It's odd. For an industry based on looking good, the fashion industry seems to know next-to nothing about presentation

When it comes to fashion, calling me a layman would probably be generous. Well, maybe by the standards of most bloggers, I'm not that bad, and I know my Ralph Lauren from my Marc Jacobs, but I don't pay much attention to labels and have never been to Fashion Week. Until yesterday, that is.

I was kindly invited to one of the big shows this year – Nicole Miller's collection direct from the US. I was five rows back, a sure sign of mediocrity, but got a chance to sit and watch my first ever catwalk.

The people who know this industry looked as if they were picking apart every stitch in their minds. It was, it seems, a "classy" show. But I wondered, were the analysing the fabric, the cut or the overall look? Were they imagining how to convert certain styles for the High St or trying to put dollar values on each item or just trying to compare this approach to everything else they've been viewing this week?

I didn't have a clue about any of those things, so as the techno beats thudded away and the beautiful-people looked on intently, I couldn't help thinking:

  • A catwalk show is the only time you're allowed – nay, encouraged – to oggle women. I mean, really look them up and down
  • Other than that, it really is just a matter of watching people walk back and forth
  • Some of the poor women were asked to walk in badly fitting shoes
  • People really walk differently from one another – and rather oddly – even when they're trained, professional walkers
  • Very few models can be described as beautiful
  • A lot of clothes just don't look their best on stick-thin women. Really, who believes a loose fitting tunic is presented at its most desirable hanging off a woman with no shape? It'd look so much better on a woman with even the slightest curves.
  • How have these ultra-thin women handled the high winds in Auckland this week? Could be the untold story of Fashion Week... Seriously, I know it's the most obvious observation in the book, but up close it is worrying; that look can't be healthy for most.
  • After 10 years of Fashion Week, has anyone checked whether New Zealand fashion is yet earning us more in export earnings than sausage casings?
  • It seems the LBD really is eternal
  • I liked the coat
  • People really do walk oddly. Do I look that weird and wobbly when I walk?

And that's about all I've got.The most striking impression I took away was how much better the clothes would have looked on different looking women.

Was I missing something? It seemed to me that the slavish commitment to pipe-cleaner-thin diminished the impact of the clothing, the power of the cloth and the cut. Really, someone needs to have a word about presentation. It was like trying to sell apples by putting the bruised fruit on top of the pile.

I'm sure if you went to a few dozen you'd start to see the trends, differences and subtle statements, but that ain't my game. Still, I'm glad to have had a peek into that world before I died. The wine was nice too.

Comments (2)

by Deborah Coddington on September 28, 2010
Deborah Coddington

Timothy, Timothy, Tim. Fashion week in NZ is a joke. You cannot take it seriously. Well, you can take a few of the businesses seriously, the ones who've been around a while and make a decent profit, but the rest? Playing around with fabric making it look silly, thinking if they put an "eco" label on it, then it will sell. I mean, it's run by a woman who won't do phone interviews, for heaven's sake, yet she relies on the media for the whole thing to function? Bless.If you want to see real style, genuine chic, go view fashion blogs. I've been interested in fashion since I was a wee girl, cut pictures out of magazines and stuck them all over my bedroom wall, driven my parents mad. I sew, I cut up clothes and remodel. I don't view fashion as a frivolity. I view it as an art form, and I really admire the way some people can put items of clothing together in such a clever way (and I don't mean using huge wads of dosh) that it pleases the eye, makes you feel happy looking. Not ogling, just looking and appreciating. But in NZ, that's not often the case, sad to say. Mostly, as you have just found out, it's just sad. I've often been tempted to go to Fashion Week and send it up, but that would be cruel.

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