Tempo profiles Annah Stretton and talks to her about her collection - I've got a Crush on You: Winter 2013.
Describe your latest collection, and the inspiration that you drew from:
It's a beautiful look back at the wonderful later 1940s' fashion, influenced heavily by the Sinatra era. Longer hemlines, floaty fabrics, slim cut suits, full skirts matched with dainty cropped cardigans and swing jackets . . . red, red lips and peeptoe shoes.
What fabrics feature strongly in the collection?
Small floral printed georgettes, stretch suitings, creamy evening satins, pale knits and winter boucle wools.
Pales . . . mints, apricots, creams, taupes, with a splash of red in the evening section.
What sets your collections apart?
Given that I head the design team, it's my preferences, my knowledge of what works and my handwriting that will determine what our collection looks like each season. It is, however, interesting to note that this has changed considerably over the last 20 years. We are much cleaner, much more focused on getting garments to fit well and perhaps disguise the parts of our bodies that so many women struggle with, no matter what their size and body shape. I will, however, never be able to move away from the colour and the wonderful fabrics that our customer enjoys, we will always be a highly feminine label.
How do you go about the design process?
The design process is continual and each collection has collective input from a five-strong design team that we employ.
The process begins with a back story (this may be a song, a movie, an era or a person - it can be anything and can come from the most obscure places and moments). We then put together styling that will tell this story from a collection at retail store level, knowing that at the end of the day styles will also have to be commercially viable for us to be sustainable.
Initially mood boards are put together that help to determine the direction of the styling, these reflect a brainstorming session. From here we will narrow down a pathway forward for the collection, styles and trends are determined, fabrics are selected and the collection starts to take shape. It is however constantly edited along the way, with many samples not making the cut. Its final destination being a lookbook shoot that occurs within two months from its actual store delivery.
What do you think of fashion in New Zealand at the moment?
I don't get too caught up with what's hot and what's not. I'm much more influenced by a great singular style, as most highly fashionable trends will only work for the slim and the gorgeous. For me, it's about how all women can execute a great look that they can wear, rather than the garments wearing them .
On the New Zealand fashion players: We obviously have some great contributors to our industry who have achieved strong international and national recognition, they have been there for the long haul.
There are always plenty of new additions to our NZ designer pool each year, longevity is their biggest challenge, as sustainability eludes many.
Who is your fashion guru?
I don't have one, but I do admire the longevity of a fashion brand such as Vivienne Westwood, a woman who has dominated a fickle industry globally even with her rapidly advancing years.
What is your price point?
Most of our garments are between $200 to $400.
What is fashion?
Your own personal interpretation of styles that make you look and feel great for all the events and occasions that your life will present to you.