Definitely one of the ‘quiet achievers’ of New Zealand fashion, Turet Knuefermann is also one of our most enduring design talents, with a signature style and work ethic that has never wavered.
Turet crafts clothes that make a woman feel sexy and powerful for sure, but they are also completely effortless to wear - and the two don’t usually go to easily together. They are always the first pieces I go to in my wardrobe when I am heading overseas due to their insane portability and power to repel creases no matter how long the flight time, and most of her styles can be dressed down for day and then turned up at night depending on the way you want your getaway to roll out. Dresses worn multiple ways are another concept that has been on the Knuefermann menu for a while too - some of her styles even come with instructions and yep, the possibilities are endless.
This year, after 13 hugely successful years in the industry, she opened New Zealand Fashion Week for the first time. Key to that opportunity was being named this year’s recipient of the ‘Mercedes-Benz Presents’ accolade, a global initiative that recognises and celebrates designers who are dedicated to the use of high-quality materials, innovative design and unique style. To say that Knuefermann fits this brief would be an understatement, and the designer joins an esteemed list of previous global recipients including Carolina Herrera, Derek Lam, Camilla and Marc and Dion Lee. Previous New Zealand recipients include Dame Trelise Cooper, Kate Sylvester, Harman Grubiša and Zambesi.
The show, which took place on 27 August, was a huge undertaking, with 60 looks hitting the runway, each combo as covetable as the next. Models shared the space with a classic Mercedes-Benz 1964 230SL, which made for some stunning catwalk imagery. The collection was called 'The Travel Edit', and is made up of effortlessly chic, travel must haves created by the globetrotting designer. “Customers always tell us how easy our pieces are to pack, they fold up to nothing,” Turet said of the collection, “so I developed a versatile collection of travel essentials that ranges from fun resort pieces and beautiful mix and match suiting to the little black dresses and evening wear we're famous for.” I’ve whiled away more than a few hours looking at the runway shots online, and carefully tallied up how many of the pieces I am currently coveting - the cinched waist jacket, the snakeskin maxi, the luxurious silk shirt? In an ideal world I’d have one of each!
Talking to Turet a few weeks after the show, the designer admits with a laugh that she’s feeling “a little bit more relaxed after the craziness of the last month, which was just so amazing. It was so incredible to work with Mercedes-Benz and their huge team, which made the experience just so easy for me when it came to juggling press and things like that.” She says that it was also the most prepared she has ever been for a New Zealand Fashion Week outing, “We started talking about it so far in advance. It was wonderful to be working away at it all over a long period of time for once, rather than throwing it all together in a panic just a few weeks out from the show.” She adds, “Opening New Zealand Fashion Week was just such an honour and a privilege, and having Nathan Haines mix a bespoke soundtrack for us was just so incredible as well.”
She’s looking forward to her loyal customer base getting their hands on the new collection, “Which is just so versatile. Most pieces can be dressed up or down for any situation with just a change of shoes, a factor that really defines the look.” Like all of her collections, The Travel Edit is made up of a combination of elements that keeps her customers (like me) coming back for more, such as clean lines, amazing value for money and the fact that TK style is all about the client wearing the clothes, not the clothes wearing her. It’s the simplicity of the designs that makes the impact, and it’s hard to beat the quality of the fabrics.
Turet has now had over 10 years in the business of running her own, highly successful standalone stores, including her iconic Brown Street store under the TK Store banner that opened way back in 2005. Her Fanshawe Street boutique, called just Knuefermann, extends her brand even further and can be found in the historic Kauri Timber building.
It’s a space that reflects a luxury consumer experience along with European style and the clean lines that the brand is known for, and it's a completely unique shopping destination. It also stocks a few brands and pieces that can’t be found in Ponsonby and vice versa, necessitating a regular visit to both in my humble opinion.
You can view the entire Knuefermann NZFW runway show online at knuefermann.co.nz