nzfw 2016 – french83

I got to catch up with FRENCH83 designer Nicole Wesseling about the label’s second outing at New Zealand Fashion Week 2016

What season is FRENCH83 showing?

Both our in-store collection The Lost Explorer AW’16 and our upcoming season Oliver White SS’17. We wanted to showcase pieces that were available right now as well as garments that were available for pre-order. Getting feedback and orders from our clients helps us to determine quantities for each season and reduces over manufacturing. Less waste is best.

What is the collection called?

The Lost Explorer AW’16 and Oliver White SS’17. Each season is structured around a fictional character and his way of life. – something the FRENCH83 gentleman can relate to and envision for his own lifestyle.

What would you say are your influences for this collection?

I’m usually influenced by architecture, nature and furniture with a focus on texture and form. Each season will develop into the next so that pieces can transition within the FRENCH83 gentleman’s wardrobe. The Lost Explorer is inspired by my trip to Nepal, the sculptural landscape and history of past explorers conquering the mountains. Oliver White is a little closer to home with influences from Auckland’s city architecture and natural get-away spaces (like Cornwall Park). I wanted to showcase the balance of lifestyle in the city and it’s diversity of landscape.

What is/are your favourite piece/pieces from this collection?

The Himalaya Bomber is my favourite from AW’16. A quilted piece with irregularly spaced horizontal lines referencing the terraces seen in Nepal. For SS’17 I love the Philip Coat, It’s such a simple design, but the long length of this trench coat teamed with a geometric buttoned front makes for a stand out layering piece. The angled front can be either buttoned like a double-breasted coat or tucked underneath to create a single breasted front.

Who inspires you internationally?

I’m gradually falling in love with Marni for both menswear and womenswear. I used to be all about the Japanese designers but there’s something about the minimalism and colour palette that excites me.

Who inspires you here in New Zealand?

There are so many young designers and creatives working in Auckland. I’m inspired by the hive of activity especially from my peers who studied at Whitecliffe with me. Whether its art, styling, photography or graphics design, they’re all creating such beautiful work and thriving in their chosen industries. The drive from creatives my own age helps to motivate me and inspires me to keep on learning.

How did the collaboration with Goldsworthy Studio come about?

I wanted to bring another visual element to the runway to enhance the simplicity of the two FRENCH83 collections. My vision was to enhance the concept of the FRENCH83 gentleman and his nomadic lifestyle; he’s always on the move taking all his necessities with him. Nathan Goldsworthy of Goldsworthy Studio designs functional, lightweight and visually striking furniture that matched my vision perfectly. I decided to utilize a range of his stools to show diversity and indicate that all men are unique with their own vision for themselves including their personality and lifestyle.

Editor’s notes

Fabulous to see the return of double breasted suits – I have always loved them

Am loving the more “masculine” lines with a move away from the skinny suit

And those floral bombers – gorgeous

And the shoes – perfection!

The styling and structure on the runway were beautifully theatrical without taking away from the clothing – it was part of a growing trend away from a straight up catwalk. May we see more of it!

All photographs by Michelle Weir of Studio Weir

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