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October 20, 2020 5 min
Top fashion designer Dame Trelise Cooper is devastated after thieves broke into her Auckland head office and stole about $500,000 worth of clothing.
The thieves entered the company's premises in Epsom sometime after 4pm on Saturday at the weekend and stripped the racks of her entire 2021 spring and summer samples.
"One lonely hanger is all that's left," Cooper posted on social media.
"Over the weekend our styling room was burgled and our entire Spring '21 and Summer '21 sample collections for Trelise Cooper, Cooper, Coop and Curate were stolen - along with a number of our unique couture pieces. 1800 samples gone.
"All of our hard work through covid lockdowns and 2020 - gone!", she posted.
Speaking to the Herald tonight, Cooper said the thieves broke into the styling room through a vent in an electrical room. They then emptied suitcases of shoes and left them strewn across the floor to use the suitcases to take the clothes.
"I feel violated. I feel bad for my staff. We have kind of taken it as a kick in the guts," she said.
Cooper said one of the saving graces is she is working on a new collection and of the two stolen collections, the Spring one was being delivered to retailers and the Summer one is being manufactured.
Nevertheless, the two collections are a "working tool for us" and used for charity parades, events like the Melbourne Cup and Riccarton races, and magazine shoots.
"These garments are going to be difficult for someone to onsell. They are all size 8 and that is a lot of size 8 to flood a market," said Cooper, saying the clothes do not have 'care' labels and not in stores yet, which makes them easily identifiable.
Cooper said it was the first time her head office in Epsom had been burgled in 25 years, although someone unsuccessfully tried to break into the building 14 years ago.
The building did not have CCTV cameras, but is getting them installed. The building was alarmed and is monitored by security guards.

Cooper said 2020 had been stressful and challenging for all kind of reasons and the burglary was "another 2020 blow", but she remained optimistic.

She made a plea to the thieves to "please bring back our garments".
"They can just bring them to our front door step and drive away before we put cameras in," she said.
A police spokesman said they received a report relating to a burglary at a commercial premise on Lion Place, Epsom, over the weekend.
The exact time of the burglary isn't known at this stage.
The store was broken into and a significant amount of clothing and shoes were reported stolen.
Police have been making inquiries and a forensic examination of the scene has taken place.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Police on 105 quoting file number 201019/3913 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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