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Mayoral robes get a Fashion Week makeover

Mayoral robes get a Fashion Week makeover

The Mayor's New Robes: AUT design student Michelle Boyes with Mayor Dick Hubbard and her take on the Mayoral robes
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The Mayor's New Robes: AUT design student Michelle Boyes with Mayor Dick Hubbard and her take on the Mayoral robes



18 September 2006

Mayoral robes get a Fashion Week makeover

Mayor of Auckland City, Dick Hubbard stepped out tonight at the opening of Air New Zealand Fashion Week in new look Mayoral robes designed specially for fashion week, thanks to a joint project between Auckland City and AUT University.

Auckland City and AUT University are working together to reflect the council’s support of the city’s emerging creative talent.

AUT Bachelor of Design (Fashion) student Michelle Boyes has devoted approximately 150 hours to designing, knitting, felting, sewing and hand-stitching the Mayoral robes from all natural, all New Zealand materials.

“We have amazing resources here in New Zealand but they’re often overlooked,” says Ms Boyes. “I’m really passionate about using natural, local materials and that was something the Mayor was keen on as well.”

Ms Boyes, who is in her third year of the degree, worked with Woolyarns, Basically Bush and Swarovski to source the materials and create a more modern take on the robes.

Woolyarns chose to custom produce a totally unique blend of merino possum silk yarn for the Auckland Mayoral Robe, as an example of the type of fabrics which can be produced from yarns produced exclusively in New Zealand. The colour of the yarn is also unique to this project and has been dubbed “Mayoral Red”.

Swarovski provided crystals for the project and Ms Boyes has threaded more than 6000 crystals to create four iconic Auckland panels – Rangitoto, the Sky Tower, Pohutukawa flower and sails on the harbour.

Possum trim from Opotiki-based Basically Bush is the final touch on Ms Boyes’ design, replacing the English pelts on the current Mayoral robes, which draw heavily on ceremonial British garb dating back to the seventeenth century.

“It was a bit of a wrench handing them over, they’ve been such a big part of my life for the last couple of months,” says Ms Boyes. “It has been a fantastic project though, and we are all really proud of how they turned out.”

Auckland City is a long-standing supporter of Auckland’s creative sector and has sponsored Air New Zealand Fashion Week since its inception in 2001.

Mayor Hubbard says “We’re proud to be the home of Air New Zealand Fashion Week, which is a great opportunity to showcase Auckland and New Zealand fashion talent.

“This has been a wonderful opportunity to see the design process in action as the robes have taken shape before my eyes. We have a huge pool of creative people in Auckland and New Zealand, and I’m privileged to be able to wear something that showcases our emerging talent.

“We recognise that the fashion industry is an important economic driver for the city and acknowledge the contribution the industry and the designers make.”



Michelle Boyes is also one of the AUT students showing at Air New Zealand Fashion Week in ROOKIE this Friday at 2pm.

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