nzfw 2014 – underground

This is event is quite simply why I come to NZFW. This year Underground came out of the carpark (where it was held last year) and moved into the Silo (Silo 6 to be exact) with six designers in a show that was part exhibition, part installation curated by Chris Lorimer. This is all boundary pushing, and experimental work from some of the most fertile minds in fashion in New Zealand at present. In two parts, the installation with live models ran on Tuesday, but will be extended with the inclusion of photographer’s interpretations/workings with the designers as of thursday evening.  This second exhibition will run over the weekend and will be open to the public.

BLUE BLANK – Bless This Mess

Auckland based Clara Chon came to designing this collection originally via her Masters in Fine Arts. During her degree she worked on a series of intricate leather body harnesses, which have now evolved into a fully fledged accessory label, Blue Blank. I own one of the first bags she put into production and can attest to her incredible, off-kilter attention to detail which is exceptionally apparent in her installation. Moving into new territory, she has produced a heavy leather coat intricately hand painted, turning the coat itself into the artwork.



Meadowlark – ALCHEMY

Designers Greg Fromont & Claire Hammon are also driven by detail, with this cult brand continuing to move from strength to strength. with this collection continuing from the highs set by RITUAL w2014. Alchemy is a reminder to engage, with the inclusion of the symbols of life and nature (and their circularity), purification, and perfection.

They worked with stylist Charlotte Rust on the installation with a languid, gothic look, which is beautifully edited and put together. We have very much come to expect this level of attention to detail with Meadowlark, but they also continue to surprise as they move forward from the highs they set themselves with the release of the delicate beauty that was RITUAL w2014.



Jason Lingard – ANTI

Lingard’s debut collection draws heavily from Marilyn Mansons AntiChrist Superstar. Semi-autobiographical – being a teenager in the mid-90s – the feel is quintessentially “goth” – an ode to layered black with isolation, darkness and rebellion thrown in for good measure. Heavy garments of wool, leather and plastic juxtapose with the lightest of silks and cotton voiles. The styling was particularly unsettling but I imagine this was the reaction that Lingard was after.

Lingard’s strength is his incredible attention to detail – especially with his pattern making.  The leather jacket that is part of the installation has an amazingly detailed back and sleeve detail, with the washed leather being re-washed by Lingard once the garment was finished. The bone print on the silk dress shows another of Lingard’s strengths (he has a graphic design background). He has set up a studio on K Rd and is definitely one to watch.

The set installation was by Clinton Richards.



Jimmy D – Reality Bytes

Designer James Dobson explores a “matrix of nothing-ness” for w2015 with the movement of the internet from it’s early days – internet explorer, dial-up speeds and pixelation to now with the bombarding of ‘likes’ and ‘share’ SPAM and the proliferation of immediate dating and shopping apps. Dobson has always had an inherent understanding of what it is that is required from a garment by it’s wearer – the balance of volume and body conscious elements. With a dedicated following (which includes myself), the self-trained designer has built his brand with wit and humility. This taste of next season has already got his loyal following excited for what will is to come.



JoJo Ross – Untitled

Designer JoJo Ross is driven to create objects of intrigue, and she works primarily with new textiles and hand-created techniques. This installation was inspired by minimal architecture – sheer windows panels – and was deceptively simple.  The clothing is elegant in its own right, but with the water sculpture an integral part. You are almost not sure where to look – the beautiful clothing, the sculpture, the water, the stunning makeup. It is all perfectly and thoughtfully put together…




THPRKS – Balance

Pronounced the parks, THPRKS is not a company, nor is it a brand – but rather it is ‘just’ an idea. They have had a quiet instagram (@thprks) presence of late which has only added to the questions about them rather than answering any of them. This is obviously exactly what they want. The collection is called “balance” and explores the notion that the past shouldn’t be forgotten as it is “set in stone”. With fragile furniture made from concrete and wood, the models moved around the installation littered with broken shards of concrete – working against the idea of concrete having object permanence and giving the idea balance – strength and fragility.




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