Photos: Katherine Lowe
Huffer's show last night heralded two things – the launch of ex-Lonely Hearts designer Aimee MacFarlane's first womenswear collection for the brand, and the close of the NZFW Fall 2011 collections. No expense was spared. Held at the new Auckland University Business School building, I counted about five different bars, a coffee cart, four giant lighting rigs, three All Blacks (Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and Ali Williams) and one America's Next Top Model winner – Krista White. Did I mention the $50 Telecom prepaid voucher in the goodie bag? Ching Ching!
The menswear appeared to be themed around three quite disparate types of young dudes – 1950s greasers, British skinheads and fishermen. This meant peacoats, cardigans and anoraks paired with rolled up jeans or khakis over high top sneaker boots. The coats and knitwear were standouts, but all were emblazoned with multiple Huffer-branded leather patches. It was hard to tell whether they were simply a stylist's add-on or a feature that would carry through to retail, but there was no doubt that such good-looking garments would be exponentially more timeless without the loud branding.
It's no secret that Huffer has struggled to find a clear direction for their womenswear over the past few years, but the appointment of MacFarlane as head of ladies was a smart one – her designs were the highlight of the show. Featuring a cute peach leopard print throughout, the collection was pretty and wearable with a bit of quirk, like a gold cardigan with a fuller sleeve, or a woolen knit tee shirt. There was also a hint of the Francophile, in big pink satin bows tied around the girls' waists and a couple of coats that wouldn't have looked amiss on Amelie Poulain.
As such a powerful force in New Zealand streetwear I'd love to see Huffer push the boat out even further next season – they're one of the few local brands in a position to literally dictate what the consumers should be buying. We haven't yet seen the best of what Huffer can do, but with each passing season they're giving us more reason to buy.
Aimee MacFarlane with menswear designer Aaron Styles.
Steve Dunstan with the Huffer zombies.
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