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NZ Fashion On Screen

Curated by NZ On Screen team
21st September 2010

 NZ Fashion On Screen

NZ Fashion On Screen

 NZ On Screen team

Curated by NZ On Screen team


Small screen style

This collection, launched to honour 10 years of NZ Fashion Week, celebrates Kiwi fashion on screen. From TV showpieces (B&H, Corbans) to docos on designers; Gloss to archive gold, from Swannies to Split Enz, taniko to foot fetish ... take a stroll down the catwalk of our sartorial screen past. Beauties include ex-Miss Universe Lorraine Downes and a teenage Rachel Hunter.


NZ Fashion on Screen

 Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Awards 1978

This 1978 Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Awards is presented from Wellington’s Town Hall by John Hayden, and B&H organiser Josephine Brody. The fabric du jour is wool, with design entries coming in from Kaitoke to Marton, and a procession of homespuns and knitwear paraded before the visiting Parisian judge.

 Extraordinary Kiwis - Trelise Cooper

Fashion designer Trelise Cooper battles the clock in this Extraordinary Kiwis episode following a day in her life. A major Australian show is pending and make-up, music and more than 500 garments have to be ready. Other parts of her business also need attention, with local buyers and a sponsor to meet.

 Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Awards 1986

The ‘B&H’ was the big fashion event of the year from the late 70s to the 90s. Maysie Bestall-Cohen and Bob Parker host this 1986 Wellington show. Ex-Miss Universe Lorraine Downes, a teenage Rachel Hunter and future presenter Hilary Timmins star. 80s shoulder pads and geometric prints abound.

 Corbans Fashion Collections - 1995

The 90s showcase of local designers’ upcoming collections was a live event and TV special staged annually. This 1995 edition is narrated by Craig Parker and Alison Mau; then-Fashion Quarterly editor, Paula Ryan, gives style tips; and Geeling Ng and Hinemoa Elder step out for the WORLD label.

 Gloss - Episode One

Yuppies, shoulder-pads and methode champenoise abound in this cult “glitter-soap”. Kiwis wanted to see themselves as less bottom of the world and more “here we come and we are sailing”, and Gloss was just what the era demanded. Liz Mitchell was the costume designer behind the power dressing.

 Pictorial Parade No. 145

A fascinating look at NZ fashion from an era now defined for many by the look of US HBO TV series Mad Men. This parade was intended to promote local designs to Australian buyers flown across the Tasman by the NZ government – and Prime Minister Keith Holyoake was on hand to give his support.


This Niki Caro-directed doco (selected for the Venice Film Festival) is a hallucinogenic exploration of the cult of the shoe. A podiatrist, ballerina, cross dresser, mistress, academic, transexual, femme fatale and a couple of shoe salesmen discuss the pain, pleasure and allure of the foot.

 Style Pasifika - 2009

Style Pasifika is the TVNZ showcase of Pacific Island contemporary and traditional fashion design. Stan Wolfgramm co-hosts this show with Sonia Gray. Francis Hooper, Denise L’Estrange-Corbet and Liz Mitchell appear as judges, and performers include John Rowles, Ben Lummis and Moana and the Tribe.

 Country Calendar - Rural Fashions

Designer Garnet Nelson brings a distinctive attitude to fashion for the rural sector, combining style and practicality with more challenging “after-five combinations”. Even if this might be one of the celebrated Country Calendar spoofs, the buy-in from model-farmers is a sight to behold.

 Made in Dunedin

Margi Robertson (Nom*D), Tanya Carlson (Carlson), Veronica Keucke (Keucke) and Juliet Fay (Aduki) fly the Dunedin fashion flag in this Artsville doco. Stacey Gregg talks of Dunedin as the source of the “dark intellectualism of NZ fashion”; the southern styles are suitably set to Flying Nun music.

 Montana New Zealand Wearable Art Awards

Ice TV trio Jon Bridges, Nathan Rarere and Petra Bagust go behind the scenes of the fantastic fashion catwalk extravaganza. They meet the creators of garments inspired by everything from Alice in Wonderland to roadkill. Nathan and Jon trial bizarre bras, and Petra tries on a possum-skin bikini.

 History Never Repeats

A classic music video for a classic song. Features Noel Crombie's art school-infused clothes, make-up and surreal sets, giant beach balls, a hula hoop, and a young and endearingly-geeky Neil Finn. The video was one of the first (the 12th!) broadcast on US MTV after it launched in August 1981.

 The Big Art Trip - Series Two, Episode Three

In clip three Douglas Lloyd Jenkins and Fiona McDonald visit designer Kate Sylvester in her High Street boutique. Douglas posits Sylvester as “almost the brains behind New Zealand fashion”. Sylvester muses on origins and inspirations – birds, boxing matches and Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock.

 This Day - Māori Fashion Design

This 1970 NZ tourism fashion presentation designed for Australian audiences was shown at Auckland Museum and covered by TV show This Day. It featured traditional Māori motifs combined with contemporary fashion – still a novelty then; they were the work of young Taumarunui designer Ann Rupe.

 The Magical World of Misery

Director Mark Albiston takes viewers on a tour of the work of artist Tanya Thompson, aka Misery. The award-winning film explores her early years as a graffiti artist and looks at the rise of her art and fashion empire, ending in a visit to the Taipei Toy Festival to showcase her 3D collectible characters.

 The Face of Fashion

Indie legend Chris Knox puts the posturing of Movember to shame in this animated single-frame clip. Knox goes from long hair to no hair, hairless to hirsute, bald to bearded, and every style in-between. Has there ever been a more effective choreographing of one’s own personal style and grooming?

 The Living Room

Amongst the bevy of Aotearoa creatives in arts show The Living Room are multi-talented designer, filmmaker and show-woman Sally Tran (cruising in heels); Auckland fabric artist Rachelle Pedersen (stitching stains into beauty), and Whanganui designer Maianga Waitai (turning op-shop into opulence).


This jandal-shod journey through Kiwi pop culture takes a light-hearted look at the fashion, art, architecture, attitudes, and icons (Buzzy Bees, Edmonds, Swanndri, Pavlova etc) we call our own. It features personalities Gary McCormick, Ginette McDonald, John Clarke, Peter Jackson, and others.

 Corbans Fashion Collections - 1994

In this 1994 edition of the annual 90s show previewing the season's fashions, Shortland Street stars pock the front row, Simon Prast is MC, Alison Mau opines, grunge doesn’t appear to have yet-blunted the à la mode styles, and NZ On Screen editor Paul Ward channels Zoolander as a teenage male model.

 Pictorial Parade No. 164 - Miss World in NZ


This episode of Pictorial Parade newsreel series, presents three events: amongst them reigning Miss World, Ann Sidney (UK), leads the way in fashion at the 1965 Wool Award and Fashion Parade in Lower Hutt, where Miss Hutt Valley Wool Princess finalists sashay in the latest styles.


Apemen, Barbie dolls, and hairy shoes ... as this doco demonstrates, hair is everywhere (or not, for the balding). Hair's co-director, Auckland artist Judy Darragh, uses a fascination with all things hirsute as a springboard for wit, styles, thought-provoking theories, and some unusual artwork.

 Miss New Zealand 1973

Beauty contestants talk horse-riding, modesty, and more, as they try to win Miss New Zealand 1973. Miss Otago (Pam King) proves a popular winner, as the show was filmed in Dunedin. The compere provides innuendo-laced links. Miss Horowhenua — a hairdresser — highlights 1973 style: wigs are out for women, but in for men.

 Looking at New Zealand - Beauty Queens

In this edition of Looking at New Zealand, the narrator introduces NZ’s unheralded scenic wonder: “its girls”, as he meets some of Miss New Zealand’s 1969 contestants. Their interests (“I adore frilly nighties”) and occupations (typist) are firmly of the time - more Stepford Wives than Kate Sheppard.

Front row seats

Front row seats

Te Papa senior curator Claire Regnault and Fashion Quarterly editor Fiona Hawtin give front row reports on NZ fashion on screen. Read >

Walkshort and Gloss

<em>Walkshort</em> and <em>Gloss</em>

Designer Liz Mitchell talks about her designs for screen, memorably crafting shoulder pads, stilettos and gel-spiked hair in Gloss. Watch >

Te Ara on NZ design and fashion

Te Ara on NZ design and fashion

This Te Ara entry briefly surveys the development of local style, from work clothes and Swanndri to Karen Walker. Read >

Happy 10th birthday NZ Fashion Week

Happy 10th birthday NZ Fashion Week

2010 is the 10th anniversary of the annual catwalk showcase of NZ fashion and style. Celebrate >