Always one of the ‘hottest tickets’ at fashion week, Zambesi again opted for an on-site show this year, which is really so much easier for all than moody (but rather draughty) sheds or distant stages. It has to be said, in these days of economic austerity that setting a mood in one of the ‘sheds’ can be difficult but I loved the way Zambesi did it – the lights were out in except at the entrance to the runway and models passed between two panels, giving tantalising glimpses of what was to come. Simple and clever; which is just what you’d expect from a brand that is (deservedly) NZ fashion royalty. The music changed, the lights came up and the first model hit the runway.
First out, a structured metallic gold strapless dress, adorned with an oversized studded collar. The collar featured heavily throughout the collection, as did the structure, with many garments being almost ‘architectural’ in their aesthetic. Collars and capelets abounded in a variety of weights and textures from black Astrakhan to shimmery layers that sat delicately over shoulders.
As is usual for Zambesi there were many shades of black, each worked into differing textures – from full-on wet look shiny skinny pants to oversized mesh sweaters – but this was joined by navy and grey with bursts of yellow, and a black with yellow check for both men and women. Soft, embossed fabrics reminiscent of brocade were worked into sleeves and trousers, a favourite of which would have to be a gorgeous pale yellow pair that shimmered down the catwalk. Oh, and the stunning blue pair teamed with a boxy little bomber with an oversized collar and epaulettes (which I’m buying – put me down for one of those please!). Sequins and velvet made an appearance too (loved the sequinned check shorts) but nothing stood out quite like the black lace dress with fringed panels to the front and rear, and chevron side detailing. Yes, that sounds overly complicated but it just worked.
The menswear was also notable, with structure again a key player in a boxy sweater with domed shoulders and oversized wool coats with leather sleeves. It’s a double breasted world for men at Zambesi next winter, in both coats and suit jackets. Pants were typically slim, some cropped and I even spotted a pleated pair. Most hovered around or above the ankle.
It seemed a slightly shorter show than previous years with less garments heading down the catwalk, but whether or not that was true, it was no less compelling. Hot ticket? You bet. Zambesi never disappoint.
– Jackie O’Fee
Images: Giana Patel