Trelise Cooper’s Theatre of Fashion


Image: Michael Ng


The mercury may have dropped here in chilly New Zealand, but Trelise Cooper brought the sunshine back last week with her gorgeous ‘Theatre of Fashion’ show which saw her new spring and summer collections for this coming season light up the runway. We don’t often see large-scale shows for the summer months in NZ, our fashion week is positioned to showcase designer’s winter collections, so it was a pleasure to go to a big show at this time of the year.


As with all Trelise Cooper productions, it was a grand affair, this time set at Queen Street’s Q Theatre over three nights. The well-turned out attendees were clear from the daisy laser-cut invitations that the show would be a floral extravaganza and upon entering the show space an incredible display of white tulips, roses and freesias greeted the crowd, the flowers were hung in a cleverly-lit curtain down the centre of the runway, artfully created by floral stylists Tomuri & co.



Images: Michael Ng


Starting the show with COOP, Trelise’s range that is aimed at a younger market and designed by Kayla Jurlina, it was evident from the cherry blossoms on the opening title that the crowd was in for a pretty trip to Tokyo.  Mixing the super kawaii (cute) aesthetic from the Harajuku district with a laid-back kiwi sensibility, the range was youthful, fresh and perfectly captured the summer festival feeling.


Flirty mini-skirts, long lace kimonos and ruffled details contrasted with athletic singlets, collegiate motifs and bold stripes for looks that are of the moment and will likely appeal to many types of girls. Reference was paid to the current seventies trend with crochet panels, fringing and platform shoes taking a trip down the runway, with fluffy pom pom earrings accessorising each look for a playful effect. Stunning hand-painted prints and lots of cheerful colours means  the warmer months will certainly be a lot of fun for COOP fans later this year.



Images: Michael Ng


Diffusion line, Cooper, was up next and took the audience on an adventure to exotic South America, drawing inspiration everywhere from the Inca trails to the streets of Cuba in all its vibrant glory.  Bright and breezy was the order of the range, with a sixties vibe present in sweet shift dresses and cute collared pieces, not to mention the vivid florals which were a welcome throwback to a more innocent time.


Prints were everywhere with toucans, cactus and landscapes contrasting with stripes and delicate broderie anglaise in relaxed dresses and casual separates. The looks were wonderfully accessorised with headscarves and sunglasses which added to the summery feel.  Models in colourful swing dresses and floral headpieces closed the Cooper section and personified the free-spirited feel of the collection.


Trelise Cooper

Images: Michael Ng


Last but not least was Trelise Cooper’s mainline collection which opened with a series of striking white looks, starting with cleaner, flowing outfits before moving into delicate lace and amazing appliqué pieces.  Trelise is well-known for her love of colour so it was fascinating to watch model after model float by in gorgeous, feminine looks that were all in white and accentuated by sweet straw hats.


Valentino famously did a white collection in 1968 and for a while it looked as if Trelise was doing one of her own before pretty pastels and more gorgeous floral prints made their way onto the runway.  The collection was inspired by France’s iconic Palace of Versailles which was referenced in the incredible embellishments, sumptuous silks and beautiful beading which graced Trelise’s winsome dresses.  As always, her matching coats and dresses were a delight, but it was the intricately embellished evening wear which was truly breathtaking.


No one does a sequined party dress in New Zealand quite like Trelise Cooper!


Trelise certainly delivered on the promise of a floral spectacle and there was definitely a lot of sublime garments to covet for the coming season.  It’s also quite clear that the success of COOP has made mother and daughter shopping trips a must for the newest generation of Trelise Cooper fans.


– Evelyn Ebrey

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