Karen Walker talks her global vision for SS18

What’s Hot New Zealand caught up with Kiwi couture Queen Karen Walker about her exciting new collection, the inspiration behind it and why trends are out and seasonless fashion is in.

It’s all about making “something new and cool” for Kiwi fashion royalty Karen Walker and her bi-hemispheric approach to design. Eschewing seasonal constraints, her global vision (reflecting a truly international customer base) offers the lauded designer the freedom to create season-less fashion featuring several key pieces/elements that stylishly address weather extremes in both hemispheres. “We’re thinking about seasons from a very global perspective, not by what the weather is like,” says Walker, whose ready-to-wear collections are based around telling four ‘stories’ a year.

Ever-changing and designed to overlap, it’s a design stream with no best before date – each ‘story’ remains in-store as long as it feels relevant. In her latest release, Love Letter, Walker continues the story of Lost in Paradise’s tropical atoll shipwrecked protagonists Rimbaud and John Lydon, and, as its name suggests, celebrates the romance and glamour of airmail. It was Walker’s global approach that inspired her latest ‘story’.

“That idea of things going around the world got us thinking about old-fashioned post,” says the former child stamp collector who would fight with her brother over the best stamps attached to the letters sent by their father when he was away travelling. Key to Love Letter is the immediately recognisable shade of par avion envelope blue in sheer organza for knife pleat dresses and sunray pleat skirts, Edwardian postage stamps featuring camels and giraffes alongside famed icon Runaway Girl, and floral prints referencing exotic wild cottage roses are all intended to be mixed, layered and worn together. Embracing up-in-the-air-chic, the red, white and blue 70s striped Crêpe de Chine blouses hark back to glamorous international travel, while slouchy trousers and tie-waisted suit jackets tag in comfort for longer hauls. Walker’s signature plaids get frilled, pleated and flared, ruching appears at necklines, waists and cuffs, and frayed edges celebrate Love Letter’s appetite for deconstruction.


1 Mailman Sleeveless Tee (RRP $150) and Romance Skirt (RRP $395) 2 Stamps Skivvy Dress (RRP $275) and Poetry Pleated Dress (RRP $475) 3 Amour Top (RRP $495) and Penny Black Pant (RRP $575) 4 Stamps Skivvy (RRP $195), Mailman Sleeveless Tee (RRP $150), Love Earring (RRP $45) and Love Choker (RRP $55) 5 Express Dress (RRP $695)