Zambesi 40 years

One of my earliest fashion memories is being given a Zambesi paper bag, cut down the sides and opened up. I would hide under the clothing racks and draw on the inside of the bags while my Mother looked thru the store.I must have been around 3 or 4...

I'm not going to lie it made me emotional seeing to see all these looks coming down the runway some of which I've seen Mum wear as I've grown up. My childhood in clothing form so to speak.

Then the shock as faces I knew started walking down the runway, Jo Mickelborough, Sammy Salsa, Stan Walker, to name a few. So many people and models who have worked with Zambesi over these past 40 years walked down the runway and made it all feel so familiar.

Zambesi has, without a doubt, shaped my little life but mostly the life of the New Zealand fashion industry. I felt so lucky to be there to see it.

Of the 100 or so looks these are my favourites...

Words and Images Madeleine Brighouse-Mayo


Zambesi AW20

Bustle of the city on hold. As library-goers existed the Auckland city library to make way for the audience of Zambesi’s 2019 runway. Zambesi’s 80th collection exhibited in their runway “ Nineteen Seventy-Nine ‘ a homage to their founding year. Participating and representing New Zealand fashion for 4 decades and without a doubt continuing to produce strong collections.

Greeted with a limited edition Zambesi library card as you walked to your seats. A great deal of connection between the legacy and history the brand has in our New Zealand fashion industry.

The library wrapped with a crowd in between their books astonished by the multi-layered runway as the models stepped onto the escalators commencing to bottom to top. Sporting teased birds nest hair sharp geometric eye makeup along with looks in which embraced what we know as Zambesi. Models gracing the escalators as they would if visiting for themselves, casually slumped or leant against the rails, to then powerfully walking through bookshelves.

Knits, vest, tailed garments and a touch of colour, text detailing, iridescent chiffon/silk fabrics and black of course. An intriguing iridescent violet translucent fabric-lined a series tailed suit garments that were inside out. A grunge punk attitude contrasted with preciseness. Their eye for detail couldn't be missed throughout the runway, especially with the use of library books sat in models hands accessorising their looks.

Engrossing the viewer with classic elevator music mixed in with perfume genius, rock and ambience. Cutting off one to play the other, leaving the atmosphere inter between and awkward yet fascinating. The placement of the audience and realness and casual attitude of the models felt as if you were watching everyday life occur in front of your eyes as if you were visiting the Auckland city library on a busy weekday.

Walking through the library a display of magazines celebrating Zambesi on the front cover, an array of archival magazine covers that only speak about their successes for so many years and their prevalence on our New Zealand fashion industry.

Unbeatably a milestone for Zambesi and one of two shows this week. A Zambesi Since 1979: 40 Years of Fashion Runway'' showing an archive of the last 40 years that will take place tonight.

Words Gabrielle Stoddard

Images Madeleine Brighouse-Mayo


Benjamin Alexander

This was Benjamin Alexander's first solo runway show since winning project runway. The Whitecliffe graduate showed off his new collection in a unique stripped-down space above Amano.

With nature light streaming in, the models were bathed in a warm glow (playing havoc with my camera settings but making for a beautiful atmosphere). The models were styled wearing mules, boots, loafers and slingbacks that are part of the limited-edition collaboration with Mi Piaci and Benjamin Alexander. Thick belts and tied knots were a theme, from the clothes through to the shoes.

Benjamin Alexander is also hosting a pop-up shop for buyers to shop his first collection at Quay Project, Level 1, 106-108 Quay Street. His collab footwear with Mi Piaci is also be available to shop. Some on it is already completely sold out. It’s an amazing opportunity to go get your hands on peices of this beautiful collection from an amazing designer.

Here are our favourite pieces from the collection…

Image and Word by Madeleine Brighouse-Mayo


Hailwood AW20

Hailwood does glamour so well - and this show had it in spades.

Appearing in a cloud of smoke, Annabel Liddell from 'Miss June', played from her upcoming album 'Bad Luck Party' as the models walked the runway. She played 'Twitch', 'Orchid', 'Double Negative and 'Best Girl'.

Striding to the beat, the models included beautiful women whose faces I knew from my childhood. Karyn Hay (radio jounalist) Geeling Ng (she was in David Bowie's music video 'China Girl'), Theresa Healey from 'Shortland Street' and actress Sonia Gray among others. It made for an amazing catwalk filled with real, beautiful women.

The collection was accompanied by strong eye make-up, big, bold black wings and soft, wavy feminine hair. Everything came together for one fierce and glamorous show.

These were my favourite looks…

Images and Words by Madeleine Brighouse-Mayo