Rookie Show Reveals the Future Talent of New Zealand Fashion

Rain, rain, go away! Come again another day! No, seriously, come again another day – a day that doesn’t happen to coincide with the AUT fashion rookie show. For those of you who are not familiar with the event, it’s a spectacular evening where AUT fashion graduates showcase their amazing work. The show is a glimpse into the future of New Zealand fashion and one would certainly be mistaken to think of it as a syncopated version of ANZFW for these rookies prefer to do their own thang. And do their own thang they did!

Meghan Hemmings - Tux Hika

Meghann Hemmings

One of those ‘thangs’ was the exquisite use of draping. In fact, collections completely void of draping were few and far between. That is not to say it became overused or groan-inducing. On the contrary, each designer found a new and fresh way of employing the technique whether they decided to drape large swaths of fabric on the back of a coat or create a beautiful loosely draped skirt. The fabric of choice in the case of draping seemed to be linen and the slightly sheer quality of the material reminded me of vast, grooved deserts, which also tied into another major theme – earthy tones.

Michaela Inger

Michaela Inger

While there was a fair amount of bright, eye-popping hues, the overwhelming majority of the designers opted for rich, earthy tones as if to suggest that in spite of the fact that most were entering completely new chapters of their lives, they would always remain true to their roots.

Simone Hine

Simone Hine

Haylee Barry

Haylee Barry

Alysha Gover

Alysha Gover

Such classic looks were also modified size-wise as clothing tended to be less fitted. In fact, the night was positively a cornucopia of oversize cardigans, waistcoats and jumpers generating a thoroughly youthful and relaxed vibe. Even the pants seemed to almost hover around the models’ legs and apart from several leggings and patent leather trousers, bottom garments were generally dominated by loose cropped and harem pants.

Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson

Alana Bishop

Alana Bishop

Another feature that added some youthful oomph was the hood, which has always been a New Zealand staple but never really considered a ‘fashionable’ item. However, lately, it has been earning some serious fashion cred with Nicholas Ghesquière surprising many a Parisian by incorporating hoods into his SS10 collection for Balenciaga. Even the fabulously eccentric songstress, Lady Gaga has been seen sporting the humble hood. The AUT fashion rookies gave an elegant spin on what is normally regarded as an emblem of urban streetwear by utilising soft, sheer fabrics rather than the heavier ones with which it is normally associated.

Olivia Benefield

Olivia Benefield

And now, dear friends, I shall give you my favourite collections of the evening. While all of the collections were noteworthy, the following five, for me, really stood out and succeeded in quelling any anxiety I may have harboured about the future of New Zealand fashion.

Blaire Archibald: “I shot you with my silence.”

It always perplexes me when I see shows with absolutely amazing designs and then find the designer wearing some unremarkable getup. That was certainly NOT the case with Blaire Archibald who looked as chic as any of the models in his collection. That being said, his collection was simply amazing. The overall tone seemed to be Oxford meets India with models clad in Kurtas underneath what were either extremely long vests or sleeveless coats, cropped pants and topped off with a hat and a pair of Buddy Holly glasses.

Blaire Archibald

Blaire Archibald

Blaire Archibald

Blaire Archibald

Ana Vemic: “Lost not Lonely.”

Ana Vemic is obviously a very talented person with a distinct sense of style. The first word that comes to mind when I think about her ensembles is ‘deconstructed.’ In fact, I think that may be because it is the term another attendee used to describe her collection in stating that it was her absolute favourite. The collection, while placing a strong emphasis on layering, never felt too busy or excessive. While it may be unusual to describe a collection as being fun to view, Vemic’s ensembles were exactly that.

Ana Vemic

Ana Vemic

Ana Vemic

Ana Vemic

Reiko Fukuda: “Mr Madame”

Reiko Fukuda’s collection was the evening’s sexiest and fit into the international trend of boudoir. In fact, any of her outfits would have looked quite at home on the runways of Paris or Milan. The soft sheer top paired with the must-have bralette and what I could only describe as pantlets really set my heart aflutter. Now, you’re probably thinking, what the heck do you mean by a pantlet? At first sight, these intriguing creations looked to be regular leather pants with zip up sides. However, on closer inspection, I found that they actually cut off just at the top of the thigh like an extremely long and fitted leather leg warmer. Genius.

Reiko Fukuda

Reiko Fukuda

Reiko Fukuda

Reiko Fukuda

Glenn Yungnickel

Amidst an ocean of warm, natural hues, Glenn Yungnickel’s collection was, if I may be trite, a breath of fresh air. As soon as his first shocking pink and fresh watermelon suited model hit the runway, oohs, aahs and wows erupted from the audience. Being a sucker for colour, Yungnickel’s collection rendered me quite speechless. From the very get go, I was in love with the combination of the simple lines and juicy colours. The fabric was delicately crumpled as though the model had napped in his precious suit and there was a tastefully subtle use of colour blocking.

 Glenn Yungnickel

Glenn Yungnickel

Glenn Yungnickel

Glenn Yungnickel

Lan Ching Fu: “Bright eye”

Lan Ching Fu’s collection is one that will easily embed itself in one’s memory. Her garments were the only ones of the evening to include metal. My favourite look was a chain mail-esque vest coupled with simple black shorts and a black top (see image above) The stark contrast of the black cloth against the iridescent metal had a startling yet altogether magical effect. It certainly distinguished Lan Ching Fu’s collection from many of the others who had played with less contrasting hues.

Lan Ching Fu

Lan Ching Fu

Lan Ching Fu

Lan Ching Fu

So, when you next have a bad day whether it be due to traffic, your job or people in general, at least you can take comfort in knowing that the future of NZ fashion is in the very very secure hands of these AUT fashion rookies.

Check out the AUT Rookie Website for more information about each designer: http://www.autrookie.co.nz

Review by: Kelly Jin
Photographer: Tux Hika

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4 Responses to “Rookie Show Reveals the Future Talent of New Zealand Fashion”
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  1. […] Direction has snapped around Auckland. For those already acquainted, you may notice a certain young Rookie designer posing for our lens once again. Who might that be? #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 […]

  2. […] rushing through the veritable wind tunnel that is High Street, I enter Showroom 22 where everything is orderly. The long narrow room is lined with racks of gorgeous clothing for […]

  3. […] but her designs are 100% Kiwi. Ana Vemic’s layered urban look wowed the crowd this year at the AUT fashion rookie show and Designer Direction was lucky enough to have a chat with this talented young […]

  4. […] Sandra Tupu of AUT walked away with the prize for sustainability with her collection “Tatau” while exploring her own ground roots. Sandra created a “grounded down to earth feel” with her use of recycled natural fabrics, old blankets and antique flour bags. Although all recycled materials Tupu’s cropped and trench like jackets were amazing in their approach to drape and tailoring. Sandra Tupu […]



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