Launching her eponymous label in 1989 at 18, Karen Walker is not just a New Zealand fashion icon but presides over fashion globally. For the fifth consecutive year, Karen Walker has made the Business of Fashion 500 list placed between Kayne West and Karl Lagerfeld. Not bad for a kiwi girl who started her fashion label with two t-shirt designs! Always walking to the beat of her own drum, Karen Walker’s off-beat designs see her mixing floral with military touches, blazers with bright orange checks, and fluros with pastels. With a loyal following, Walker continues to shape the fashion industry.
Walker launched an eyewear collection alongside her fashion label, developing a cult following that is loved by bloggers and celebrities such as Rihanna, and Lady Gaga. With a jewellery line, stockists around the globe, and stand-alone stores, Walker is a fashion disruption and an absolute favourite for the team at Sisters & Co. With her clever and creative husband, Mikhail Gherman, as the brand’s director, we cannot wait to see what the formidable duo do next. Here is a designer insight from when she recently visited the Mount.
Tell us about the Karen Walker Resort 2018 collection? Where did you draw inspiration from? The new collection is a cultural clash between the notoriously indulgent Marie Antoinette and 1970’s beat boys.
What’s your morning routine? Up at 6.30 am, child out the door to the bus stop by 7.40, then some exercise (yoga/tennis/walk), followed by 15 minutes of piano practice. THEN I’m ready to face my day.
An average day involves? I try to split my work day so it’s 2 hours quality design time, no more than 2 hours of meetings, and the rest for all the other stuff.
View from your office? The back streets of Auckland’s inner Western suburbs (not terribly picturesque) with not bad views to the Waitakere Ranges and a peek of harbour to the North.
Favourite food? There’s a lot of food I love and I really like to cook so it’s very hard to pick just one or two things, but I must say that virtually anything I’ve cooked with a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe has always been amazing.
Book you are reading? Well we’re working on a pop-up book store in our Newmarket store in November and December in partnership with Hedleys Books of Masterton, so I’ve been reading a lot in the last few months! But right now, I’m taking a break from the store reading list and going full immersion into Mark Vette’s Dog Zen so I can communicate stress-free and confidently with the newest member of the household.
Your Idol is? There is many to list, and they tend to mostly be creatives. To list just a few: Pablo Picasso, Amelia Earhart, David Bowie, suffragists and suffragettes everywhere, Evelyn Waugh, Larry David, P. G. Wodehouse, Pushkin, Johnny Cash, Jarvis Cocker, Lee Miller, Virginia Woolf, Morrissey, Glenn Gould, and Grayson Perry.
The best part of your day is? That differs every day but often it’ll be a moment
in front of my piano, on the tennis court or snuggling with my daughter in front of an episode of Doctor Who.
Inspiration comes from? Anywhere.
Best life lesson? Only work with people who get it.
Favourite fashion pieces for summer? This season I’m especially loving the Sadie tinted lenses, a wide-brimmed hat and our Antonia Top in Court Floral.
What are your go-to beauty products? Osmosis for absolutely everything but in summer their Protect becomes even more important. The best sunblock I’ve ever used.