#1236 Underwhelmed at Annah Stretton

Zippora Seven getting amongst it backstage at Annah Stretton – photos: Oliver Rose

In the interests of full disclosure, I can’t claim true objectivity in the writing of this report. I’ve been holding something of a grudge against Ms Stretton for quite some time now. As a 21 year old working in an office, she screamed at me down the telephone for what was clearly an unintentional error. I then got yelled at by my boss. It was my first day on the job. Now with that out of the way, let’s get started.


The show was split into two sections. Chameleon by Annah Stretton, and Annah Stretton by Annah Stretton. The first was a curious procession of ten girls in ten dresses. But according to the copy of Her Magazine – a goody bag score I flicked through while waiting for the show to begin – Chameleon was actually one dress worn in ten different ways. Tied, bowed, folded up, folded down, worn as a dress, a jacket, a skirt and a ball gown. How – especially when the fabrics all looked completely different – was a feat of magical proportions. Your guess is as good as mine. Dempsey Stewart led the girls out for the finale walk, clapping somewhat hesitantly all the way. One was left to wonder who – or what – the applause was for… Stretton? Or the clever dress itself.


Then came the moment we’d all been waiting for. Annah Stretton’s offering for Spring/Summer 2011, titled Stop the Slaughter, inspired by cruelty free pig farming. Spoiler alert: no pigs’ heads found their way onto the catwalk. Instead, the collection took cues from a late 1950s Brigitte Bardot. Apparently she was quite the animal rights spokesperson in her day.


The hair, as you can imagine, was big and Bardot-esque, but for one exception – each model had a Barbie farm animal plaited above her forehead. The clothes too screamed of the onscreen siren. Baby doll shorts with negligee wraps, cotton bikinis with tied tops and sateen rompers.


Rumour has it that Stretton never pays more than five dollars per metre for her fabrics, and if that’s the case, a red and white gingham check must have been a steal – it showed up time and time again. As did a grey and black ruffled check and a lacy white curtain netting.


The best piece was an ultra short hoop skirt. It made the rounds three times to my count and looked good on each turn. Cute, girly and very of that 50s moment. Though I do wonder what her staple customers (ladies in provincial towns) would do with such a frivolous – and teensy – garment.


When it was all over, the models skipped to the end of the runway and go-go danced as Stretton took her bow. It was a fun show. Great girls, lots of laughs. But the ever present reality at an Annah Stretton presentation remains the same. The clothing looks cheap. Not trashy, but all too similar to something you’d find in a discount chain store.


But that hasn’t stopped Stretton from building an ever growing empire that includes a clothing label, a chain of retail stores in prime real estate locations, and a women’s magazine. So more power to her. Like the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


That phone manner, however, could do with a little work.

I LIKE YOU!

share on TumblrShare on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Comments

  1. Charlotte says

    It looks like shiz. ZZZ. And you’re so right, the only people I’ve heard who like her clothing are ladies from provincial towns.

  2. Anonymous says

    So what? You got yelled at. Grow up and deal with it.

    Have you ever asked yourself why she yelled at you?

  3. says

    We used to have a store here in Cambridge but it closed a little while ago. Occasionally there was something pretty and fresh but it seems season after season she churns out the same gaudy tat… and you can tell she doesn’t spend alot on fabric

  4. says

    hahaha “anonymous”, at least space your comments a bit further apart if you want to go all stealthy and whatnot.

  5. says

    Annah Stretton is not a designer. She is a business woman, and her clothes reflect that.

    “You’re in this to make money”, she once said to me. I still don’t agree.

  6. Anonymous says

    I also agree – her store has relocated in Wellington displaying gaudy, cheap-looking clothes with strange looking dolls in the window that appear to have some kind of skin condition…

  7. says

    There was a Japanese art director Nagi Noda who obviously inspired these hair styles , you should check them out the originals are amazing…..

  8. Anonymous says

    Cameron, I happen to agree with her. In any endeavor – creative, business or otherwise – if one’s not making money at it then it’s just a hobby.

  9. says

    The no more than $5 a meter gimmick is quite clever, but id much rather see someone with a unique, directional design mind do it (like Rick Owens, Comme, Haider Ackermenn ect) How cool would that be?!

  10. Anonymous says

    so, is this blog a place to vent your personal hates Isaac or do you think your making a blogging difference in some way. i am all for credit where credit or lack of it is due, but all i can see above is a lot of venting that you publish. would like to hear what you have to say to defend yourself. is this actually a critiquing blog or just a venting outlet?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>