Finale at Jacqueline Anne’s St Matthew’s show. Image by David Watson.
With the recent cancellation of New Zealand Fashion Week (which would have been last week), I was incredibly excited to receive an invitation to attend Jacqueline Anne’s “Mõ ā mātou Manu” (For our Birds) show at none other than the historic Anglican church St Matthew’s on Hobson Street in Auckland’s CBD. In line with the current restrictions, the event was limited to 100 people but it was exciting to attend a runway show from one of the designers who would have otherwise been showing at NZFW.
The audience was seated with refreshments to the relaxing sounds of native Tui and we were welcomed in with a beautiful Karanga pre-show – I had goosebumps as her call radiated from the church rooftop. A compelling way to begin what was, a visual treat for the senses.
From the moment those jazzy tunes began and we caught a glimpse of that juicy, oh so zesty tangerine suit we knew this would be a mesmerising experience. Romantic and hyper-feminine, the show’s designs were a nod to the flamboyance and freedoms of the 1920s and 1930s.
Swinging music covers complemented each of the designs like Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ and ‘Sweet Child O’Mine’ by the musical collective Postmodern Jukebox, which kept the energy moving as the first wave of gorgeous models featured elegant, timeless designs. Gorgeous, tailored pantsuits in rich colours gave me “working in the office for the first time in two years but make it fashion” energy which I needed. Honestly, tailored high-waisted pants are the way to my heart and this show delivered.
I was completely captivated by the perfect amount of satin used, not overdone at all and in all the right places. I’m a firm believer that if you’re going to wear a fabric like satin, you may as well make it a floor-length dress featuring a blue watercolour pīwakawaka (fantail) print by local artist Mia Riddell.
Floaty satin pieces sashayed past me and I couldn’t take my eyes off the sequins. Sparkling rich jewel tones quickly took the audience from sophisticated drop-waists to Prohibition-style parties in the bat of an eye. Several utterly jaw-dropping dresses emerged, including the rich royal blue Takahe dress paired with a red belt and oversized floral brooch were an absolute show-stopper.
Jacqueline’s designs are starkly different from some of the more shapeless designs of the ’20s and ’30s however; with soft silk jumpsuits, glamourous sequin dresses, floaty floral blouses, embroidered silk and Maori handweaving techniques shown in pieces like the Raranga bodice dress. If I had to sum up one piece that completely threw me off guard, it was the Black Swan outfit featuring sheer black embroidered fabric and dyed red ostrich feathers adorning the back to complete the look. I was in love and couldn’t take my eyes off this design.
As for beauty, smooth complexions with a bold eye and thin brow completed the makeup look, while fluffy hair pinned into bobbed, wavy hair took us straight to early 18th-century self-expression. Oversized hats in bright colours and custom millinery by Monika Neuhauser complemented the designs and inspired me to take some of my oversized floral brooches out of hiding.
Delicate, feminine and perfectly put together was the key takeaway for me as I left St Matthew’s. It was simply perfect. Well done to designer Jacqueline Roper, the models and organisers and thank you so much for having us along – it was an absolute pleasure.
This ‘Ready to Wear’ range will be launched in August 2022. Jacqueline Anne is opening their flagship store including the new swim and resort collections in 2022. Stay tuned for more information at jacqueline-anne.com.
Runway images by David Watson.