Designer Turet Knuefermann with a model in her designs. Image supplied.
New Zealand Fashion Week is less than two weeks away now and designer Turet Knuefermann is gearing up for a special opening night as the Mercedes-Benz Presents designer. Turet has been at the helm of her elegant eponymous womenswear label for 13 years now and was delighted to be selected for the honour by Mercedes-Benz and NZ Fashion Week. It’s the fifth year that Mercedes-Benz have been an elite partner of the event and the Mercedes-Benz Presents recognition is an international achievement that has previously been held by Dame Trelise Cooper, Kate Sylvester, Harman Grubiša and Zambesi. Turet Knuefermann will open NZ Fashion Week 2018 on Monday 27th August at 8.30pm.
We caught up with Turet to find out how she felt to receive the Mercedes-Benz Presents honour, how her NZFW preparations are going and what we can expect from her show.
Congratulations on being chosen as the Mercedes-Benz Presents designer for New Zealand Fashion Week 2018. How are you feeling about it and what does it mean to you?
Thank you so much! It’s such an honour and a pleasure to be working with such a wonderful brand. A very exciting year and a wonderful way to top off the completion of the new store.
Between having the pleasure of driving the elegant shooting brake and the wonderful support of the amazing team at Mercedes and the honour of opening fashion week it has had even more behind the scenes perks like not having to struggle with model clashes and tight pack in and out times as well as the obvious honour of kicking off on this platform where brands can showcase their latest designs to New Zealand. To do so in partnership with an incredible brand such as Mercedes-Benz that has always played a part in my life with its aspirational precision and its solidity as a top player in the market over time is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Mercedes-Benz has consistently retained its standing for quality and longevity and it’s absolutely what we endeavour to create with our designs.
What has the experience been like so far and how are your NZFW preparations going?
Fashion Week always creates that extra bit of craziness to an already overflowing day but it’s so exciting to view the garments on the runway so we are really looking forward to the end of the month! Preparations are going superbly and our brand new samples are flying through our amazing seamstresses hands! We have just completed the model casting, so still have fittings, styling and hair and make up tests left on the agenda and then it’s showtime!
Every designer needs a supportive team to help them get everything done, can you tell us about your team and the people and partnerships that are helping bring your NZFW show to life?
Absolutely it takes a huge team to make it all happen! From our incredible pattern makers, cutters and seamstresses who start it all off with crafting every new garment meticulously by hand, the pressers, who add their finishing touches and then stylists, Hair (Redken) and Makeup (MAC) teams who complete the look and to finish: sound and lighting technicians not to mention the NZFW teams who pull all the logistics together and of course our wonderful retail crew who all help in every way when the pressure is on: it’s a massive undertaking and it’s a wonderful feeling to work with such a large group of talented individuals who are all experienced experts in their field! I am still working with the original crew with whom I started 15 years ago and with our expansion we have had even more amazing suppliers and contractors join our mission to create wonderful pieces we hope customers will cherish for many years to come!
We know you can’t share much just yet but can you give us an idea of what to expect from your collection/show?
The Show is named “The Travel Edit” and embraces a versatile contemporary collection of must haves that bring a sense of lifestyle into your everyday wardrobe and make for the essential travel pieces. You will see luxurious evening gowns – which is what we are best known for, a return to the ultimate LBD, effortless street wear and luxe suiting which takes you from the boardroom to cocktail in effortless style.
A model wearing Turet Knuefermann’s bespoke outfit created especially for Mercedes-Benz.
What’s your favourite part about doing a fashion week show?
The moment in the wings prior to watching the models hit the runway. The anticipation and sound of the music sets a surreal mood and it’s exciting!
Going back to the beginning, what made you become a designer?
Looking back it was a something that came from my love of creating things and my love for textiles, form and design and working with others. I never planned to become a designer: it was moreso something that happened organically because of the events in my life. My parents taught us (my sister and I) about quality and craftsmanship in every aspect of their life and their purchasing decisions for always very considered and selective. My love for aesthetics and refinement came from this upbringing so it was a natural progression to delve into a creative field.
How would you describe your personal style and how does it influence your designs?
I like to mix masculine and feminine elements for an effortless feel. It looks relaxed but feels empowering.
Do you have any style rules you always obey?
Style isn’t about acquiring a different outfit for every day, it’s about finding styles that you can connect with, that suit you and make you feel at ease.
Choose well constructed, refined basics in quality fabrics: Keep it Cool and Simple and use accessories such as Sunglasses, Bags or Shoes to make a statement.
Unless you have a lot of time to experiment or feel confident setting a new trend, keep to modern classics.
Don’t underestimate the power of simplicity. Clothing that has the least hanger appeal can often have the most impact on the body and become your most worn item.
How would you describe the Turet Knuefermann woman and what do you think your customers are looking for from your brand?
She is strong, smart and confident in her choice of life path. She wears garments that underline her personality and allow her to shine. It’s about the face – the person; whether she is tall, short, slim or voluptuous her garments are uncomplicated, refined, and enhance her persona with their simplicity.
How do you balance the creative and business demands of your role in your brand?
The variety of the two are stimulating and I enjoy both aspects so I relish embracing both wholeheartedly. It keeps it interesting and both are always changing!
Where can we find you when you’re not in your workroom and how do you relax?
At the markets and in the sun spending time with family, enjoying meals and making happy memories. I prefer not to relax too much so find that just a different type of busy makes for relaxation too.
What’s next for you and where do you see the future of your brand?
Next: More inspirational international trips to visit friends and family and discover new artisinal territories like Morocco and Mexico.
For the Brand: I want to refine even more, perfect what we are known for and expand our product base by complementing what we do with other imported brands, accessories and hand picking beautiful pieces from all over the world to include in our selection. I love to be able to meet so many of my clients and spend time getting to know them and what fits into their lifestyle and therefore creating for them. It never feels like work and is always a pleasure.