Looks from Kate Sylvester’s Sisters collection for Winter ’21. Images supplied.
Kate Sylvester offers up a nostalgic celebration of sisterhood for her Winter ’21 collection aptly titled Sisters which is now available in stores and online. If you’ve been following the designer and her eponymous brand for a while you will likely remember that the original name of the brand was Sister, which Kate Sylvester pays homage to in this range. The collection itself was also inspired by one of the designer’s favourite classic books, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women which was recently captured on film in Greta Gerwig’s fresh interpretation.
Designed during our nationwide lockdown last year, Kate was ruminating on the importance of sisterhood in all its forms; friendship, family, inspiration and leadership. With that in mind she wanted to celebrate the spirit of sisterhood and design a collection that felt like a big hug; safe, warm and reassuring. That positivity is reflected in the uplifting colour palette of the range with pink, turquoise, coral and tobacco which are among the key hues for the season. High necklines that twist and hug the body help create the feeling of being enveloped in warmth which is also echoed in cosy knitwear and a cuddly merino shrug.
The buttoned up style of the March sisters comes through in Victorian-inspired high ruffled necklines, full ankle-grazing skirts and dresses, and suitably nipped in waists on jackets and coats. For Little Women heroine Jo March, Kate Sylvester designed a modern, collared shirt dress in vibrant magenta with a strong puffed sleeve, it can be perfectly accessorised with the brand’s new posie pin which as the name suggests offers a sweet floral bouquet. It wouldn’t be a Little Women inspired range without a healthy dose of plaid and Kate Sylvester has utilised a charming blue check (and there’s a pink version too) which features on gorgeous dresses and tops.
In considering the different forms of sisterhood when creating this collection, Kate Sylvester was also thinking of the women we look to as leaders and those who inspire us as role models too. In New Zealand, our own Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who led our nation with kindness and strength through the trying year that was 2020, was one of the women who Kate had in mind. Activist and actress, Jane Fonda, was another, and she inspired Sylvester’s Fonda collection, in particular the stylish suiting. The designer wanted the balance of strength and femininity displayed by the sisters who inspire her (and many of us women) to be reflected in each range.
As part of the new Sisters collection and in tribute to the original Sister name (the label was first launched in 1993), Kate Sylvester has rereleased the brand’s iconic Sister t-shirt that will no doubt sell out again quickly. The black and white print was the first one designed by the brand and was originally run as both t-shirts and as posters throughout Auckland CBD. When it came to creating the energetic campaign imagery for the collection Kate Sylvester chose veteran model Penny Pickard, who began modelling around the same time Kate Sylvester launched her business, and the campaign celebrates the longevity of this special relationship too. Another Kate Sylvester sister, long-time collaborator Veronica Crockford Pound, and Joseph Griffen, shot the beautiful imagery and video that styles contemporary pieces from the Sisters collection with garments sourced from the brand’s extensive archives. Sisters perfectly captures the brand’s fascinating heritage while offering modern, confident looks to inspire today’s Kate Sylvester woman.