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Kate Sylvester



  The enigmatic picture scene shook with turbulence, giving the impression of moving along in a vehicle over a bumpy surface, looking for adventure. Kiwi, Kate Sylvester's Spring Summer 09/10 collection was inspired by hiking outings with her father and fabulous books on awe-inspiring Women explorers of late, going on discovery  adventures in Africa and shooting Lions in their couture gowns. A vivid satirical image was planted, together with happy childhood memories prompting an adventurous, energetic and fun collection that excites the imagination.


The collection took on a safari utilitarian look and the couture aspect was downplayed to look sweet and fun rather than an unpractical take on full-on impractical couture. The silhouettes were simple with the emphasis on contrasting fabrics and colours and fabulous accessories including custom painted doc martins and forties round toe patent courts as well as brightly coloured backpacks harnessed at the front and safari bonnets adding a touch of humor. The star of the show was undoubtedly the sequin topped, beige linen, thigh high spats complete with chunky pink zips running up the rear seams, an extremely covetable look and much discussed in the media room post show! Even the boys had sequin socks peeping over their patent doc martins. Spats also appeared in electric colours, executed in shiny synthetic material with elasticised rushing, giving a new age traveler look.


Despite the accessories and plentiful use of sequins, it was essentially a natural look, typical of Sylvester, with a fun element that was very English eccentric. Kate is very eco friendly and used allot of natural fibres such as linen, she also explored plastics which appeared striking in bold colours next to natural fibres and a more subdued palate.

The collection was practical, with simple cuts and not too much fuss. Emphasis was on quirky detailing, prints and colours. Simplistic modern silhouettes, layering and tailoring made it relevant, wearable and extremely versatile. The contrasting colour palate consisted of crayon brights, that were literally popping in pinky peach, cobalt blue, sunshine yellow, teal and apple green, contrasting and paired down with natures own colour palate in tonal shades of beige, forest green, camel and cool blue grey. Layering and proportion were key with bubble-hemmed mini's and cropped tailored shorts teamed with thigh high spats. Tailored shorts were layered over cycle shorts and shift dresses were worn with oversized sleeveless jackets. Memorable pieces included a sunshine yellow maxi dress and a jade dulled sequin shift dress which had a slinky alligator skin look.


Kate delivered an energetic collection that was filled with a sense of fun while remaining practical. The collection had a timeless feel with modern cuts and full classic items that make up a sustainable wardrobe, after all the Kate Sylvester look is not about short lived trends and throw away fashion.

By Lynsay McConachie


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