Dame Pieter Stewart's Memorable NZFW Moments

As Dame Pieter Stewart prepares to step down as the head of NZ Fashion Week, she reveals her most memorable moments from the past 15 years


Pamela Anderson at NZ Fashion Week in 2009. Picture / NZPA, Wayne Drought

"We’ve had some amazing international guests over the years."

1. Our first year, the amazing Hilary Alexander from London’s Daily Telegraph came to NZFW. Being a New Zealander by birth, she was most encouraging and supportive of our designers and fledgling Fashion Week.

2. In year two, Rebecca Weinberg, one of the stylists of Sex and The City, stirred up the event and the local media with her fun and colourful attitude.

3. That same year, the famous Colin McDowell came to NZFW, and loved our designers and our country.

4. When Tim Blanks came to the event in 2004, he was in hot demand by all media, and I think Paul Holmes interviewed him almost daily. As another New Zealander reaching the top of the fashion journalist game internationally, he was a breath of fresh air and constructively helpful to our industry, as was Lisa Armstrong from The Times that same year.

5. The year the famous Paris blogger, Diane Pernet, who wears her trademark black plus mantilla arrived, we waited anxiously at her hotel for her long after she should have arrived. She had been held up for quite some time by Customs, which didn’t please her greatly and obviously didn’t help her impression of NZFW. She was accompanied at the time by Robb Young, who dressed totally in white.

6. I have to mention the year we brought down Pamela Anderson, who was collaborating in a collection with Richie Rich. Entertaining would put it mildly, with Pamela gracing the catwalk baring most of her body (above).

7. And American designer Nicole Miller, who staged the most elegant and beautiful show on our 10th anniversary year. She brought her gorgeous assistant with her, who has since become my daughter-in-law.


“We have quite a rigorous backstage pass policy, as you can imagine, with young and rather beautiful girls (and sometimes men) hanging around with very little on. We have to be very careful, especially with cameras.”

1. Our rigorous backstage policy hasn’t always worked, and one year at the Town Hall, someone gave their backstage pass to a chap who lived under a bench near Aotea Square. He was found chasing half-naked models behind the catwalk — and I’m not sure who was the most frightened.

2. In 2002, there was the woman who told a man in the bar that she had a gun. He managed to alert the barman who called the police, but then she had gone — presumably,into the Trelise Cooper show, which we all nervously watched in case there was truth in the threat. She must have been happy with what she saw as she didn’t make her presence felt and was never identified further by police trawling though the venue.

3. One year Lucy Lawless created her own excitement as one of our VIP guests. We’d organised front row seats for her and her daughter and were surprised to see Daisy sitting next to a very suave-looking man. Concerned that Lucy had decided not to come, we were about to move the mystery man back a few rows when Lucy identified herself — dressed as a man, moustache and all.

4. One year we organised mobile phones for key delegates but the designers and minders drove them mad and, in frustration, one buyer was seen throwing it off the end of Princes Wharf.

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