Collection challenges ideals

Even though Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology graduate Laura Manning didn’t scoop any awards at the iD International Emerging Designer Awards last week, she definitely caught the attention and imagination of the judges for her well thought through and beautifully executed collection, Fronting.

“If there had been an award for best conceptual design, Manning would have won it,” says MiNDFOOD Style associate editor Carolyn Enting, one of the five judges.

Manning’s collection poked fun at the feminine ideal using aspirational elements of red carpet wear. Her gowns were cropped, chopped and bricolaged within systems of stacking and layering.

The train of her bridal gown was a patchwork of hidden treasures from Chantilly lace to pieces of white velvet with the names of “feminine ideal” icons including Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Kardashian (a nod to their less than perfect marriage histories) burned into the fabric.

Manning bridal web

An emerald green dress concealed a similar panel listing the names of leading ladies who’d worn iconic gowns in this colour including Keira Knightly (Atonement 2007).

manning for web

Manning investigated the idea of allure and image and flaws in glamour. Using flaws and cracks in the dated feminine image, pulling apart and reconstructing the image, as if many copies of the image had been torn up and stuck back together.

Laura Fanning_0023 for web

While this was highlighted through crudely cut pieces of cloth and large layers of seam allowance to illustrate nonchalance and a crass attempt at the classical evolution of the female, Manning’s gowns were a mastery of layering through swatching and stunning details from finely knitted ruffles in red to iron-on Swarovski crystals, and whimsical crowns.

“I was left to question the relevance of fine detail and its integrity to the garment,” Manning says. “I sought to achieve aesthetic outcomes that communicate the loss of desire within the discarded runway image.”

Laura Fanning for web

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Perriam’s iD Dunedin debut

Key looks from Perriam’s winter 2015 collection were presented as a strong capsule collection which ensured she was one of the most talked about designers of this year’s iD Dunedin Fashion Week line-up.

Designer Christina Perriam is known for her knitwear but clearly showed she has a special talent for working with leather too.

First up she showed a leather dress in rich marsala which she designed for the New Zealand Light Leathers Designer Section. It had people swooning. Thirteen designers participating in the iD Fashion Show were invited to design a special piece using luxurious Light Leathers deer pelts.

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While all the garments in her Perriam collection had touches of New Zealand-sourced merino wool, she used a range of other fabrics and textiles to diversify the collection, incorporating merino leather into some of the garments for the first time. Rarely used by the fashion industry, merino leather has a natural pebbled character.

Perriam (1) web

“It’s an amazing texture … when you look at a merino sheep, their skin is so wrinkly and that’s why the texture of the leather is really interesting,” Perriam says.

Other features included touches of metallic gold, black on black, prints, panelled arms and pom-pom trims.

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Perriam says she chose New York as her inspiration because of the compact madness of the city, and the softness with the harsh within.

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“When I was in New York I was drawn to the pretty parks in amongst a concrete jungle, so my collection features some soft touches and sparkles of gold with some harsh black, clean and structured lines,” Perriam says. “For me, the Perriam Woman Winter 2015 range is all about taking the madness out of the city.”

Perriam web

It’s the first time the Wanaka-based designer has shown her new luxury lifestyle brand Perriam at iD Dunedin Fashion Week after it was launched in October 2014. Last time she took part in the event was 2002 under her previous label Christina Perriam.


It’s not surprising that after Perriam’s capsule collection had had its moment on the catwalk that talk turned to shopping!


Pictures: Chris Sullivan

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