I was pretty chuffed to be one of the "two media" given a stern shout out in NZ Fashion Week founder Pieter Stewart's speech at the official opening party last night, having earlier asked her, probably too bluntly, if the week would go ahead next year. She seemed a little cross about the ongoing criticism and questioning over the event - fair enough I suppose - but it's a valid question, and one that various designers and media have been asking privately. Her response was just as blunt as my question: "This is an ongoing event... As far as I'm concerned, Fashion Week is definitely here to stay," she said in her speech, to cheers from the crowd.
Last night's opening function officially marked four days of shows and behind the scenes business, with most designers hoping to pick up new stockists in a weak retail market. Online retail is the big hope of the week, with Stewart addressing its importance in her speech too.
Ruby and its sister label Liam have the first NZFW show at lunchtime, with over 800 guests set to attend. On the runway will be Ruby's autumn/winter 2013 collection called Mr Destiny, which their team tell us "flirts with the idea of polished grunge". The show will also be streamed live in their boutiques, where they will launch a special Fashion Week capsule range (pictured).
Another retail focused project launches today too, with Hailwood's collection for Mi Piaci debuting on the runway this afternoon and arriving in stores tomorrow.
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Also on today: Cybele will make a welcome return to the NZFW runway after taking a year off, Dunedin based label Company of Strangers make their solo debut and Trelise Cooper's younger line, Coop, returns again. Juliette Hogan and Zambesi are the two big evening shows.
What the NZ Herald fashion team are looking forward to today:
Amanda Linnell, Viva Editor
Company of Strangers, 3.30pm
"This is Dunedin designer Sara Aspinall's first solo show at NZFW. Having trained under Margi Robertson at Nom*D, Aspinall's design has an intelligence and effortless edge to it. The clashing colours of pop artist Keith Haring was the starting point of her collection that she'll show today. Good to see new talent stepping up."
Zoe Walker, Viva fashion features editor
Juliette Hogan, 7pm
"I've had a look through the collection, and it is beautiful - it feels like a really full, considered range, with some great use of colour, which is surprising for Juliette (in a good way). I'm looking forward to seeing how she and her team present it all on the runway."
Dan Awha, Canvas fashion editor
"The production value is always of interest, and the way the collections are presented -the lighting, hair, makeup, casting and music choices are all in sync, so it's always one of my favourite shows to watch. The menswear too, which is always strong and never comes across as an afterthought."