Portrait by Steven Chee of Meadowlark’s Of The Sea collection. Image supplied.
Meadowlark decided to do things differently this year with a lunch at Soul Bar and Bistro across the viaduct from NZFW central. It was a beautiful day with the sun out and the view of the water making it a bit of an event before it even started! The table was beautifully set by Soul and the flowers were done by Blush. They also did an amazing accompaniment to the pieces on display with roses in red and soft lilac with masses of fresh jasmine. There were three enormous portraits of models featuring Meadowlark Jewellery (more about those later). Everything just looked perfect.
The brand had invited 30 people for lunch which was mostly made up of press with a few extra special people (designer Georgia Alice being one). The lunch was to celebrate all things Meadowlark but especially the release of their new collection “Of The Sea”. During the event there was a Q&A with co-designers and owners of Meadowlark, Greg Fromont and Claire Hammon which we have for you below…
Claire and Greg you work together designing each Meadowlark collection, could you tell us a bit about that process, how does it start and are you very different to each other in how you approach the creative process;
It is different every time in fact. We go back and forth between each other constantly. Recently we made some pieces, each separately without the other one knowing and then bought them together and then we improved on them together. We really do feel that every piece is a true collaboration between the two of us.
What kinds of things inspire or influence your design process the most?
Your latest two collections feature pearls as the Hero, what drew you to using this particular element?
We had worked with pearls only once before for a custom client and we swore we would never do it again as it was such a disaster! And then we stumbled across baroque pearls, and it was the simple act of playing with the strands that led to the Romeo Hoops. And now we are completely obsessed as they are so easy to work with.
You were picked up by Collette in Paris in the last season it traded, a first for any New Zealand designer and are also now stocked in Net A Porter, can you tell us how it felt when you secured these accounts and how it may have changed or impacted the landscape of your business?
Colette was the easiest sales experience ever, we actually just posted a look book and a business card and they ordered! And the pieces they ordered where really, really expensive pieces. We just couldn’t believe they sold and we still really want to know who bought them. It was an absolute honour for us to be chosen and stocked by them. We are still not sure if we are the only New Zealand brand to be stocked there, but that would be amazing!
In terms of Net a Porter we were super stoked but pretty overwhelmed as the stakes were so much higher. Bigger quantities and bigger risk. The very first order for Net A Porter was the same size as ALL of our sixty stockists put together.
It has all made a huge change to our business, as our staff had to really step up to another level. It was super stressful for everyone but we made it through and our business kind of runs a bit differently now and sales are definitely higher online.
Australia has been very hard for us to crack, being stocked in David Jones has meant that our customers have been able to see our pieces in person in there. David Jones have been very supportive as well.
The collaboration to produce these beautiful portraits, how did that come about?
Greg and I have been travelling to Sydney quite frequently the past couple of years, and I’ve fallen in love with many things about the city, my absolute favourite thing to do is walk from Bondi to Bronte, there is something really powerful about all that extreme landscape, the carved sandstone cliffs which are these amazing natural sculptures, the wind whipping up from the pacific, and all the colours are beautiful. Last time we were there we met photographer Steven Chee at a dinner and from there just had this idea of getting him to shoot these portraits for us, It seemed so perfect to incorporate that landscape, that the pearls were made for that location and that the woman wearing them would seem like she’d just emerged from the sea, gorgeous and resplendent in Meadowlark! Essentially we wanted to encapsulate the emotion that those beautiful cliffs stir up.
We are lucky to have been able to work with makeup artist Aimie Fiebig who is originally from NZ and was also at the very serendipitous dinner date, and also Stylist Nadine Duncan who is a lovely friend of Meadowlark.
From a personal perspective, I have been wearing Meadowlark Jewellery for many years (almost as long as they have been running) and I have loved watching them change and mature with each passing year. From the almost costume jewellery in the beginning which I so love (and still wear every single day), to now re-working my own engagement and wedding ring with platinum and black diamonds in a stunning art deco set, I have loved every new direction they have embarked on. I very nearly wanted every single piece of the exceptional Of The Sea collection. It was all just quite perfect!