Finale at Lela Jacobs’ New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 show. Image by James Yang Photography.
The last show for day two was at offsite at the Stark White Gallery on Karangahape Road. The gallery is just a block away from designer Lela Jacobs’ shopfront and workspace. Lela Jacobs makes no secret of her commitment to sustainablity with her collections, but she takes it one step further with her newest collection End to End – as she explores what happens to clothing at the very end of its usable life. With the byline “the worker will return to the earth and the worm will kiss the earth” we know that the clothing will return to only one place, the earth.
Currently in the window of her K Road store are two garments that were once a soft cream. They have been buried under the ground and left to the work of the worms for three months. They have been dug up and put in the window as part of this continued conversation of fabrics that are truly sustainable, biodegradable and compostable. Lela thinks deeply about the fabrics she uses and works hard to operate within a low or zero waste environment where possible.
Stark White Gallery is exactly that. A beautifully striped out space painted in a stark, appliance white. The benches were arranged so that there was one big continual front row and everyone got to see the collection both front and back as half way through the models changed direction walking back the way they had come. This was all part of the thoughtful approach of Lela and her team – making sure everyone got the best of views. This may seem like common sense but this often doesn’t happen with shows. The space was slowly filled with the sounds of a haunting solitary synthesiser which was the gentle signal that things were about to start.
The first outfit was a soft concrete grey which was accessorised with the most perfectly matched grey wool bowler hat. Lela does beautiful layered silk, mixed with linens like no-one else. The soft grey was carried through with possum/silk knits, and long flowing black silk coats accessorised with felt matador hats. The outfits were embellished with 3D printed jewellery and rope-wrapped shoes.The use of the possum/silk knitwear has become a signature in Lela’s collections in recent years – because it is soft, durable and natural.
The second part of the collection was in an almost bright apricot printed silk and linen. It took a moment to work out the motif on the fabric, but it was of course, worms. The outfits were accented with beautiful weavings made into scarves and necklaces that looked like large stuffed worms twisting around the necks of the models. Long oversized shirts where paired with trousers and jackets in the same fabric.
There were Victorian frilled collars, with organza over-sleeves on both boys and girls. Felted wool coats with painted smeared sleeves. French Acetate tights in silvery grey and black, and as always layers upon layers of light georgette silk. Always a complete Lela signature.
Soundtrack: The live music was played by the exceptionally talented Hermoine Johnson.
Beauty Notes: The models were smeared with a dirt-like substance, and the hair was matted and dirty – almost like the models themselves had come from the earth. The makeup was done by Amy Elgar for MAC with pre-coated number seven lashes (in choreographic primary yellow) which gave the models an other-worldly look. The peachy toned Retro Matt in Mademoiselle was used on the eyelids, cheeks and lips – keeping the look exceptionally simple and weirdly fresh with the dirt and matted hair. The new Hyper Real Foundation in Gold was used under Face and Body Studio Finish Concealer to give a lively finish to the makeup. There were a lot of murmurings around me about the beautiful and striking makeup for the evening. The hair was done by Lauren Gunn from Colleen. Vast hair pieces of matted hair were added to the models own hair – they were quite spectacular and quite spooky all at once.
Hot Item: The standout pieces for me where basically anything in the possum/silk knits – big oversized polo-necked jumpers, super long cardigans (with pockets!) wraps, and socks. I also loved the soft concrete grey and wanted pretty much all of that. And the hats. All the felted hats…
Images by James Yang Photography.