It’s Fashion Week. I have seen charming, chic and cheery. I’ve seen crazy and crude. It’s been fun. I thought I was coping pretty well, until Wednesday evening.
The collection shown by Alexandra Owen and styled by Karen Inderbitzen –Waller utterly floored me, and try as I might, I won’t do it justice here – my wobbly notes feature ‘ autumnal redheads in dusky scarlet' , 'dove grey with eggplant’ and other desparate attempts to sum up a range which is the best thing I have seen on a New Zealand runway in living memory.
Two girls walked at once, like ethereal beings toward light, or pairs of exotic creatures from some silk lined ark, and every look was breathtaking. She showed quilted coats, liquid-like satin pants, dream- fine shirts. Some models had faces covered in sheer fabric or fine gauze masks meaning that garments worn seemed to haunt the room rather than overpower it , and the only sound featured was Thom Yorke’s – lines like ‘black eyed angels swimming with me’ could not have been more perfect. Thom and I spend a lot of time together but this is the only time he’s made me cry.
Owen showed her forensic tailoring skills and eye for profound beauty in a way that I wasn’t prepared for, and which could easily be likened to legends. She’s not kidding, and it shows – this is a serious designer with painstaking focus who has truly outdone herself – and by pairing with Inderbitzen-Waller , has now outdone the whole week.
Is it wearable ? Is it affordable ? Will it go with my Ksubis ? That’s not the point. There needs to be one designer in our fair land who sets the bar at a level that can only be reached by those who see fashion as art . One designer who makes things that overwhelm us.
Alexandra Owen is it.
By Angela Crane