NZ Fashion On Screen

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.


Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Awards 1978

Television, 1978 (Full Length)

“As an Oscar is to actors, a Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Award was to aspiring New Zealand fashion designers.” The B&H Awards were the big fashion event of the year for three decades from 1964. This 1978 telecast is presented from Wellington’s Town Hall by John Hayden, and longtime B&H organiser Josephine Brody. The theme is ‘fantasy’, but the fabric du jour is wool — befitting an economy living off the sheep’s back — 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

Television, 2005 (Full Length)

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 (as well as her own wardrobe). Other parts of her business also need attention with local buyers and a sponsor to meet, and a school uniform design to present. Cooper is a whirl of activity and a taskmaster to herself and her staff; but she also needs to make time to be a wife and a mother — and those trademark curls don’t look after themselves.


Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Awards 1986

Television, 1986 (Full Length)

The Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Awards were the big fashion event of the year from the mid 60s to the 90s. The Wellington show was organised by model agent Maysie Bestall-Cohen from 1982, and from 1984 TVNZ broadcast the 'B&H' live from the Michael Fowler Centre. Bestall-Cohen and Bob Parker host this 1986 GOFTA award-winner. Former Miss Universe Lorraine Downes is a guest presenter, and the line-up of models includes a teenage Rachel Hunter and future TV presenter Hilary Timmins. Padded shoulders, geometric prints and garish colours date stamp the era.    


Corbans Fashion Collections - 1995

Television, 1995 (Full Length)

Corbans Fashion Collections was a live event and TV special staged annually in the 1990s, where local fashion houses showcased their upcoming collections. The producer of both the live shows and the TV programmes was Pieter Stewart, who went on to launch NZ Fashion Week. This 1995 show is narrated by Craig Parker and Alison Mau; Fashion Quarterly editor of the time, Paula Ryan, gives style tips; and Geeling Ng and Hinemoa Elder feature as celebrity models stepping out for Francis Hooper and Denise L'Estrange-Corbet's World label.


Gloss - First Episode

Television, 1987 (Full Length Episode)

Yuppies, shoulder-pads, sports cars and méthode champenoise abound in this cult 'glamour soap'. Gloss was NZ's answer to US soap Dynasty, with the Carrington oil scions replaced by the wealthy Redferns and their Auckland magazine empire. The series epitomised 80s excess, and became something of a guilty viewing pleasure. In this Rosemary McLeod-penned pilot, a 'Remuera Revisited' plot unfolds as Brad Redfern's plans to have a quiet wedding get waylaid by ex-wife Maxine. Schoolgirl Chelsea wags, listens to her Sony Walkman and gets an unorthodox haircut. 


Pictorial Parade No. 145

Short Film, 1963 (Full Length)

In this edition of the National Film Unit's long-running newsreel series 2000 people attend the opening of Palmerston North's brand new railway station (with up-to-the-minute signals, communication technology and cafeteria); under the watchful eye of Prime Minister Keith Holyoake a fashion show is held in Wellington to display New Zealand styles for Australian buyers; and the Osbourne family (complete with toddler) travel the country in a caravan with their road-marking business (and Mum still finds time for the housework too).      



Television, 1996 (Full Length)

This documentary is a hallucinogenic exploration of the allure of the foot and the cult of the shoe. What other item of clothing carries the promise of such pleasure or pain? A podiatrist, a ballerina, a cross dresser, a mistress, an academic, a transexual, a femme fatale and a couple of shoe salesmen journey into the depths of their soles. Selected for Venice Film Festival in 1996, Footage was an award-winning excursion into documentary making for feature director Niki Caro.


Style Pasifika - 2009

Television, 2009 (Excerpts)

This annual TVNZ entertainment special showcases Pacific Island contemporary and traditional fashion design, as well as music and dance. The live event and the TV show are both produced by Stan Wolfgramm and Julie Smith of Drum Productions. Wolfgramm also co-hosts this 2009 programme, along with Lotto presenter Sonia Gray. Fashion designers 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

Television, 1978 (Full Length Episode)

Designer Garnet Nelson has a distinctive attitude to fashion for the rural sector, showcased in a range of clothes combining style and practicality - although the "after-five combinations" may be a step too far. This might be one of the celebrated Country Calendar spoof episodes, but the buy-in from models who could only be farmers and not actors is a sight to behold. And the fashion tips don't end there. Reporter (and long time Country Calendar producer) Frank Torley adds his own sartorial note with an unfeasibly long shirt collar that has a mind of its own.


Made in Dunedin

Television, 2007 (Full Length)

A documentary about the fashion industry in Dunedin - a city that seems to turn out more than its fair share of fashion designers. Made for TVNZ’s Artsville strand, the doco features designers Margi Robertson (NOM*d), Tanya Carlson (Carlson), Veronica Keucke (Keucke) and Juliet Fay (Aduki). Prominent fashion journalist (turned author) Stacy Gregg talks about how Dunedin is the source of the "dark intellectualism of New Zealand fashion". The southern styles are set to a soundtrack of Flying Nun bands, and there are excerpts from some classic Nun clips.


Montana New Zealand Wearable Art Awards

Television, 1998 (Full Length)

The intrepid Ice TV trio — Jon Bridges, Nathan Rarere and Petra Bagust — head to Nelson to host the Montana New Zealand Wearable Art Awards. They meet the creators of the fantastic fashion catwalk extravaganza, whose garments are inspired by everything from Alice in Wonderland, roadkill, x-rays, birds, and the Buzzy Bee, to taniwha and Pasifika. The 'Illumination Illusion' section (designed to be seen in ultravoilet light) is a highlight. Nathan and Jon revel in going behind the scenes of the 'bizarre bras' section, and Petra tries on a possum-skin bikini.


History Never Repeats

Split Enz, Music Video, 1981

A classic music video for a classic song (from the Waiata album) that is very much of its time. 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 out front. 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

Television, 2002 (Full Length Episode)

Douglas Lloyd Jenkins and Fiona McDonald hit the Auckland area for this leg of their Big Art Trip. They meet up with Black Grace artistic director Neil Ieremia, who is running a mentoring programme for young dancers; sculptor/painter Roger Mortimer, who is transforming bland modern day business letters into replicas of beautiful old documents; sculptor Warren Viscoe, who is busy at a wood symposium, fashion designer Kate Sylvester, at her High Street boutique; and abstract painter Judy Millar, at work in her studio.  


The Gravy - Series Three, Episode Seven (twenty-seven names)

Television, 2008 (Excerpts)

twenty-seven names is the fashion label run by irrepressible friends Rachel Easting and Anjali Stewart, who met as girls at primary school in Wellington. The Gravy found them preparing for their first major solo show at Fashion Week in 2008. Their Crazy Horse collection was an attempt to find the middle ground between "ultra girly" and "ultra masculine" - and was inspired by American poet and musician Patti Smith who they admire for her "mean-as androgynous style". Watch also for unwitting cameos from columnist/radio personality Kerre Woodham and a courier.


This Day - Māori Fashion Design

Television, 1970 (Full Length)

In November 1970 a New Zealand tourism fashion presentation designed for Australian audiences took place at Auckland Museum. Dancing models wore traditional Māori motifs, combined with contemporary fashion — then still a novelty. The designs include work by Kowhai Knitwear's Janice Hopper and Ann Rupe (who is heard on the soundtrack). Rupe had won the Coat and Suit section at the New Zealand Fashion Showcase '69, aged 20. The Taniko motifs were painstakingly beaded or individually painted on to the garments, rather than screen-printed.


The Magical World of Misery

Television, 2006 (Excerpts)

Director Mark Albiston takes viewers on a magical tour of the work of artist Tanya Thompson, aka Misery. The Sticky Pictures film explores Misery's early years as a prominent but self-conscious graffiti artist on the streets of Auckland and looks at the rise of her successful art, fashion and toy empire, culminating in a visit to the Taipei Toy Festival to showcase her collectable 3D characters. Winner of Best NZ arts/festival documentary award at 2006 Qantas Film and TV awards.


The Face of Fashion

Chris Knox, Music Video, 1990

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? A DIY high concept masterclass of Knox's directing talents. Brilliant!


The Living Room

Television, 2002

A magazine show with an edge, The Living Room did for arts television production what Radio With Pictures did for NZ music — it ripped open the venetian blinds, rearranged the plastic-covered cushions, and shone the light on Aotearoa’s homegrown creative culture. Often letting the subjects film and present their own stories, it was produced for three series by Wellington’s Sticky Pictures, who also made follow-up arts showcase The Gravy. Amidst the calvacade of local talent, were Flight of the Conchords (series one) in one of their earliest screen outings.



Television, 1996 (Excerpts)

A jandal-shod journey through Kiwi pop culture. Kiwiana takes a light-hearted look at the fashion, art, architecture, attitudes, and icons (Buzzy Bees, Edmonds, Swanndri, Pavlova etc) we call our own. Directed by Shirley Horrocks, and shot by Leon Narbey, it featured personalities Gary McCormick, Ginette McDonald, John Clarke, Peter Jackson, and others. Screening at a time (1996) when New Zealanders were just beginning to appreciate these neglected everyday objects as ‘collectibles,' it rated highly, and inspired a sequel, Kiwi As.


Corbans Fashion Collections - 1994

Television, 1994 (Full Length)

Corbans Fashion Collections was a live event and TV special staged annually in the 1990s, where local fashion houses showcased their upcoming collections. The producer of the live show was Pieter Stewart, who went on to launch NZ Fashion Week. In this 1994 show, Shortland Street stars pock the front row, Alison Mau, Paula Ryan and designers opine on the dress code, grunge doesn’t appear to have impacted on the à la mode pastel styles (Zambesi and NOM*D are typically dark in contrast), and NZ On Screen editor Paul Ward channels Zoolander as a teenage male model.


Pictorial Parade No. 164 - Miss World in NZ

Short Film, 1965 (Full Length)

This episode of Pictorial Parade, a long-running National Film Unit newsreel series, presents three events: at Mt Bruce, a native bird reserve is opened, the New Zealand Cricket Team’s tour of India is lost 1-0, and Miss World, Ann Sidney (UK), leads the way in fashion at the 1965 Wool Award and Fashion Parade in Lower Hutt. Watch for takahē feeding from the hand, a disconsolate kiwi being held by the Minster of Internal Affairs, Miss Hutt Valley Wool Princess finalists sashaying in the latest fashions, and the New Zealand cricket team sightseeing in India.



Television, 1993 (Full Length)

Apemen, Barbie dolls, and hairy shoes ... as this doco demonstrates, hair turns up everywhere (or not, as one man's poignant and matter-of-fact testimony to the horrors of losing it demonstrates). Hair's co-director, Auckland artist Judy Darragh, uses her fascination with all-things hirsute as a springboard for wit, thought-provoking theories, and some unusual artwork. She also phones Welsh author Elaine Morgan, who believes our ancestors lost much of their hair thanks to a semi-aquatic past. Producer Fiona Copland joins Darragh as co-director. 


Miss New Zealand 1973

Television, 1973 (Full Length)

A line-up of receptionists, trainee teachers, and models talk horse-riding and modesty, vying to win Miss New Zealand 1973. Miss Otago (Pam King) proves a popular winner — the show was filmed in Dunedin — and was later a semi-finalist at that year's Miss World contest. The compere provides innuendo-laced links, and introduces reigning Miss New Zealand (Kristine Allan), Miss World (Australia's Belinda Green), Canadian singer Gary Buck, and blind Māori crooner Eddie Low. Miss Horowhenua — a hairdresser — highlights 1973 style: wigs are out for women, but in for men.


Looking at New Zealand - Beauty Queens

Television, 1969 (Full Length Episode)

Looking at New Zealand was an early NZBC “pictorial magazine” show that explored “New Zealand’s backyard”. Produced by Conon Fraser, it was a staple of Sunday night 60s TV. In this edition 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 ie. more Stepford Wives than Kate Sheppard. Miss Auckland Carole Robinson (not seen here), would go on to win Miss Photogenic at that year’s Miss Universe pageant.