BEAUTY IN NZFW's UNKNOWN
Meet the four unknowns who are the next names to know in New Zealand fashion.
For someone who's not a big fan of surprises, it's ironic that I love the mystery that is fashion. The beauty of the unknown and the unexpected; the ever-new that comes with ever-changing seasons, trends and interpretations.
While the whole industry revolves around this, those that truly master the unknown – the ones who constantly surprise and sometimes shock – are those who are unknown themselves. The up-and-coming designers whose style and take on fashion we're yet to know, but that might be what we're seeing in our stores and on our streets one day soon.
Today four of those designers shared – and slayed – the runway with their interpretations of what Autumn/Winter 2017 will be all about. And it’s fair to say that as much as I loathe the colder months, this year’s quartet of New Generation designers have me looking forward to next winter already. Enough said!
The first up, and most familiar of this fab four was Miss Kendall Watt. The striking blonde may taken over the runway today, but a few years ago her uni assignments were taking over our lounge floor - she just so happened to be my flatmate so I was a little more than excited to see her designs open the show and set a very high bar. Titled ‘All Tied Up’, Kendall's luxe winter collection was accurately named – as is her signature style, there were no loose ends or rough edges, no exaggerations or excessive embellishments. Instead, Kendall's feminine pieces were neatly finished with elegant touches: beautiful fabrics, flawless construction and prints that added just enough wow, without verging into WTF.
Kendall’s collection proved that, true to the wise words of Da Vinci, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. And when done in those darker warm burgundy hues, and that killer reversible rust jumpsuit, that's one form of sophistication I need in my life.
Next up, AJ Bradley of Motel Bible transported onlookers from the classically elegant and into the experimental.
Bradley's looks for AW17 favoured the lighter and looser - and as a petite girl that always opts for oversized, her collection was one after my heart and a spot in my wardrobe. In contrast to Watt's tailored cuts, Bradley sought to flatter the female figure through a touch of exaggeration. So while her designs looked experimental, it was clear that every 'effortless' detail was well thought through indeed - no fold was too accentuated, no knit too textured, no fit too loose. After only a year of being on the fashion scene, Bradley's collection perfected the mix of form, function and fit - for anyone looking for casual chic, she is one designer to keep your eye on.
Third to hit the runway was Danielle Power-Silk, a designer from Whangaporoa whose designs were inspired by the days and dames of old Hollywood. Power-Silk showcased ten handmade creations that, in honour of Hollywood's legendary screen sirens, celebrated glamorous women and the female figure. Consisting of classic and curve-flattering cuts, off-the-shoulder tops, a stunning houndstooth cape, and a pop of red under foot, she succeeded in bringing the era of Elizabeth Taylor into Auckland's viaduct.
And last but not least. The fourth and final of the New Gen show - Campbell Luke's Fall '17 Collection - was the mastermind of Bobby Luke and Jason Park; a pair united by their days at AUT, differentiated by their bicultural lineages, and that drew on the best of both to create this to-die-for collection.
Their collection was the epitome of perfect imperfection; full of elements that seemed in complete contrast but, when fused together, created a flawless execution that just worked.
With Luke being of Maori descent, and Park of Japanese, the collection was not only inspired by post-colonial Maori workwear but also by traditional Korean garments - and it will be one that's included in this Auckland girls' wardrobe next Autumn. Especially when denim was the duo's fabric of choice (yes, I am currently dressed head-to-toe in double denim while writing this). It was the perfect tie in with today's trends while nodding to the workingman's past; and from cut offs with contrasting cuffs, crop tops, and perfectly 'unfinished' finishes, it allowed Campbell Luke to put a fresh and frayed spin on everyday staples.
Also worth noting was the addition of timeless crisp white shirts and never-can-go-wrong cotton dresses. This is certainly one collection perfect for making that understated statement that New Zealanders love so much and do so well.
Although I'm not quite sure the streets of Auckland are ready for their unique Korean-inspired hats... Maybe Fall 2018?
So that was that. Day three of NZFW, one show, four severely talented New Zealand designers, and I walked away from it with two learnings: That 1. I'm either going to need a big clean out or a bigger wardrobe before next Autumn rolls around, and 2. the future of our fashion industry is in good hands.
So watch these spaces. Stay tuned. And start saving. If these New Gen designers are anything to go by, next winter is going to be a good one.