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Designer holidays

15 December 2023
ABOVE: Karen Walker

We check in with some of New Zealand’s most-loved designers on their oh-so-stylish holiday plans, what they’ll be wearing and what their customers (including here in the south) are looking to now for the long Kiwi summer.
Interviews Josie Steenhart

Karen Walker

Summer 2023/2024 is my usual holiday plan: a week of recovery from the year in my backyard – napping, reading, swimming, pottering; a week at the ASB Classic (looking forward to seeing Coco again!); a week back in the office; two weeks on Aotea Great Barrier Island doing nothing much at all besides beach walks, swims, naps and books.

In my own backyard and on Aotea I go very simple – various cotton items on high repeat. This summer I think it’ll be our Lotus Tiered Dress and Prairie Organic Cotton Shirred Dress. These will be paired with a fresh pair of Arizona EVA Birkenstocks, a Sensi Studio Panama hat and some great shades.
When I’m on Aotea I always take a fresh pair of PJs also as friends drop in at any time of day and, even though I’m at the beach, I have standards!

What seems to be shaping up to be hot in holiday attire are striped shirts in breezy cotton and our Armeria seersucker midi dresses.

Anywhere in New Zealand summer can take you by surprise, so having a raincoat and a layer of cashmere on standby is always a good idea.

Jess Beachen, Jessica Flora

I hope to take some time out from the shop and studio over the summer to head to the lakes, where we love to take the boat out and camp in the many amazing bays on Lake Benmore.

Being a North Island girl originally I’m always blown away by the vast and incredible landscape on our doorstep. Although I am very much looking forward to getting back to Hawke’s Bay briefly for Christmas to catch up with the family.

I will definitely be wearing a lot of our summer pieces on repeat, our It’s A Done Deal collared shirts are the perfect throw-over on lake days and we have so many amazing colours about to be released in this style.

And when the weather warms up I look forward to wearing our new colourway in the Golden Hour Maxi Skirt and the Follow My Lead short-sleeve linen blouse for the perfect fresh summer look.

For summer/holiday attire you can’t go wrong with an easy long-sleeve button down shirt that can be worn as its own statement or thrown over your togs on a hot day.

South Island summers… A good jumper is always on me, either on or over my shoulders. I have been pairing a lot of our summer collection with a range of jumpers from Ohae Knitwear while the weather warms up, and they have been the perfect match. My favourite from there at the moment is the coral stripe organic cotton jumper, a perfect lightweight piece for summer.

Juliette Hogan

This summer, we’ll be heading up north to the beautiful Tutukaka Coast for Christmas Day itself and through to the new year. Mum and dad have a place up there and we, the whole family, love heading there to be together.

It’s a really social two weeks with loads of people coming and going. The days are spent eating, swimming, walking around the bays, reading books, building sandcastles, searching for pirate money, collecting tuatua, doing puzzles and spending time with the people you care about most. The perfect way to see out a year and welcome in a new one.

I’ve already been loving wearing our summer cotton prints during the days, and then relaxing in some JHL in the evenings. I love a matching set, so will be taking a few to Tutukaka.

Cotton prints are definitely proving super popular so far this summer, as well as long-sleeve shirts (my Resort shirt is my favourite beach day shirt), and our summer beach wraps. I think people have really been gravitating towards easy and joyful pieces – lots of statement colours.

JHL is a must for a South Island summer – both the short-sleeve and long-sleeve top options along with the shorts and trackpants. They are really easy lightweight layering pieces.
I also always pack a puffer jacket [for holidays], even when heading up north, as I love being wrapped up and warm in the evenings.

Marielle van de Ven, ReCreate

We have quite the line-up this summer! Next week my family arrives from the Netherlands, and I can’t wait to show them all of Otago’s and the South Island’s finest spots.

We’ll be setting up camp at The Camp in Hāwea, staying at Hooker Hut under Aoraki Mount Cook and hopefully we’ll catch a good window of weather to camp at Pūrākaunui Bay campground in the Catlins. Lots of adventures and travelling around.

We’re going to throw a little wedding in the mix too, in our garden in Clyde.

Then, once my family has gone back to the Netherlands, we’re going to take a month off work to go camping around the South Island, before our newest family member arrives.

I’ve been based in Clyde for three years now, and I’m trying to convince myself that I’m a ‘Lakes girl’, but reality is, I miss the ocean dearly! So I can’t wait to set up camp at some South Island beaches. Banks Peninsula, Abel Tasman, Golden Bay. In between all our adventures, time at home will be spent in my vege garden.

This summer I’ll be living in my ReCreate Ash dress, as well as my ReCreate Contour dress. Both are perfect and very comfy for my growing belly. I designed the Contour dress in mind with covering up the chest from the relentless Central Otago sunshine. For a bit of layering, I’ll pop the handwoven Charlie top on.

Our ‘Handwoven’ styles have been really popular this summer, it is such a special and beautiful fabric. Produced entirely by hand, the cotton is spun into thread and dyed using natural and organic materials such as local barks, vegetable skins and flowers. The thread is then handwoven on a loom. The finished fabric is gentle and textured with a ‘perfectly imperfect’ weave, making each garment unique. The garments get better and better over time, they get softer and wear beautifully.

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