Stolen Girlfriends Club’s fiery return to the runway

Stolen Girlfriends Club 2020

Finale on the runway at Stolen Girlfriends Club’s 2020 runway show at Shed 10. Images by James Yang.

We have Stolen Girlfriends Club to thank for bringing a buzz back into the city — and New Zealand’s fashion calendar as a whole.

Thursday 12th of November saw STOLEN SUPER CLUB transform Auckland’s Shed 10 into a space celebratory of hedonism, functionalism and individualism. Against this raw and utilitarian backdrop, their latest collection ‘IS THERE MUSIC IN THE AFTERLIFE?’ was unveiled in a part-show, part-party event.

The runway — in true Stolen form — was an impressive shrine to all things grunge and utilitarian. Made entirely of scaffolding, a two-storey and 53-metre runway centre-pieced the space and set the scene for an incredible show.

The first looks started on a fiery high. Two models stood side by side, silhouetted by a screen of a rising sun before making their way down (and technically up the stairs to the second) runway. One of the most iconic looks from the show made its debut here — a siren-red, frilled and layered maxi dress with an oversized t-shirt top. The other look boasted a cropped Hawaiian shirt splashed with a print, AtomicSunrise that was commissioned by designer Marc Moore’s mother, Victoria Moore. The looks that followed continued these fiery tones, with red and burnt orange being explored in a range of styles. Silken party dresses, tie-dyed layering of tops, merlot-blazer dresses and even ruched bike shorts and mini top combinations.

The colour story progressed into golden and yellow territories, before plunging into darker colour ways. The unmissable ‘Flowertrap’ print made an appearance: with interwoven chain link, striped snakes and oversize floral motifs were splashed across slip dresses and flowing, layering garments. One element we loved is this pattern made its way onto oversized headscarves — giving a non-conformist spin to the once preppy, bourgeois staple. The same scarf was even tied into a bandage top, daringly furthering its styling possibilities.

Black then took its place as the central colour in the next lot of looks. We saw non-gender-conformist, ultra-grunge pieces like a structured leather waistcoat, leather pants and jackets and plenty of subdued yet strong classic wardrobe staples take us into the world of classic Stolen. These simple looks were anything but plain, however. Lashings of accessories like loose, leather opera gloves with ‘stolen’ bolded in white, thick belting (sometimes even two at a time), and chiffon scarves added depth and structure every step of the way.

Small leather goods and bags were hot tickets on almost each look. We saw everything from ultra-utilitarian painted briefcases be carried down the runway (chains included, of course) to rounded bottle bags. We also spied a nod to the very on-trend structured mini bag with ‘STOLEN’ proudly stamped on.

We finished the show with a flash of light ensembles, where an ambiguously grey-blue pantsuit caught the attention of the crowd — and us, of course. The look was completed with a baby blue rendition of their boxy mini bag to add an unexpected (but totally welcomed and covetable) dot of colour.

Beyond transcending a stunning color scheme, the sequence of looks actually represented a visual representation of the year that’s been. Marc Moore actually began designing this collection at the height of the Australian bushfires, then trailing into the Covid era. This timeline stood out when the models lined up during the finale, creating an eye-catching colour story that interpreted and immortalised 2020 in clothing form: a feisty beginning, sombre yet powerful middle, and a light, modern finishing note.

More than the largest event in Stolen’s 15 year history, and the biggest fashion event in Australasia this year — this show was monumental for reasons beyond the timing.

It made reference to “cancelling beauty” through the neon spray painting across models’ faces. It genuinely embraced diversity and a new pool of talent, with largely unsigned models sourced through their open casting. It celebrated non conformity, working gender and sartorial norms out of the equation. Above all, it provided a sense of inspiration and celebration.  The show yet again did what Stolen Girlfriends Club has previously done so organically, in a year that we all really needed it.

Although it feels strange for me to type out ‘2020’ when writing about a fashion show; it’s more so thrilling to do so considering the year that’s been and how Stolen Girlfriends Club managed to perfectly hit the nail on the head with its celebration.

Soundtrack: Electric performances (with the odd splash of grunge here and there) by Night Lunch, Bontempo, AndyHeartthrob, Hurricane Emily & Sub-Sahara.

Hot Item: Black leather opera gloves with ‘STOLEN’ stamped on the arm, as well as slip dresses, scarves and shirts with the signature ‘Flowertrap’ print.

Check out the beauty looks from the show and find out more about them from M.A.C Cosmetic’s KieKie Stanner’s here.

Organiser’s note on Covid-19: On learning of yesterday’s 1pm announcement by Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, the team called the Ministry of Health to assess the situation and gain advice on whether to move ahead with the event. The team weighed up the advice provided by the Ministry of Health (which was that we were approved to proceed given there were no change to levels), alongside the safety requirements of the guests, staff and models.

Once we had made the decision to move forward with the show, we sent out an email to the full SGC database of guests, outlining the advice the team had received, reiterating the locations under scrutiny, and advising anyone who had been in those locations not to attend, to quarantine and get a test. The email also reiterated hygiene measures, the mandatory use of the venue Covid tracker check in on entry (with many QR codes placed in and around the venue), availability of hand sanitiser and the must-have supplied mask for entry. This year, attendees received a SGC, WHO regulation face mask in lieu of traditional tickets. Fortunately, this provided guests with an added layer of precaution.

Images by James Yang.

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