60 Seconds With Designer Cecilia Kang

Tasty chit-chat with Ashleigh Cometti at SKYCITY’s The Grill by Sean Connolly

Cecilia Kang with her muse. Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

Viva invited Cecilia Kang to one of SKYCITY’s award-winning restaurants for a chat over a glass of red wine. A jewel in Federal Street’s crown, The Grill by Sean Connolly couples an inviting atmosphere with a diverse menu, which extends far beyond the melt-in-your-mouth steak for which its known. Cheers!

This will be your first time showing at NZFW — why did you decide to do so?
It’s the ultimate goal for all New Zealand designers to show at NZFW. I wasn’t thinking about joining this year, but I received an email from NZFW to come on board for the New Gen Emerging Couture show. I was jumping up and down with excitement afterwards. As a transsexual woman, I want to inspire and be a role model for our youth and other young transsexual women around the country.

How long have you been designing for?
Six years. I’m self-taught, and it takes a lot of time to create each piece. I glean inspiration from my fellow transsexual friends, and from the LGBTQI+ community.

Tell us a little about the collection you’ll be showing at NZFW?
My collection is named “Goddess of Garlands”, and it is a fantastical celebration of luxurious fabrics — lace, shimmer, sequins, feathers, lace, and floral motifs. I do all the pattern making, drawing, cutting, and hand sewing myself, so it can take quite a while to create each piece. Simple pieces can take a week or two, but more detailed pieces can take three or four weeks. If I need more inspiration or time, I stop and come back to it later. Every silhouette and detail has to be on point. I’m showing 12 pieces at NZFW.

You specialise in high fashion. Do you think Kiwis need to dress up a little bit more?
Kiwis dress very smartly — we have very different senses of style and personality.

What is the first thing you’ll do after your show ends?
I’d like to reflect. I’m willing to accept any negative criticism, and become a better designer because of it. I also want to celebrate with my friends and family.

New Gen Emerging Couture. Tuesday, August 28 at. 4pm. The Runway.

• Famed for its signature steak dishes, The Grill also offers an array of mouth-watering salads. Chef Sean Connolly is catering to the health-conscious with his take on a Caesar Salad, the Moderne, served with a 62º egg. This November, The Grill is part of SKYCITY’s Fashion on Federal event, a celebration of the Melbourne Cup, fashion, and long lunches at your favourite Federal Street Restaurants. For tickets and to book, visit Fedst.co.nz.

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