A Rotorua duo has hit fashion Powerball after being selected to appear in this month's 25th-anniversary issue of British Vogue magazine, alongside the likes of uber style stars Kate Moss and Mario Testino.

Photographer Michelle Cutelli's image of Maori designer's Kharl WiRepa's dress shot in the town's geothermal wonderland, Te Puia, caught the eye of Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman who was selecting content to star in a special edition celebrating her last 25 years as editor-in-chief.

The cover of September issue of British Vogue, a special 25th Anniversary edition. Photo credit Mario Testino
The cover of September issue of British Vogue, a special 25th Anniversary edition. Photo credit Mario Testino

The celebration issue also earmarks 22 international stars of the future, featuring Cutelli's shot of the ethereal dress which she had presented as a concept to WiRepa when she bumped into him while having dinner with her family as well as friends actor Manu Bennett and Tūhoe Māori activist Tame Iti.

"Kharl and I hit it off right away. No one could get a word in edgeways and no one could have expected what was about to unfold. I said we have to do a shoot in a volcano. Kharl said, 'let's do it'."

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It was as if the spirit of the land, the mist encircling us beckoned and played with each and every shot I took.

For the model, Cutelli roped in her friend Rotorua lawyer Nehsha Moynihan and styled Moynihan's hair and makeup herself,

"It's a home-grown Rotorua team."

When she was shooting they were creating something unique.

"The shoot was magical, ethereal. It was everything I could have dreamed of. It was as if the spirit of the land, the mist encircling us beckoned and played with each and every shot I took."

Cutelli's mother, a dressmaker, has recreated the dress in red as it looked in the shoot.

"The dress in the shoot was positioned to look quite different, so my mother made it up so people can see it as it was in the shoot."

Michelle Cutelli in a red dress designed by her mother, which recreated the dress in the photo selected by British Vogue
Michelle Cutelli in a red dress designed by her mother, which recreated the dress in the photo selected by British Vogue

Cutelli and WiRepa are the only New Zealand photographer and designer in Vogue's biggest issue to date, which features supermodels Moss and Stella Tennant among a group of models on the cover photographed by famed fashion photographer Testino.

"British Vogue felt it best represented New Zealand its home town of Rotorua and the talents of all involved."

Cutelli has recently moved back to her home town from Tauranga where she had been living with AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd. She had originally dated the rock star when she was just 20, dating for a year when they were both living in Rotorua.

The pair again became an item last year, following a tumultuous few years for the rocker.

Cutelli and Rudd rekindled their love affair when she visited him to take photos of him before his solo album relaunch and European tour, and was living in Rudd's Tauranga waterfront home when he suffered a heart attack.

However, the pair are not living together and Cutelli is tight-lipped about their future.

The British Vogue appearance is a pinnacle in her career which includes 10 years in Australia where she was a hair and make-up artist to celebrities including actors Cate Blanchett and Harvey Keitel and Australian glamour model Jodhi Meares. The Western Heights girl is also a former New Zealand hairdresser of the year.

The pair are not resting on their laurels and are putting on Miss Rotorua 2017 in two weeks.

"I love my job. I'm so happy to have been given this wonderful opportunity having a spotlight put upon my work."