Lara Parker, designer and owner of The Parla
Lara Parker was a familiar name in New Zealand fashion for many years with her gorgeous namesake label and boutique in Newmarket that followed her popular Eden 2 10 Aotea Markets stall. After a stint working for other labels in Australia she has recently relaunched her Lara Parker label in Brisbane along with new online boutique The Parla.
We caught up with Lara to find out more about her label, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing.
Tell us about your latest collection?
My latest collection is a foundation collection, indicative of the direction I plan to take The Parla. The first part of the collection—the Lara Parker items—are what I’ll be wearing myself; featuring a range of trouser styles, tops, not to mention the Madine dress, which I am already getting good wear out of. The second part of the collection is made up of sourced items that I have handpicked as they’re a little easier on the wallet and also some great wardrobe staples to wear with or complement any of the Lara Parker items.
The first collection is very approachable, featuring ivory, peach, blush, chestnut and a little hint of mint. Also included are a number of little black and white prints, balanced with light denim and some gorgeous black staples.
What made you become a designer?
My grandmother and mum taught me to sew at an early age, so I’ve been both designing and making clothes since I can remember. It was a natural progression to start selling clothing when the Aotea markets started up in the early 2000s.
What inspires you?
I gain inspiration from so many things—particularly colour, textiles, texture, art, style, people, stories.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your products and brand?
I have always liked the juxtaposition of feminine and masculine and also mixing simple tailored clothing with unique quirky elements. This is clearly seen in my first collection where I have paired my cuffed Adelle Culottes and my girly Eden Bow Front Top or my pleated denim off the shoulder top with Madine Culottes.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
A pair of patent leather boots from Runway in Auckland. I have to be honest, I miss wearing boots. I haven’t quite yet acclimatised enough to wear them in Brisbane though… perhaps next winter.
What wardrobe item should every woman invest in?
A designer jacket/coat.
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
I like to layer and add my personal style to an outfit. I try to wear no less than three items—or two if I’m wearing a dress—although moving to Brisbane has made the layering rule difficult to follow due to the heat. Adding a belt, a light shirt or scarf to layer is as much as I can do up here—and that’s difficult at the best of times, so my bag and shoes often play a part of the layering or stylising.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I just finished working for a large Australian online fashion company and worked alongside some of the most talented people – I feel privileged to have been part of something so pioneering. As far as design highlights—definitely my Geeks and Bogans collection I released before finishing up in New Zealand. I look forward to sharing more collections and getting back into the momentum.
What can’t you live without?
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
The first thing that pops into my mind is Bengaline fabric – but I am a big believer in never saying never because although eventually followed by the masses, some of the most influential moves in fashion have at first seemed absurd to the general public.
Looks from Lara Parker’s Summer 2015/16 collection.
Images from The Parla