Trelise Cooper now a Dame

DAME TRELISE: Proud as punch just after the ceremony, wearing one of her designs, a coat she sent to the Duchess of Cambridge.
DAME TRELISE: Proud as punch just after the ceremony, wearing one of her designs, a coat she sent to the Duchess of Cambridge.

Fashion designer Dame Trelise Cooper looked great at Government House for her investiture ceremony, wearing a coat that had been sent to London to visit the Duchess.

Dame Trelise was in Wellington to be invested as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to fashion and the community at a ceremony hosted by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

For the event, Dame Trelise wore a nude and neon pink coat from her 2014 winter collection. She wore it over a textured rose dress and carried a Mulberry purse. Her shoes were from Valentino.

The coat had caught Kate Middleton's eye and been sent to London for her to try on, Dame Trelise said.

In the end the Duchess of Cambridge decided not to wear it while in New Zealand next month for a royal tour with Prince William and their son Prince George.

Dame Trelise said she thought the coat should still have an outing at Government House.

"It kind of had an idea it was going, so I thought I'd better pop it on."

She said that receiving the honour felt wonderful.

"It's probably the very best thing that's ever happened in my life. I feel, the absolute pinnacle of my life." 

Being called a dame was "really lovely".

"I've had a few months to get used to it. I don't hear it a lot."

In the past her friends and colleagues used to call her TC, but they've now changed it to DTC.

"Everybody texts me DTC, emails DTC."

Her sisters and mother were at the ceremony, Dame Trelise said.

"My father's here in spirit. This would have been the pinnacle of his life. That he could come here and I'd be a dame.

"He passed away in 2010, so he's not here but he's with us."

Dame Trelise has 10 flagship boutiques around the world and more than 200 stockists across Europe, America, Asia, the Middle East and Australasia.

In the community, she has used her design skills to help a range of organisations, including groups dealing with domestic violence and those treating addiction and breast cancer, and she has a strong involvement with Habitat for Humanity.

She sponsors a charity in Kolkata, India that works with children in slums, and is involved with Maritage International, a United Nations partner organisation that promotes connections between women from developed and developing countries.

During the investiture ceremony, Sir Jerry had some trouble attaching one of the pieces of DNZM insignia to Dame Trelise's coat.

Later, she explained the insignia did not have a sharp pin to attach it to the coat.

"We had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction. Probably best to have it with me, rather than anyone else."