Mallory Xavier, designer of Rizzo. Image supplied.
Mallory Xavier founded her womenswear label Rizzo in 2016 with the aim of creating vintage-inspired pieces that are feminine and appealing to modern women. Mallory designs and makes her garments here in New Zealand with the designer adopting a body positive approach and offering her pieces in sizes 8 – 20. Each of her designs are made to flatter and following the success of her debut season she has just released her second collection.
We caught up with Mallory to find out more about her brand, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!
Tell us about your latest collection/pieces?
‘Vineyard’ is a vintage-inspired, work-to-party capsule collection. It features bold colours, feminine silhouettes and textured fabrics. I’ve taken inspiration from the 40’s to the 90’s to create comfortable but stylish mix-and-match garments with a lux feel.
What made you become a designer?
I have always been a creator. I used to spend a lot of time knitting gifts for friends, and I continue to be enthusiastic about trying and learning about craft projects, baking, DIY – anything and everything I can. I have an inherent need to always be learning and attempting to master a new skill. I studied Fashion Design and Practice at Wintec in my mid 20’s and started designing childrenswear having struggled to find clothing I liked for my daughter. The transition to womenswear came about in 2016 after years of being asked to custom-make my children’s garments in adult sizes.
What inspires you?
I like to go out a few times a week without any garment in mind and enjoy the tactile experience of fabric shopping. I also love to garden, and I find that creating and designing in a different medium helps considerably when it comes to Rizzo. I love being around creative women. I am fortunate to have an intelligent, creative and incredibly generous friend group who allow me to process out loud to them and who provide honest and critical feedback regularly.
Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
I went to Catholic schools and I am now forever wearing some colourful version of a school uniform. I veer toward a vintage aesthetic in most things and particularly love the hair and fashion of the 60’s. My wardrobe is full of (always NZ made) dresses and cardigans and I wear either school shoes or Roman sandals with my day-to-day outfits. I spend a bit of my spare time within the NZ pinup scene and so when I dress up I go full pinup and fulfill my childhood dream of being a princess. Rizzo womenswear sits between the two aesthetics. I sort of fuse the day-to-day me and my pinup alter ego Ginger to produce structure, comfort and glamour – clothing that is easy to wear, but that looks and feels incredibly luxurious.
Looks from Rizzo’s new Vineyard collection.
What is your all-time favourite purchase?
A few years ago I purchased my first photoshoot with Kate Tovey Photography. I think every woman should go out of their way to be photographed by a professional photographer. It’s an uplifting experience and owning beautiful images of yourself is such a treat. I do a couple of selfish photoshoots a year now and really look forward to them.
What wardrobe item should every woman invest in?
A good quality, warm coat.
Do you have a style rule you always obey?
I always wear comfortable shoes.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
At a wedding some years ago a little boy walked past me head to toe in my clothing. It was my first time seeing my garments out and about on someone I didn’t know.
What can’t you live without?
My friend group is a phenomenal mix of jokers, thinkers and creators. I don’t think I would manage without the colour they bring to my life.
Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Lots of jewellery. I miiiight wear a brooch but anything else is way too fussy.
Images by Kate Tovey Photography.