When I first spoke to New Zealand designer, Maggie Marilyn (real name Maggie Hewitt), it was the eve of her first Forever capsule. A seasonless release of special pieces that were designed to be loved and worn for a lifetime. We discussed what a perfect world would look like. For the creative, it was one where people would thrive with little cost to the planet. Amid Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, (the first for the designer) Marilyn travelled from Auckland to present her latest capsule with the same notion in mind.
Aptly titled “A Brave New World”, the presentation was held at the leafy surrounds of Centennial Homestead. In the heart of Sydney’s Centennial Park, the area is beloved for its escapist settings. And if only momentarily, guests were whisked away from all the bustle and stress of AAFW with a screening of the forthcoming collection and bopped along to “Livin’ Thing” by Electric Light Orchestra, imagining we too were breaking bread in Byron Bay.
“I began working on this capsule in early January – a time when many of us felt more than ready to leave 2020 in the rear view mirror,” Marilyn tells GRAZIA. “I found an image shared by Laura Jackson, founder of Hoste London and a long-time supporter of Maggie Marilyn (MM), which showed a group of people sitting around a long dining table, breaking bread, laughing and talking in the middle of a vineyard on a summer’s night. It seemed to perfectly capture the optimism I was feeling – despite everything – about what this new year could hold for us, and the simple joy that comes from dressing up and sitting down with your favourite people to share food.”
Since launching in 2016, Maggie Marilyn has become synonymous for silky romantic pieces and flirty style cues. The same could be said for the next iterations of pieces. From chocolate brown, electric blue and buttery beige, the designer presented a series of whimsical silhouettes and pleated necklines. However, there seemed to be a (welcomed) addition of crisp tailoring and reimagined suiting in the same soft colour palette. The fabrication speaks for itself too and as the Hewitt notes, is not only of the highest quality but created from considered fibres.
“The clothes featured in ‘A Brave New World’ are the latest additions to our Forever capsule and a continuation of the bold decision my team and I made at the end of 2019 to move away from a wholesale model and operate entirely direct-to-consumer,” she notes. “Everything in our Forever capsule has been crafted from traceable and organic or repurposed fibres, responsibly made in New Zealand and always produced in limited runs. They’re timeless and seasonless designs that we hope will be purchased with intention and loved for a lifetime.”
Looks were finished off with a culty collaboration between Nelson Made, a transparent and ethically-made footwear label born from New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based designer, Jamie. The footwear combines a chunky silhouette (read: comfortable) combined with a strappy design cue for plush heels and flats. All of the shoes in the collaboration are crafted from Certified Recycled Leather and OEKO TEX dyed satin and have been produced according to the Nelson Made key values of responsible, fair production and in extremely limited quantities.
Jewellery was supplied by Mineraleir. The label utilises 90 percent of recycled materials for each piece and is purely made-to-order to ensure minimal waste.
“Rather than being a highly conceptual process, the question at the forefront of my mind when I’m designing is, ‘How do I want the wearer of the clothes to feel? And how do I want to feel?’ I then work backwards from there,” she recalls. “In 2021, I believe more than ever, that our customer deserves to feel joy.”
All in all, the collection was destined to do what fashion always intends to do (but often falls short on). For our counterparts in Melbourne and abroad however, the collection was as much about hope as it was about happiness.