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New Zealand-born, London-based womenswear designer Emilia Wickstead is a devil for a floral print. Elegant and modest, Wickstead’s designs blend whimsy and classicism with a modernised silhouette. Punchy colours and well-crafted pieces result in tasteful and transatlantically approved items, best suited to a rendez vous in Cannes or a picnic in the Catskills.
Wickstead’s designs are the good life meets The Good Wife, making their Chelsea flagship store a suitably suave London base. Here, we venture off Sloane Street to explore the designer’s favourite places in London…
Your store is based on Sloane Street; what are some of your favourite places in the area?
One of my favourite places to eat is Granger and Co. for their delicious take on a classic Aussie breakfast. I love the Belmond Cadogan Hotel and enjoy browsing at Taschen and the Saatchi Gallery.
How do you define your style?
Classic with a twist. I love layering clothes to feel cosy and in warm weather I tend to embrace florals and loose dresses. In winter, I’m partial to strong tailoring and I love a woman in a suit – I wear a lot of these.
Talk us through your design process…
The first step in designing any collection is finding inspiration. Ideas come from everywhere and the beginning of each season is always an exciting opportunity to return to the drawing board and fish out new concepts. Research plays a huge role in a collection’s evolution and I start always at a library or resort to old films. The process of designing and developing ideas unfolds over many weeks and months. We always have multiple projects happening at one time which provides great variety and keeps ideas flowing.
What’s your take on London’s attitude to supporting young designers?
I think that London is becoming increasingly nurturing of young designers. London is like a big design family – everyone is incredibly supportive of one another.
What advice would you give to any brand starting out?
You have to believe in yourself and your brand more than anything else for everyone else to believe in your world too.
What was your first fashion memory?
I spent my childhood watching my mother run her own bespoke dressmaking business in Auckland and spent many hours alongside her and her clients, watching the design, the fitting and making process unfold.
Where in London can we find the best interiors?
My mother is a talented designer and designs luxury Italian bed, bath and table linen for her eponymous homeware label, Angela Wickstead Home, so I am very fortunate that I don’t have to look far to find beautiful things. Most of all, I am always in search for special market finds or pieces you can find on auction.
What are your favourite shops in London?
I buy candles from Santa Maria Novella in Piccadilly Arcade and Flowerbx is my favourite online destination for florals. I also love collecting antiques – from a Friday morning Portobello market to scheduled out of London markets. Net-a-Porter, Moda Operandi and Matches Fashion are my go-to shopping destinations for accessories.
Where are the best places in London to throw a party?
Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone, Isabel in Mayfair or Casa Cruz in Holland Park.
Sartorial pieces for any occasion or destination must include…
A great handbag, a pair of sunglasses and a brilliantly cut pair of trousers.
Which are your favourite weekend escapes?
As a family we love to escape to my mother’s home in Italy near Alessandria in a tiny village called Oddolengo Piccolo. We are lucky to have the English countryside right on our doorstep too.
Your travel essentials include…
Sisley Rose face oil, Aesop hand cream, Bang and Olufsen headphones, Pawpaw Crème, plenty of water and magazines.
What are your top three holidays destinations?
New Zealand, Brazil (Bahia and Sao Paulo in particular) and Italy.
And finally, what’s in your SUITCASE?
My children and my husband if I can squeeze them in anytime I travel. I hate being away without them.
Emilia travelled courtesy of luxury tailor-made travel specialists Quintessentially Travel, www.quintessentiallytravel.com
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