New Zealand Style


I don’t really think of myself as a “kiwi”. I was born in New Zealand, sure, but I have never felt any real connection to the country or culture. There are some things I really love about New Zealand, though — & one of those is New Zealand style.

Often thought of as “underdog to Australia”, New Zealand is a small but interesting country with a large dose of eccentricity in its aesthetic. It’s cold more often than not, so the style of dress has evolved to accommodate the weather. Lots of layers, boots & coats are all quintessential elements of the New Zealand look. I really love New Zealand clothing — it is typified by excellent quality materials & attention to small details, as well as only doing small runs of each item.

Here are some of my favourite New Zealand fashion designers.

Ana SteeleAna Steele

Ana Steele

Those of you who have been reading for a while will know that Ana is a close friend of mine. This might cause me to be biased, but a cursory glance over her collections will, I’m sure, convince you of her skill & general fabulousness. Ana truly loves clothing, & she loves to experiment with new looks. Every time I see her, she is trying out something new & amazing. On her last visit, she wore a belt made of braces with everything, & it was fantastic!

Ana views clothing as a means with which to transform yourself into whoever you want to be. Her approach is exploratory & always curious. She plays with structure & volume, creating incredible pieces with hook & eye closures, high necks & sculpted shoulders. One of my favourite pieces by her is pictured above — the backless hooded dress. I borrowed the prototype of that dress for a long time, & adored it. Whenever I wore it, I felt like the sexiest girl on earth!



Ricochet have been around for a pretty long time, & I own a lot of their pieces. One thing that started to bother me after a while was that they never seemed to branch out & do anything new — every new season was just a re-work of the last. While this can be frustrating, on the plus side, at least you always know what you’re getting.

Regardless, to me, Ricochet exemplifies New Zealand style. It’s all about layering & dark colours. Ricochet does brilliant knitwear in unusual shapes — a cut-out shoulder here, one long edge there. They do slouchy but glamorous sweaters, thin belts, wide-cut trousers & great layering pieces. Years ago, they came out with the “kenny”: a piece of fabric that could be worn about a billion different ways, which became a staple of every stylish NZ woman’s wardrobe.

Their aesthetic is strong & unwavering — no frills or unwarranted frippery here. Ricochet’s mission is clear: fabulous, solid basics with unexpected details.

Laurie FoonLaurie Foon

Laurie Foon (stockists)

Laurie Foon is my #1, long-standing, hands-down favourite designer. She designs both the Laurie Foon & Starfish lines & has stockists all over the world (though, embarrassingly, I am yet to buy it from anywhere but the Starfish store in Wellington). Her pieces are fantastic quality & while I wouldn’t call them inexpensive, they really do last incredibly well. For example, I have a Starfish dress from the late 90’s which looks as good today as when I bought it.

Laurie is hugely creative & her ranges are totally different every season — I don’t know how she does it. She has the ability to make the theatrical wearable, comfortable & fun. As a perfect example, have a look at her Grey Gardens range (& keep your eyes open for things I own)! The Beautiful & The Damned is fantastic, too.

Laurie loves drama, volume & femininity with a twist of lemon. & I love her right back.


World (stockists)

I really miss having easy access to a World store. I used to live upstairs from World Deluxe in Auckland, & I spent a lot of time there! World is owned by Denise L’Estrange-Corbet & Francis Hooper, & I think they do the most daring fashion in New Zealand. They embrace colour & flamboyancy, stripes & polka-dots & strange prints, super-long sleeves & big ribbons.

World is the place to go for a mind-blowing party dress or beautiful structured jacket. They do marvellous accessories & everything is imbued with a sense of fun & excitement. Sometimes I feel like Denise & Francis are actually astronauts exploring the fashion stratosphere, & then they come back every couple of months with absolutely warped but fabulous garb for their devoted fans. World is not for the nervous — every piece of theirs will make people stop you in the street to ask where it’s from. It’s a good way to make friends, if nothing else!

Extra For Experts:
Runway Reporter is an excellent source for all NZ fashion.
Simply You is the best fashion magazine in New Zealand, founded by Paula Ryan.
Air New Zealand Fashion Week. Is there any better reason for a holiday?!
Fashionz has lots of information on New Zealand style & trends.