New Zealand Fashion Week‘s sister event – the consumer-targeted New Zealand Fashion Festival – took place for the first time on Tuesday this week. A press release was sent out about six hours prior to the show to say that tickets had sold out online, and that the inner city venue would be packed out with 1200 guests. I’m not sure how many eventually showed up, but the place was pretty damn full. And not just with paying customers. Among the crowd was a smattering of fashion media and celebrities, including New Zealand’s current number one album holder, Hollie Smith.
I enjoyed myself. Due to the fact that people had actually paid to be there, the whole event had an excited buzz that often alludes the jaded fashion pack’s response to a typical show. It was also a much more relaxed affair – I counted at least eight attendees who chose to walk across the catwalk while the show was going, often in the path of oncoming models. To be honest, I fail to understand why anybody would do that in any type of show – it’s not like you’d walk in front of a singer on stage at a concert – but it made for some good laughs and a much needed break during some of the slower moments.
If I have one criticism, it would be that the show was a bit lengthy. I don’t have a very long attention span at the best of times, but 90-odd minutes is ages for anybody to sit still. But that said, I accept that I’m not the target market for the event. I’m used to a 15 minute show. The ladies I spoke with who had paid to be there all seemed to have loved it, and all thought I was pulling their leg when I told them that a normal show very rarely breaks 20 minutes.
Next year I’d like to see the menswear and womenswear shows separated, though this could cause problems at the box office – I wonder how many New Zealand men would be brave enough to pay to see a show full of male models? Or perhaps there could be three or four shorter shows with like-minded designers (Zambesi with Nom*D and Jimmy D; or Stolen Girlfriends Club with Huffer, Lonely Hearts and twentysevennames) as opposed to the one group show.
Oh, and bring Ricardo Sumich back to do the seating. That guy knows how to fill a front row with seconds to spare like nobody else on the planet. And he certainly would have spotted Hollie Smith standing behind the back row and ushered her through to a much-deserved seated spot.
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