Group Show #3 at Wellington Fashion Week

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Oh man, my camera was bunking out hard on Saturday – half of the wedding show photos were out of focus, and the evening’s group photo shots weren’t that great either. If you want to see proper runway shots taken by an actual IRL photographer try Masanori Udagawa

So this was the third and final group show for Wellington Fashion Week, and it featured designers with collections generally targeted towards a younger audience. Click on any of the photos to see the rest of the respective collections.

So this is a mammoth show with heaps of designers so here are some handy quick-links just for you, dear reader:

Surface too Deep
Love Hotel
Philippa & Alice
Rooney Clothing
Duncan Mclean
Brooke Barrett


Surface Too Deep opened the show with their ever-expanding range of swimwear, having recently had a much hyped and well-received showing at MBFWA.

Swimwear is kinda funny if you think about it. It’s just as much about how it presents the body as it is about how it covers the body. With that in mind Sarah-Jane designs a range of swimwear which suits a variety of figures, particularly the ones with the high-waisted bottoms or the one piece numbers.

My favourites include the high-waisted khaki ones with gold metal fastenings (is anyone else getting a Bond girl vibe?) and this classy black one-piece with the chunky detailing at the front.

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It’s really hard to find nice men’s swimwear – I like the cut of this one but I’d like to see it in a less pastel-y colour personally. It’s not particularly unique but then again I don’t think men’s swimwear can really be all that different.

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Love Hotel is a label run by sisters Ella and Harriet Garland-Levett. Their latest collection features a range of silk dresses and robes, along with some more revealing pieces which blur the line between loungewear and outerwear. If it’s beautiful why not wear it out right?

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My favourite piece from the collection – the colour, how it sits and the flow. I’d take this over any Karen Walker print dress any day.

I really like the pared back colour palette, I don’t think I’ve seen silk dyed a mustard yellow but it works very well with blacks and it must feel amazing against your skin. The prints? Yeah – it’s all hand printed. I wonder what it would look like if the polka dots were slightly bigger on some of the larger pieces though? The prints are quite dainty which is nice up close when there’s no movement, but given how loose-fitting many of the garments are, I think more geometrical prints would also look great on the draped pieces. Then again, I’m just a writer.

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The collection didn’t such a strong Japanese influence we’ve seen in previous collections (i.e. we didn’t see any yukatas patterns) – instead the pieces were cut in a way that really shows off the beautiful flow of fabric which you only get with silks.

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Their AW14 collection, entitled “You had to be there” featured a range of pieces that were a strange mix of the youthful and the old.

They combined fabrics like velvet, corduroy and vintage prints – fabrics that are generally associated with eras gone by – and combined them with contrasting fabrics like the burgundy leather sleeves on the corduroy dress, or the leather shoulder yokes on the velvet shirt with slit vents across the collar bones.

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It wasn’t just the fabric choices – there was everything from dungarees (something I associate with osh-koshs when I was like 7 years old) with full-length dresses that wouldn’t look out of place in photo album from the 30s.

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Worn by models who themselves are under 20, the collection gave an impression of children play dress-up in their parent’s (and grandparent’s?) wardrobe – it was certainly one of the more conceptually interesting collections of the evening.

A particular favourite of mine was this velvet shirt worn by Blaire (62 models):

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Formerly BA Rooney, Blair’s (what I assume was) SS15 collection was light, cheerful and playful. It drew references from the explosion of pop youth culture in the 60s, along with the advent of the miniskirt, shiny PVC fabrics and bright yet soft colours, and combined this with more muted Bretonese stripes.


The 60s is iconic for many things (says a kid born in the late 80s right?) – one of which was teenagers and young adults becoming culturally independent and forming their own identity and aesthetics which weren’t a mere mimicry of their parents. So it seems particularly apt that such a young designer of only 17(!) draws inspiration from this era in his collection.

IMG_4214Unfortunately, some of the outfits weren’t quite as well designed or fitted as we would have liked to have seen at the show – the one-piece maxi dresses flared out a little too high up on the body to be flattering, some of the stiffer tops pulled awkwardly around the shoulders and the contrast buttons on the cropped jackets were sewn a little too close to the edge of the jacket front.


That said, the collection had a cohesive theme, the colour palette was catchy and I’m sure Blair will be tweaking adjusting the patterns before it hits the stores so all in all I think Wellington has a talented up and coming designer.

I rather liked this outfit here – sometimes simple is best.



I flatted in Newtown for a year, and I always used to walk past this store and peer in to see clothing I never really understood. I had no idea what selvage denim was and I sure as hell couldn’t afford any of it, but I always liked looking in anyway.

A couple of fashion weeks and a few years of fashion photography, videography and writing later, I think it was the simple lines, the understated colour palettes and the designs that are just quirky or different enough to make people take a closer look that I liked about the label.

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It reminds me a lot of WORKSHOP (this is a compliment from me, they are probably the label that best represent my personal aesthetic at the moment), but it’s a lot more friendly and accessible.

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Essentially, I think the label has taken a second look at the rugged New Zealand aesthetic, which is typically more based on practicality and warmth than appearance, and have refined it into something more “fashion” without losing the sense of humour and light-heartedness that I so love about New Zealanders. Am I reading too much into this. Probably. That said it’s my website so whatever.

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Without a doubt these overalls were my favourite piece – that bright logo on the back just makes me unreasonably happy. The fact that the model looks vaguely like Jimmy Carr is just a happy coincidence.

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I think this is my favourite designer from the show actually.


Brooke’s collection was definitely the most austere out of the show. The pieces were made from traditional, natural fabrics in muted or neutral colours, and the cuts were generally reminiscent of the full length skirts worn by the Amish.

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In amongst the more austere pieces, Brooke also had some more delicate and form-fitting pieces, including this one-piece dress with a turtle neck, as well as a massively oversized jumper turned dress in the bright orange.

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I think there is a certain ascetic beauty in austerity, although it might not be nearly so apparent or immediate. I wonder if this was a little lost in a runway context but it was refreshingly different and on a completely different I want to roll around in the orange jumper.

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I think that is the longest article I’ve ever written on here. Grats on getting through it all if you’re reading this, I for one need a drink.

– Chris.

Author: Chris Park

One half of the Park Brothers. Purveyor of banter, curator of misc. Manage comms for @BuoyandMine. Read More

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