Zimmermann spring 2021
Credit: Zimmermann.

The fashion press are used to seeing Nicky Zimmermann duck her head out to acknowledge a packed-out runway show in New York City. Season after season, the roaring crowd would be dodging one another to catch a glimpse of the lauded woman responsible for those tiered ruffles, billowy blouses and Victorian Macramé lace collars.

Nicky would only ever pop out ever so quickly. It wasn’t about her, it was always about the collection and her team. But as Zimmermann revealed their Spring 21 offering, Wild Botanica, via a short film last night in Sydney, the world got to see much more of its designer than usual.

In a clip played before the runway show, we learnt that in another life Nicky would have liked to be florist. We got a closer look into how she marries historical figures with her work. We were given context into why the fabric was sheer so as to “let the light shine through”. We got to hear how thankful she is to call Australia home during the pandemic. We got to hear her voice. All of these little things – presented in a very romantic and cinematic package by Mandy Walker – helped us absorb and appreciate the collection in a way that we couldn’t by simply reading the show notes in Manhattan.

“It took us a while to settle on what we were going to do – we knew early on it wasn’t to be in New York but we talked about a whole lot of different ways to bring the collection to life,” Nicky explains to GRAZIA. “With a show, the excitement is geared to that moment in the room – when you reveal the collection in a ten-minute runway. But there’s only so many people that get to experience that. The majority of clients and followers of fashion only ever get to see the unveiling of a collection on social media or online. So we saw it as a really exciting opportunity to do something a little more creative for a broader audience.”

Talking through the collection prior to the show, Nicky says her love of botanicals led to the discovery of Ellis Rowan, a Melbournian artist who was born in 1848 and who painted wildflowers, birds, insects and butterflies her entire life. Her work was so good that Queen Victoria accepted three of her paintings.

“I came across a book called The Flower Hunter which had works from a trailblazing Australian artist, naturalist and explorer from the turn of the last century, Ellis Rowan,” says Nicky.

“[Ellis Rowan] really resonated with me – her paintings were emotive and very Australian. I recognised the plants and birds and I loved the way she painted with such a feminine hand.”

“I thought her artwork would be amazing to apply to clothing,” she added. “We were fortunate to bring ten of her artworks to life in the prints with the support of The National Library in Australia and others.”

Despite design restraints, Wild Botanica sees your favourite Zimmermann silhouettes, all elevated with Rowan’s floral prints in milky colours; high-waisted tiered skirts, ballooned-sleeved minis, diaphanous dresses.

“I am often travelling at various periods through a collection process so to be able to be spend time at home with my family and to be able to work with the entire team in Sydney throughout the design process to the presentation has been unique and very special,” notes Nicky.

“I feel lucky to live in Sydney and have got a greater appreciation of that in recent times.”

Returning home from living in New York myself, I share this same sentiment. While I miss the hustle and hassle of Manhattan and the energy of a Zimmermann show, this collection – and Nicky’s words – landed harder. It reminded me of the beauty that lay before all of us in Australia if we simply take a moment to look around.

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“We often start a collection with a focus on print and this season I wanted to work with botanical art with an Australian focus – the unique floral shapes and the unexpected colour combinations. We thought about buoyant and diaphanous looks, balanced against crisp, masculine tailoring. I came across works by Ellis Rowan, a trailblazing artist, naturalist and explorer from the turn of the last century, who’s style traversed science and creativity. She was known for painting accurate depictions of wildflowers, insects and birds but with a very feminine, colourful and imaginative handle. We have been fortunate to partner with the National Library and others to be given the opportunity to bring ten of these works to life in various prints in the collection. We have contrasted these feminine styles – mostly on sheer, papery organdy and quite dramatic in silhouette – with more masculine suiting in a neutral, milky palette. The mood of the tailored looks is really important to me – these clean shapes were key in balancing out the collection and something I want us to keep exploring from here." #WILDBOTANICA #ZimSpring21 #zimmermann With thanks to: Stylist @stylemeromy Creative Direction @michelle_jank Film Director @mandywalkerdp Runway Film @bonnieelliottdp @_antlau Back Of House Video @pierretoussaint Front Of House Stills @simonlekias Back Of House Stills @charliedenno @sonnyphotos Florals Saskia Havekes for @grandiflora_sydney Production @rizerevents & @catmayrose Music @mimixumusic @slhippocampus Art Direction @smile.agency Makeup @nonismithmakeup Hair @renyaxydis for @wellapro_anz

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