Gal of style – Claire Baker

New Zealand fashion designer Claire Barker's previous career in finance is vastly different from the fashion world she inhabits now – making her style secrets even more intriguing (see below). Claire worked as a futures trader for the Chinese Government before moving to the Foreign Exchange Market in New Zealand.

Claire's family history paved the way for her foray into fashion design. Her grandfather owned a number of manufacturing factories and her grandmother Bai Mei was one of China's most talented theatre actresses.

Claire opened her flagship store 'Claire Barker' in 2007 (previously trading under the brand name Anouk), in the heart of Auckland's fashion district on O'Connell St where she exclusively sells her own designs. her fashion ideas are heavily influenced by the classic fashions of the 1920's and 1930's as well as the late fifties and early sixties. It comes as no surprise that she lists famous style icon Audrey Hepburn as her favourite actress.

Claire lives in Auckland City with her husband Ben Barker, principal of Barker Hunt Solicitors,and has plans to expand internationally later this year. FashioNZ asks Claire her style secrets…

Describe your personal style.

My style reflects a mix of the classic, chic and feminine. I also like to throw in a touch of subtle sexiness as well!

Where do you shop?
I do wear a lot of my own designs but when it comes to shoes I just adore BCBG.

Who is your favourite International designer?
I have too many so I couldn’t just pick one but my top three would definitely be John Galliano, Viktor & Rolf and Dolce & Gabbana – I always find it hard to stop myself from going into their stores!

What is your current favourite item of clothing?
I just can’t stop wearing my double collar “captain” jacket and my sparkling indigo denim “waitomo” skirt – they are so stylish and I love wearing them!

What is your best buy for so far this Spring?
This would have to be my ruffle scoop neck black cashmere dress with neon pink patent leather belt. It adds a splash of colour to my day which is great now that the warmer months are on the way.

What is your favourite fashion purchase/garment/outfit of all time?
This is definitely my Chopard diamond and white gold watch. It’s the perfect fashion accessory and adds a touch of sophistication to any outfit.

What has been your biggest fashion mistake?
Ooh that’s easy. A pair of bright rainbow striped tights – enough said!

If you were invited to attend the Academy Awards, who would you ask to design a dress for you?

It would be a dream to be dressed by Valentino. His designs just emulate opulence and extravagance and I know any garment he made would have me looking stunning on the world stage.

You would rather eat your own shirt than wear…
There is absolute no contest here, this would have to be tight hugging white trousers.

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