Slick in silver. Zambesi’s opening night NZFW collection spoke to me as powerful, commercial and clever.
While presenting as wearable, the shapes were neither predictable nor dull.
The cleverness was in use of seemingly utilitarian fabrics – quilted, or sweat shirting – in a design-lead way true to the brand’s power.
The first section echoed an opening tableau of silver photographer’s reflectors – what looked like silver leather in deliciously tailored jackets, and out there silver boots – an important foil to some relatively sensible shapes elsewhere.
The silver suits were in fact two bespoke foil-coated racing suits designed as part of the Mercedes-Benz partnership. The AW18 collection included an array of Liz Findlay’s personal favourite quotes. “Don’t be afraid, Never give up and Keep up the quality,” were blazoned across the chests of various tops.
As editor Megan Robinson pointed out, the collection leaned strongly to the sportswear side. The Zambesi businesswoman may have to look to the brand’s beautiful waisted suit jackets and gorgeous wide legged pants next winter (they probably won’t be able to wear the split version to the office though).
Some combos had a flygirl feeling – say, a knit boiler suit, lapeled but not waisted with huge side patch pockets, accentuated by the Fargoesque shearling caps complete with earpieces. Or “bespoke racing suits inspired by Mercedes-Benz vehicles,” if you will! The black shearing was a knockout in everything from jackets to gloves to a superb neck arrangement.
Some super shiny black pieces that looked like patent PVC were as bold as the silver leather – but for the fainthearted, both silver and black patent were also represented as knee patches on plainer pants – a great way to rock a little bit of Zambesi direction. On that note, the socks were killer! Sheer-ish ankle length, white or mustard, with what looked like the Zambesi logo around the top.
There was a beautiful quilted photo print, a wavy mustard knit, and a smattering of patterns and prints to complement all the big, bold pieces – but this show really belonged to the plains. To give you a sense of its ‘punch:’ a key track was ‘Firestarter’ and former NZNTM star Danielle looked magnificent and in context with a shaved head.
Oh, and the colour of the day – or night, or season? From sunshine to mustard to ochre and back against camel: hello, yellow!