Once more down the cat­walk

This time each year Amie Richard­son lo­cates her in­ner Anna Win­tour.

Waikato Times - Your Weekend (Waikato Times) - - Viewpoint -

“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.

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