New York Beckons for Winner of Newmarket Young Designer Award

Nicole Petra Wesseling - Winner - Alex JiangIt is an event which combines the raw talent and perspective of any good fashion show with the unadulterated adrenaline rush of American Idol. The Newmarket Young Fashion Designer Award is a competition open to young Kiwi designers all over New Zealand between the ages of 15 and 18. Kelly attended the awards evening in Auckland last night and brings us the highlights and her top picks from the competition.

NYDA 09 - Alex JiangThis year, the designers were asked to take a wee trip back to the good old eighteenth century and cook up an outfit suitable for the modern woman. The prize had me literally drooling in my seat; the winner would be awarded a trip for two to New York, four nights accommodation, $1000 spending money and, as if it weren’t already too good to be true, backstage work experience at Karen Walker’s show in New York Fashion Week plus a scholarship to attend BFA Year One Certificate of Arts and Design with Whitecliffe College PLUS a two week internship in the ‘taylor’ design workroom. And so the evening commenced. Thirty five contestants. One juicy prize. Oh the suspense…

If you have read any of my other articles, you will know that I’m a sucker for trends so bear with me as I apply my compulsive trend disorder to the Newmarket Young Fashion Designer Award 2009.

With the inspiration being the eighteenth century, there was, unsurprisingly, a great deal of romantic French undertones à la Marie Antoinette. From satin, pink ribboned, ruffled rompers to delicate voluminous skirts paired with pink bowed tops, there was no shortage of fluffy girlishness.

NYDA 09 - Alex Jiang

NYDA 09 - Alex JiangTying in with international SS10 collections, a major trend of the evening was ruffles and to add to the extremely delicate, feminine vibe, the hue du jour turned out to be (surprise surprise) pink.

NYDA 09 - Alex JiangHowever, juxtaposed against this wave of ruffled, pretty pinkery, was another ‘on trend’ pattern of militarism. The young ‘uns managed to work in the big shouldered look with many designers opting for military jackets not unlike the popular ‘IT’ jacket by Balmain. I was particularly taken by Blair Wheeler’s interpretation of this trend with her highly wearable salmon pink blazer (pictured below)

Blaire Wheeler

Blaire Wheeler

Of course, while all the designers showed immense talent and creativity, some stood out more than others.

Duncan Lamont Brown:
I absolutely fell in love with this look from the moment the model took her hands out of her trouser pockets thus collapsing the excess material on the sides. The outfit fit beautifully and Brown’s creation is one of the few for which I would actually pay and also wear. While I wasn’t able to actually touch the clothing, the material looked to-die-for.

Duncan Lamont Brown - NYDA 09 - Alex Jiang

Duncan Lamont Brown

Nicole Petra Wesseling:
Sporting one of the most original and fabulous looks of the evening, Wesseling took home the much coveted top spot. Her outfit was one of the few of the evening to venture into non-European territory with her inspiration being the Xhosa Wars. The mix of warm colours culminated into a perfect mélange and the fringed, military shoulders added some real pizzazz to the ensemble.

Nicole Pertra Wesseling

Nicole Pertra Wesseling

Stephie Key:
I’m a huge fan of exaggerated shoulders and tapered pants, so Key’s outfit was an absolute feast for the eyes. I was particularly impressed by the quality of the tailoring, which was immediately obvious even from my seat in the audience.

Stephie Key

Stephie Key

Brigitte Legg:
Legg’s creation really distinguished itself from the others through its brilliant combination of vibrant colour, simplicity and incorporation of Asian influence. Her jacket was superb and the billowing sleeves on the blouse underneath looked undeniably ferosh!

Brigette Legg

Brigette Legg

Of course, as the eternally sage Tyra Banks continuously stresses, there can only be one winner. The winner was, as mentioned earlier, Nicole Petra Wesseling, a year 12 student from Marist College. When I caught up with her after the show, she was recuperating from her win and mentioned that she was still in a state of disbelief.

Before the evening wound to a close, I also managed to have a yarn with last year’s winner, Paris Kirby (pictured left), who shared some amazing stories from her trip to New York. When asked about how the competition has most affected her, Kirby doesn’t hesitate in her answer, that is, hard work always pays off. And on that uplifting, almost Disneyesque note, I will leave you to ruminate over hard work and its rewards while I login to Facebook.

Review by: Kelly Jin
Photography: Alex Jiang

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  1. […] vigilant street style stalker, spotted a couple of well dressed young’uns backstage at the Newmarket Young Designer Awards on Tuesday night. Loving Serene’s look with the cut-out neck detail and vintage styling and […]



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