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Featurette

THE BRAND

Zambesi, a House synonymous with emotional resonance and brooding sensibility - an edginess, a suggestion of disquiet, of hidden depths never entirely revealed. Established by Elisabeth and Neville Findlay in 1979, the House was among the first in New Zealand to express a strong local identity and to encourage clients to dress with a sure sense of self and self-expression. Its focus on proximity and intimacy echoes a landscape of raw-edged, tightly grouped hills, dense bush and the power and beauty of a rugged coast raised struggling from the ocean.

History and memory contribute strongly to Elisabeth Findlay's attitude to design. Vintage cuts and fabrics are given innovative interpretations; a gathering-up of hues, textures and weights. Her practice is fluid and directional. Disregarding obvious trends, the focus of the House is to produce garments that may be worn and treasured over time.

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THE SEASON

ZAMBESI SUMMER 2010/2011

Isolation can exert a powerful influence. With a nod to the notion of a closed community and the pioneers who arrived in a new land with their steamer trunks packed with precious pieces – delicate silks and exquisite French lace, alongside their most humble and practical garments – Zambesi’s 2010/11 summer range continues a dialogue that has been underway now for almost three decades.

Instead of grasping outwards at the world Zambesi take an introspective approach, an attitude that manifests itself throughout the collection: as in previous seasons, pieces re-use vintage materials sourced from Zambesi’s own workrooms; there are the references to the label’s archive patterns recreated with new interpretations; fabrics and shapes are reworked in new, unexpected ways - like the burst and flourish of exposed gauze and silk in the Victorian detailing on the cuff of a sleeve.

Clean, modern and minimal, the collection includes considered renditions of deconstruction – razor-slashed silk garments that are not casually ripped apart but meticulously shredded and then refined and expertly finished.

Fabrics are either lightweight and delicate or they express a raw honesty of purpose. So the fragility of French lace, parachute silk, sheer cotton silks, wool gauze and transparent mesh is anchored by the pragmatism of the everyday – fabrics like cotton sweatshirting, coated linen and pinstripe suiting.

Foundation colours predominate. The heavier neutrals – navy, black and cement, mix with soft lingerie shades of vintage cream, faded ballet pink, nude and plaster grey.

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