Photo / Michael Ng

Runway Report: Our Editors' Picks From Kate Sylvester's Show at NZ Fashion Week 2019

The Viva team share their highlights from opening night of NZ Fashion Week

Kate Sylvester opened NZ Fashion Week 2019 with her collection 'Love Letters'. Fashion & creative director Dan Ahwa, deputy editor Johanna Thornton and beauty editor Janetta Mackay share their highlights. 

Notable attendees: Australian model Roberta Pecoraro, David Dallas and Leilani Momoisea, author and former fashion journalist Stacy Gregg and Petra Bagust. — Dan

RUNWAY HIGHLIGHTS: The Must-See Looks From Kate Sylvester's NZFW 2019 Show

Ambience: A dimly lit runway strewn with hand-written love letters, the wind blowing them high into the air as the Purple Pilgrims wail in the background. It was a fittingly romantic vibe for Kate Sylvester’s opening show in the Runway tent at Aotea Square, the collection created as a tribute to her parents’ love. — Johanna

Music: I always look forward to a Kate Sylvester show soundtrack. This time the show was set to a background of an ethereal live performance from dreamscape artists Purple Pilgrims. The sister act of Valentine and Clementine Nixon, who released their debut album Eternal Delight in 2016, were dressed in equally dreamy Kate Sylvester dresses in white. — Dan

Photo / Johanna Thornton

Styling notes: Filtering an inspiration for a collection based around the special love letters between your parents is no mean feat, and this highly personal presentation was dealt with a sensitive touch in tribute to Kate’s parents, who wrote each other wonderfully penned love letters during their courtship in the 1950s. 

Sharing that with so many people wouldn't have been a simple consideration, and the collection itself was dealt with an equally soft touch — delicate lace pieces that Kate has mastered throughout the years mixed with soft knitwear, relaxed tailoring and a nod to the past via archival pieces mixed in with the new collection. Styling details played on the nostalgia and romance that the brand does particularly well. In a world reduced to the flippant communication of heart-shaped emojis, Kate’s love letter tribute is both romantic and poignant. Her popular 2005 collection ‘Stop Your Sobbing’, one of my favourite collections, made a cameo in the form of lace-trimmed hankies elegantly tucked into sleeves and pinned to pockets.

READ: Kate Sylvester Is Opening NZ Fashion Week With A Nod To Past & Present

Ayan Makoii from N Model Management’s second look of a full floral print skirt from spring 2008 worn with a quilted vest and knitwear was a standout look, as was the wool suit worn by Tia Woods, teamed with Barbour gumboots. But the show-stopper were the brides at the end of the show. A crisp black suit was worn by Sofia Frankish (62 Models) and a cream lace gown worn by Bernadette Anker (Unique Models) was a special ending, and a fitting tribute to everlasting love and Kate’s eternally romantic point of view. — Dan

Casting: Setting the tone for the week, Kate’s line-up was a trip down memory lane, with several models who’ve modelled for the brand over the years making a welcome appearance including Penny Pickard (Unique Models) , Veronica Rockford-Pound (Unique Models), Katie Braatvedt (Clyne), Tia Woods (Clyne) sharing the love-letter-strewn runway with models of the moment Fabienne Distelzwey (N Models) Ch’lita Collins (Clyne), Kizzie Amoore (62 Models), Polena Yi (Unique Models) and Ayan Makoii (N Models). — Dan

Photo / Johanna Thornton

Beauty notes: A photograph of Kate Sylvester’s mother on her wedding day served to inspire the main beauty look at the Love Letters show. The models’ diffused matte red lip stain, strong straight brows and perfected skin, spoke of the 1950s, but with a modern sensibility. This was echoed with hair that was swept back only to be fastened in a jaunty knot.

M.A.C national artist Kiekie Stanners and her team created the lip look with a mix of Kate’s favourite M.A.C lipstick shade, the orange-red matte Dangerous, blended with Powder Kiss Lipstick in a bright creamy salmon shade, called Mandarin 0. The trick to softening up this pigment-rich combination was to skip the use of a liner pencil and to use a fluffy brush to diffuse the lip edges.

Directing the hair look, Sean Mahoney of Colleen salon for Cloud Nine and Evo, said he was after a romantic twist, in creating a soft knot, with loose ends to the side. This was secured with a slim leather band, picking up on a material used across the collections. A simplified version of the hair look can be achieved at home by following Sean’s lead in using straighteners to smooth hair through the back, while retaining some natural lift in the pulled back front section. Hair was prepped with a hydrator first, he used Evo Day of Grace, followed by the brand’s dry spray wax hybrid, called Shebang-a-bang, for a matte finish. — Janetta

One word review:  Nostalgic. — Johanna

WATCH: Behind-The-Scenes at Day One of NZ Fashion Week 2019

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