Highlights of NZFW 2018

Unique coverage of the best shows from NZFW 2018…

NZ Fashion Week was a plethora of colour, style and performance art. Everything from choirs to runway photoshoots was incorporated into many of the shows, as designers stepped up their game this year with all the bells and whistles. Here’s my list of the top 10 shows of NZFW 2018, based on show performance elements, presence, creativity, styling and makeup, and atmosphere.

Listed in order, are my top ten Fashion Week shows!

1. Twenty-Seven Names

This show was a beautiful masterpiece of art and showmanship. Drawing us in with a breath taking performance of ‘Diamonds’ by Rhianna. Auckland Girl’s Grammar School choir sung live, complete with piano accompaniment - everyone was left in awe right from the start of this show. A clever take on a traditional studio photoshoot, the models walked out into the audience, with an intimate setting and very close to the viewers enabling us to see the detailing of the makeup and garments, then onto a studio backdrop. Titled ‘A cat may look at a Queen’ and for Autumn/Winter 2019, rainbow block colours and bold prints in crisp wide silhouettes it was both cute and visually striking. The contrast of seeing the models in their garments within the crowd, versus walking to pose on the stark white backdrop - highlighted the bluntness of the styling and pieces. I love, love, loved the simplicity and and I adored the makeup. Bright pink streaks for the eyes, and fresh faces highlighted the pieces with perfection. Jewellery was also colourful and chunky, and hair full and simple. It was very aesthetically pleasing, and lots of fun to photograph. Towards the end of the show, two models made an entrance on custom printed skateboards to the audience’s surprise! What was also fantastic to see was how there was such an array and diversity of models, ages, ethnicities, and sizes. Twenty-Seven Names ticking every box. Fabulous.

View the gallery below of my favourite outfits, and a glimpse at the magic!


2. Hej Hej

A fun and playful twist on the usual, echoing their designs Hej Hej shared their collection meant for summer travel and adventures in style and colour. Held on a private yacht in the harbour, complete with cocktails, and a pair of slippers for every guest on board the yacht, it was a lovely alternative from the often serious nature of many runway shows. The models were relaxing in the middle of the boat, higher up and the centre of attention so guests could admire, photograph, and experience these beautiful pieces in action. I stole the models for a few moments before too many people joined us. They all looked so beautiful with fresh faced makeup and glowing skin. The collection featured gorgeous linen in shades of deep red, pink, blue and white. It was clean and crisp, and each piece evoked the perfect summer’s day. This is what you will want to be wearing this summer, not only are these pieces incredibly comfy, but they are also uber cute with the loose silhouettes and minimal styling. Put it on your Christmas wishlists girls…

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3. Judy Gao Couture [New Generation Couture Show]

This is the first year showcasing new generation couture at NZFW, as well as the usual new generation show for other genres, and it was very impressive! Ruscoe Couture was a stand out, and of course the woman who stole the show was the incredible Judy Gao, who I interviewed early last year. You can check out that feature here, along with the gorgeous gown she created for me, and the editorial ‘Royalty’ I created here. Judy’s work has always had me in awe of her talent, she has an eye for effortless design. Her pieces are always visually striking, dynamic and full of movement and fluidity. Full skirts, long trains and a lot of drapery, her show was full of show-stopping gowns one after the other. Leading the show was a provocative leotard and cape set, with sheer detailing in a panel at the front, and paired with thigh-high boots. Perfection. Her recent work shows her unique melding of boudoir elements - sheer fabrics and embroidery, with traditional evening-wear elements - sleek silhouettes, applique elements, and elegant detailing. A traditional runway experience, but a very unique collection. Judy Gao is crafting the next big thing in New Zealand fashion.


4. Trelise Cooper

For those wanting a little more, Trelise Cooper’s Thursday show was the highlight of the week for many. Not your usual 15-20 minutes of fashion, she incorporated three labels, Trelise Cooper, COOP, and Cooper, along with multiple seasons across the show - with a total of over 125 outfits, complete with live music, custom set design, and an appearance from Trelise herself at the end. This show featured showmanship that rivalled the couture masters of Milan and Paris, and it was a magical experience. This was definitely high up on my list of top shows at NZFW 2018. For a full review and backstage coverage of the show, take a look here on my recent post covering the entire feature.

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5. PIA

Since the beginning of this amazing brand a few years earlier, PIA [Originally PIA Boutique, named after the designer Pia Naera] has always impressed me with her bold, vibrant, and feminine pieces. Recently PIA has included streetwear designs in her collections, as well as evening pieces perfect for a special occasion or a night out. The mix and match qualities of her collections are inherent, with her notable patterns and prints across a variety of designs, skirts, tops and dresses. I love that almost every piece is a statement piece for a no fuss, stunning wardrobe. This collection featured a few PIA favourites as well as pieces for the coming seasons. PIA is one of my favourite names and it’s always a pleasure to see her shows. The styling, makeup and music for her Fashion Weekend shows are always fun and and an enjoyable end to the week!

Below, view the full show gallery including images from every single outfit in the show!

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PIA NZFW 2018-1.jpg

6. Olli

One of the most cohesive and well thought out collections from the New Generation show, Olli displayed one hero piece after another. A colour palette of cream, soft green, and lilac, this show was an elegant take on redefining streetwear. The weighting of the garment designs was unusual but elegant. Olli was both delicate and edgy, with high crop tops, long loose shorts and skirts, and dramatic sleeves with layers of ruffles. The blend was exciting and interesting, and the audience was captivated from start to finish. I loved the execution of the designs right down to the little details: Olli detailing lining the edges of many pieces, and even the sandals which were also paired with socks - A trend also seen during Trelise’s show and something that we will likely see influencing mainstream fashion soon. One of the brightest stars to shine at NZFW 2018, and definitely one to follow.


7. Hailwood

A stunning cinematic display, this show was a dreamy venture into a world inspired by music, movies and classic drama. Hailwood’s collection boasted the most exquisite evening gowns, along with the cutest day-wear fashion including a unique signature leopard design running through many of the pieces. It was a beautiful blend of simplicity and detail. Elements like berets with clusters of gold charms added a quaint novelty, and a touch of frivolity. This was a lovely contrast from the luxurious drapery of the evening gowns and dramatic hero pieces, which featured unique detailed, and rich embroidered fabrics. The lights in the background as part of the set design changed colours during the show, and the live music playing had everyone entranced. The bold lip colour and makeup was stunning, although the concept worked better on certain models who I felt embodied the vision of the collection’s feel. A striking look complete with blunt cut wigs, it was a fascinating creative choice that turned many heads. On all three counts, performance, styling, and atmosphere the Hailwood show was all round impressive, and I left on an absolute high!


8. Stolen Girlfriends Club

Not your usual, Stolen wowed again this year with their collection ‘New sincerity, Deep irony.’ I took this as a commentary on the modern fashion industry, and the observation that creative egos are often out of touch with the nature of modern fashion, where fresh takes are versions of recycled ideas from the past. The evidence was there, in the form of 80’s styling and design aspects, many sequins, scrunchies, crunchy looking ball satin and bold frills. A designer that previously I haven’t been drawn to, this year I fell in love with this novel concept and a number of pieces. I adored their beautiful simplicity, and the ingenious although obviously ironic, sincere nature of the designs. It’s something that many of my favourite designers display, a simplicity that screams conviction and to me is an intrinsic artistic element that can’t be overlooked. Stolen Girlfriends Club as a show and performance is one of the best, always a unique secret location, and full of surprises. An impressive end to the show, the finale was in the pitch black to glowing wheely bins titled with ‘Stolen X’ on the front and brought through by the models and the designer to the audience’s delight.

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9. Havilah

Havilah was part of the New Generation show like Olli, and continued the trend I just can’t get enough of - loose billowing silhouettes in block colours but for Havliah nothing was held back - the colours were fierce and bright, and the performance elements enhanced this with a 90’s soundtrack including remixes such as Destiny’s Child and hip-hop elements. Colour blocking saw a return here in this show, and the lighting chosen worked in perfectly with the colours of the collection. Details like the coloured tinted sunnies and soft pastel sneakers brought each look together perfectly. Unapologetic, and a little bit blunt, I loved how striking each piece was and how decisively Havilah’s looks were put together. Skill and talent infused every piece and what left me in awe was the incredible final garment. A bright lilac dress with layer upon layer of tulle ruffles from neck to ankle, creativity unleashed and nothing held back. Love it.

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Havilah NZFW 2018

10. Kathryn Wilson

Kathryn Wilson never fails to impress, with upbeat music, lavish amounts of sequins and sparkle and lots of colour, this year’s show was girly and fun complete with matching Kathryn Wilson outfits that the models all wore to compliment each set of shoes worn onto the runway, and with two models at a time there was no lack of inspiration coming off the runway. Floral prints, metallics, bright coloured boots were the main features of the show, with glitter sneakers making an appearance as some of my favourite pieces. The hair, makeup and styling was impeccable and larger than life - and if you’re interested in seeing how this look was put together you can check out all the behind the scenes action here in my post featuring a full rundown backstage! The end of the show saw a marching band and handfuls of coloured glitter, a feast for the eyes!


New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 showcased some of the best in the business, and I captured it for the official media partner FashioNZ. You can check out full coverage and reviews of individual Fashion Week shows over on their website here!

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