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Helen Talbot | By the yardsticks of the fashion industry Helen Talbot is an overnight sensation. Her debut collection was shown – by invitation - in October 2001, just six weeks after she opened her label. Since then her clothes have sold, as one of her Wellington stockists puts it, “like the proverbial hotcakes”. She has received repeat invitations to hold collections at Auckland’s Ascot Metropolis, in 2003 her Fashion Week collection attracted international buyers, and she was chosen by Eric Watson as the showcase designer for his “Stand Tall” charity launch at the Sheraton in November. Television personalities here and in Australia will wear the next Helen Talbot winter range, and discussions are underway for U.S. distribution. Five years ago Talbot was one of New Zealand’s most successful criminal barristers, but that seems long ago. She brings life experiences to her designs, but they have little to do with the Law, apart from whatever training it gave her in the single-minded application of a powerful intellect. Helen Talbot reaches much further back. She can still summon the wide-eyed wonder felt by a solitary, artistic child who was entranced by the costumes she saw in historical picture books. Growing up on a Taranaki farm provided few opportunities to play with other little girls. There was a country bus to school and back, and in the evenings she read, and drew, and dreamed. To this day Helen Talbot feels “an incredible need to have my own private space.” When the long day’s work is done Helen Talbot has probably missed the television news, but it’s not too late to draw, and she’s a skilled artist on paper as well as with cloth.
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