On Monday, 29 August, a new event on New Zealand’s fashion calendar is about to “revolutionise and change the way
fashion and art are experienced”: the 2022 Fashion Show & Met Gala.

Local couture designer Cecelia Kang and celebrity auctioneer Allan Myers have combined forces to create Fashion Club Inc. ART; an exclusive club for those-in-the-know to come together celebrate the best of the local design darlings. Five local and international haute couture designers — Samantha Zhang, Jacqueline Roper, Cecelia Kang, Ovya and Rakesh Jaiswal — will showcase their spectacular creations at the Glasshouse in Auckland.

To celebrate this commemorative event, The Last Fashion Bible spoke to Kang and Myers to learn more about their overarching goals of the event.

TLFB: What inspired you to create the Fashion Club Inc. ART?  

FCIA: After the disruption and disappointment of the last few years we decided we wanted to use fashion as a way of inspiring and giving hope to others. FCIA was born to provide networking for fashionistas and those in the arts community to network and collaborate. This gave rise to the formation of a private networking group to provide the opportunity for Artisans to dress to express and to excess. The popularity of this and the excitement it gave others caused the private club to grow into an alternate fashion-first events and promotions business.

TLFB: What are your expectations from the club?

FCIA: To revolutionise the way fashion is experienced; make it more interactive where the audience becomes part of the show as the runway merges with the guests in a confluence of colour and style. To create a nouveaux platform for designers, particularly emerging and cutting edge and to showcase their talent to both the public and buyers.

TLFB: Why is the event important to the NZ fashion calendar? 

FCIA: We think New Zealand fashion shows are outdated. As fashion follows the four seasons, each season gives each designer and their followers the opportunity to be involved in something bigger than their own individual exhibition. The end likelihood is that this event will give greater interest and exposure for their business and talent.

Meet the 2022 Fashion Show & Met Gala Designers

We also spoke to four of the five diverse designers to learn more about their labels and what it means to be a bespoke couture designer.

Photo courtesy of Samantha Zhang

Samantha Zhang

TLFB: Tell us about your journey through fashion to becoming a couturier. What were your motivations/inspirations?

My motivation is my great passion for fashion. I want to use my own imagination to create more and more unique fashion pieces.

I’m originally from the island of Hainan, China. I majored in Fashion at the Academy of Art University , California and shifted to New Zealand 5 years ago to further my academic study.

I also run a modelling school (for over 20 years, my family has been actively involved in the Chinese modelling industry) and have my own children’s wear brand called Lucas&Lucia.

TLFB: What is your couture speciality?

My design is always thinking about how to work with ready-to-wear, so I try to throw my concepts with the details together without showing too much.

TLFB: What does couture mean to you?

Couture is always chic and elegant. The most important is that it is irreplaceable and there’s always a deep meaning inside the garments.

TLFB: How would you describe your work in three words?

Unique, meaningful and passionate.

TLFB: Why are you excited to be part of the Fashion Club Inc event?

This is my first time to present my new collection, “Mermaid”.  The show will be a great show as 5 diverse designers are going to showcase their talents and ideas.

Follow: @sammy_design

Photo courtesy of Jacqueline-Anne Couture

Jacqueline Roper of Jacqueline-Anne Couture

TLFB: Tell us about your journey through fashion to becoming a couturier. What were your motivations/inspirations?

I have always had a fascination with haute couture designers like Madeleine Vionet, Elsa Schiaparelli, Dior and Balenciaga. I followed my dreams by studying fashion and design and history of costume — with a goal to intern at Chanel or Dior —  and ended up in Tokyo working for top menswear designer Nigel Curtiss. He introduced me to Paris Prêt-à-Porter and opened my eyes to the world of High fashion.

Following this, I worked for a firm that designed apparel for the Japanese market and from there I was hired to work in the USA as a designer for global brands, including O’Neill, Burton and Easton Bell Sports. The knowledge and relationships I gained from these experiences gave me the confidence to finally do my own brand. This was the hard part of deciding what area I wanted to focus on! I realised what makes me happy the most is high fashion and special occasion wear.

TLFB: What is your couture speciality?

I’m devoted to both the dressmaking, ‘Flou’, and also to the tailoring ‘Tailleur’ of couture.

TLFB: What does couture mean to you?

The creation of custom fitted impeccable handmade high fashion.

TLFB: How would you describe your work in three words?

Kaleidoscopic, luxurious, dandy.

TLFB: Why are you excited to be part of the Fashion Club Inc event?

To showcase the brand in preparation for our flagship store opening, creating a little buzz with the opportunity to reach more potential clients.

Follow: @jacqueline_anne_atelier

Photo courtesy of Cecelia Kang Couture

Cecelia Kang Couture

TLFB: Tell us about your journey through fashion to becoming a couturier. What were your motivations/inspirations?

My fashion journey was not easy as there were many obstacles that I had to face. As a self-taught couturier, I had quite a different experience from what ‘normal’ fashion students go through. It all started when I became very interested in fashion styling, femininity and discovering myself as who I am as a trans woman. I was so lost, didn’t really know what to do in life and I was very lonely. Then the LGBTQIA+ community and the drag queen performers just really spoke to me which was my true motivation and inspiration to my creativity in designing fabulous garments. The LGBTQIA+ community really sparked my soul into my creative designing process and this changed my life around which was a turning point.

TLFB: What does couture mean to you?

Couture to me is a representation of diversity, sophistication, something that is an over the top luxurious glamorous feel to what you wear to create a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s also about being uniquely yourself and being one of a kind.

TLFB: What is your couture speciality?

I want to empower others to make them feel good and confident about themselves through pieces that are only available from Cecilia Kang Couture.

TLFB: How would you describe your work in three words?

Creative, experimental and resilient.

TLFB: Why are you excited to be part of the Fashion Club Inc event?

I am actually excited to be part of Fashion Club Inc. ART because it creates a diverse atmosphere with the designers and audience engaging more in a networking environment. The purpose is to allow individuals through networking fashion events to dress to excess and express their own personality, passion and desire for clothing. Our goal is to ‘Revolutionise the Way Fashion & Art are Experienced.’ Myself and Allan Myers, celebrity auctioneer, have founded the club and associated business to create a place for people of all ages, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds to come together and share their excitement and love of fashion.

Follow: @ceciliakangcouture

Photo courtesy of Jaiss Bespoke Tailoring

Rakesh Jaiswal of Jaiss Bespoke Tailoring

TLFB: Tell us about your journey through fashion to becoming a couturier. What were your motivations/inspirations?

Jaiss was established in 2001 with a vision to be New Zealand’s top pick for custom clothing. My fashion journey started in 1998 when I had just completed my schooling and taken designing merely as a hobby. My family’s start-up business of designing stoles (scarves) became a super hit in the European countries and the company skyrocketed.

Manufacturing stoles was my first turning point. It took me to the first concept of manufacturing fabric, producing home furnishing fabrics on handloom and power loom in Kolkata, India, which gave me a new perspective on the textiles industry. I had to travel to several places in India to research and learn about the art of making clothes. Later on, I studied at a Fashion School in North India. My day-to-day work experience became a powerhouse of knowledge and I planned to pursue full-time studies and a career in fashion design. I walked into several education summits in the city that landed me a six months scholarship at the Design & Arts College of New Zealand, followed by a two-year diploma in Fashion Design.

My breakthrough came through a successful marketing campaign which gave me more than a hundred orders on the first day of listing. When I realised that I had enough customers support, I opened my first store in 2015.

TLFB: What is your couture speciality?

Tailor-made designer suits for both men and women. In addition, we make made-to-order wedding dresses, ball gowns and bridesmaids dresses.

TLFB: What does couture mean to you?

My company’s main motive is to make clothes for everyone — my company’s slogan is “custom clothing.” Our multicultural country has customers from every part of the world. I love discussing every detail with my customers to make their big day memorable.

TLFB: How would you describe your work in three words?

Encourage individuality, super busy, covered with bling

TLFB: Why are you excited to be part of the Fashion Club Inc event?

I believe that Allan Myers and Cecelia Kang are two brilliant people who created a fashion event that will bring a big revolution in New Zealand fashion and I am proud to be part of it.

Follow: @jaiss_bespoke_tailoring

Learn more about Fashion Club Inc. ART and follow them on Instagram.

Stay with The Last Fashion Bible for all the latest fashion events.



The Last Fashion Bible is an interactive hub of fashion and lifestyle-related video content, featuring a mix of both international and local runway shows, editorials, interviews, how-tos and much more.

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