Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wellington Fashion Week Wows

It has been a super exciting time here in the capital with our first Wellington Fashion Week having just ending. Set against a beautiful venue backdrop, we watched collections from our favourite established Wellington designers mixed with young, new talent. The music was eclectic and good and loud, the goodies bags looked amazing, the crowd was excited and wowed by the professionalism of the event. I have to say being a personal stylist who every day sees the people of New Zealand, in all their glorious shapes and sizes, I find it hard to turn my 'practical' brain off when viewing catwalk fashion. I can appreciate the detail, the 'wow' factor, the sheer brilliance of creativity at it's fashionable best. But still my brain says 'ok, so WHO can wear that? And if that person isn't 6 foot, then how is that length going to work?" Overall colour was not in abundance with the crowd on any night, or with many of the collections. Pops of colour was the most popular way of integrating it, with Wellington's favourite neutrals, black, white and grey. I guess the Wellington crowd would have loved the dark, sombre colours of some of these collections. Being 'the woman who doesn't own any black' - as introduced by someone in the press to another - I am a lover of all things colourful. So needless to say I loved the second Group B Fashion show on Friday kicking off with super colourful Robyn Mathieson. Other highlights included the overtly pretty, feminine pieces by Kelsey Genna, and Starfish's lovely dresses in delicious summery colours. For those liking those darker, edgier looks I was impressed with Moochi's ever cool combinations, Mardle's stylish tailoring and use of navy with pops of colour, Storm also wowed us with their amazing styling and fabulous mixes of sparkles and textured leggings. .

The Young designs did themselves proud and I loved the quirky flavour of their designs. My only disappointment with the show was not seeing the designers come out and follow behind their models. Especially the up and coming designers who were showing collections for the first time. Some bolted past the entrance to the runway so fast, we couldn't see who they were, let along what they were wearing! We wanted to applaud you in person. Ok, so the question is, from this abundance of beautiful clothing, what would I have chosen to take off that catwalk and wear immediately? Taking into account there was very slim pickings in my colours, I would love the Trelise Cooper brown beaded slip dress, the Robyn Mathieson wrap dress and the Julia Lynch cream trouser suit. Well done to the organisers of Wellington Fashion week for a stupendous effort, well done Wellingtonians for coming along to support them. I am already looking forward to next year's shows.

Stay colourful!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spotlight on a Wellington Designer - Robyn Mathieson

When you ask Wellington Fashion designer Robyn Mathieson what is one of the things she loves about living in our beautiful capital city she says 'the weather'. Yup, you read right. She adds "it's always changing, never boring and often quite exiting". She could be describing her fashion collections as she is well-known and loved by many for her beautiful cuts and amazing fabrics in vibrant, happy, mood-lifting colours.

But colour is only part of the design puzzle and those that own a Robyn Mathieson piece already know that the quality of the fabric plays a hugely important role in Robyn's design process. "If we get a sample fabric in that I consider won't wear or perform well, or isn't the right type of fabric for the design, then we don't use it".

I am always intrigued as to how designers come up with the inspiration and names for their collection and it's no surprise Robyn admits this is a really fun part of the process. It initially involves a brainstorming session between herself and her design assistant Pip Stevenson, but it is a team effort and everyone has fun thinking up names to be included.

I asked Robyn if she has a seasonal preference with clothing, either designing or wearing and she replied, "I always prefer designing and wearing winter clothes. Maybe that's why our brand sells so well in Queenstown and Invercargill and of course I'm from down that way so perhaps the slightly colder winters did influence me. However, we do design very Tran seasonal ranges which can be layered up for those times when we have four seasons in a day!"

Robyn Mathieson is one of the designers involved in the very exciting inaugural Wellington Fashion Week from 18 - 22nd April 2012. What are Robyn's hopes for the event? "Obviously I'm hoping it will be a big success and that Wellingtonians will get right behind it in the way they support other events like the Arts Festival and the Film Festival. Personally for us, it is an opportunity to give our loyal customers a sneak peek at our new Summer range. It's always exciting to see our clothes on stage".

I fully agree with her, I am super excited to see her collection and the rest of the designers in what is shaping up to be an amazing event. Come on Wellington women, grab a ticket and lets show our fabulously creative designers we are right behind them.

Stay colourful!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Jean Trap

Many people have the misconception that an image and style consultants main clientele are wealthy women who enjoy shopping at designer boutiques. This is in fact a small minority of the business and one of our main aims is to teach men and women how to get the basics right.

What can there be more basic than a good pair of jeans? I see you roll your eyes and groan with the thought of trying to find the ideal pair of jeans. It doesn't have to be that hard and quite so soul destroying.

Ladies, if you have curves, then it is all about balance. The bootcut and flare style of jean is perfect for your curves. If you do want to wear straight or skinny jeans, then pop a longer style top or tunic over the top of your fitted jeans and that should do the counter-balancing job for you.

The biggest crime I see with jeans is the 'saggy baggy bottom' jeans. Ok, lets make this really clear. ALL jeans stretch. Some 'give' half an inch and others, which have a ton of elastine in them, stretch a half to a full size.

Most people leave the shop with the wrong sized jeans. They figure that if they are comfortable and the muffin-top not too apparent, they are good to go. Wrong. You have just successfully bought a pair of jeans that will fit you well for about 24 hours. They will then stretch, sag around your bottom and knees and you will then need to wear a belt, which will bulk out your tummy under your tops.

If I don't hear groaning and see legs jumping under the changing room, the jeans are too easy to get on and I go and find the next size down. I like shops that do 'half' sizes like Jeans West. So if you are a 14, you can try a 13 and not have to jump that whole full size. Taller women, I like that MAX and Workshop jeans as they are quite long. Shorter women, if you need a bootcut but find once the bottom is cut off you have a 'straight', then always buy a flare and once cut, this will turn into a bootcut.

Once you have struggled into your uncomfortably tight jeans, you need to remember that you have to put the work in to stretch them out. If the jean is rigid, you are not going to get as much stretch. If it feels stretchy (or ask the assistant) this will take approximately 3-7 wears. If you need to just wear them at home after work to get this done. Yes, once you wash them they will shrink in a little, but they will not return to the original size.

Sometimes the best outfit can be the most simple. A great pair of jeans that flatters your body shape and fits like a glove, teamed with a flattering coloured T-shirt with the right neckline, a string of beads and a funky pair of shoes.

Stay colourful!