Once more down the catwalk
This time each year Amie Richardson locates her inner Anna Wintour.
“You either know fashion or you don’t”, a young Anna Wintour said to her father when he suggested she might do better continuing with her fashion college education. I imagine her saying it, immaculately styled, that fringed bob – just the right cross between ontrend and fashion forward – barely covering the look of disdain in her eyes. That’s assuming she wasn’t wearing her signature dark glasses.
Anna Wintour understands fashion. She knows fashion. She is fashion.
Then there’s me. At 4, I put floral skirts on my head so I could have long hair. At 10, I was still wearing the same 1981 grey sweatshirt I got when I was 6 – two years after it was released. I wore it with bubble gum jeans. At 16, I had a propensity for ripped clothing and Doc Martens. I wore crocheted hats over dreadlocked hair.
I think Anna Wintour would say I don’t know fashion.
Or at least I didn’t until about six years ago, when I joined the publicity team of id Dunedin Fashion Week. That first year, reasonably pregnant, I couldn’t fit any of my good clothes and lacked the “glow” commonly associated with pregnancy. The following year my clothing was covered with baby vomit.
In the newsroom, they may not have noticed. Backstage at a fashion event, they did. Every time. But despite the baby vomit and the crazy hair and the chaotic whirlwind of activity that comes with me and the way I work, id welcomed me into its creative, innovative, inspiring fold.
id Fashion Week has been a central event on Dunedin’s calendar for 18 years, growing from a one-off show in a bar to a week of fashion events, exhibitions and designer talks. The models are beautiful – local talent and tall willowy creatures from Dunedin’s sister city, Shanghai. The collections are extraordinary, combining someone like UK milliner Stephen Jones at the height of his career with emerging designers who fit crazy cushioned sofas, or chain-mail, or exquisite silks to models.
I am in awe of it all. The 120m catwalk on the platform of Dunedin Railway Station, where models will walk a couple of kilometres each night in heels. The buzz of backstage. The organising committee, battling budgets, Adele concerts and whatever else is thrown at them every year. The students from Otago Polytechnic who buzz around dressing, fitting, running, whatever needs to be done. And the designers. Every year they pull out something unexpected, something that tells a story people haven’t heard before. Unique, evolving, fashion.