Dame Trelise Cooper inducted into Hall of Fame

22:58, Jul 31 2014
Trelise Cooper
IN GOOD COMPANY: As the first Kiwi inducted into the Mercedes-Benz Hall of Fame Dame Trelise Cooper joins high-profile international fashion designers such as Carolina Herrera, Badgely Mischka and Max Azria.

Leather, lace, translucent fabrics, avant-garde - rocking a pair of studded, leopard-print Valentino heels, Dame Trelise Cooper dropped a few hints about what we'll all be wearing next year.

Last night, Cooper officially became New Zealand fashion's front-runner as the first Kiwi inducted into the Mercedes-Benz Hall of Fame. 

She joins international fashion heavyweights Carolina Herrera, Badgely Mischka, Max Azria and Australia's Carla Zampatti in receiving the accolade, which will also see her present the first evening show at New Zealand Fashion Week on August 25 - setting the tone for 2015.

"This season more than ever I probably have more streamlined, clean lines, avant-garde. Fashion at the moment around the world is all about line and proportion. Then there's print, and shocks of print and mashes of print and colour," Cooper said.

"Leather is always strong, with twists and embellishments. And actually a lot of transparent fabrics as well, and laces."

Luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz yesterday announced it was sponsoring New Zealand Fashion Week, now in it's 14th year, for the first time. It already supports fashion weeks in 27 countries, and is the title sponsor of the events in New York, Sydney, Beijing and Berlin.

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In Auckland this means a "package" of sponsorship for the Mercedes-Benz Presents show designer, and a fleet of cars to ferry international VIPs to events.

It's a coup for organisers of the event, which has struggled to retain designers and sponsors in recent years.

As guests at last night's announcement at a Newmarket Mercedes showroom sipped Moet, Fashion Week founder Dame Pieter Stewart was effusive in her praise. "We're just so thrilled...we look forward to a really long and strong relationship."

Cooper has shown at every Fashion Week, and said it was too big a risk to her business not to. A "hum of anxiety," would underlie everything she did in the next few weeks.

"I never feel confident, I never feel like it's a wrap. I think the thing is when you put on a show like that it's your creativity, it's your ideas, it's everything you've thought of in the last six months on that runway," she said.

"It's up there for critique and trashing but it always represents the turnover for the next six months, whether you can pay your staff or not - it has a really ongoing effect."

Along with the nerves, she figured she would "probably hate everything," in her collection up until it went on the runway.

Mercedes-Benz New Zealand general manager Ben Giffen said the brand would not rule out a more significant involvement in Fashion Week next year.

Each year Mercedes would choose a new designer to sponsor in the show, which was hoped to create some competition among designers, he said.

"[Cooper] is one of the most cutting edge designers in New Zealand, so it makes sense for her to be the first."

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