There’s something wonderful about seeing designer Tanya Carlson in her label’s birthplace – Dunedin. In this great Southern city, crowds flock to her, eager to share a memory of a wedding dress she designed for someone’s daughter, friend, sister – or that couture dress they saw at iD Dunedin Fashion Week, or the pants that have always been the perfect fit.
In her hometown, where she started her label almost two decades ago in 1997, Carlson is a Dunedin treasure, guru, icon. And every now and then, she reminds them why.
Last week Carlson gave VIP customers in Dunedin a sneak preview of her summer 15/16 collection, Why Don’t You? The collection is inspired by the legendary Diana Vreeland – famed editor-in-chief of American Vogue, whose distinctive personal style helped define the world of high fashion for half a decade.
A major reference throughout is the infamous 70s styling – which alludes to a period of time when Vreeland was drawn into the circle of Andy Warhol and the avant-garde New York counter-culture.
Suiting this summer has a slightly masculine feel, with Carlson’s renowned tailoring softened a little to evoke the more relaxed suiting favoured by Vreeland – as seen in the duster-style Diana coat and the drawstring waist Reed pant.
Chinoiserie is given a modern edge with the use of a silk floral placement print in a range of styles from the elegant Avedon Dress to the Beaton kimono – the perfect throw-on layer for when the sun goes down.
Vreeland was never afraid of strong prints or bright colours – and nor is this collection, which includes bold red and marine blue highlights of the Rayon Crepe story, and the return of the phenomenally popular Pina Colada dress. Vreeland’s famous proclamation that ‘Pink is the navy blue of India’ is referenced in the stunning Fuchsia Print silk styles – the Why Don’t You tunic and Think Pink camisole.
Tying the range together are three animal prints – one in silver lurex, and a more subtle camel rayon, and a classic black and white – all styles designed to work as separates or to pair back with suiting.
Once again, Carlson has shown her innate sense of how to dress women beautifully, imbuing a sense of ‘now’ into pieces that are destined to become classics; resulting in a range that is fresh and modern, yet retains the hallmarks of the brand beloved by her legions of loyal fans.