NYFW: Zimmermann makes Australia proud

The Sydney sisters stunned again on the New York runway on Friday

What does it take to reach global fashion’s top table? Twelve months ago Nicky Zimmermann told me the secret lay in two little words: hard work. It’s got to help, though, to have Beyonce and Kendall Jenner in your corner.

The Australian label which began more than 20 years ago with sisters Nicky and Simone Zimmermann selling their designs from Sydney’s Paddington market, is without doubt our greatest international fashion success story. In all the major cities and beach hangouts, the local style setters know about Zimmermann.

Beyonce shops regularly in their NY and LA stores, and wore Zimmermann playsuits all summer, while the brand’s white lace Victoriana dress starred in the singer’s Formation video. 

Kendall Jenner is another fan – she often Instagrams herself in their clothes. And what was the model-of-the-moment wearing when she filmed the video teaser for her big US Vogue September issue cover? Not Balmain or Givenchy or Gucci, but Zimmermann. 

Nicky and Simone’s decision to show each season at New York Fashion Week and open an head office in the city, as well as stores from Manhattan to Melrose, has paid off. 

Friday’s Spring ’17 show in a light-filled Midtown loft space was a return to form after a trickier Autumn/Winter ’16 offering that pushed the boundaries of wearability (those tent-like metallic maxi dresses really only work on willowy six-footers). 

This time, every frilled, ruffled, lacy piece of fabulousness worked a treat. 

The show opened with a floaty dress of mismatched asymmetric striped flounces in soft blue-grey and white, worn with long grey suede lace-up boots, and setting the tone of cool romance. 

From cropped fitted blouses and deshabille corset detailing to languid layering, loose coating, boudoir cream lace and raw edged tulle, the look was about femininity with an edge.

The designers described it as “modern rumpled elegance”, inspired by Nicky’s nightlife as a teenager in the ’80s, and specifically by a long-gone Sydney club called Stranded. 

“For me, it represented an escape from a sheltered suburban childhood, a place where young and creative people came together to express themselves,” said Nicky. She recalled a “bowerbird” D.I.Y. sensibility borne out of isolation that saw her friends ripping their father’s shirts, and chopping into tulle petticoats to create their Friday night outfits.

Hence the nod to the era’s New Romantics, and Vivienne Westwood’s iconic 1981 Pirate Collection, but all up the show felt fresh and modern rather than nostalgic. No doubt Zimmermann’s It girl army will make it their own.

From the models and bloggers front row (Shanina Shaik, Nicole Trunfio, Bridget Malcolm, Sarah Ellen, Brooke Testoni and Jessie Bush) to those on the catwalk (Hanne Gabby, Nicole Pollard, Astrid Holler and the pink haired Fernanda Ly) the message was clear – all the cool girls wear Zimmermann. 

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