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Air New Zealand Fashion Week 2005

10 August 2005

Air New Zealand Fashion Week 2005

Top designer line-up and exciting newcomers set scene for the fifth New Zealand collections

Birthday celebrations were on the menu at tonight's launch of Air New Zealand Fashion Week 2005 along with a host of new names set to become tomorrow's household labels.

Organisers celebrated the event's fifth birthday at a special media event to announce the designers showing at this year's Air New Zealand Fashion Week, being held from 18-21 October.

A five-tiered birthday cake complete with mannequins, was cut by managing director, Pieter Stewart, naming rights sponsor Air New Zealand and eilte (and founding naming rights) sponsor L'Oreal New Zealand.

Pieter Stewart said celebrating five years of Fashion Week was no small achievement by all those involved - designers, sponsors and organisers included. It was time to reflect on not just the coming of age for New Zealand fashion but how the vision for our style on the world stage has changed, she said.

Stewart said the line up of labels for this year's event reflects a response to the feedback she receives after every event.

"We've reviewed the way the week works to give greater profile to emerging talent and have created several new forums for new names. This is part of the evolution of the event and in direct response to requests from international buyers and media."

The changes include a re-working of the Verge New Generation category to encompass designers who have some experience under their belt rather than those just starting out. This show will now be known as the Verge Breakthrough Designers.

There is a new Contemporary Salon category for designers who want the scope to show as individuals with their own distinct "look" but with a smaller collection than the main designer shows of established labels.

In addition a number of designers have also chosen to use on-site showrooms to display their range as opposed to preparing a catwalk show. These will also appear on the schedule.

Stewart said she had briefed Australian buyers on the review last week and received excellent feedback.

"Our buyers around the world have made it clear that while they want to see quality and consistency from all our designers, they want to see fresh, new talent too and Fashion Week is the only place to showcase that for them."

There is a bumper crop of newcomers this year, with 15 new labels, plus those in the AUT "Rookie" and Westfield Style Pasifika shows and the Deutz Fashion Design Ambassador Awards. Among the newcomers expected to make a strong showing are well-known retailers, Yvonne Bennetti, Angela Lewis and Little Brother.

The established major fashion labels taking part include Zambesi, Trelise Cooper, Kate Sylvester, Karen Walker, Workshop and Helen Cherry, Nom D, Liz Mitchell and Insidious Fix.

Stewart said there are noticeably more designers wanting to stage individual shows in 2005.

"Showing individually is a natural progression from showing as a group. I think the fact so many designers are choosing to show as individuals is a sign of growing confidence and maturity and creates plenty of highlights for our schedule!"

For the first time, the AUT "Rookie" show featuring design school graduates and the Deutz Fashion Design Ambassador Awards will have their own official status on the schedule to give delegates a taste of what the future of New Zealand fashion holds.

As in 2004, there will also be a show featuring the Westfield Style Pasifika designers, a hugely popular attraction for international delegates.

This year's collections will once again take place at Auckland's Viaduct Harbour Marine Village, the former Alinghi and Team New Zealand America's Cup bases. Stewart said improvements were being made to the venue, with changes to the catwalk venues and additional chill-out areas. Onsite showrooms will also make it easy for designers to showcase their ranges to buyers at the event rather than having to go offsite.

Stewart said that while Fashion Week is an international trade show, huge public interest in the event and demand for greater access had led organisers to look at ways to allow the public greater involvement.

"We are thrilled we can now include an increased number of "Best of" shows in our schedule, which will be open to the public and on-site, where all the big shows are being held."

The highlights shows will include both Fashion Week garments and in-season garments that people can buy in-store in October. Tickets go on sale in September with extra shows to be scheduled subject to demand.

As for the fifth birthday cake, the creation designed, baked and iced by AUT Senior Lecturer (Patisserie) Arno Sturny, was delivered to Auckland's Methodist Mission after a few token slices were consumed by the fashionistas!

A schedule outlining the timing of each show will be released in September, as will more information about the "Best of" shows, corporate hosting packages and other public events, and the Exhibition, featuring off catwalk fashion including accessories and emerging designers. Important international buyers and VIP media will be announced in late September.


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