Zambesi at NZ Fashion Week 2019.

Runway Report: Zambesi's Milestone Show, Mina & Miromoda at NZ Fashion Week 2019

Day four of NZ Fashion Week saw established and emerging designers take to the runway. The Viva team share their highlights

Mina at Symmetry Studio
Ambience: Rosie: Showroom22’s Symmetry Studio provided a serene setting for the Mina presentation breakfast. Blue skies outside helped, with light streaming in through the windows and the coffee machine in full swing while attendees stood around chatting and waiting for their order.

Three long tables from Avondale-based Arkade held 10 places each, with dishes, plates, candle holders and small vases from both Fiona Mackay ceramics and Babelogue – plus some impressively tall candles which provided comic relief when one kept falling over.

(From left) The table setting at Mina; Model Anna Lines. Photos / Supplied

Mina designer Natalie Procter collaborated with Orphans Kitchen owner Tom Hishon for the event, telling me in an interview for the Viva Daily “I’ve always seen a relationship between fashion and food. Nourishing and quality food is just like a well-made, good quality garment.”

On the menu was fresh fruit salad and yoghurt, plus Daily Bread sprouted lentil loaf toast with buffalo curd & tangelo marmalade; nasturtium pesto & persimmon; smoke and fire peanut butter & carrot kimchi. Yum.

The event had been billed as a ‘dynamic presentation’ which manifested as the models became the servers, carrying a dish of fruit or a plate of toast to put on the tables. The whole mood was that of a sort of bountiful, shining Earth Mother, wearing thoughtfully made clothing and serving thoughtfully made food to her friends.

Models at Mina's breakfast presentation. Photo / Supplied

As stylist Sammy Salsa said in his @nzhviva Instagram takeover — not only were the models serving breakfast, they were also serving looks.

The real question is, do these models get paid more than a waitress? The answer is, sadly, probably not.

Favourite look: A tie between the checked, relaxed suit on Mercy and a blue off the shoulder top and white skirt combo.

Styling notes: As they clearly needed their hands free, accessories were kept to a minimum, however nearly every model wore gold statement earrings by local jeweller Charlotte Penman. Shoes were by Mi Piaci, with a couple of models in flat slides and others in low block-heeled mules or shoes – simple styles in keeping with the collection.

Casting: Natalie says she wanted to include women of a variety of ages in her presentation because she designs her clothes to be ageless. Her casting included Mercy Brewer and Daria Bing (Unique), writer and beauty editor Helene Ravlich, Anna Lines (62 management) and Cait Kneller (Clyne).

Beauty note: Hair and makeup was done by Ponsonby-based Inco studio, and was kept natural. Dewy and fresh, with a hint of glowing colour on the cheeks and each of the model’s natural hair texture allowed to do its thing.

One word review: Wholesome
— Rosie Herdman, assistant fashion editor

The Contemporary Collective at the Concert Chamber
Ambience: Sarah: Up-and-coming labels Starving Artists Fund by designer Natasha Ovely, and Havilah Koledoye’s namesake brand, Havilah, turned out a supportive crowd, including a good bunch of friends and family for both designers. I felt the love in the room!

Favourite look: A structural blue/black dress from Starving Artists Fund — it's office-appropriate right?

Styling notes: Starving Artists Fund played fun with a mixed shoe selection — different looks were matched with either slick sneakers with Nike socks or fierce platform heels. Day to night sorted.

Models at Starving Artists Fund. Photos / Supplied

Casting: Starving Artists Fund and Havilah sent out collections on models varying in age, race, size, and disability. The underlying theme: diversity, eco-conscious and empowerment. The one and only Mercy (Unique Model Management) walked for Havilah, along with Soprano and opera singer/model Isabella Moore.

Music: D-Child sang Say My Name to open Havilah’s show. Rihanna’s Consideration also set the power women mood for Starving Artists Fund.

One word review: Bold.
— Sarah Downs, writer

Miromoda at the Runway at Aotea Square
Beauty notes
: Ash: I eagerly await the beauty look at Miromoda’s show every year purely for the ‘no holds barred’ approach backstage. This year didn’t disappoint, with a heavily crimped, voluminous hair look created by Wellington-based stylist Warren Dion Smith using eco-friendly hair range Davroes.

After hair was crimped from root to tip, Warren and his team from the Servilles Academy styled each model’s hair according to their natural hair texture and length. This created a variation of final looks that ranged from bouffant mohawks to textured braids or towering beehives.

The Miromoda showcase featuring towering beehives. Photo / Getty Images

Makeup tutor at Servilles Academy Jordan Jensen directed a team of Level 4 students as the bronzed, sculpted and highlighted model’s skin to perfection. A last-minute makeup change backstage could have sent the team into a tailspin, but Jordan and her crew managed to bump up the contrast so the overall look popped under harsh stage lighting. For many of the students at the Servilles Academy, this was their first time working on a show for NZFW, and Jordan says it won’t be their last.

Front row observation: It’s always a joy to see the designer’s families whooping and cheering for their loved ones from the front row. This year, whanau from all 12 Miromoda designers delivered plenty of positive energy to the show.

Music: The show playlist was curated by Kiwi DJ MC Tali, who says she designed the flow of the tracks to take show observers on a journey from dark to light – from oppression to enlightenment. The show opened with traditional Maori rangi, which became progressively more punchy with the addition of drum and bass tracks.

One word review: Divergent.
— Ash Cometti, commercial editor and beauty writer

Zambesi at Auckland Central City Library
 Amanda: Bright public library lighting didn't curb the vibe as Zambesi's friends and fans poured through the doors and filled one of my favourite places in the city. This show was the 80th collection of this iconic brand and for a brand renowned for being on the dark side, the mood was light and celebratory. Plus, being at the library is cool. Anytime. Books are the best.

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

Music: The oh-so-clever soundtrack, mixed by Sophie Findlay, included Thom Yorke's emotional I Am A Very Rude Person and the challenging Just Like Love from Perfume Genius with lyrics about admiring another man's outfit and standing up against society's prejudices. 'When it happens again, baby. Hold on and stare them down'. This is music that hits right in the gut of what is being discussed culturally right now and, as Sophie told me, she wanted to explore "the layers that exist within us all and how dark and raw we can be beneath our facades". Perfectly juxtaposed with these tracks were a mix of light, airy-fairy, fun elevator music that addressed the "every thing's fine and nothing hurts facade we all present" says Sophie. Brilliant.

(From left) Prada runway model Denver Gray; Model Danielle Hayes at Zambesi's 80th collection show. Photos / Suppied

Front row observation: What book should I check out with me before I leave? I was staring straight at the A-section of the fiction section.

Favourite looks: Put me down for the men's Argyle knit jerkin, the lilac frill-front blouse, and the black velvet gown.

One word review. Relevant.

Casting: Dan: A wonderfully strong mix of individual faces and muses to the brand both past and present who have featured throughout its history including runway shows, lookbooks and campaigns.

Briar Neville and Terzann Elliot were stand-outs and welcome familiar faces who wear Zambesi impeccably. Speaking with menswear designer Dayne Johnston at the brand's Las Vegas after-party, he was particularly excited to have Prada campaign star Aidan Andrews walking the show, along with friend and long-time muse Michael Whittaker, who lent his discerning eye to some of the styling.

Zambesi's show amongst the bookshelves at Auckland Central City Library. Photos / Getty Images

Another Zambesi muse, Joshua Skelton, who hasn't modelled for a few years, preferring to spend his days working as an arborist, made the special return to the runway to mark the brand’s 40th anniversary. One of the best walks of the week was Alice Zhou of Bintang Models; and recent Prada runway model Denver Gray made an impact with his retro-inspired haircut. Danielle Hayes, who announced she was walking her final NZ Fashion Week show via Instagram, epitomised the strength and spirit of the Zambesi woman — unapologetically individual and a force to be reckoned with.

Favourite looks: All of the menswear caught my eye, of course — especially a men’s wide leg check suit worn by model JFK; as did a black boucle gown worn by model Kelvin Konoplyasova and a black velvet gown worn by Sophia Frankish. Who better to play with the myriad textures and hues of the colour black than Zambesi? All of the black garments presented were interesting and luxurious. Several of the coats made an impact too.

Worth noting: The team always know how to put their clothes together in a unique way that tells a story — something many young designers can learn from this week. Making full use of its location at the Auckland Central Library, models walked out with book belts laden with books strapped to their wrists. Some models carried books clutched to their chests. A custom Zambesi library card featuring one of the brand’s prints was given to guests as they entered, a lovely touch and a great way to encourage people around the importance of books and libraries within our communities.

Beauty notes: Janetta: Zambesi’s sci-fi army of fembots strode out in the strongest beauty look of the week. Find out why we reckon fantasy trumps reality at showtime.
— Amanda Linnell, editor, Dan Ahwa, fashion & creative director, Janetta Mackay, beauty editor

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