We were lucky enough to view designer Rachel Mills’ collection this week at Fashion week, and we were blown away by Rachel’s decision to do something a little different for her first show! We caught up with Rachel after the show to ask her a few questions about her SS18 range Neo Kind.
To showcase the collection at New Zealand Fashion Week 2017, designer Rachel Mills transformed The Tent into an exhibition space, with models elongating and posing on and around love-seats, stools, and platforms made from recycled cardboard cores. Wearing fishnet stockings, the models exude the look and feel of the Blitz Kids, with pulled-back hair created by Kevin Murphy and the team at Colleen, and dramatic make-up created by Lisa Matson at L’Oreal Paris.
Rachel, What made you decide to do something so different at fashion week?
I felt as though a runway show wasn’t right for the brand. When I hear runway show I think of grand scales and fleeting moments. I wanted something that was going to force people to slow down to take it all in, with more staying power, and to create more of an alluring atmosphere that leaves people thinking about what they’ve just witnessed.
Do you think you got more content on social media because people were able to take photos of the clothing up close and really take in the beautiful detail of your collection?
When I was planning it, I knew I wanted to do a presentation for the reason that people can get up close and see more of the detail. The difficult thing with presenting this way is that any photos taken during the event, are in an uncontrolled environment where guests are free to roam. I put a lot of consideration into the way the models would be differentiated from the guests. That’s where the use of the screens and stools, made from recycled cardboard cores, as well as the lighting tubes, came in. They divided the space and acted as a backdrop to the models. I think it is due to this that there are now so many images floating around on social media and I am so so grateful that people embraced the idea!
We are so in love with your range, how long did this take to plan and prepare?
I started working on this range about three months ago. It was just after I began full-time on the brand, when I left my position at Karen Walker.
What was your inspiration behind the collection?
In the confines of a nightclub in London’s Covent Garden, with a huge neon sign looming over the front door, a new pop culture movement was born; it was glitzy, striking and self-indulgent, and came to be known as new romanticism. Those who frequented this seminal haunt – also known as the Blitz Kids of the late seventies – exemplified a height of excess and an anything-goes attitude.
This was the starting point for NEO KIND, Rachel Mills’ collection for Autumn / Winter 2018, which is comprised of pieces that reflect this flamboyant outlook – red silk taffeta is used to create wide-leg trousers, heavy denim jeans and boiler suits feature contrasting white topstitching, a pyjama suit is crafted from decadent pink and burgundy striped silk satin and a silk crepe de chine cream blouse with exaggerated frills nods to the Victoriana influence of the era.
But where these rave kids harnessed a throwaway culture, NEO KIND strives for the opposite in an attempt to slow down and bring longevity to the glitzy aesthetic. The collection features organic fabrics sourced from India, while other materials were found locally through wholesalers importing unused and leftover textiles from larger fashion houses. Old sheets and pillowcases are cut into strips and knitted into statement bags and tube tops, while the collection name is spelled out and embroidered onto recycled fabrics, and stitched onto the front of a black turtleneck.
We can’t wait to get our hands on these pieces asap. Images courtesy of Rachel Mills.