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Kate Sylvester

KATE SYLVESTER Iconic New Zealand designer Kate Sylvester’s conceptual collections have embodied intelligence, witty irreverence, sophistication and modern femininity since the label’s inception in 1993. Ever the subtle subversive, Kate Sylvester plays off disparate references, seamlessly stitching sportswear with couture, menswear with womenswear, pop culture with history, high art with punk rock.

The resulting collections challenge nostalgic sensibilities with modern use of colour, cut and exclusive in-house prints. Her unpredictable yet elegant brand of quirk extends beyond an aesthetic to a culture and philosophy that is equally at home in department stores and boutiques internationally as it is in their own concept stores across their homeland and the newly opened Sydney flagship store. Spring Summer 09/10 Collection Show take a hike
The infamous Idina Sackville hunted lions in Africa in couture gowns. Lady Florence Baker discovered Lake Albert in Uganda in corsets and full Edwardian dress. Kate Sylvester walked the Routeburn Track in her fur coat. For take a hike, Summer 09, Kate Sylvester presents a collection of glorious, intrepid explorers who refuse to believe that a love of nature needs to compromise one’s love of fashion. The collection plays with 2 extremes, earth and plastic. Earth is represented by natural linens and slubby neutral palettes of straw, oyster, nude and mushroom.

Plastic is realized in synthetic colours such as rubber glove pink, sky blue and astroturf green.

A mint sequined dress is a plastic highlight.

The wood grain print perfectly captures the earth/plastic dichotomy; this natural, organic pattern is stylized and rendered in surreal, plastic colours. Other standouts in this collection include a dress made in slubby hessian fastened with a rubberized pink plastic zip and a draped, nude, column of a dress is named Idina, perfectly capturing the elegance of this free spirited adventuress. Kate Sylvester’s obsession with mashing couture and sportswear is realized in a silk hoodie complete with pouch pockets.

Kate’s muse nonchalantly throws a hunting vest over a strapless silk dress or strides out in a silk romper suit and hiking boots. The incongruous beauty of these images parallels the landscape sculpture of French artist Christo. Nature wrapped in silk, islands framed in synthetic pink.

Kate Sylvester creates her own condensed Christo sculptures with her bound column dresses in canary yellow and vivid blue.

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Kate Sylvester

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