Westfield Style Pasifika Awards – A Night to Remember
The Westfield Style Pasifika awards were held with flair last Friday evening at Vector Arena. As the fashionable filled into the arena anticipation began to develop as familiar faces from design, media and politics were escorted to their seats. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key attended with his family and the who’s who of the social glitterati asserted their presence, including Designer Direction’s Hannah Mcardle.
The annual fashion and body art competition that endeavours to celebrate “a dynamic range of designs from throughout Australia and the Pacific” put on one heck of a show!
The call was made in March this year for designers to embrace their unique New Zealand handwriting and with ten categories to showcase this creative diversity the finalists work covered a broad spectrum of design. A pre-show introduction of a recorded ‘Project Runway’ type critique gave the audience a taste of the talent ahead.
The M.A.C Pasifika Body Art section brought to life many colourful creations – my favourite piece was by Jane Ellis with her “kiwi as” design that combined pavlova and Edmonds cooking (similar vibe to Ralph Matthews work for http://www.9D.co.nz). The winner in this section was William Jakk with his body art pictured to the right.
The Youthtown Traditionally Inspired and Resene Asia Pasifika collections were at the core of the event and reinventions of historic ideas were fused with modern ideals. One of the judging panel, World designer Francis Hooper, stressed the importance of the Resene Asia Pasifika section and the influence this design has on our New Zealand lifestyle.
Nadeesha Goddamunne, a recent graduate of AUT and finalist in the Italian Mittlemoda fashion awards showed her Trompe L’oeil collection in the MAX 3 Piece Collection: Garments for the day section (pictured at the very top of this article). Her printed garments offered illusions to the eye and wowed the audience along with Kiwi inspired knit wear by fellow graduate Alysha Joy Gover.
The section with the most razzle dazzle was by far was the NZAF-PPP Pasifika Hero category, which aimed to give a platform for a “Broad celebration of fashion design for the New Zealand gay community. Who better to epitomise Pasifika style”? And celebrate we did! Attitude, glitter, flair, confidence and sequins danced down the runway to mad cheers from the audience.
The Flava Urban Streetwear section held a few surprises with the winning design constructed solely of $5 notes. The designer, Shenade Smith, also gave the Supreme winner a run for her money, securing runner up overall with her creation. Menswear this year was urban, cool and all about young Kiwi’s. Some interesting new shapes came through from Bay of Plenty Polytechnic tutor Donna Dinsdale with her menswear designs – see below right.
Evening and Bridal wear are often fraught with cliches and satin so this years finalists were a breath of fresh air! My favourite piece from the Pacific Blue Pacific Bridal section was a dashing swandri groomsmen created by Trish Strongman. Trish aimed to encapsulate the Kiwi farmer with a colonial twist. Delicious indeed.
All of the Nova models were smiles all round except for a few of the smaller (and much cuter) children in the Parent and Child section. The sighs and cheers for these little creations warmed the hearts of nervous contestants and exhausted producers before the announcement of section winners and supreme prizes.
The Supreme award winner for the Westfield Style Pasifkia competition for 2009 was Designer Direction’s favourite girl Nadeesha Godamunne. Her winning collection Trompe L’oeil is pictured at the very top of our article.
Nadeesha is en route to Italy to take part in the Mittlemoda fashion awards at the moment and we we eagerly await news of her next conquest. Congratulations Nadeesha on the start of a fabulous career!
For a full list of the Westfield Style Pasifika winners please visit the official website http://www.stylepasifika.co.nz
All photographs courtesy of Paul Garelja