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Design: Doris de Pont

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13 O'Connell Street

Doris de Pont’s quarter century of professional fashion-making reflected a distinctive, individual aesthetic which straddled fashion and fine art and sought to realise a distinctive New Zealand style.

Her connections enabled the opening of her first boutique at 13 O’Connell Street. Born in Auckland to two Dutch parents, both from families involved in the apparel industry, Doris learned to sew as a child. While on her OE in the Netherlands in the early 1980s she sold her own designs through a collective boutique and decided that fashion making was a feasible career path.

Back in Auckland she met Trelise and Jack Cooper at a night class in pattern making. Doris acquired the lease on her first shop at 13 O’Connell Street through the Coopers, and opened a little yellow shoebox of a space, Design: Doris de Pont, in June 1985. By the end of that year, her garments were being featured in ChaCha magazine, and Doris was being hailed as a ‘local fashion luminary’. She closed this shop in 1990 but continued in fashion. Initially custom making before co founding the DNA label in 1994 and the Doris de Pont label in 2003.

The hallmark of her practice in O’Connell Street and in the future ventures she embarked on during her 26 years in the fashion business, has been her collaborations with New Zealand artists and designers. That cooperative spirit has seen Doris transition from fashion making to fashion curating. When she retired her label in 2008 she founded the Fashion Museum, and continues to serve as curator and champion of New Zealand fashion. Her exploration of fashion and identity is ongoing.

Read more at www.nzfashionmuseum.org.nz/doris-de-pont

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