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Botanical beauty

Nature is undeniably beautiful. Therefore, adorning ourselves in leafy glade renditions or the magical mystique of a lush green forest reflects our free-spirited feminine wiles.




Karen Walker has her own take on the botanical twist. Her ‘Runaway Girl’ pendant has turned woodland nymph, now dangling an adorable oversized acorn as a change from her trademark knapsack.

And for earrings, the elegant silhouette of dragonflies are seen hovering under earlobes.




Green is serene, calm and cool. It’s the big shade for 2020 fashion.

So botanical-inspired prints are a natural flow, branching out in all directions from mint to emerald.

Florals part the way for tropical jungle palm leaves to reign on summer dresses.

Lush rainforests through to sweeter daisy-dotted meadows glam up the green palette.



Foliage set on a white background is crisp, fresh couture, while retro botanical prints give classic vintage detailing.

Nature provides enough individuality to inspire designs from the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and timeless icons like Dior who have been down the botanical path before.


This time it’s not for shrinking violets, as larger-than-life fronds adorn jumpsuits, summer trench coats and floaty skirts, through to bags, hair accessories and sunglasses.


A collaborative collection

What does popular New Zealand fashion designer Karen Walker have in common with an Australian denim production house? A whole lot, it seems. Karen Walker has just revealed her latest project; a collaboration with Outland Denim.


Based in Queensland, Australia, Outland Denim is a B-Corp company and one of the world’s hottest right now, because not only does this brand employ vulnerable women in Cambodia and provide them with a full skillset and personal development opportunities, sustainability is also close to its heart, making jeans with a lower environmental impact a core focus.

Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle has also caught the Outland Denim bug and the addition of Outland Denim to her wardrobe enabled the company to employ a further 46 seamstresses in their Cambodia-based production house.

We caught up with Karen Walker about the inspiration behind the collaboration and why it is so important to her.


The Karen Walker brand has long been committed to prioritising transparency, sustainability and ethical practices over profits. How important are these areas to you?
How you make your product is at the top of the agenda for any leading brand and will continue to be so.

What do you think are the most important areas businesses should be looking at when it comes to ethical business practice?
I think the most important thing is to ask yourself whether people really need the thing you’re making or the service you’re providing. Really consider every product you’re making before you make it and be sure it has a purpose and there’s a need for it.

For us, with this collaboration, we took the idea of utility denim pieces down to their very essence. What does the core of a utility workwear wardrobe look like and it turns out it’s one jacket, two jeans, a skirt, a t-shirt and a tote bag.

At the other end of the spectrum, our Atelier service makes a product only when people actually need it so it’s sparse in the extreme. And then, in the middle, with our ready-to-wear, we’re making about a third of the styles we were five years ago and bringing the collections down to their very core. We believe less truly is better.

Have you noticed change happening in this space?
Yes, I think people understand the urgency now more than they did five or 10 years ago.

How did the Outland capsule collaboration come about?
Mutual admiration and a shared desire to make beautiful, well-considered and needed things.

How did the design process behind this collaboration work, and what did Outland and Karen Walker each bring to the table?
We brought our unique design and Outland Denim brought their unique way of producing.

Why is this collaboration so important to you?
Collaborations are a way for brands to learn from one another. In this particular case Outland Denim’s Cambodian production team have learnt new skills required for the specific elements in our designs and we’ve learnt about new ways to approach the production of denim. Manufacturing of denim clothing has been very problematic for some time and Outland are on a journey to reinvent it and solve those issues that have been so intrinsic.

What was the inspiration behind the collection?
We wanted to create a family of garments that felt engineered and focused on structure and functionality.




All that glitters is gold

Yellow gold is the hot pick to invest in this year and it’s now even hotter to go all out in its gorgeous glitter.




People have adorned themselves in gold chains since early Egyptian times – guarantee that bejewelling yourself in the planet’s most beloved precious metal will always spell style. From Cleopatra through to the Kardashians, golden glam has remained a star. Recently the glittery little gold dress has even stolen the spotlight off the little black one. And piling on the gold now is not overdoing it – it’s rocking it!

Karen Walker captures the beauty of yellow gold in her just-launched jewellery collection, Society. She has crafted a signet ring and KW-bow adorned bracelet and necklace with a disc that can be engraved with a personal initial. And how divine are her gold Electric Heart earrings?

With gold prices soaring to a six-year high, maybe our psyches are revaluing its sheer preciousness. The more yellow a gold piece is, the more carats it contains. However, quality gold-plated jewellery and accessories are as affordable as ever. Classic and refined, wear for its beguiling, glittering charm. Yellow gold suits everyone but especially on neutral or warm-toned skins.

For the demure amongst us, a gold necklace on a simple outfit instantly adds a million-dollar feel. Yellow gold buckles and embellishments on a black handbag totally ups the sophistication score. Just like first prize at the Olympics, timeless true gold will always represent number one in the wardrobe.



Karen Walker

Karen Walker gets the sartorial edge

Karen Walker designs have always had a bit of edge. Described once as the “consummate collision of attitude and aptitude”, Walker has added a more literal edge to her latest collection, Bad Apple.


Karen Walker


Inspired by a day at an orchard in Upstate New York, the new ready-to-wear collection is marked by apple tree references, but in classic Walker style, there’s a wry twist; look closely and you’ll see that medieval apple tree print has a small serpent concealed within its branches.

We caught up with up with Walker to discuss the collection and what the New Year has in store for one of the country’s most beloved designers.


Can you tell us a bit about your new ready-to-wear collection Bad Apple?
It’s preppy dressing for people who want to misbehave with lots of print and tailoring and denim.


What does the collection mean to you and what are your favourite pieces?
I love the apple tree with the hidden snake print especially and also the denim suit (featured on the cover) which we’re thrilled to have had to release early after Mrs Obama wore it on her recent book tour.


What do your upcoming collections have in store for us?
Our March 2019 collection pays homage to two great female chess players.


You’re in a high-paced creative role, how do you unwind and prevent burnout?
Handstands on my yoga mat, chess with my daughter (she’s yet to beat me), reading, playing piano and playing tennis are, I find, all pretty good ways to unwind.

Also, I do find myself anxiously waiting through autumn until there’s enough snow on Coronet Peak to get the snowboard out and I’ve also recently taken up running (thanks to my new Adidas UltraBoost runners!) and I find I love it.

I do also love a history podcast, especially the BBC’s In Our Time. Also, Glenn Gould playing absolutely anything but especially his first version of the Goldberg Variations.


What’s your design philosophy?
Does it make me smile?


Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Anywhere and everywhere.


What does personal success mean to you?
Waking up looking forward to and excited by my day.


What are your New Year’s resolutions?
I don’t do New Year resolutions. I try to go into every day of the year with focus, clarity and passion.


What are you most looking forward to over the next 12 months?
We’ve got some very exciting projects in place for 2019 and I’m looking forward to pulling them together and seeing what we can create.



Karen Walker

A runaway success: Karen Walker

Karen Walker’s instantly recognisable Runaway Girl has lent her signature look to one of the most beloved and iconic characters of all time.


Karen Walker


Ninety years after Mickey Mouse first appeared on television, he has borrowed the stylised stick and bag of the ponytailed girl from one of the designer’s oldest collections. Launched earlier this month, the collection’s central motif is Mickey Mouse toting the Karen Walker Runaway Girl’s signature bindle. The Runaway Girl is 17 this year and is still one of Karen Walker’s most popular fine jewellery pieces and this is the first time she’s ever been modified.

Karen says it felt like the perfect time; like Mickey and Minnie, the Runaway Girl has always stood for adventure and fun. “When Disney approached us to help celebrate Mickey’s 90th, it was an immediate and unequivocal yes,” she says. “Mickey is a true icon and it’s a great honour for me to have an opportunity to interpret his personality, which I’ve always loved, through my own lens.” The collection includes t-shirts and sweatshirts, eyewear, fine jewellery, accessories and a commemorative plate and mug. It will be exclusive to Ballantynes or through, with the jewellery collection available from Petersens Jewellers at the Bush Inn Centre.

The only designer from Australasia asked by Disney to create a collection for its global celebration, Karen Walker is being represented alongside brands including Gucci, Saint Laurent and Marc Jacobs. The New Zealand brand has also had the royal seal of approval, with Her Royal Highness, Meghan The Duchess of Sussex wearing Karen Walker several times during the recent royal tour.

Meghan was wearing a tailored coat with double-breasted front called the ‘Banks Trench’ as she and Prince Harry arrived in Wellington and the Karen Walker ‘Fathom Jacket’, as she and Prince Harry visited The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy on Auckland’s North Shore. She has also been spotted wearing earrings by Karen Walker, the temptation studs in 9 carat gold with pearl studs and ‘Northern Lights’ sunglasses.

The Duchess has previously worn Karen’s clothing and attended her shows at New York Fashion Week.




Tickled pink: this pretty shade is all grown up

With cooler temperatures welcoming a cooler colour palette, one hot new trend is breaking all the season’s sartorial rules. With both street cred and practical appeal, pink is the colour the fashion world is falling for in 2018.


From caps to coats, there’s something for everyone in this pretty palette, but not as you’ve ever seen it before. Yes, the dusky shade of postmodern girlhood has emerged with an intriguing new edge.
The 2018 season is putting its own sartorial spin on this bubble-gum classic – gone is the girly-girl look. Not so much in the pieces themselves, but rather how they’re put together.
Teamed with masculine cuts and dirty shades of olive and brown, pink is quickly taking over as fashion’s new power player.

Karen Walker

Striking sartorial gold: Q&A with Karen Walker

Every industry has one; the prodigious talents whose comfort zones are outside of the box and for whom rules are more guideline than instruction. They’re the rebels, the misfits, the rulebreakers and the nonconformists. But equally, they’re the trendsetters, the innovators, the visionaries and the true talent. For New Zealand fashion, that’s Karen Walker.

Karen Walker

In 1989, at 19 years of age with just $100 in her pocket and two shirts in her commercial repertoire, she launched the Karen Walker label. Since then, she has steadily grown to be New Zealand’s most famous fashion export, with more than 1020 stores globally stocking her fashion, eyewear, jewellery, fragrance and paint collections, and a cult following from Lady Gaga to Madonna.
With the ability to pair neons with pastels and floral prints with military touches in a way that only a true talent can, she has struck sartorial gold with her androgynous and offbeat designs distinguishable by their punchy, tomboyish edge.
Metropol caught up with the sartorial powerhouse after a whirlwind trip to Dunedin where she was judging this year’s iD Fashion Week.

What was a standout at this year’s iD Fashion Week?
The stand-out for me, obviously, was our first prize winner, Damir Begović, but there were a lot of other collections that I thought were really excellent – I was very impressed and delighted to be there.

How important is it to you to support emerging designers coming through the industry?
I think it’s very important for anyone who’s well established in this industry to support emerging talent and iD Fashion Week’s got a great structure in place for doing this in a unique and outward-facing way.

Karen Walker has become an iconic Kiwi label, why do you think it has been such a success and how do you continue to stay ahead of the game in such a constantly evolving industry?
It all comes down to the ideas and we’re very fortunate that people like what we make. With regard to staying ahead of the game, I guess that’s just a result of us being interested in new ideas.

What drew you to fashion in the first place?
The feeling it gives you when you create or find something truly new/exciting/great.

How would you define the Karen Walker brand?
Chic meets eccentric.

You’ve been involved with some pretty cool collaborations recently, including cookie mix and cute canine accessories. How much fun has it been to do something completely different?
We’re in this business because we love to work with and create new ideas, especially ones that put a smile on people’s faces, and we’re always thinking about and working on projects that are new and exciting.

We have to ask the cliché question – what are your biggest style secrets?
A combination of lots of things really but the things that are important to me include: quality, a sense of self and a calmness within that, plenty of sleep and, for me personally, if in doubt… navy. And never, ever, ever counterfeits.

What can we look forward to from Karen Walker this coming year?
Coming up in the second half of the year we’ve got new eyewear (guys and girls), new ready-to-wear and bags and a big, exciting, top secret collab to top the year off.