With the combination of designers, whose year’s work is on full display, the well-heeled who’s who in the front row, and the busy models jostling backstage, Fashion Week always serves up the gossip.
Spy had well-placed inside sources, feeding back all the tea on the tantrums, after-parties and controversial goodie bag gifts.
A new designer giving away skin-lightening cream in a goodie bag to guests did not go down well, neither did the veteran complaining that flax would not fill commercial racks, totally missing the juxtaposition of the cultural movement and art.
Out of the 50 shows, many were fabulous and some made a good start. One was so boring and long that one fashion editor was seen watching videos of baby goats, while others left the show halfway through to go to an after-party. The Malfi gin, which was on tap, was needed after that show.
Spy’s also been told a designer threw a mighty backstage tantrum about how their show was run.
Most shows were attended well, but some had empty chairs.
One designer left chocolates on guests’ chairs. With so many chocolates left over due to poor attendance, stragglers swooped in to claim the treats and were told off by security.
With the number of balloon sleeves and amount of colour on offer at some shows, one dry fashion man quipped they had all been watching a little too much of reality show Blow Up, about balloon artists.
Kate Sylvester celebrated 30 years and icon Zambesi - always loyal to the NZFW brand - delivered the commercial showstoppers everyone wanted to see.
The show to be seen at was shoe designer Kathryn Wilson’s. She celebrated 20 years of her brand in style. Her front row was full of a who’s who of her fan base including billionaire Anna Mowbray, who was also front row at Jacqueline Anne.
Mowbray out-sparkled everyone in her floor-length sequinned gown, which one photographer was worried would strobe their light.
With Mowbray was her partner, former All Black Ali Williams and also at the show were tech multi-millionaire Carmen Vicelich, SkyCity’s Lizzie Leuchars, former Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett, National Party leader Christopher Luxon’s wife, Amanda, Glowbright founder Natalie Norman and celebrities Antonia Prebble, Colin Mathura-Jeffree and Boh Runga.
The packed house erupted when Wilson took her bow with daughters Lola Belle and Stella Rose.
At Wilson’s after-party at Soul Bar and Bistro, a fabulous cake was cut and fittingly, she gave a magnum of Mumm Champagne the sabre sword sabrage tap, to have it fountain at least 6m.
Model standouts were plus-size model and opera singer Isabella Moore and NZFW ambassador Jess Molina who slayed her runway turn at the Jockey show.
Fashion PR man Murray Bevan was Front of House and managed the seating plan like a pro by knowing the who’s who, and the hierarchy of the industry.
NZFW: Kahuria is now owned by Feroz Ali and managed in the very capable hands of Yasmin Farry, the event billed itself as the most inclusive and diverse of fashion weeks.
Kiri Nathan, the first Māori designer to open the week, delivered a breathtaking magnificent showstopper. Nathan had the star power of Chelsea Winstanley, Kanoa Lloyd, Stacey Morrison, Jenny-May Clarkson and Miriama Kamo in the front row.
Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi was a star model in her show.
While a few of our commercially successful designers did not show, the event - returned to the Viaduct Events Centre after a four-year hiatus - achieved its goal to elevate the local fashion industry as well as the creative communities that go into making the clothes.
As one veteran put it to Spy, “It’s a great start, wonderful to have it back, can’t wait for next year to see it grow.”
NZFW Founder Dame Pieter Stewart had never looked so relaxed watching the runway throughout the week. Designer Bobby Luke gave her a special thank you at the end of his show, saying she’d helped so many careers.