Backstage at Therese Rawsthorne - photos: Oliver Rose
In Paris and Milan, there is no centralised fashion week venue. No tents, no one building in which all shows are held. Every designer presents their collection at a different location, in a different part of the city. The majority of your day is spent on a chartered bus being shuttled from one address to another. Here in Sydney, like Auckland, New York, Berlin and probably scores of other cities, fashion week is housed at one location. It's convenient - there's an onsite media room with food, drinks and wireless internet access; your next show is mere metres away and there's an organising committee on hand to listen to all of your complaints.
But you can't beat a good offsite show. When a designer chooses a successful original venue, there is no comparison. Therese Rawsthorne chose well - a cavernous hangar at Sydney's Technology Park. Katherine Lowe, Oliver and I headed there by taxi and were dropped outside a row of huge brick buildings that bore a resemblance to old-London-town factories.
It was gargantuan - the size of two rugby fields, with polished concrete floors, exposed brick walls, arched windows and sets of steel columns at regular intervals throughout. The catwalk was about 50 metres squared and ran in two lanes on either side of a long line of columns. I was sitting at the far end, meaning it took each model a full 45 seconds to reach me.
Filled with sculptural geometric shaped dresses, low buttoning blazers, jewelled leggings and slouchy shirts with cut out panels, the collection was a sophisticated respite from the flouncy offerings we've seen a lot of this week. My favourite pieces were the trousers - black, sharply tailored and trimmed with satin waistbands a la Yves Saint Laurent's classic Le Smoking pantsuits.
Therese Rawsthorne's collections are a hit among young and old in New Zealand, according to Auckland based Black Box Boutique buyer Jae Mills, who kept me entertained while we waited for each model to walk by.
"It's a great label because it has such wide appeal," said Mills. "We sell it to young girls who want something feminine but edgy, and mature ladies who like the more sophisticated pieces."
Three cheers for Therese Rawsthorne - definitely the best location of the week thus far. I'll be surprised if anyone can do better.
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