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Kiwi Show Runs to a Different Tune

19 March 2002

Australian crowds were wowed today with a show of kiwi fashion, culture and a cheeky take on the Australian classic, 'Waltzing Matilda.'

New Zealand labels Gaye Bartlett, Saga, RJC by Robin Jones and Obi by High Society teamed up for today's sell-out Melbourne Fashion Festival show, tagged Quadro New Zealand, which featured what was probably the first-ever Maori version of Waltzing Matilda.

The audience, which included fashion buyers and media, were treated to premium New Zealand fashion, as well as a stunning performance from acclaimed Kiwi composer and singer, Hinewehi Mohi.

Hinewehi Mohi translated the iconic Australian classic from English to Maori for a tongue-in-cheek conclusion to the Quadro New Zealand show.

New Zealand designers Deanne Young (Gaye Bartlett), Angela Hood (Saga/Soulo), Claire Kingan-Jones (RJC) and Robyn Hall and Laurinda Sutcliffe (High Society) joined Hinewehi Mohi on stage for the performance, to the applause of the audience who recognised the familiar tune, if not the lyrics.

The Quadro New Zealand show kicked off with a moving performance from Hinewehi Mohi, to a background of scenic New Zealand landscape visuals. Lewis Design Company labels Saga and Soulo combined to open the show with the Estancia Collection for winter 2002 and preview spring 2002.

With street smart style, the Saga/Soulo collection juxtaposed vintage and modern - traditional lace, ruffles, and sprig prints colliding with modern denims and vinyls for an inspirational journey through the pioneer Estancias of South America.

The Gaye Bartlett Fashion Concept followed, with a contemporary New Zealand feel. Gaye Bartlett and daughter Deanne Young presented classic tailoring with a twist of detail in stretch wool; elegant knitwear in fine New Zealand merino; fine wool georgette with silk and woolen embroidered lace and pleating. All garments were worn with a velvet flat lace up shoe, transitioning the passage from day to night with elegant sophistication, in signature Gaye Bartlett style.

The glamorous RJC Czarina collection mixed opulent fabrics in feminine styles with luxurious fur pieces for winter warmth. Lace, bead and (fake) fur trims gave the collection a vintage, romantic feel. Inspired by Romanov's Russia, RJC's Czarina's were glamorous with a bohemian chic feel. While the range borrowed the nostalgia of a past dynasty, with its luxury and opulence, the clothing was contemporary and very wearable.

The range featured red, mixed with rich chocolates and natural shades. The final outfit shown was a stunning princess item with a long billowing skirt in fine tulle with floral lace trims and appliqués, complete with a tiara. Commissioned jewellery designed by Agustina Mon added to the collection's opulent feel.

High Society completed the Quadro New Zealand show with the Obi winter 2002 collection. With an eclectic mix of strong stand alone items, the collection was based around three distinctive themes: Prairie featured full petticoat skirts and raggy shirts; Architecture displayed strong sculptural and directional shapes; and Occasion showcased special pieces in sumptuous fabrics, rich in both colour and texture. The finale of the collection featured a second-time-around bride in ribboned lace and cotton complete with a quirky lace bandana.

New Zealand Trade Commissioner in Melbourne, Tui Te Hau, says the show was stunning and a credit to the designers involved.

"Each of the four labels are export successes in their own rights. Having the four teamed up for one show has enabled them to showcase their autumn/winter 2002 collections, as well as some spring 2002 previews, to Australian retailers with unusual impact. The result was a phenomenal show for those lucky enough to secure tickets!"

In the year ending November 2001, New Zealand's apparel and footwear exports to Australia reached a value of NZ$255 million - an increase of 11 percent from the previous year.

- Ends -

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