Christchurch on fashion's front row

MICHELLE DUFF
Last updated 05:00 26/08/2014

A fashionable leap

Christchurch designer Wendy Jerard
FINISHING TOUCH: Christchurch designer Wendy Jerard, left, with a model on the last day of fittings for New Zealand Fashion Week.

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Christchurch designer Wendy Jerard prepared for New Zealand Fashion Week by dressing models and base jumping off Auckland's Skytower in an elaborate gown.

Her sequinned pink party dress caught the eye of spectators as she plummeted towards the ground yesterday morning.

"She's going to go far - she's got cheek, she's got charisma and some of her frocks are just stunning," said friend John Robertson, who had travelled from Christchurch in support.

"I'd be proud to take a girl out in those clothes, even at my age."

Her orchestrated drop was the first glimpse of glamour in New Zealand Fashion Week, which officially began with an opening party at the Viaduct Events Centre last night.

Jerard, who used to be an air hostess and is also a trained nurse, said the jump had been more frightening than she expected.

"I said I wasn't going to scream, but I did."

Her sewing skills had been put to use for a last-minute dress alteration at the top of the Skytower, to allow for the harness.

Jerard will show her label, Frances Gerard, in the New Generation section of Fashion Week, along with emerging designers Amber Whitecliffe, Desiree, Wilson Trollope, Inhale Apparel, Nomsa Mabuto and ITZME.

The week is bookended by Nom*d and Kate Sylvester, who will show at 11am today and 8.30pm on Thursday respectively.

Designer highlights in the middle will include Trelise Cooper, Stolen Girlfriends Club - whose offsite show will be held at Western Springs Stadium - Andrea Moore, Juliette Hogan and Zambesi.

While celebrity models are being kept under wraps, five All Blacks will strut their, er, stuff in Jockeys at the Resene Designer Selection Show on Thursday. Fairfax NZ

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- Fairfax Media

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