RAFW Review - Stolen Girlfriends Club and Saint Augustine Academy

May 12th, 2011 by , and  |  Published in Features, Headline

It’s not unusual for street wear collections to infuse a little Americana into their clothes but when two cult labels do it in the same season you have to wonder whether there’s something in the water. From vintage denim at Stolen Girlfriends Club to cowboy boots at Saint Augustine Academy, RAFW went a little western but with a lot of flair. These are the clothes we’ll be coveting when the weather heats up - perfect for soaking up the summer festivals or whiling away the evenings with tousled hair.

There were prints aplenty throughout fashion week but the one of the most effective was a colourful cottage garden collage at Stolen Girlfriends Club. Simple silk dresses allowed the prints to shine before being interplayed with buttery tan leather overlays in a slight western motif. These almost-floral, possibly wing-like patterns featured heavily throughout the show - worked into pretty apricot pink shirt and short sets, over powder-blue and later black denim. A tongue-in-cheek wink to evening wear saw the prints swept into ruffled pom-poms adorning a sheer floor-length slip and a full-skirt party dress.

The second half of the show was decidedly darker introducing denim pieces in navy and duck-egg blue, shiny black leather and the same floral print now toned a deep cerulean blue. The effective rear-wall projections followed suit, replacing summery skies with haunting tree-lined paths and jet black ravens. The New Zealand boys behind Stolen Girlfriends Club aren’t shy about knowing their target market and sticking just to that. In this instance it paid off perfectly.

Saint Augustine Academy used their second fashion week solo show to cement their reputation for dark alternative cool. The western references were more deliberate with leather fringing on jacket-sleeves and denim, stamped leather belts and paisley prints but filtered with a grungey edge. Often drawing on the alternative music scene for inspiration, this collection took a nod towards rockabilly with a little mod thrown in for good measure.

To the designers’ credit, burnished leather cowboy boots and bolo ties sat comfortably alongside signature skinny leg jeans, shirting and tailored tuxedo jackets. The white daisies that lined the catwalk were referenced in a shimmery gold lace which adorned dresses and blouses that would work at a pub gig or a party. What girl wouldn’t want one of the little hats to keep off the summer glare? There were cries of delight (or horror) when a sharply dressed male model was sent out in a bow-tie and eighteenth-century whiskers, so too his dapper companion in a handlebar moustache and mutton chops. Boys, put away your razors, bring on the sun!

Words by Lucinda Burtt Photos by Vanessa Low and Rachel Kara

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