10 thoughts we had during Campbell Luke’s NZFW Show

Welcome to our thought corridor: woven bralettes, newborn babies and sculptural veggie bags included

One of the most anticipated shows of the 2023 event, Campbell Luke delivered on day one with his sophomore NZFW collection, Oranga Ngākau, whose harrowing, healing inspiration he discussed with FashioNZ earlier this week.

And now that you’re all caught up, here are 10 thoughts we had on seeing the collection on the runway.

A line up of 2023 NZFW Campbell luke He Oranga Ngākau dresses

Image credit: FashioNZ.co.nz

Now *that’s* a bra. 

Runway bralettes can be a hit or miss experience. Throw in the fact that this one was woven from flax? The stakes heighten. But the addition of sculptural lingerie to Bobby Campbell’s opening look was exhibit-A of his excellent craftsmanship. Moulded gently to the model, it went straight onto our summer outfit moodboard.  

Who knew stains could be chic? 

Feminine at first but more grungy on closer inspection, a smattering of rust-coloured stains was spotted on one of Campbell Luke’s asymmetrical doily dresses. Was it tea spillage from an afternoon of cards and biscuits? What we can glean from our earlier interview is that this piece of cloth was one of several inherited from Dr Bobby’s whānau. Perhaps folded away and forgotten about, now lovingly marked by time, it’s clearly had a great life. 

Good gourds 

Accessory or vegetable, this nightshade-looking shape dangles well from the wrist or shoulder. Perhaps it could replace Carrie’s pigeon clutch in the next season of And Just Like That? Usher in a more savoury era of the Tutti Frutti girl? Or become the inspiration behind a new one of Judith Leiber’s divisive crystal-encrusted novelty clutches?  

A woven bra over shirting, 2023 NZFW Campbell luke He Oranga Ngākau

Image credit: FashioNZ.co.nz

I’ve seen that as wallpaper.

Somewhere between a scallop-edged hanging mirror and some seashells gathering dust, Campbell Luke has given *that* ubiquitously ’70s pattern of yellow flowers and birdlife amongst bamboo shoots a hoon outside of the classic Kiwi guest bathroom, most notably in the form of a pillowy shirt with a relaxed peplum. If it’s anything like its household counterpart, that shirt is going to see some things

I could wear that. 

Some designers take umbrage at their clothing being described as ‘wearable’. We like to think that Dr Bobby Campbell, an advocate for rethinking how we approach fashion and creativity, is rightfully not one of them. What better compliment is there than someone imagining endless real-life moments in your pieces? The FNZ team were planning their broderie-heavy summer wardrobes from their seats.

No, seriously… 

We were manifesting heavily. One of us was sharing an olive oil cake at Pici, another picking wildflowers at a farmers market with the other was transported to a sun-soaked beach, or days strolling through vineyards, pinots noir carefully balanced in hand. There was even mention of wedding guest attire, and an ensuing argument about whether these garments are safely patterned and pastel enough to not be considered ‘a white dress’.

Campbell luke 2023 veggie bag

Image credit: Getty for NFW

That *is* a real newborn.

And certainly the first I’ve ever seen on a runway. No, not just a model holding a bundle of very gorgeous blankets. There really was a real-life and, by the looks of it, days-old newborn, snoozing away under its māma’s gaze. 

I think I’m about to cry.

The crescendo of the live waiata with its many passionate voices signing in mournful harmony; the special rugs dangling from above;  the bond between māma and baby, the mana in the models’ eyes as a final group of around half a dozen ended the show atop the returning woven mat from Dr Bobby’s Taranaki marae. It was a moment of pride and heightened emotion that the whole audience shared in. 

She deserves it. 

As Dr Bobby Campbell rushed onto the catwalk to rounds of applause, he made a beeline for NZFW show opener Kiri Nathan, bouquet of flowers in hand. 

He’s with us a spirit. 

A framed photo of Dr Bobby’s late brother was tucked into the designer’s hands in the final moments of the spectacular show, which saw many smiles, more flowers, a joyful call to hikoi, and a standing ovation from the audience.

2023 NZFW Campbell luke 's Dr Bobby and Partner, He Oranga Ngākau

2023 NZFW Campbell luke He Oranga Ngākau

Image credit: NZFW supplied via GETTY and FashioNZ.co.nz