

Favourite piece?
Anything that uses the Monet waterlilies print; truly a showstopper.

Top winter style tip?
Layering and choosing styles to flatter your own unique shape.

I love fashion because ...
there is nothing better than seeing people enjoying your creations, especially if they are doing it in their own way.

Favourite stylish places?
I adore finding stores with all sorts of curios things, like at the Cat and Fiddle in Kingsland.

Designer Deanna Didovich

This winter Ruby was inspired by capital cities, and a modern-day patchwork of prints and colour. The key features of the collection are the strong geometric prints, the soft asymmetrical lines, and pops of metals and holographics.

All the prints for AW12 are exclusive to the collection. The geometric prints are all inspired by cityscapes, the Navajo jacquard has a modern-tribal feel, and the puddle-print was developed from the idea of an oil-slicked road.

Favourite piece?
The "Puddle" romper. This beautiful turtleneck playsuit in the black and white art nouveau style print is magic, especially when worn with the geo-jewelled pendant and a pair of our tan Metal boots.

Top winter style tip?
Update your winter wardrobe with a piece of our beautiful angora knitwear, a brightly coloured silk shirt, and some metallic boots. You can't go wrong with this combo.

* Stockists ph (09) 522 6658
Designers Helene Morris and Steve Ferguson

For winter we were inspired by Milla Jovovich, 90s grunge, Trinity from The Matrix. The key pieces and features in the collection are a beautiful navy, maroon and mustard striped silk dress, oversized shearling lined parkas and coats, and buttery soft leather pieces with patterned stitch detailing. All of the prints in this collection are custom. Highlights include a navy and cream Liberty-style print shown on corduroy jeans and jackets, and silk dresses.

Favourite piece?
The leather pants. The fit is so good and they're a great price, I know everyone in the studio will be wearing them every day.

* Stockists ph (09) 488 8007

For winter we were inspired by the days before global warming, when the Cold War was the buzz phrase. Ideologies were clashing and superpowers were racing to the moon-a time of peace, with war on the mind. An East versus West, love/hate relationship, strung together by their mutual obsession with the Beatles. It is a heritage-inspired range with an earthy colour palette of army greens, greys and maroon, plenty of warm coats, cabled knitwear and leather trims scattered throughout.

The menswear consists of contrast panels, pocket details with a stripped-back yet fine-tuned feel. The womenswear has a uniform aesthetic and features box pleating, snowflake patterns and contrast seam details.

The prints in the collection are inspired by Communist Russia, Collegiate America, the threat of nuclear warfare, the Beatles, and all things "Colden Days".

Top winter style tip?
Get out of the dark days and introduce some good base block colours.

We love fashion because ...
It's something that is so creative but also functions as an every day need for every single person.

Favourite stylish places?
Dizengoff - super-cool owners, staff and interesting patrons - check out the art they change up every couple of months. Also the beach at the end of Rimmers Rd in West Auckland. Ghetto beach, barren, infested with bogans, amazing.

* Stockists ph (09) 304 2609
Designer Tanya Carlson

For winter I wanted to create a collection that was refined and ladylike with a strong, sexy edge. I often look to the past for inspiration - this season styles from the 1940s have been a big influence. Perfectly cut suiting is always a feature in my collections - especially for winter. Beautiful, jewel-like colours and rich fabrications are key this season too. They offer a real sense of luxury.

Favourite piece?
The "Blitz" cape in velvet or wool. It's a great alternative to a jacket - playful but a little bit glamorous.

Top winter style tip?
Invest in a quality winter coat - it will last for years and you'll always look good, regardless of what you're wearing underneath it.

I love fashion because ...
I have the opportunity to indulge my passion for fabric and colour on a full-time basis.

* Stockists Ph (09) 361 2137
Co-designer Rebecca Batley-Alder

For winter we were inspired by our fascination with anything from the 70s with a range that pays homage to the band Fleetwood Mac - so much so we named this winter collection "Sweet Little Lies". We wanted to make the kind of clothes that let you go your own way. The key features of the collection are everything Stevie Nicks: low, draping armholes, cowl necks, asymmetric hemlines and oversized dresses form the shapes some of us remember so well; while fringe trims, studs, zips, ruffles, perforated panels, make for a bonanza of detailing. Pairing striking patterns and contrasting panels, soft silks and crepes with lace, this range will have you set to start rumours!

Favourite piece?
The "True Believer" top - I love the simplicity paired with the embroidered lattice detailing.

Top winter style tip?
Don't be afraid to mix it up and stand out from the crowd.

Favourite stylish places?
I love the Elliott Stables Epicurean Village in the CBD, it transports you to another world, out of the Auckland concrete jungle.

* Herald Online Life & Style Editor Nicky Park will be blogging from the New Zealand Fashion Festival. Follow her on Twitter. We'll also have plenty of video coverage so stay tuned.
The New Zealand Herald and Viva are sponsors of NZ Fashion Festival 2012.