Turning Heads at NZ Bridal Fashion Week

Think bridal fashion and the adage of ‘old, new, borrowed, blue,’ springs to mind. However, as we saw on the runway at the NZ Bridal Fashion Week, held last month in the Auckland Museum Dome, this is not necessarily so. Organiser Mike Padfield drew on the creative talents of eighteen NZ designers, two international fashion icons, and a 20-strong team of hair and make-up artists from Cut Above, to prove that Haute Couture belongs in the bridal armoury as surely as it does on the fashion runway.

It’s not often that NZ runway stylists get to add their flair to such an impressive line up of style. No strangers to the world of high fashion, Cut Above’s hair and make-up artists know how to turn heads. They have collaborated on fashion shows with famous names like Christian Dior, Yves St Laurent, Givenchy, and NZ’s own Liz Mitchell, Adrian Winkelman, Helen Cherry, and World – to name a few – and each year they design bold trendsetting looks for the AUT and Whitecliffe graduate fashion shows. 

Collection after collection, they kept the audience ‘oohing and aahing’ with their stunning variety of catwalk looks. It was a daunting challenge, but the team managed to create individual looks for the NZ designers – Liz Mitchell, Yvonne Bennetti, Kiri Nathan, Jessica Bridal, John Zimmerman, La’Shika, Caroline Restall, Rosemarie Smith, Vinka Design, Corina Snow, Jane Yeh, John Zimmerman, Rosemary Smith, and the iconic Annie Bonza – plus the acclaimed Internationals: Cymbeline of Paris and Ruben Perlotti of Barcelona. 

Each designer had an exclusive brief, which meant quick-fire changes on the 40 models through four shows a day, in addition to the International opening and closing spectaculars. The hairstylists had to ride the waves from windswept unkempt tresses, bold brazen curls, textured rippled waves, super-chic quiffs, sleek smooth chignons, and sky-scraping up dos to create over 200 different hairstyles. The make-up artists had to leapfrog from the smouldering midnight black eyes and ruby lips called for by the Spanish designer to the Parisian designer’s request for nude, barely-there, complexions. 

The Cut Above team met each challenge.  In fact, the International designers were blown away with their talent and versatility. Show director Amanda Bransgrove had this to say: "the Internationals just LOVE the work Cut Above team is putting out,” and Ruben Perlotti said he has worked all around the world on top runway shows, but never met such a professional team!  The Parisian designer was equally impressed. She wanted soft flowing hairstyles – so the team had barely half an hour to rearrange the models’ hair from backcombed upswept dos into the natural styles she wanted to complement her stunning Romantic-inspired creations.

Cut Above’s Creative Team is drawn from the hairdressing and make-up artistry tutors of its Academy. Team leaders Rachelle McNabney, Serena Bond, Eric Waite, and Leslie Franklin-Hall  all felt the event promoted a great team spirit among the group – and Cut Above director Gael Thompson has already noted the flow-on effect of creativity into the academy class rooms. They are looking forward to putting their skills to the test again at NZ Fashion Week 2011– so watch this space!