Backstage at NZFW 2012 with Lulu – Part Two

With Fashion Week behind us, we now have time to slow down, regroup and reflect on New Zealand’s biggest fashion event of the year.

As fashion media engage on the Fashion Week frenzy, it’s easy to forget about those clever designers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make the country’s hottest ticket a success.
Over the next three weeks, we share Lulu’s backstage chats with three of FashioNZ’s favourite designers. 


A regular on the NZ Fashion Week schedule, 2012 was Cybèle Wiren’s tenth year showcasing her collection on the coveted fashion week runway.
Her brand is regarded as one of New Zealand’s foremost fashion labels and has been worn by the likes of Lily Allen and The Veronicas.

Cybèle’s aesthetic is timeless yet directional, feminine with a bold graphic edge. She best describes her brand as ‘’providing thinking women with clothes that are in equal measure, original, clever, pretty, sexy and very much of the moment.’’

Lulu Wilcox talked to Chris Lorimer, head stylist for Cybèle,  about the intricacies of putting together magnificent collections year after year for NZ Fashion Week.

Where did you get the inspiration?
A:This season Cybèle had a girl in its midst who was looking to find true love with her vivid imagination running wild. You see it in ideas such as the animal face prints made up of flowers that depict finding romance in something everyday.
We still wanted her to be that girl but also have her feet on the ground. So, as well as the whimsical air, she also has practical aspects: backpacks and satchel bags, a good winter coat, pockets in the dresses, high but chunky shoes.

What can we expect to see on the runway?
A monotone palette of black and grey punctuated with pale pink and cobalt blue, signature floaty shapes alongside a new and tailored silhouette, clear plastic and black leather accessories

What is your favourite Cybèle look this season and why?
I love the tweed twinset look – double breasted funnel neck jacket and matching circle skirt. It’s been one of the most photographed looks of the show – so others must agree!

Step-by-step method on how you achieve the overall look we see on the catwalk:

What goes into the procedure for choosing a hair/make-up look?
We have a lot of creative discussion with hair and make-up directors – Lauren Gunn from Stephen Marr and Olivia Russell from MAC. I tell them my feelings/ideas and, being true artists with their own ideas on what might work, they take those ideas further.

What is involved between you as a stylist and the designer in terms of creating the mood for the show? 
This year we had regular meetings at Cybèle’s studio so I could stay up to speed on what she was making, then I’d go away and email through images and refs. Cybèle would send things back, including images of work in progress. As it drew closer to show time we met more often, finessing ideas and what the show would look like. I also made a music compilation of songs I liked and asked for her feedback on this.

How do you prepare for a fashion show?
Knowledge is power – the more you know the more you can put in and I think the audience can see that so we discuss everything down to the last detail and really hone it down.

How did you become a stylist for Cybèle?
Cybèle and I met just as we were both starting out – she had one collection under her belt and I had been styling editorial for a while and wanted to work more closely with a designer. The timing was pretty perfect.

Tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What is your educational background?
I’m originally from Wellington, where I studied fashion briefly. On moving to Auckland I met some established stylists and began to make pieces for their shoots. After a while it became obvious I wanted to style too, so I looked for ways to make that happen.

When did you realize you wanted to become a fashion stylist?
Initially, I wanted to be a designer. Then I went into the costume area and on seeing what a stylist did, I knew then it was for me.

Describe some of the highlights of your job?
I really love my clients – I’m at the point where I can work with the designers who I like and who want my work so it feels like a collaboration not a chore. I also get a great buzz when I see my work in print or watch a show which looks seamless.

Who are some of your favourite designers – international and local?
Locally: Jimmy D, Maaike, Kowtow, Zambesi and NomD
Internationally: Rick Owens, Damir Doma, complexgeometries, Daniel Pallilo, Ann Demeulemeester, Comme des Garcons

How do you select your models?
I love to find new faces and I’m known for giving some models their first shows. New Zealand has a lot of great models coming through right now. When I’m casting with a designer we really try to find the perfect models for the concept – casting is a really fun part of the job. I try not to have faves, but try to build a picture of what the client is looking for and determine which girls/guys will work.

Name two favourite local models you like working with.
There are more than two! Rhianon and Neda at Clyne, Dasha at Vanity Walk, Holly-Rose and Rosie H at Red Eleven, Lauren M at Nova, Hannah M and Olivia LeFebre at 62.

What are your ‘go to’ clothing stores/ online websites/ magazines?
Locally I buy from Children of Vision,  Maaike + Co, BlackBox and Zambesi. Online I regularly visit oki-ni, LN-CC, Oak, LuisaViaRoma to shop. Mags wise, I subscribe to New York magazine, and regularly buy i-D and Apartmento.

Sum up your personal style in four words
Black, directional, layered, practical

And finally, what is your personal opinion on what makes for a good fashion show? Any tips?
Music sets the mood – even if the show is on a white set, music can communicate the concept in another way and is a great way to let the audience in on the themes and ideas in a collection.
CLICK HERE to view Cybele NZFW12 – Runway
– Lulu Wilcox

Images: Norrie Montgomery, The A-List


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