I know its a bit cruel to make you think of next summer as we head into the depths of winter but Im so excited about State of Grace choosing Goodness as its new Wellington stockist, I just had to tell. Mention Me skirt $199 Following her formal training in fashion design at Wellington Polytechnic and a stint as a costume designer for film and theatre, designer Sherilyn Catchpole started selling her own designs under the name, State of Grace, in 1992.Together with another local designer who has since left the business, Catchpole opened a small boutique on a quiet street corner in Grey Lynn, Auckland. This first, small-but-perfectly-formed State of Grace boutique soon attracted a loyal following. Although the store was a little way off the beaten shopping track, carloads of the fashion-savvy would arrive at the weekends just to buy the beautiful and unique designs they could only find at State of Grace. Since those early days, the brand has gone from strength to strength. Now in its eleventh year of production, State of Grace is one of the most successful independent fashion labels in New Zealand. It is stocked at around thirty New Zealand and Australian boutiques. To its clientele, State of Grace epitomizes femininity, romance and theatre, always with a contemporary bias. Looking at Sherilynís collections her background and passion for theatrical costume is evident as is her love of the most beautiful fabrics. All garments are styled from unusual and spectacular fabrics imported from France, India and Italy; often these have been designed by Sherilyn and are exclusive to State of Grace. Sherilyn believes that her work is to make a woman look and feel beautiful. And she firmly believes it is possible to be both modern and innovative while still maintaining flattering shapes and classic styles to suit all ages. MILESTONES In 1992 the first State of Grace retail outlet and workroom is established in Grey Lynn, Auckland. In 1993 State of Grace establishes its first wholesale account in Wellington and later that year obtains a second account in Melbourne, Australia. In 1994, due to the growing demands from a flourishing wholesale business, extra space is leased so that a workroom can be expanded into, right next to the original store. In 1996 the first State of Grace flagship store opens on Jervois Road, Ponsonby. By 1998 the brand has expanded to 10 retail accounts in New Zealand and Australia. In May 1999, State of Grace is launched at Mercedes Australian Fashion Week. The Summer 2000 collection appears on the runway as part of the eventís New Generation show By the year 2000, State of Grace has secured 10 Australian and 10 New Zealand stockists and is again invited back to show at Mercedes Australian Fashion Week. In 2001 State of Grace captivates audiences for the third time at Mercedes Australian Fashion Week as part of the New Zealand Group Collections - a new concept for Fashion Week that showcases New Zealand labels exclusively. This is one of the most successful group shows ever held at the event. In 2001 State of Grace presents the Winter 2002 collection to a full house, at the inaugural L'Oreal New Zealand Fashion Week. This was the brandís first major solo show and was sponsored by Gillette for Women 'Venus'. In this year, State of Grace also shows at the first Ponsonby Fringe Festival, in support of local retail. In 2002State of Grace exhibits at Mercedes Australian Fashion Week, nurturing existing business and establishing five new accounts in the Australian market. The signature feminine designs also caught the eye of buyers from Mimosa in Saudi Arabia, resulting in State of Grace' first 'big' international order. In October 2002, State of Grace presents the Winter 2003 collection to a capacity crowd at the Town Hall for the second L'Oreal New Zealand Fashion Week. The show results in further growth and recognition for the brand in both the New Zealand and Australian markets. The production and garments won rave reviews from visiting journalist Colin McDowell, The Sunday Times... 'a foxy yet ladylike collection'... and Patty Huntington, Womens Wear Daily, who likened it to a Paris Couture show. January 2003 the brand exhibits as part of a Trade New Zealand promotion at Hong Kong Fashion Week, creating further awareness and interest in the Asian region. May 2003 State of Grace exhibits at Mercedes Australian Fashion Week (5 - 8 May), and debuts the Summer 2004 collection on the catwalk in an offsite show at Sydney's Cruise Bar. Nine further Australian stores bought the collection. In October 2003 the Winter 2004 collection, titled 'A Tale of Mythical Sirens and Sunken Treasure' debuts at L'Oreal Fashion Week. It receives the most enthusiastic response ever and buyers from several international stores have already expressed interest in stocking State of Grace. In December 2004, State of Graceís workroom shifts from its Newton location to in Eden Terrace. Currently the label has around thirty stockists in both Australia and New Zealand. And a long-planned strategic change in the company structure means that State of Grace can now be solely focussed on expanding the already very successful wholesale side of the business. In May 2005 Sherilyn designed costumes for 'Suddenly last summer' a play being performed at the Silo theatre in Auckland. An experience Sherilyn thoroughly enjoyed. In 2005 State of Grace started working with USA agent Patricia Abraham and together they gained their first stockist in Los Angeles. As well as being picked up in the Netherlands.