Words by Kristoffer Reynoso
THE role and worth of women were celebrated at New York Fashion Week when Karen Walker burst onto the runway with her Fall/Winter ’14 collection.
The noted New Zealand designer paid tribute to the Suffragette in her newest line. Historically, suffragettes were women who, in the late 19th and early 20th century, were members of organisations which demanded the right to vote.
By rejecting traditional prettiness and privileging the subversive beauty inherent in all women, the suffragette displayed in Walker’s garments represented modernity and utility for the lady demanding equality and respect. Indeed, archived images of some of New Zealand’s famed suffragettes such as Mary Ann Muller and Kate Shepard inspired Walker’s collection.
This empowering message of the revolutionary woman was clearly evident with the designer’s use of military pants, full skirts, tunics, and working coats in blues executed in brushed cottons, drill, and suede. Her statement bags serve as symbols of the young, willing, and eager woman who can achieve and accomplish anything. Accompanying some of her ensembles were pieces from the designer’s Visible eyewear collection, which you can view here.
Traditionally female-oriented labour like needle work and embroidery coexist with the charming shapes and utilitarian and practical sensibility for which Walker is renowned. Cheeky, independent, fierce, and resilient, the modern suffragette is one woman you don’t want to mess with.
Styling by Kathryn Neale at Tim Howard
Casting by Jennifer Stilwell
Makeup by Benjamin Puckey at D+V Management for OCC Cosmetics
Makeup provided by Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
Hair by Laurent Philippon for Bumble and bumble
Nails by Jin Soon
Dressing by BB’s Backstage
Production by Navia
Venue: PIER 59 Studios
Sound, Lighting, and Staging by PIER 59