NZFW 2016 | Four Labels Showing This Year With Girl Gangs At The Helm
As New Zealand Fashion Week draws closer, it’s time to start getting excited about the incredibly talented and hardworking designers that will be showcasing their latest work at the Viaduct Events Centre come August 22nd. In particular, I’m particularly excited about the following four brands whose designs truly celebrate the modern woman in all her glory.
Prepare to be inspired.
It makes sense to begin with the girls behind the hottest fashion label in New Zealand right now, and the recipients of this years Mercedes-Benz Presents accolade, Madeleine Harman and Jessica Grubisa. This talented duo met when they were both studying at Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design and launched their womenswear label in 2014. Yes that’s right, in only two short years Madeleine and Jessica have built such a successful brand and reputation for producing some of the most inspiring and premium garments that New Zealand has on offer that they were awarded the honour of opening New Zealand Fashion Week for 2016. As Fashion Quarterly explained, “The ‘Mercedes-Benz Presents’ award is reserved for designers who demonstrate dedication to the use of high quality materials, innovative design and unique style, and has previously been bestowed upon Carolina Herrera, Derek Lam, Badgely Mischka, Dame Trelise Cooper and Kate Sylvester.” But what inspires me the most about this talented duo is their passion for designing timeless pieces that celebrate strong women. They have previously drawn inspiration from women such as Lauren Bacall and Roberta Flack, and are committed to creating garments that will live in a girls wardrobe for decades to come.
Elizabeth Eugenie Wilson is the designer behind this exciting, and relatively new, label which is showing on day two of New Zealand Fashion Week this year. A few things about this label really caught my eye but in particular their approach to traditional fashion seasons I found inspiring. Wilson, who previously worked as Karen Walker’s design assistant, doesn’t follow the traditional season calendar for her garments, instead choosing to only release styles as and when her design team sees fit. This is a refreshing change from the ‘fast-fashion’ model and mass production that we are so used to seeing. She chooses to keep units relatively low and ensure all of her garments are produced in ethically sound conditions by her seamstresses. Wilson clearly cares about each stage of the design process, including the final stage with her valued Eugenie customers which she gets to meet on a daily basis as her workroom backs onto the Ponsonby boutique. In just over two years, Eugenie garments have been featured in Australian Vogue, Oyster Magazine, and my personal favourite, Man Repeller. Something tells me her show at NZFW 2016 will be one of the most buzzed about.
Lucilla Gray debuted at New Zealand Fashion Week last year and Kiwi girls have been falling in love with the brand’s feminine, yet strong, silhouettes ever since. At only 25 years old, Gray is still very much a member of the twenties club, but has already made her mark on the international fashion week circuit when she debuted her collection at London Fashion Week in early 2015 followed by a showcase in Paris. This year her Yugen pleated trousers were all over Instagram when celebrity fashion stylist Fleur Egan wore them front row at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. It was Lucilla’s dreamy pastel palette of powder blue and ballerina pink, accompanied by soft flowing fabrics, that caught my eye last year and I can’t wait to see what this talented young designer comes up with on August 24th.
One of New Zealand’s most beloved and well known fashion labels, Twenty-Seven Names needs no introduction. Rachel Easting and Anjali Stewart, whose label name is an homage to the twenty seven people who helped get their label off the ground, have created an aesthetic that is both romantic yet sensible and comfortable yet feminine. Easting and Stewart met when they were at primary school and have been in each other’s girl gangs ever since. Twenty-Seven Names now has boutiques in both Auckland and Wellington, as well as recently debuting inside the newly opened David Jones store in Lambton Quay, alongside international fashion powerhouses Karen Walker, Valentino and Saint Laurent. The design duo will be showing on day three of Fashion Week this year, after last year’s memorable outdoor show (the weather was characteristically wet and gross) where they created a powerful peachy-coloured presentation accompanied by a soundtrack that celebrated female girl bands like The Spice Girls and Haim. Fashion lovers can’t wait to see what Easting and Stewart dream up this time.