Backstage at NZFW 2018

Backstage is where the magic is, where attention to the details and the efforts of team preparation come together in a countdown for every runway show at New Zealand Fashion Week. How does this happen?

If you’ve evert been curious about what goes on backstage at fashion shows, look no further than this post. Fashion Week for most people is an experience of each show as a finished product on the runway, with a view of each collection as a whole. But often it’s the details of each show that go overlooked and are difficult to appreciate from where the audience are seated, or even from the media pit once it starts. You can view my favourite shows from NZFW on the runway here. So, I stayed backstage during my favourite headlining shows to get a glimpse of the action and happenings behind the scenes…

NZFW Backstage at Knuefermann

Knuefermann was the opening show of Fashion Week, and although the aesthetic of the collection was not one that relates to my personal style, the makeup for this show was fascinating. A bold cat eye in a neutral beige-brown, it included this block element with a fresh dewy complexion and nude lip. I thought the combination was very clever, considering this bold cat eye is often seen executed in bright vivid colours, and also often overdone. This was an elegant take on a notable makeup trend. Below, are the makeup notes for the show, and some of the makeup being applied by the MAC makeup team.


Above: Makeup artist Liz Hyun in action, note those freshly groomed beautiful brows and sleek hair for the Knuefermann show. Timeless. Below: I thought it was so quaint how backstage each makeup booth had it’s own mirror with lights, and appropriate matching chairs, it was quite the picture, all backstage at the ANZ events centre on the Viaduct in Auckland City.


Backstage at Kathryn Wilson NZFW

The Kathryn Wilson show was fabulous to watch in action backstage. Each year her shows are full of beauty, glitz and glam and the makeup and hair are always exquisitely done. This year the girls had high, full ponytails with tight bouncy curls [See the runway show in my ten favourite shows of NZFW here] So during preparations the girls had their hair pin curled, and held in place until shortly before the show to keep the curls as shapely as possible. This is so that they don’t drop and fall into waves, a common problem especially with all the movement from walking on the runway. The makeup was vibrant and fun, red lips and soft gold glitter, a beautiful look designed by HMUA Liz Hyun, who I chat with during her creation of the makeup for the Trelise Cooper show, which she also created! A subtle touch of eye liner and black flicks made it dynamic from the view of the runway, with a slight smokey eye in the outer crease. Reminiscent of broadway and stage makeup, this look was pretty and feminine, and one of my favourites.

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Above + Below: Lead HMUA Liz Hyun applying the makeup for the NZFW Kathryn Wilson Show 2018, with masterful and precise application of flicks in action. This look is something that would suit many face tones and shapes, so it’s also very versatile, and a nice soft take on the glitter eye trend that is currently notable in the makeup and beauty scene.


Backstage at New Generation Couture NZFW

This show was a big one, with four different designers exhibiting backstage it was pandemonium. I was personally very invested in this show, as my good friend Judy of Judy Gao Couture was showing this year, and her work is incredible. I did an earlier feature on a custom evening gown which you can view here, and an interview with her journey so far here. So it was a pretty emotional lead up, this show was a fantastic new introduction for Fashion Week, and one of the shows I was most excited about seeing. Evening wear is one of the most difficult categories of fashion to enter into in terms of both the market, and the technical expertise required of the garments by the designers. The market can be demanding and the work is extremely challenging so each of the designers put in a huge number of hours behind the scenes to get their work to this level. Thus, the makeup and hair was kept very minimal and slick, and the same for each designer so that the models could change garments quickly and the styling would match with all the different aesthetics. A bold cut crease with a nude lip and slick back hair echoed the dramatic feel for this show, and although I wouldn’t try this look at home it was certainly dynamic for the runway!


Above + Below: The models for the New Gen Couture show having hair and makeup done by the L’oreal Makeup Artists, a very time consuming process. I liked the bold brows for this look, and the slick back hair is something that has grown on me, especially when paired with elegant feminine pieces.

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Above: The first model on the runway for Judy Gao couture, in a daring one piece leotard and cape set. Striking and fluid. The thigh-high boots really brought this outfit together for me, and it’s something that evokes all the bold and the beautiful… Below: One of the models for the Judy Gao couture show being fitted into her gown backstage amongst the racks and chaos of preparations for the New Gen Couture Show.


Backstage at NZ Fashion Weekend PIA

Fashion Weekend is always more relaxed than the rest of fashion week, and that’s great because by the end everyone is pretty knackered! The PIA show was the one show I was not going to miss, and I’m glad I didn’t. Backstage the makeup and hair was just as you’d expect for PIA: Fun, feminine and vibrant, utterly on trend. I loved this pink shimmery look, and it translated seamlessly onto the runway which I feel is one of the biggest challenges for makeup designers. This look may appear simple but it’s nothing but, with an accurate application essential to make sure the models radiate a sun kissed glow rather than a sun burnt appearance! Two french braid plaits added a sporty, street feel to the show which was echoed in some of the fresh pieces to the PIA collection. Rad.

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Above: Three models from the PIA show with makeup and hair finished and ready to be dressed. I loved the way this makeup look translated from model to model, and like the Kathryn Wilson show is a look that translates to the audience so well. I am looking forward to trying out a similar look myself for Makeup Monday! Below: Makeup application in action on a model for the PIA show, using NYX Cosmetics hot pink as a lead tone for this aesthetic.

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Above: The models practicing the final walk through and receiving feedback from PIA directors, and the gift bags and seats all set up ready for the guests to arrive. Below: PIA models and crew waiting patiently backstage. Look at that highlighter glow!


Street Style at NZFW 2018

Amongst all the places and faced were a handful of immaculately dressed ladies, and familiar faces! I managed to find a little time on Wednesday to capture a few of my favourite street style outfits and the details are below!

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Belinda Nash from ‘The Bella Edit’

Blogger, stylist and beauty editor Belinda’s outfit was the first that caught my eye with her fun and vibrant take on colour and styling. Wearing a RUBY handbag and jumpsuit, with a Cathy Pope necklace and thrift pink mesh blouse, I loved her use of combining fabrics, texture and colour. Gotta love her pink hair too that really brings the whole look together! You can check out her website here, and Instagram here.

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Amber Peebles from ‘Ambers Edits’

Amber Peebles is a familiar face in NZ fashion, and when I found a few moments to capture her NZFW Wednesday outfit I took the chance when we had a little cloud cover. A natural in front of the camera, she has a relaxed and minimalist style, combining effortless chic with an elegant twist. You can view Amber’s blog here, and follow her on Instagram here. Amber wears coat from shoes from and blouse from my favourite Harris Tapper.

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Kelly Thompson from ‘Kelly Thompson Creative’

Illustrator, Fashionista and artist extraordinaire, Kelly Thompson’s style was perfectly executed every day of fashion week, and had I found myself with more time I would have captured her look every day of the week! This outfit was one of my favourites, with a gorgeous styling combo of dress by Kate Sylvester and Jacket by Camilla and Marc, shoes by Chaos and Harmony. You can view Kelly’s website here. You can also follow her on Instagram here!

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Caitlan Mitchell from ‘Apparel Magazine’

Caitlan is a familiar face at NZFW. The owner and director of Apparel Magazine, she is a photographer, model and walking fashion encyclopaedia to boot. With a large amount of both creative and business expertise her channels are well worth following, you can check her out online here, and on her Instagram here. Caitlan wears Taylor Boutique and Rachel Mills, as she is passionate about all things NZ Made!

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Backstage at Fashion Week 2018 was fascinating to see looks come together from scratch, the pressure and responsibility on both the models and artists behind the scenes is very eye opening and adds to the value of the final product viewed on the runway. This year I photographed again for FashioNZ and you can view full show reviews and all my coverage over their website here.

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