Fashion News

Everything that happened at New Zealand Fashion Week’s opening night

From the opening party to Zambesi's momentous show, New Zealand Fashion Week begins with a bang.

By Jessica-Belle Greer
New Zealand Fashion Week (NZFW) opening night

The biggest night in New Zealand fashion, the New Zealand Fashion Week (NZFW) opening event is both a celebration of the industry and the amazing garments we will see as the week unfolds.

This year the 'Mercedes-Benz Presents' designer of choice Zambesi opened the week with a high-octane show.

Here's what went down at the pre-show party, and what walked down the runway.

The style set in attendance

International guests, media and designers flocked to the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre to celebrate the 70th year of NZFW in style, where fashion and politics collided.

Following an opening speech by NZFW founder Dame Pieter Stewart Auckland Mayor Phil Goff addressed the crowd.

But the biggest cheer of the night went to the leader of the Labour Party Jacinda Ardern, who was followed by a cameraman and a crowd of fashion VIPs hoping to meet the new general election candidate. She's pictured here with Simply You editor Naomi Larkin.

The Zambesi runway

A fashion show is not just about the outfits. The setting, graphics, lighting and music all work together to set an almost palpable mood for each show.

Having the honour of opening NZFW with the first show may daunt some designers, but having first appeared on the NZFW stage 16 years ago, iconic New Zealand brand Zambesi was right at home on the catwalk.

The team behind the veteran label, including founder and womenswear designer Liz Findlay and menswear designer Dayne Johnston, created a sleek show where statement flashing lights set the scene for a high-tech show with interesting textiles and space motifs.

As Simply You's pre-show interview with Zambesi reveals, the business is a family affair. Neville and Liz Findlay's daughter Marissa was the producer behind the heavy-weight show.

Their other talented daughter Sophie Findlay was the sound technician. The Prodigy's iconic 'Firestarter' track and Julian Winding's 'The Demon Dance' blasted as models stomped down the runway in silver Dr. Martens boots.

Life in the fast lane

As the official Mercedes-Benz designer, Zambesi was asked to create two bespoke looks to signify the major brands' partnership.

Elements of these were inspired by a vintage leather racing suit designer Johnston found on a trip to Paris, which in turn inspired the full autumn/winter 2018 collection shown.

Loose-fitting suits, luxurious jumpsuits and shearling jackets were also stand-outs from the collection.

Black and yellow

The memo we took away from the night was that the future is bright, and next winter will not be as dull as we expected.

Although Zambesi has become synonymous with contemporary black designs, the brand also has a love of experimenting with colour and this year yellow was the playful shade of choice.

A metallic yellow corduroy fabric swished down the runway as if it was velvet in the aforementioned loose-fitting suits, as well as safari jacket and pants, skirts and knits.

As Findlay told Fashion Quarterly before the show: "We always explore the colour palette instinctively... and those accents soon become apparent and find a prominence together with the undercurrent of black that's familiar to the brand."

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