Kevin Berkahn is represented in the Eden Hore Central Otago collection.
Similarly to Eden Hore, Kevin Berkahn was from a rural background – he was raised during the 1940s on a dairy farm near Dannevirke. Inspired by his aunt, who was a dressmaker, he started making clothes for his sister and her friends. At the age of 17 he moved to Auckland to pursue his dreams of being a fashion designer. With a growing reputation for special occasion and bridal wear, Berkahn went into business for himself at the end of the 1950s, and attracted national attention with his entries in the New Zealand Gown of the Year.
By the time Eden Hore met Kevin Berkahn, he was a well-established designer, creating high fashion garments for society women and the Miss New Zealand pageant. He also had his eyes firmly on international success. In 1971 he organised ‘New Zealand’s World of Fashion’, a travelling fashion that toured Australia, USA and England with selection of couture and ready-to-wear by a range of designers. In 1973, Berkahn established a ‘swishy salon’ in Sydney, in anticipation of the impact that the new opera house would have on Sydney’s nightlife.
As he remarked at the time, few people in New Zealand would ‘contemplate buying a long dress made of lace from Switzerland that cost $97 a yard, but it would sell in Australia’. He hadn’t, however, factored in Eden Hore!
Eden purchased four gowns by Kevin Berkahn from a fundraising parade held for the Sydney Opera House opening ball, as well as several items from the ‘New Zealand’s World of Fashion’.