Photo Diary: A Whirlwind Week @ NZFW With Pōneke Angel Maeve O'Connell

Tāmaki Makaurau

— September 6, 2023 —

Armed with a point-and-shoot and a highly coveted photo pass, we asked the first-time New Zealand Fashion Week attendee to share her snaps and spill the beans on what the week was really like.

What's your name? Maeve O'Connell 
And your star sign? LEO!

What brought you up to Tāmaki Makaurau for New Zealand Fashion Week: Kahuria? 
I was lucky enough to be a New Zealand Fashion Week Photography Competition Finalist. 

What were your first impressions?
Celebration of NZ Fashion + Creativity/Artistry on and off the runway. 
Before Kiri Nathan opened NZFW23, I was taking it all in as we lined up to enter, and Mara Tk's song 'Highly Medicated' played in the foyer, which was super grounding. 

You were lucky enough to spend time backstage; what was it like, and how was the mood?
Organised chaos with kindness embedded throughout! Models who were ready to go were reading or catching up with one another. MUAs working at the speed of light to ensure everyone was ready and feeling fantastic alongside dressers and the production team, giving us a masterclass in logistics within 15-45 minutes.

You also got to shoot from the photo pit at the end of the runway; what was that like?
It was mesmerising. I'm so grateful for the Getty, Vogue and other accredited photographers for being so kind with their knowledge-sharing + being open to getting to know each other throughout the week. NZFW was so varied this year, with runways starting from all angles and performance pieces in the mix. Every single show was different to shoot. The Fashion Night on Friday, in particular, was awe-inspiring!

Favourite people you got to meet this week?
*trying so hard not to say EVERYONE* However, there were some special moments with Abossors Jess Molina and Chloe Hill that stand out to me. Also so thankful to have met Brad Hick and Michael NG, professional photographers! Lastly, two new besties who were also photography competition finalists, Felix Jackson and Sauhita Jain. 

What were you looking for when you were shooting street style outside?
COLOUR, Confidence and authenticity. Nothing is cooler and more striking than seeing someone wear something that feels unique to them. 

If you could sum up your week with one song, TikTok or YouTube video, what would it be?
'THE CITY' BY RIIKI REID. It's absolutely the hype song of the year. Riiki Reid is a New Zealand singer-songwriter & spending the week in Tāmaki Makaurau with eyes on that Sky Tower and strutting across the Auckland Viaduct Harbour Bridge on the daily, there is only one song that matches the vibess, and that's 'The City' By Riiki Reid for sure! 

What were the most surprising/unexpected things about Fashion Week, from the perspective of someone attending for the first time?
No runway/presentation of a collection was the same or alike in any way.  NZFW is about garments and designers, but it's also about PRODUCTION. Music, Lights and Celebrating Fashion off the runway. 

If you've never been to an NZFW show and you're in Tāmaki Makaurau next year, I encourage you to secure a ticket to any designer's work and I guarantee you'll take away something from the experience. There is SO much talent here in Aotearoa


Photos: Maeve O'Connell


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