Fashion awards go down well

23:49, Jul 25 2014
karli holland, courtney hughes
DOLLED UP: Southern Institute of Technology beauty therapy student Karli Holland applies the finishing touches to model Courtney Hughes before the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards Strictly Design evening.

Southland's premier fashion weekend put its first fashionable foot forward last night as the 26th Hokonui Fashion Design Awards officially began.

Hundreds of fashionistas plus a few curious others made for an excited crowd, eagerly soaking in the details of the 200-plus garments on display for the Strictly Design evening.

Organiser Wade Paterson said it gave people the chance to see the outfits in a totally different setting to tonight's gala show, where winners will be announced.

"It's a bit of a different vibe. You see all the designs entered in a different atmosphere."

There were many standout designs to sate the crowd's appetite for creativity and fashion.

Comments from the judging panel, made up of New Zealand fashion bigwigs Denise L'Strange-Corbet, of World, Donna Tulloch, of Mild Red, and stylist Luke Bettesworth said some garments just "hit them" straight away, Paterson said.

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With wife Heather, the awards' long-time director, resting up to conserve her energy for tonight's show, this was the first time Paterson had taken on the chief organising role.

"It's been very calm, the wardrobe team and hair and makeup teams have just done a brilliant job getting everything to flow nicely."

Head of wardrobe Francis Michels said this year had been a wonderful journey from planning to the stage.

The backstage team had worked together wonderfully to pull off the successful evening, she said.

With the first night now done and dusted all energy and eyes were cast towards the main event, tonight's Gala show.

With thousands of dollars worth of prizes on the line for designers it will be a night of eager anticipation. "Everyone's really looking forward to it."

The gala show begins at the Gore Town and Country Club at 8pm.

The Southland Times