Looks from the new Madewell x Karen Walker range. Images supplied.
Madewell and Karen Walker debut their first collaboration today with a new collection that was co-designed by both brands. The range is a clever mash-up of some of Karen’s most-iconic pieces utilising Madewell’s denim expertise to create 23 easy to wear items. Madewell have been stocking Karen Walker’s ready-to-wear pieces for several seasons now “So it felt really easy and natural to take this bold step and experiment a little, mix our DNA with their own,” Karen Walker says.
Each Madewell collaboration starts from a place of mutual admiration, and the partnership with Karen Walker was no exception. “Our collaborations start with what our team is wearing and loving. We’re long-time fans of Karen Walker and her brand,” says Madewell’s head designer Joyce Lee. “We love the energy they bring to their designs through their use of color and prints and the way they reimagine denim with a novelty twist.”
Both brands excel at creating pieces that elevate everyday classics and bring joy and whimsy to the wearer. For this collaboration Madewell went through Karen Walker’s extensive range of collections from the past two decades to pull out looks that inspired and excited them. “Madewell had free rein on our archives and they pulled out many of the garments that we consider to be the best-known and best-loved,” Karen says. “For us, it was totally intriguing to see our classic designs rediscovered and reimagined by fresh eyes.”
Denim is at the heart of the collection of dresses, shirts, sweatshirts, skirts, jackets, jumpsuits and pants. Karen Walker and Madewell concocted a beautiful shade of dark indigo called the “Walker Wash” for each denim item. It works perfectly with the archival floral prints that have been reworked in hues of mystic yellow, violet tint and champagne. Classic sweatshirts represent the laid-back Madewell look in four colours: smoked graphite, violet tint, golden apple and smokey spruce. There’s also striped shirting and a juniper berry print that features as a graphic on T-shirts.
It wouldn’t be a Karen Walker collection without eyewear and this range includes three exclusive styles of sunglasses in fresh colours. Karen Walker’s iconic Helter Skelter design has got an update with a new pink and blue combination, then there’s two entirely new styles created just for this collaboration. One is Runaway in crystal khaki with brown mirror lenses and the other is Arrowed in black with tan tinted lenses.
The Madewell x Karen Walker collection is available in select Madewell U.S. stores, at madewell.com, Karen Walker stores in New Zealand and Tokyo and karenwalker.com from today. The pieces retail between $65 – $265 for ready-to-wear garments and $329 for eyewear.