Friday, September 2, 2011

Zambesi's World Cup

The Rugby World Cup is just a week from kickoff in New Zealand, so it’s hardly surprising that some of its athletic chic appears to have rubbed off on the locals. The focal point of Zambesi’s Autumn/Winter 2012 collection was an oh-so-sportif fluorescent yellow, that Zambesi patriarch Neville Findlay quipped to frockwriter backstage has seen his wife, business partner and the brand’s womenswear director, Elisabeth Findlay, move into “high vis Liz” gear for the season. He may not not be wrong on the collection's visibility factor. This was a strong collection from Zambesi, arguably one of its best ever. Deconstructed sportswear is the fulcrum of this brand’s DNA, on this occasion given a shot of adrenalin with a unisex vibe and the eye-popping palette, that also included an electric kingfisher blue. Opening with a slick, Mod-like black knitwear series slashed with fluoro yellow banding, then followed a fluoro yellow mens anorak – courtesy menswear designer Dayne Johnston – that will no doubt be equally coveted by women and a loose fluoro yellow and black womens’ sweater dress that looked like an oversized footy jumper filched from the bf. 

There was enough signature black to keep hardcore Zambesi fans happy, whittled down to much more streamlined silhouettes, together with a charming grey and taupe series of wrapped knitwear and drop-waisted sack dresses and shots of faded leopard print, all worked back with lace-up, chunky-knit cowl-neck scarves, two-tone floppy felt hats, mirrored sunglasses and Converse Chuck Taylor High Tops. 

There may well be a run on the short-sleeved bone-coloured trench which closed the show on hot Kiwi newcomer, 17 year-old Rosie Crawford (above). Given that several collections this week have featured shag coats reminiscent of Zambesi’s Chewbacca-friendly Bedrock coat from last winter, it’s clear that this brand is setting the New Zealand fashion agenda.   

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