Day four at New Zealand Fashion Week

By Milly Nolan

Milly Nolan brings you the latest in fashion, hair and beauty from day four of New Zealand Fashion Week 2011. MiNDFOOD reports.


In atypical fashion, the Zambesi show opened with not black, but bright neon yellow – an indication that something has shifted for the label, which is renowned for its dark palette. As the show progressed, the theme of punctuated colour continued with a stunning bright cobalt blue and a blurred leopard-like print in blue and a myriad of other colours.

Living up to their reputation as one of the best fashion houses in New Zealand, the Zambesi collection, designed by Elizabeth Findlay (women’s) and Dayne Johnson (men’s) was, as always, well-polished, well-styled and full of energy – the audience lapping up every second. Their depth of experience and superb talent was evident in the clever tailoring, high quality of the garments and fine attention to detail – a reminder that you can always rest assured that a Zambesi piece will last you for years – and there is no doubt that many of these pieces will be hanging in many wardrobes as soon as they go on sale.

The collection as a whole was very much ‘sportswear meets tailoring’, and while the sporty influence may seem new to a brand such as Zambesi, when you looked closely, a lot of the individual pieces had the same silhouettes and patterns of the favoured and familiar Zambesi designs. Huge pussy-bow tied blouses, chunky knit neckpieces, one-piece boiler suits, trenchcoats, crushed velvet wrap dresses, spider web lace and black lycra all stood out. The men looked sharp in accents of fur, utilitarian parkers, bomber jackets, tailored trenches and oversized tees. The beauty of the men’s and women’s collections is that they are developed alongside each other so they complement each other perfectly.

Hair and Make-up

Keyed by Amber D for M.A.C Cosmetics, the blue eyeshadow matched the fluro theme of the show, while a bright red lip with a blurred lip line hinted at the sophisticated Zambesi girl. The skin was amazingly creamy and luminous.

Directed by Lauren Gunn for Stephen Marr, the hair was sporty punk at its best with the hair fashioned into a collapsed Mohawk on the top and the sides slicked at the sides and the rest left hanging down the back. It was a combination of wet and dry textures.


As the models at the Huffer show walked out onto the catwalk, a dusting of faux snow was thrown over them, instantly bringing the brand back to its roots as a snow, street and skate label with a strong focus on functionality. The womenswear was casual, cool, chic and at times cute – perhaps targeting a younger audience than previous years. The menswear was particularly on trend – not so much setting any trends, but more cementing what laid-back kiwi hipsters like to wear today – rolled up skinny pants and jeans, bomber jackets, printed tees, striped jerseys and plaid shirts. The girls wore short, A-line dresses, box-pleat skirts, woollen over-sized knits, trench coats, cable knits, mini skirts, hot pants and cardigans. The palette for both men and women was earthy and fairly muted with army greens, greys, navy and maroons. This was streetwear at its best.

At the end of the show, girl-about-town Aja Rock popped out of a giant-sized birthday cake in a skimpy stars-n’-stripes bikini, a Russian hat and holding a bottle of bubbles. While the relevance was unclear, it gave the audience a good laugh (and the men some eye candy) and then when the models came out for their final walk, the catwalk became a mini-dance off with Huffer founder Steve Dunstan, the models and the front-row celebs giving it their best moves to the blaring music.

Hair and Make-Up

Directed by Greg Murrell of Ryder for KMS California, the half-up, half-down hair worked with the nomadic inspiration behind the styling. The style had to accommodate extensive use of head wraps, so a wrapped bun was created at the crown, with hair at the sides clipped back and the rest worn down.

For the make-up, Nicole Thompson for M.A.C Cosmetics kept the skin well moisturized for a creamy, glowing complexion. The eyes stood out with individual lashes added to both the top and bottom lashline to create a full feathered and spidery look which was accentuated with lashings of mascara. Black eyeliner was used to draw in extra bottom lashes and the brows filled with neutral shadow. The lips were concealed then chai lipglass and wildly lush mixed onto lips for a bronzed lip.


Held in Auckland’s magnificent Town Hall, the venue was packed to the rafters with an excitable crowd eager to see what Workshop and Helen Cherry had to offer. For A/W 2012, Workshop went back to its utilitarian roots with plenty of denim in clean, simple designs.

Adding a bit of biker glam and rock-and-roll rebellion to the mix were skinny, cropped pants, a pencil skirt and biker jacket in washed black leather. Rivets and studs embellished some of the pieces. Plaid, wool swingback jackets and sharp Crombie coats put a modern spin on the otherwise 1950s flavour of the womenswear. 

The menswear had a tougher, more urban edge to it with plenty of camo’, over-sized fur-trimmed parkas, red tartan shirts, quilted blazers, felted wool trousers and slim jeans. A skull and quatrefoil print by New Zealand artist, Max Gimblett, was hand-painted on some of the garments adding to the rock-and-roll feel of the collection. The collection was modern, on-trend and wearable.

For the Helen Cherry line, the eponymous designer also looked towards the rock-and-roll genre. “I imagined a very well-dressed, well-bred woman who had run off with the band, circa 1975,” says Helen Cherry. “I wanted a sense of refinement and elegance but with an attitude that was more rock’n’roll cool than classic conservative.” And that is exactly what Cherry provided with a sophisticated collection of mohair knits teamed with boyish tailored pants, cashmere-wool biker jackets, pussy-cat bow blouses, short, gypsy-sleeved dresses, skinny cropped trousers, tweed pencil skirts, leopard print and collarless fur jackets. All of which were worn with large-brimmed, felt fedoras.

Cobalt blue and red were stand out colours, while a painterly animal print and a graphic rose print also added to the colourful palette. There was both a softness to the range with floating silhouettes and also a more tailored and structured look – both of which cater perfectly for the busy, modern women who wants to look elegant but cool.

Hair and Make-Up

Directed by Stephen Marr’s Lauren Gunn, the hair for Workshop was inspired by ‘60s gang chic’. The hair was worn out but ramped up in texture, so that it looked slightly teased. It was tough but pretty. For Helen Cherry, the hair was an elegant up-do that sat below the fedora in a voluminous manner, as if the hair was effortlessly pinned that way. It was simple but feminine – very Jane Birkin or Brigette Bardot-esque.

Keyed by M.A.C Cosmetic’s Fatima Thomas, the make-up for Workshop alternated between neutral eyes and a perfect bright red pout or heavily lined smokey eyes and a nude lip. For both looks the skin was kept flawless.


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