Two thousand and nine marks the 30th anniversary of one of New Zealand's best-known fashion labels - Zambesi - and to kick off celebrations, founders Elisabeth and Neville Findlay will return to Rosemount Australian Fashion Week after a one year hiatus. The show is locked in, Neville Findlay told frockwriter, for the Tuesday 28th April 12.30pm time slot and will be the first of a series of birthday events that are planned for the year.
The business originally started out as retail-only in 1976, with two Auckland multibrand boutiques called Cachet and Tart, whose offer included Kiwi Marilyn Sainty and Oz brands Adele Palmer and JAG Jeans.
The Zambesi label and store (31 Lorne Street, Auckland) launched three years later:
Thirty years down the track, Zambesi's trademark sauvage chic sells through 50 doors internationally, including Moscow's Cara & Co and the Tokyo luxury mecca Restir.
With, moreover, their industrial chic vibe and avant garde multibrand mix - that also includes NOM*d, Martin Margiela, Rick Owens, Raf Simons menswear and AF Vandevorst, NDC and Costume National accessories - Zambesi's six standalone stores in New Zealand and Australia count amongst the best Australasian fashion retail.
Considering that Elisabeth Findlay's sister Margi Robertson helms the iconic Dunedin fashion brand NOM*d, the Findlay-Robertsons have got to be the First Family of New Zealand fashion.
What has Neville Findlay, who is a qualified industrial design engineer, learned about the ragtrade in the last 30 years?
He told frockwriter:
"I've learned that my lovely wife is a machine, she’s a natural and she’s just brimming with creativity. As an engineer, I've learned that it doesn't really matter what you do in your life, you apply it. I've also learned that you’ve got to roll with the punches and enjoy yourself. And don’t listen to the press too much, especially the business press. I stopped reading the paper [specifically, he later added, The New Zealand Herald] about six months ago".
neville findlay racing his bro's datsun 260Z two weekends ago
And it seems that fashion isn't Findlay's last career tangent.
According to Findlay, his latest passion is fanging around a circuit race track - the next instalment of which is slated to be in the Open Class section of New Zealand's BMW Race Series.
Quipped Findlay, "I'm calling it adventure before dementia".
Click here to see the updated RAFW schedule (details confirmed independently by the designers or their reps, prior to IMG's official April 15 release).
all pics: zambesi