It was night two at Stephen Marr's 'Marr Factory' in Auckland last night and the aesthetic shift was palpable. Karen Walker presented her summer 2014-15 collection, 'The League', on Monday via glowing, youthful, girly models, while last night NOM*d's Margi Robertson and stylist Karen Inderbitzen-Waller took us into androgynous sci-fi territory with their army of Star Wars-inspired super troopers; their hair strictly pulled back, their faces covered in block, white make-up.
The dichotomy between the two shows is pretty representative of a general division in New Zealand fashion design, too. On the one hand there's the dark and gothic aesthetic pioneered by NOM*d, Zambesi, Jimmy D, jewellery designers Meadowlark, and Wellington organic cotton label Kowtow (the drape of their pieces in the very least), and then there's the light, feminine aesthetic being purported by Karen Walker, Kate Sylvester, Twenty-seven names, Ingrid Starnes, Juliette Hogan and Penny Sage.
It's a testament to NOM*d's design practice that it's only possible to tell their expert fabric choices and attention to detail in real life. We posted their summer 2014-15 lookbook a while ago, but last night, under UV lights no less, the collection entered another dimension; the eye-melting orange 'Shirt Up Dress' is equal parts silk and viscose, and drapes immaculately, the 'Shirt Down Dress' (my personal favourite) is actually striped (rather than flat beige), and the skirt, in true NOM*d re-appropriation form is actually made out of a shirt. I've never really been that into science fiction, but maybe it's time to start.
Words: Courtney Sanders
Photos: Dan Betham
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