Wall Street inspires young designer
Drawing inspiration from a serial killer for a clothing collection may not be conventional however it’s helping young designer Petra Benton wing her way to iD Dunedin Fashion Week.
The AUT fashion graduate is among 31 finalists from around the globe in Dunedin this week to take part in the International Emerging Designer Awards.
Miss Benton’s collection titled Wall Street was chosen from more than 100 entries from some of the world’s more prestigious fashion schools.
‘‘I called it Wall Street because I took inspiration from American Psycho, the book, not the movie. I didn’t watch the movie until after,’’ the Grey Lynn resident says.
The 1991 novel written by Bret Easton Ellis follows the life of fictional character Patrick Bateman, a high-flying Manhattan businessman with a penchant for murder.
‘‘When I was reading it I felt the juxtaposition of the strictness in his life and appearance compared with the complete off-kilter nature of his actions,’’ Miss Benton says.
‘‘It wasn’t a literal translation, but more of a feeling I wanted to capture,’’ she says.
The collection encompasses shirts, blazers and dropcrotch pants that while being strict and uniform have a distinctly twisted feel.
The colour palette is restricted to blue, white and silver but features bold polka dots and stripes to further exaggerate the contrast between rigidness and awkwardness.
Ms Benton says the collec- tion was originally conceived as a menswear line but during the year it evolved into a women’s range balancing hilux fabrics like silk and taffeta in a masculine and tailored way.
‘‘It was financially crippling, thank god I work in a fabric store,’’ she laughs.
Miss Benton and other finalists from New Zealand, Australia, China, England and Ireland will be present- ing their collections to a panel of judges as well as an audience of thousands on March 14.
The designer says the competition is a good way to get your work seen and build networks in the fashion industry.
‘‘It’s a great opportunity. It’s such a small industry in New Zealand, you’ve got to keep doing things to get your work out there.’’
Wall Street: Ms Benton drew on the 1991 novel American Psycho for her fashion collection which contrasts strict lines with an off-kilter mood.
Emerging: Young designer Petra Benton is heading to iD Dunedin Fashion Week to compete in the International Emerging Designer Awards.