Going backstage with designer Trelise Cooper
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.
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.