“This industry is fucking tough, it’s so wonderful to have so many of you who know that here tonight to celebrate 30 years with us.”
After an incredible show featuring a collection inspired by the designer’s own archives, and a backdrop of patterns taken from her workroom and strung together by her three sons, Kate Sylvester addressed the gathered crowd at her cramped after-party at Williams Eatery with characteristic frankness.
Industry icons like Margi Robertson of Nom*D and Chris and Helen Cherry, who used to sell Kate Sylvester’s Sister brand before she opened her first store in Kitchener St, cheered in acknowledgment of milestones all achieved.
The irony was that half the crowd wouldn’t even have been born when Sylvester first launched Sister in 1993 (a store I put myself through university working in, after it relocated to High Street in 1995).
The presence of guests – including singers Clementine and Valentine, both wearing archival KS, singer Molly Payton who performed, Benee who arrived late, actor/model Roxie Mohebbi who chose to only walk Kate’s show this week – showed the brand has tentacles into the future of Aotearoa.
The presence of OG friends of the brand – the foundation of every NZFW show and party that consummate hosts Kate and Wayne have thrown over the past 30 years – like Stacy Gregg (author, and founder of Runway Reporter, where Zoe and I met in 2005), Magazzino founders Megan Carter and Stuart Shepherd and architect Belinda George, showed the importance of loyalty to the brand’s DNA.
And of course, whānau. Kate’s always made it clear that the brand is a collaborative love story between her and partner Wayne Conway. Over the past 23 years their sons Isaac, Tom and Cosmo have gone from being babies sitting on Kate’s mothers knee in the front row, to running around working on show production with their dad.
Abigail Dell’Avo went along to the after-party to photograph some of the guests for us.