Fashion

highnoontea: Brave New World at Wellington Fashion Week 2014

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This collection was inspired by Huxley’s novel of the same name. I read the book a couple of months ago and found it funny that it should pop up in a designer’s collection. Instead of a runway show, the creative director Sheryl White decided to have a more intimate showing. We were invited to the Mac’s brewery function room with 10am bubbles, coffee, tea and pastries. A balanced breakfast.

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She explained the clothing and some of the inspiration behind the clothing. I found myself disagreeing with her interpretation of Huxley’s text, but the internal conversation about the future dystopian novel made the clothing a lot richer for me. I kept flicking back to my memories of the text and remembering the fairly detailed descriptions of clothing. The male gaze of the female, and the recreational role of sex in the book loaded the clothing with a lot of meaning for me.

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In this future, people are “decanted” in laboratories rather than conceived, allowing complete control of the human gene pool. Sex becomes merely a social recreation, and clothing invites access. The society is divided into five castes, where each caste has their role and rank; the castes are differentiated by the colours they wear. Thinking about this I felt like one of the “alpha” caste characters in the book: in an exclusive elite observing the highly sexualised representation of the female. However, I attended the showing wearing black, so I would have been from one of the lower castes in Huxley’s novel.

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Dystoian future aside, I enjoyed seeing the collection. It was simple, but not uninteresting. On a base-palette of black and off-white, there was metallic olive lace, light gold and navy blue. The use of different fabrics gave the base colours a lot of depth. Hard, shiny leatherettes, satin and metallic sat in contrast to soft silks and sheer cotton. The clothing was relaxed, with boxy shapes and detailing at the hemline and neckline. Some looks came in at the hips, but sat wide on the rest of the body.

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Would Huxley’s have imagined this to be the clothing of his dystopian future? Perhaps not. But that does not take away from the fact that the clothing was understatedly cool and bold.

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highnoontea.co.nz

– Steven.

Author: Steven Park

I live in Auckland and am currently doing my Honours in Fine Arts at Elam. I run a design label called "6x4", where I make clothing, furniture, home-ware and other exciting things. Say hello if you see me walking around! Read More


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