New Zealand Fashion Week 2015 kicked off with Wellington favourites, Twenty-seven Names, the first label on the runway. Although it wasn’t exactly your traditional runway, with the team moving their presentation outside behind the main venue to present the only al fresco show of the week on a slightly drizzly morning. A sea of rainbow-hued umbrellas sprung up as the assembled crowd made use of the protection from the persistent rain, which luckily for the show was moderately light and enhanced the wintery feel of the collection, perfectly complemented by the grey sky backdrop.
The collection was called ‘Still Life’ and was inspired by Judy Chicago’s iconic feminist artwork from 1979 in which she creates the elaborate place settings of a dinner party for 39 mythical and historical famous women. Designers Rachel Easting and Anjali Stewart re-interpreted this into their own party of 25 women, the ones who inspire, challenge and make their lives richer and more exciting. Fashion week is of course the perfect place to celebrate wonderful and influential women as so many of the talented people who create fashion are women.
As the anthemic intro of Alanis Morissette’s ‘All I really want’ reverberated across the concrete, model after model slowly traversed the runway to each take up a position which they held for the remainder of the show demonstrating the dinner party idea. The collection itself was classic Twenty-seven Names with their signature relaxed silhouettes, considered layering and nonchalant attitude. Forgoing the richer colours of some previous seasons, this time it was all about neutrals with a pared back colour palette of ivory, beige and taupe highlighted with soft peach. Navy also featured strongly and has come to be the label’s signature colour in recent years.
Twenty-seven Names have previously been known for their playful prints and youthful presentation but it’s clear that they are slowing maturing as a label which is fascinating to observe. Whilst the sweet dresses and fresh-faced styling remained, there were no cute prints or heart motifs this time around. Their layered looks demonstrated a juxtaposition between prim and playful with buttoned-up shirting and midi-length dresses bringing ladylike grace to the runway in natural fabrics of linen, wool and silk. Masculine tailoring added a tomboy edge while chunky knitted scarves completed the wintery effect. It was another strong showing from this talented designer duo and one that continues to open up their label to an extended fanbase.