5 Sep 2014


'What could be more terrifying and more beautiful than to lose control completely.'

When you hear on the social media grapevine that your favourite book in the whole world has been named as the source of inspiration for a prolific fashion designer whose work you admire, you sit up and take notice.

Kate Sylvester celebrated her much-anticipated return to NZFW by looking to the works of Donna Tartt - specifically, The Secret History - for inspiration.Described as "a nonchalant, slouchy celebration of casual luxury and sartorial classics", Sylvester sent a host of both male and female models out onto the runway adorned in her interpretations of what my beloved characters may have worn.

In particular, we were presented with Camilla Macaulay, being the predominant female character in the book, and one of the most compelling. Elegant, slightly dishevelled, dangerous and inherently ethereal, Camilla and her twin brother Charles are described as wearing "pale clothes, particularly white", drifting around the campus with a haughty air.

The beautiful prose with which Tartt intricately describes her character's appearance and dress is brought to life in a haphazard mixture of androgynous wear. The models wore tailored trousers, cashmere sweaters, Stan Smith trainers, oversized coats, thin scarves, cotton shirt dresses and languid cricket jumpers - all unravelling, unfastening and becoming more dishevelled as the show progressed; symbolising how the characters in the book begin to fall apart as they have to live with their actions.

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