Further evidence that Fashion Weeks are moving their focus to local, rather than international buyers, Charlie Brown crossed the ditch last night to bring her AW 2013 collection, ‘Naughty and Nice’ to NZFW. Brown’s label is synonymous with ‘Australian’ style: sequins, colour, and glamour. In contrast, the New Zealand sartorial archetype is dark, moody, and intellectual. So it wasn’t an unusual question to wonder how the show would be received.
The answer is very well indeed. Yes, it had all the aforementioned Australian hallmarks – but perfectly executed, with such sophistication that even the most ardent Kiwi supporter would not be able to deny this was a beautiful, beautiful show.
The collection was broken into three parts, each with their own unique theme. The first, ‘Military Luxe’, was a fiercely glamorous take on the army trend. The collision of prints and materials – argyle leopard, studded fleece, silver snake leather – could be disastrous in less competent hands, but such combinations are the designer’s bread and butter and there was no shortage of positive commentary from the crowd.
The entrance of a model carrying a paper parasol marked the beginning of the ‘Indochine Opium Den’ section. I liked that the theme was not taken too literally – chinoise prints and Mao collars were less a focus than twenties-inspired silhouettes in rich jewel-coloured silks and velvets, accented with intricate beading.
The final ‘Gala Finale’ section was a show-stopping array of black tie-ready outfits, combining razor-sharp tailoring with fluid metallics, ostrich feathers, lace and organza in shades of crimson, white and black.
Special mention must be made of the headpieces worn throughout. Each girl wore a unique arrangement of clustered spikes, diamantes, or organza flowers. If Ms Brown hasn’t planned to do so already, I sincerely hope she’ll be making them available for retail. With these in place, all that was needed to finish the looks were slick pony-tails and a clean red lip.
And yes – that was Aja Rock closing the show, in a hot pink sequin dress. Some might say ‘too much’, but it seemed just the right note to end on for a show that celebrated glamour. Contrary to common belief, it’s not that we Kiwis don’t like dressing up – it’s just that we seldom get a real occasion. So ladies, start planning: we have until winter 2013 before Charlie Brown’s collection hits stores.
– Delaney MacDonald
Images: Giana Patel