Go­ing back­stage with de­signer Trelise Cooper

Central Leader - - News -

The glam­our of Air New Zealand Fash­ion Week is over for an­other year. The week, from Septem­ber 16 to 21, saw a num­ber of de­sign­ers’ work on the cat­walk, in­clud­ing Zambesi, Nom D, An­nah Stret­ton, Karen Walker, Huf­fer and Trelise Cooper.

Year af­ter year a pop­u­lar cat­walk show is the Trelise Cooper Kids range – the clothes are “clas­sic Trelise looks in mini sizes” and of­ten mix fash­ion with fan­tasy. Here we go be­hind the scenes at the show with Kelvin Good­child.

“’Re­mem­ber breathe.”

Th­ese are words of wis­dom from un­con­strained born and bred New­mar­ket-based fash­ion de­signer Trelise Cooper to all of us who have stress and anx­i­ety as a pres­ence in their pro­fes­sional or per­sonal lives.

We would do well to lis­ten.

Since open­ing her first Trelise Cooper store in Auck­land in 1997, her three la­bels are found in 14 coun­tries in­clud­ing France, Italy, the United King­dom and the United States with an es­ti­mated 50,000 of her pieces in cir­cu­la­tion at any one time.

When your ex­port sales are rock­et­ing sky­ward, a New Zealand Or­der of Merit medal sits on your man­tel­piece and Hol­ly­wood celebri­ties make haste to buy exclusive items, it would be proper for peo­ple to take heed.

Ven­tur­ing ten­ta­tively into the back­stage area in the short break be­tween two of her Air New Zealand Fash­ion Week shows I was ex­pect­ing chaos – mod­els, as­sis­tants, makeup artists, vol­un­teers and Trelise her­self fly­ing around ev­ery­where in a haze of colour and noise.

In fact the scene was ex­traor­di­nar­ily dif­fer­ent.

An en­vi­ron­ment of calm pre­vailed with ev­ery­thing seem­ingly un­der con­trol.

Trelise was there to greet me with her trade­mark warmth and friend­li­ness.

For you see Trelise’s world is not typ­i­cal of many of ours – yes, she min­gles with high fly­ers and top cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tives.

Yes, she has mil­lions of dol­lars rid­ing on her next run­way shows, yes, there are plenty of de­ter­mined celebri­ties and im­por­tant jour­nal­ists to seat in the cor­rect places.

But her holis­tic per­spec­tive on life cer­tainly keeps her grounded and in har­mony with all the prepa­ra­tions and de­tail that go into pulling an event such as this to­gether.

What does she see as the es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ents in stay­ing fo­cused and un­ruf­fled?

“It comes down to a num­ber of things re­ally,” she says.

“My team is vi­tal – from my loyal PA or­gan­is­ing seat­ing, to my CEO tak­ing care of all the ad­min­is­tra­tive sup­port is­sues, to the makeup girls ap­ply­ing the fin­ish­ing touches, they all make a dif­fer­ence and all match my vi­sion and pas­sion for fash­ion de­sign.”

Trelise is not one for Plan Bs and Cs.

“I go with the flow, think in the mo­ment, think out­side the box and have a real be­lief that ev­ery­thing will turn out just per­fect.”

This is just as well be­cause there is no rest for the de­signer of heav­enly cre­ations.

She flew off to Paris for a fab­ric fair im­me­di­ately af­ter her pop­u­lar Fash­ion Week kids’ show on Fri­day to con­tinue grow­ing the Trelise Cooper em­pire.


Kids walk: Youngsters mod­el­ling the Trelise Cooper Kids range prac­tise strut­ting their stuff on the cat­walk.


Sing song: Trelise Cooper starts a sin­ga­long to calm the chil­dren’s nerves be­fore they ap­pear on stage as part of the New Zealand Fash­ion Week.

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