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Making their respective debuts this year, steampunk fashion and young school designers brought exciting new dynamics to the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards show in Gore at the weekend.
The assured creativity of many of the finalists in the school sections startled. That entries came from schools in Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Lower Hutt, Dunedin, Christchurch and Mataura was a mark of the groundwork put in by the show's co-ordinator, Heather Paterson, to set the section in place.
It was Victoriana meets contemporary and a juxtaposition of masculine and feminine in the leather and lace. This diversity gained further traction through design details and accessories. Ornate Victorian pistols, gorgeous parasols, Victorian driving goggles and bonnets appeared in the line-up of outfits, along with buckled, buttoned and laced boots.
"We decided after last year's show that the time was right to introduce a steampunk section given the huge interest in the genre here and overseas and before the interest lost momentum," Paterson said.
Overall, entry numbers remained on a par with other years and the calibre of the more than 200 outfits on the catwalk was testament to the innovation, creativity and overall design nous on which the Hokonui awards' reputation has been built.
"Organising the show this year had its challenges, mainly because of the earthquakes and ash clouds," Paterson said.
And, despite the fact that two had to be replaced at the last minute, the judges, as always, constituted quite a force.
Worldman designer Benny Castle was joined by fellow Aucklander and Urban Creative designer and general manager Theresa Brady, back for her third stint at the awards.
They had their work cut out.
In his first stint on the judging panel Benny Castle was impressed.
"It was exciting to meet some of the steampunk pioneers in New Zealand and learn more about the movement. The outfits showed such an interesting mix of ideas in a category that works so well for the creative spirit." he said.
"And some of the younger entrants were absolutely brilliant."
Diversity was seen from the opening Howl at The Moon Streetwear section. Summery colour-splashed printed separates overlaid with a neutral jacket contrasted with wide-leg pants and plaid jackets. There were short, pleated culottes, pretty dresses and classy-sassy bra tops and briefs worn with jackets.
That same diverse approach was seen in the Fredericks menswear section.
The Heartland Hotel Croydon Nightlife Award showed a similar mix of aesthetics, opulence meeting minimalism in an array of outfits all set for the ball and cocktail circuits.
Said Paterson: "It has the most challenges to present given the number of quick changes for the models. But it is always satisfying to see the end result."
• Streetwear: Angela Ward, runner-up: Sarah Holmes
• Wool: Kristin Leitch, Maxine and Samara Woolridge, runner-up: Amanda Donaldson
• Denim: Andre Johnstone, runners-up: Kristin Leitch, Maxine and Samara Woolridge
• Menswear: Sarah Odering, runner-up: James Bush
• Carvin Collections Award: Kerry Wong, runner-up: Eleni Kristea
• Steampunk: Amanda Hasselman and Kate Scott, runner-up: Jeannie Dyer
• Avant-garde: Kerrie Williams, runner-up: Hannah Shand
• Nightlife: Roberta Davids, runner-up: James Bush
• Garment with Most Commercial Potential: Kristin Leitch, Maxine and Samara Woolridge
• Best Use of Fabric: Eleni Kristea
• Knitted: Helen Marshall
• Southland Designer: Andre Johnstone
• Young Designer: Allison Brooks
• Award of Excellence: Kerry Wong