Looks from Karen Walker’s collaboration with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. Images supplied.
Perfectly timed for the summer sailing season, Karen Walker‘s collaboration with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is available in stores and online now. The nautical collection celebrates the Squadron’s sesquicentenary, as it was founded all the way back in 1871. To create the range, Karen Walker accessed the Squadron’s extensive archive of sailing memorabilia which inspired the nostalgic elements of the collection while also reflecting the romance and beauty of sailing in the brand’s own eclectic way.
The limited edition collection features a subversive take on retro leisurewear with a suitably glamorous feel. Silk scarves, rain parkas and ponchos are teamed with sweaters, tees and denim for practicality, while silk viscose blouses and dresses offer ladylike charm. Some delightful embroidered chambray is cleverly used for flared hem skirts and dresses, including a puffed sleeve mini dress in Karen Walker’s signature style. A breezy colour palette anchored in nautical hues of turquoise, yellow and scarlet are complemented by classic navy and white, which sets a perfect tone for the range.
Karen Walker’s iconic Runaway Girl also heads to sea, this time without her regulation stick and bindle, as she’s toting the Squadron’s very own burgee over her shoulder. The bindle and burgee also make an X-formation design that features on the t-shirts, sweatshirts and raincoats of the collection as it’s signature branding.
When accessing the Squadron’s extensive and important archive of maritime history Karen and her team were impressed by one of the jewels in the Squadron’s crown, the painting of the Royal Yacht Britannia by Neville Sotheby Pitcher. It was painted in 1921 and was gifted to the club by Sir Ernest Davis, Karen has presented it on a signature silk twill scarf and silk cotton voile blouses. Karen was also inspired by yachting and coastal imagery taken at Cape Brett which form a picture postcard print on cotton voile that was utilised for beautiful shirts. While an 1857 chart of the Waitematā Harbour surveyed by Captain J. L. Stokes, Commander B. Drury, R.N., and the Officers of H.M.S. Acheron and Pandora, 1848-55 is now rendered on a lustrous silk twill scarf in the new range. Always a fan of a classic polka dot, Karen Walker has used a navy and white polka dot interspersed with the Squadron’s own crown and anchor on dresses, blouses and a scarf.
Continuing the nautical themed prints is a vibrant fluttering flag print featuring the Squadron’s burgee, a new Karen Walker Runaway Girl burgee and signal flags that is offered on silk viscose blouses and dresses, parka nylon rain ponchos, hats and on new Blunt umbrellas.
“I grew up on the water and I wanted this collection to reflect that sense of tradition and romance that boating life always evokes for me,” says Karen Walker. The designer lives and works minutes from the Waitematā Harbour and is currently continuing her love affair with Auckland’s water by taking sailing lessons.