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NZ Fashion Week showcases talent
Sat, 08 Sep 2012 12:53p.m.
By Sarah Robson
Five days, 28 shows and countless tweets, photos and blog posts later, the glitz and glamour of New Zealand Fashion Week (NZFW) is over for another year.
NZFW is the biggest event on the local fashion industry's calendar and it's a chance for the likes of Zambesi, Stolen Girlfriends Club and Trelise Cooper to showcase their talents before international buyers and media.
This year, more than 30 designers unveiled their autumn/winter 2013 collections on the runway.
Wellington-based designers Anjali Stewart and Rachel Easting - the brains behind the cheeky young label Twenty-Seven Names - made the trip up to Auckland for their sixth showing at NZFW.
Their group show with Auckland designer Ingrid Starnes at Britomart on Wednesday generated plenty of buzz on the fashion blogs.
The Twenty-Seven Names collection, "I Thought You'd Never Ask", was girly, but not too sweet, bursting with strawberry prints, big, bold polka dots, cute collars and floaty fabrics.
The starting point for inspiration was Jeffrey Eugenides' novel The Marriage Plot, which Easting had bought Stewart for Christmas.
This got the pair thinking about how marriage plot is a common storyline in literature and they re-read some of the classics: Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, George Eliot.
Stewart says they started designing the collection in April, in preparation for NZFW, "so we've been thinking about it for a couple of months now".
"It's always weird, you see the reaction of people who've seen it for the first time... but you've seen it for such a long time it's hard to see it with a fresh pair of eyes," she says.
A show at NZFW isn't just about the clothes on the models. It's a whole performance and music plays a crucial role in that.
The booming opening to the Twenty-Seven Names show was Beyonce's booty-shaking track Single Ladies, which includes the line, "if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it".
"With the music, what we were trying to do is point towards what the range was about," Stewart says.
"We thought it would be really funny, seeing as the range was called I Thought You'd Never Ask, to use Single Ladies as the first song for the show."
It's about creating an atmosphere and keeping people interested.
"A friend of mine said to me, when you're at a fashion show, you kind of want to feel like you've been punched in the face," Stewart explains.
"We were trying to start if off with a big bang - rather than ending with it, we'd rather start it with one."
For the avid fashion fans who don't get to go to NZFW, logging on to social media and keeping up with the dozens of bloggers at the event is one way to keep up with what's being shown on the runway.
However, it often means the public's first glimpse of a new collection is a blurry shot on Twitter.
To counteract this, Stewart says Twenty-Seven Names launched their new range online, the same day as their NZFW show.
"For those that didn't get to come to the show, we wanted to involve them in the process," she says.
The website includes drawings, portraits and videos that complement the clothes on show.
"That's how we see the range and how we want others to see it," Stewart says.
"I think what we were trying to do is just involve the greatest community in the range, no one's really done anything like that before."
For Twenty-Seven Names, supporting the local New Zealand industry is really important.
"If that means our dresses are $100 more than our competitors, then so be it," Stewart says.
"I personally think being New Zealand made is something to be proud of and buying products that are New Zealand made is something to be proud of," she says.
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