Photos: Katherine Lowe
Stolen Girlfriends Club designer Marc Moore was understandably a little freaked out in the lead up to the show. The brand’s first ever shoe collaboration with Jeffrey Campbell hadn’t turned up from China, and options were limited. A plan was hatched: shoes from the recent supermarket show were urgently couriered over from New Zealand, and sandals that they’d designed were given an extra boost in the form of paint, glitter and giant creeper soles. Another collaboration was unveiled tonight: the team’s first with fine artist Karl Maughan. Shorts, shirts, dresses and pants came printed with the painter’s signature floral scenes.
Where often the trio’s designs have veered into trash-fashion territories, the floral prints looked fun and new. They came in two options: one vibrantly multi-coloured, the other dark and moody, and worked best in an oversized tee shirt dress and a floaty overshirt. A double denim jacket and shorts combo with leather inserts felt fresh, as did the white shirt sleeves on a menswear denim jacket, worn by Jasper Seven.
One problem: like Kate Sylvester before them, Stolen Girlfriends Club fell victim to a particularly dark lighting setup. Perfect for hiding flaws, but not so wonderful for audience members. This was never so apparent as in the second half of the show, when the collection turned a dark, macabre corner.
Stolen Girlfriends Club is without a doubt the strongest branding success story to have emerged from New Zealand in the past five years. Founded on witty slogan tee shirts, grungy denim and amazing parties, there was a time when you couldn’t leave the house without spotting several dozen hipsters in one of their pairs of acid washed jeans or scoop neck tees. The brand’s success is still in the designers’ ability to capture the zeitgeist and sell a dream of endless parties with the coolest kids in town.
But the fact remains that jeans and tee shirts, which have become less of a focus in recent seasons, will be the label’s bread and butter. Perfect them, and the rest will follow. And from what could be seen on the runway tonight, those Karl Maughan printed tees will make the Stolen Girlfriends Club boys a lot of money come summer.