Annah Stretton's wedding belles

In January, Karl Lagerfeld closed Chanel’s haute couture show with two model 'brides' on his runway. Now New Zealand’s Annah Stretton plans to up the marriage equality ante on hers with the real deal.

chanel haute couture SS13 via justluxe.com

UPDATE 17/07/13:

Predictably perhaps, not everyone is happy with Stretton’s bid to leverage publicity out of New Zealand's historic marriage equality legislation.

Aych McCardle, the Vice Chair of Auckland-based queer youth support group Rainbow Youthhas slammed the competition as “patronizing and exploitative”.

Same sex marriage is a hot button topic the world over.

Well, at least in the fair world.

Thirteen states and Washington DC in the US and 13 other countries have legalised it. And although Australia has been dragging its heels on the issue, our on-again off-again prime minister Kevin Rudd has now come out in support, a factor which some predict could enhance Labor's chances in the upcoming election (which could be as early as August).

Considering that New Zealand beat Australia to give women the vote and elect a female Prime Minister, perhaps it’s no surprise that the Kiwis also pipped us at the post on this issue as well, passing marriage equality legislation back in April. With New Zealand already the number one tourist spot for Australians, moreover, some are predicting that there will be a rush of same sex Australian couples flocking to NZ to tie the knot come August 19th, once the Marriage Amendment Act 2013 comes into effect.

To help things along, Tourism New Zealand has even launched a competition with the Sydney Star Observer to offer one lucky couple the opportunity to "make history" by becoming the first LGBT Australians to legally marry in The Land of the Long White Cloud and Hobbits.

New Zealand designer Annah Stretton plans to crank that up a notch at the upcoming New Zealand Fashion Week.

The Waikato-based designer has launched a competition called ‘Come on Oz, Say I Do’, which is offering a female couple the opportunity to marry during her New Zealand Fashion Week show in Auckland on September 7th.

The winners will receive designer gowns by Stretton for themselves, their bridal party and even their guests, return flights and accommodation from their nearest capital city, a wedding afterparty to be attended by 250 guests and a video/photo package.

“This is a cause that I am incredibly passionate about” says Stretton on her campaign page. “I have always been proud to call myself a New Zealander and even more so now that we do not discriminate against those who want to be married based on their gender. Because they cannot yet get married in their own country, I’m inviting our Aussie neighbours to jump the ditch and, using the platform I have been given at New Zealand Fashion Week, be married for the world to see in what is set to be a fashion show extravaganza that will be remembered for years to come.”

In January, Karl Lagerfeld made headlines around the world by closing Chanel's Spring/Summer 2013 haute couture show with not one but two brides – Russian Kati Nescher and Ashleigh Good, who is, coincidentally, a Kiwi.

Karl Lagerfeld Annah Stretton is most certainly not, however she does punch above her weight when it comes to grabbing headlines.

Stretton has campaigned against animal testing, dole bludgers, overweight New Zealanders - urging one in four Kiwis to collectively drop one million kilos last year - and in 2004, famously sent a model down her runway wearing a giant, stuffed boar’s head decorated with dead pigeons.

The stunt made page one of the local newspapers – but for all the wrong reasons. The Dominion Post, for example, dubbing the spectacle “poor taste”.

No idea if any boars' heads are on the agenda for September 7th, but if you're interested in an Annah Stretton-themed wedding extravaganza, get cracking. The competition closes on July 30th.