Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chow down with World

world AW09 muse tina chow/andy warhol

Although I missed the World show last week, I managed to play catchup with the World crew while in Auckland. And as if NZ's self-proclaimed "factory of ideas and experiments" wasn't camp enough, Bryanboy came along for the ride.

No limo for BB on this occasion however - he had to put up with the back of World co-founder Francis Hooper's delivery van. And look I did offer to swap, but Hooper was adamant.

"No - you're the girl" Hooper told me, even if many may well dispute this.

I don't recall hearing many complaints however.

Bryanboy's travelling companion was the dashing World menswear designer Benny Castles (below). Evidently Castles made quite an impression - BB told Kiwi blogger Isaac Hindin Miller that Castles was his "favourite" person he had met at the event.

First up was dinner on Sunday night at a cute Asian fusion resto concept called Chow down on the Viaduct Harbour (that's Hooper, centre ^).

Apparently there's more than one Chow in NZ and it was kind of apropos, given that World's There is no depression in New Zealand AW09 collection had in fact been inspired in large part by the late New York fashion icon Tina Chow.

After a four year hiatus from New Zealand Fashion Week, during which time the company focussed on its now eight-unit retail chain and showing at both the Tranoi menswear and womenswear trade shows in Paris, World opened the event last Tuesday.

By all accounts it was a spectacular opener, featuring the brand's trademark quirky take on English tailoring, electrically-hued menswear - and winding up with a showstopper of a Swarovski crystal-encrusted finale.

A significant component of every World show has always been the dedicated beauty concept created by long-time collaborator, the NZ-born, but now New York-based hair and makeup artist Brent Lawler - one of New Zealand's most successful style exports.

world AW09 runway shots/michael ng

Yesterday BB and I trekked over to the World headquarters, which is located inside a deconsecrated church on Pitt Street.

Looking through the collection at close range, I thought a couple of pieces were particularly strong.

I loved the black puff-sleeved power suit with tulip skirt that had been teamed with a crystal-encrusted 'octopus' top - the classic World net T-shirt with ridiculously long sleeves which scrunch up your arms.

For the show, the look had been styled with crystal-studded ankle boots, a crystal-studded disc hat and some pretty fabulous insect-look crystal-studded sunglasses:

Of equal note, the Kelly green cashmere cocktail sheath with extravagant pussybow neckline and fur-covered skirt which has editorial written all over it.

Made for the New Zealand market using faux fur ("We'd have our locks glued if we used real fur here" noted Hooper), pending interest from Europe, notably the brand's nascent Russian client base, the faux fur garments may be destined for an eventual luxe makeover:

According to Castles, both NZ's Te Papa museum and Australia's National Gallery of Victoria have expressed interest in acquiring some of the crystal pieces.

The accessories - and the crystal suit - are fantastically camp. Elvis Presley might be long gone, but there's always Elton John.

Not to mention Bryanboy.

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