Mahsa at Poepke

January 10th, 2020

Mahsa Willis definitely knows how to dress a woman of many guises. She wants something utilitarian, but still playful. Something she doesn’t have to think too hard about, but at the same time looks like she does. Having come from the film and television industry and nurturing a growing family, for Mahsa this has meant redefining the classic shirt, adding bows and billowing sleeves, or choosing striking colours – think of a jungle green matching the Titirangi bush surrounding her Auckland home.

We were lucky enough to sit down with Mahsa to talk about how her label began, her mood boards and how she is writing her own story through her clothes.

You started Mahsa just four years ago in 2015. Tell us the impetus for beginning your own label, and the point you were at in your life that drew you to make this move?

I started Mahsa when my children were young and I could no longer sustain my career in film and advertising. The demands of the industry did not work around my growing family, and at that time my partner also founded a start-up, working very long and unpredictable hours. Two kids and an advertising start-up was the premise for my career shift.

I have always been inspired by fashion, and for me, it’s the way I make sense of the world and explore my creativity. Film production and advertising have been relevant for me in terms of building a brand, and without this background I would not have been able to intuitively build an authentic brand story. I started designing my label from my Mid-Century home. Here, the lovely interplay between fashion, interiors and architecture were born. I like to see Mahsa as a lifestyle, it’s very autobiographical. I make what I want to wear and if a garment doesn’t work for me and my friends, I won’t make it. Timeless utility is what inspires me. My children continue to be a part of my business and I feel so blessed that they get to see me work at something I love and can celebrate with me.

Each of your collections are based on moods; Mood 1 is Beautiful Imperfection, Mood 2; Yesterday Modern and Mood 3; A single woman. How do you come to articulate these moods? Are they reflective of fragments of your own life? And how do they infiltrate your clothes?

Yes, essentially, I am writing my own story, reflecting on my life and its journey. Specifically, the need to feel romantic, to feel love, to feel freedom, to feel strong, to feel a part of a tribe of likeminded women and people. My aim with Mahsa is to gently encourage those engaged to consume mindfully and collect pieces that are timeless and that you can build on.

It feels like you’ve redefined the shirt for women. What is it that attracts you to this garment?

Jane Birkin defies trend, doesn’t she? A shirt or beautiful blouse simplifies your day. It’s a metaphor for our time: simplicity, utility, femininity. Furthermore, a shirt or a blouse fits any mood, day or night. The fabrication and fit also play a huge part in making the experience, of wearing a simple garment such as the shirt, evocative and special.

Architecture and landscape inspire you also; particularly modernist houses and the Auckland suburb of Titirangi, known for its proximity to wild bush full of kauri and to black sand beaches with savage waves. Tell us how this makes its way into the way you design?

The natural light, crafted modernism, nature and design of my home and its surrounding area provide me with a unique canvas and lens to draw from. Home is the first experience I have every day, it allows me to escape, breathe and dream. I want to share this mood. My aim when designing is that a woman from Brooklyn, wearing my jungle green preacher, on her way to work can sense this feeling when she’s negotiating another reality. My palette, design and fabrication also tell a unique story, both locally and globally.  I think now, more than ever, we all yearn for simplicity, authenticity and freedom.

To view our collection of Mahsa in store, visit here.

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Poepke Projects – Jasmin Sparrow

November 29th, 2019

For our latest iteration of Poepke Projects, we present Jasmine Sparrow Jewellery. Featuring classically sculptured pieces from both her permanent and Mermaid collections, you can expect clusters of sea pearls and drips of smokey quartz for your ears and single organic pearls and carnelians to adorn your neck and wrists. These are modern jewels, created with devotion, to celebrate and be passed down with love. We spoke to the designer, Jasmin Scott about her practice, and her own precious pieces that have come into her possession.

You began making jewellery as a hobby when your first child was born and you had completed your diploma in jewellery design from Wellington. How has your aesthetic changed from when you began four years ago?

I think the aesthetic has been really consistent; classic but sculptural. We still sell pieces from the very first collection four years ago. We keep best sellers from each collection available permanently and as a result have built a really strong permanent offering. 

Your jewels are ethically sourced and you like to make as little impact to the environment as possible. At a time when these words are at risk of being overused, what does this mean for your practice?

Sustainably is a word that has become very overused. I don’t think it’s a word that should be celebrated any longer, it should be a given in everyone’s practice. We are constantly looking for ways to do more within the business to cause as little harm to the environment as possible. We do ongoing research, speak to others we admire who are ahead of the game in sustainable business, and constantly implement changes where we can. 

We take a holistic approach to our sustainable practice, from production; looking after our production team, using recycled metals and stones where we can, being mindful of where we source stones and components, and minimising waste. This approach is carried through to the end product; we create timeless pieces that aren’t influenced by trends, will last a lifetime and become family heirlooms. Finally by educating the customer on caring for her piece, shopping mindfully and seeing true value in her belongings.

We love the use of carnelian and freshwater opals in this collection. Tell us what drew you to work with these stones in particular?

They are stones that I love to wear! And really special colours, I use these stones frequently.

 

We have your full range in store at the moment, both the Mermaid and your permanent collection, tell us your inspiration behind Mermaid?

Mermaid was a response to customer demand for an elevated offering, the sparkle and mermaid earring are really special pieces that can be worn for events. The statement earring has always been a staple in each collection, but with Mermaid we took things to another level, easy elegance. 

Your online platform – sentiments – has women sharing their most precious items handed down to them or the ones they plan to hand down themselves. It’s a gentle push to remind us about the longevity of what we buy. What is your most precious item?

My grandmother worked in a jewellery store for 30 years. As children my sisters and I would receive jewellery from her every birthday and Christmas. I have a charm bracelet from her and remember going into her store and being able to pick a which charm I wanted for my birthday every year. These are really special memories and I still have my charm bracelet covered in charms, as well as a beautiful selection of jewels I inherited from her after she passed away, these are pieces I never take off and will wear forever. 

To see the Jasmin Sparrow collection at Popeke, visit our us in store or online.

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Kowtow Swimwear

November 8th, 2019

Kowtow, the Kiwi purveyors of sustainable and ethical fashion are at it again this summer, this time dipping their toes into swimwear. Lucky for us, this means clean lines and geometric shapes inspired by the futurist and modernist Italian artist and designer Bruno Munari. Known for his cut-out collages in graphic colours, Kowtow have translated these silhouettes onto the skin.

Bold colours of primary red and cobalt blue, have been taken from the palate of Yves Klein which are colour blocked against black and chalk à la Piet Mondrian. But what makes this swimwear so special is that it is made from ECONYL’s regenerated nylon, a nylon made from pre and post-consumer waste material. Discarded carpets, plastic components and ghost fishing nets have been given new life in the form of sustainable swimwear, that because it is produced on a closed loop, can be recycled again and again, without losing its tenacity.

And to keep it sun safe, the collection is accompanied with limited edition sarongs, hand loomed by artisans in India and made from fair trade organic cotton.

 

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Bettina Bakdal – The Graphic & Organic

October 25th, 2019

“It’s like a painting or putting together collages,” says Copenhagen designer Bettina Bakdal of her hand-crafted dresses and sweatshirts composed of vintage silk scarves and pre-loved fabrics.“The scarves themselves are like small pieces of art and most of the time, they’re just left in our closets.”

Bakdal’s interest in using leftover, good quality silk fabrics from luxury brands for her one-off pieces, is an after effect of having been a head designer at a fast fashion label. “We are living in a world where the fashion industry is producing too much – more than anyone can ever wear. We need art and beauty, not more conspicuous consumption.”

For Bakdal, each scarf has its own history. She formulates each garment with the compositions of fabrics in mind, aspiring to evoke a calm feeling in the viewer despite the chaos of mixing varying patterns. “I like to vary colours and expressions so it matches our different personalities,” she says. “Fresh bright, dark graphic, or catchy romantic.”

Currently, Poepke has a small selection of Bettina’s dresses available. To peruse our selection, visit here.

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William Street Festival 2019

October 16th, 2019

Come eat, play and shop with us this Saturday at the annual William Street Festival. See you there!

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Araks – Sustainable Lingerie

September 11th, 2019

Being the most intimate layer next to our skin, lingerie needs to cover a lot of bases. Delicate, but because we wear it every day, durable. Sexy, but not seriously so. Araks, a lingerie label out of New York fuses all of these desires together with its playful cuts, sensual colours and snug textures.

The woman behind the label is Araks Yeramyan, a Parsons graduate who remembers falling in love with colour from the time her father gifted her coloured pencils as a young girl. But what makes her lingerie so special is not only the care she puts into each ethereal garment, but the care she puts into producing them too; employing sustainability practices wherever possible to ensure the colours of our world stay vibrant too.

Aspiring to be sustainable with every decision they make, Araks has gone through sustainability assessment and receives education and mentorship from the CDFA. Some of their practices include choosing evergreen fabrics, with excess materials being worked into future collections or donated to schools and charitable organisations. Customers are encouraged to mix and match pieces from collections past with those from present collections, so that a focus on buying new is not paramount.

But the most important decision the company makes, starts at the very beginning, with choosing the fabrics they make their garments out of. Their goal is to eventually use only GOTS organic cotton, recycled nylon and to have the highest environmental standards for dyeing and finishing their materials.

Recognising that you have to start somewhere to get anywhere, Araks is a lingerie company showing their true colours when it comes to caring about our planet and the comfort of the people in it.

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Dries Van Noten AW19

September 4th, 2019

After viewing Dries (2017), the film depicting the life and work of renowned Belgian designer Dries Van Noten, it was not the man himself that audiences were buzzing most about. Or even his clothes. It was in fact, the screen-time devoted to his garden.

Van Noten’s garden is haphazard in its wildness; daisies creep up a bubbling concrete fountain splotched in moss, roses and hyacinths waver in and out of each others space, competing. But it is also a garden lush in its surroundings; think sprawling lawns with manicured box hedges.

In the film, we see the garden act as a respite for Van Noten. It’s where he heads to on his days or evenings off, bringing back bundles to dutifully arrange in his living room, still designing. And it’s where he headed to for inspiration for his AW19 collection.

Dangling the flowers via their heads with pieces of string, he photographed them floating against coloured pieces of paper, photos which were then cast onto clothing, as prints; roses and leaves complete with their shadows and blemishes.

“For me the flowers couldn’t be romantic,” he said. “I didn’t want to have sweet flowers. At the end of the season you have mildew, black spots. You see all the flowers have imperfections.”

With two out of three deliveries of his collection now here at Poepke, witness or wear the perfect imperfection of his garden yourself.

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Archives June 2019

June 12th, 2019

Our annual Poepke Archives is here again for 2019 with a curated selection of pre-loved Poepke treasures.

From Saturday the 7th of June we will be accepting submissions. Items can be from any current or previous label stocked by Poepke. Please submit a maximum of 10 pieces and ensure the items are in good condition and freshly dry cleaned. Items are sold on a consignment basis.

For further details, please call us on 9380 711 or visit us in-store.

Archives begins in-store on the 22nd of June. 

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Home Sweet Home

May 28th, 2019

Poepke is back! We are very excited to be home and can’t wait to welcome you into the new space. Thanks to our talented friends at Make Creative and Big City Productions.


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Renovation, Relocation, Redfern

April 29th, 2019

Poepke is on the move! While our William St home is undergoing an exciting change, we’ll be temporarily located in Redfern at 86 George St, site of the old Grant Pirrie Gallery, just off Redfern St. You can come and visit us in our new neighbourhood from Tuesday the 30th April. We are offering complimentary shipping during this period.
We’ll be closed Monday the 29th while we relocate but you can still shop online at poepke.com

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Holiday Hours and Refurbishment News

April 20th, 2019

Our holiday hours this week are as follows:

Sunday 21st April – closed
Monday 22nd April – closed
Tuesday 23rd April – 10 – 6
Wednesday 24th April – 10 – 6
Thursday 25th April – closed
Friday 26th April – 10 – 6
Saturday 27th April – 10 – 5.30
Sunday 28th April – closed

On Monday 29th April we will be opening a pop-up space in Redfern for 3 weeks while we refurbish Paddington – more details to follow.

Please note lay-bys can be picked up from the Paddington store this week or from our Redfern pop-up from the 29th. We are offering complimentary shipping during this pop-up time.

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Issey Miyake – Mainline & Pleats Please Collections

February 26th, 2019

At Poepke, we’ve long been fans of Japanese designer Issey Miyake, especially due to his his forward thinking ways. Fashion for him has always been about looking towards the future, by way of accepting traditions from the past. And when it comes to the technologies of his garments, Miyake has always been ahead of the game. His line 1325, is made out of entirely recycled materials, while his A-Poc garments are constructed from a single roll of cloth. These are woven on looms controlled by computers, a technology previously used for making fishing nets.

It’s his vision orientated towards the future that he also cultivates within the culture of his work place. Fostering creativity is what Miyake loves to do, and when new designers arrive, they are ensconced into teams, provided with projects and given goals, to let their ideas bloom. Older employees stay on as mentors explaining the Issey Miyake way to their younger colleagues. Sometimes his employees move on to other fields; lighting design, architecture, or their own labels, but Miyake is happy to nurture and release them.

Although Poepke has proudly housed Miyake’s mainline collection for many seasons, for Spring/Summer 19, we are happy to announce that we will also be stocking his line, Pleats Please. These consist of garments made from single pieces of high quality polyester, nearly three times larger than the final garment. After the fabric has been cut and sewn, it is sandwiched between paper and hand fed into a pleats machine, to create crease-free, easy to wash and easy to dry clothing, durable, and light, and all you ever want to wear.

New collections of Issey Miyake and Pleats Please are now in store at Poepke.

 

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Poepke Projects x Alex and Trahanas

November 2nd, 2018

 

For Poepke’s new edition of Poepke projects, we’re lucky to feature Alex and Trahanas, a lifestyle brand of treasures crafted by artisans and hand-picked from around the world. The duo’s first collection is informed by the outdoor living of the Mediterranean; think linen dresses to toast wine in, hand-made ceramics to eat olives from, and sculptural gold jewellery to glint in the setting sun. We talk to the designers behind the local label ahead of their arrival in store.

Alex and Trahanas is described as a lifestyle project. How did the project come together?

ALEX AND TRAHANAS was born out of a joint love for the Mediterranean way of living. Sun-filled terraces, seaside trattorias and tavernas; entertaining with delicious food, wine, surrounded by friends and family. Our lifestyle project is fuelled by the garments, accessories and entertaining pieces that enrich and create more of those experiences.

How did the two of you meet, and as a duo how does your relationship translate into your work?

We met in the world of magazines, (over 10 years ago) working for titles such as Vogue Australia, GQ, Vogue Living, Vogue Entertaining + Travel and delicious to name a few. We went our own ways and kept in contact via each other’s travel pics and upon reconnecting decided to create a lifestyle project, for the person who loves style, food, entertaining and travel – is full of life.

Your first collection ‘Aperitivo Hour’ has close ties with Puglia, tell us about your connection there?

Upon travelling to Puglia, we experienced the warmth of Italian hospitality and the quintessential Mediterranean Summer lifestyle. These experiences are at the heart of our project. On our travels, we discovered some beautiful ceramics, produced by artisans in a small village. We enjoyed the most delicious Italian meals and aperitivos with these ceramics. They brought fun, personality and life to the table, we instantly wanted to bring them home with us and give people the chance to experience a touch of Southern Italy in Australia. It was incredible to witness the creation of these pieces. The ceramicists sits on a timber stool with shutter doors that open to the cobbled streets and white painted village, whilst listening to opera and drinking espresso. Each piece is one of a kind, they are like little works of art. We have since been back to shoot our most recent linen collection ‘Apulian Summer’ in amongst the ancient olive groves. It is a truly inspiring and magical place.

The collection features Italian linen dresses made in Australia, and hand painted ceramics. Why these pieces in particular?

For us, timeless linen garments and beautiful hand-made ceramics are the tools which inspire social Summer experiences and a rich lifestyle. Our aloe-vera infused Italian linen, is sourced from one of the finest and most luxurious mills in the world, Solbiati and then made in Australia. Our ceramics are sourced from local artisans in Southern Italy. We wanted to bring a taste of the Mediterranean to Australia; where effortless garments can take you from day to night. We think about the ALEX AND TRAHANAS woman who lives for a warm summer of rolling long lunches, enjoying our pieces.

You’ve also just released a jewellery collaboration with Louise Olsen. What was your inspiration behind this?

Louise Olsen is one of Australia’s most recognised designer’s and artist’s, the collection features earrings and a bangle inspired by the beauty of olive trees, the backdrop for our Summer edition photo shoot. The organic curved olive leaf forms bring a touch of the Mediterranean into each piece, where golden leaves hang from the ear or wrap gently around the wrist. They make the perfect summer jewel to accompany our classic Italian linen garments.

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Sara Lanzi

October 26th, 2018

Sara Lanzi’s ‘Slow Burn’.

One of the newest designers to be welcomed to Poepke has been quietly designing in her home base of Umbria since 2005. But since then, her designs are hung at Dover St Market, and the hallowed wardrobe of Rei Kawakubo who has become her mentor of sorts. Her clothes incorporate the dualities found in every human, the feminine and masculine (think tartan checks in pink and cream), vigour and lightness (sculpted skirts in the lightest of wool) and poetry and strength (mannish shirts in a stark black and white floral). We talk to Lanzi about her craft, her country and the culture she creates.

Your background is in art studies, how has this informed your work?

It is generally a great privilege to be able to spend some time studying a favourite subject.. reading and doing research opens and sensitizes the mind.

You live and work out of Umbria, tell us what you love most about the region.

I like the fact that it is secluded, that the way to reach it is a ribbon surrounded by nature. I like its open horizons and the smell of the seasons, so strong.

‘Restraint’ is a word that is often spoken about with your clothing, where do you think you restrain, and where do you not when it comes to your clothes?

Restraint is the inner measure, not always conscious, which makes me stop before feeling uncomfortable. Sometimes may be a limit, but it always speaks of me and keeps me faithful to myself.

That said, even the opposite of moderation – overkill? – is the basis of my work: there must be no limits to dedication and passion, having my job several moments ‘above the lines’

You’ve been designing since 2005, what inspires you to keep designing?

I think it’s my life now. It’s not just about designing, but it’s the whole cycle (from production, to sales campaign) that represents my daily life and what I love to do. Inspiration is a mix of passion and commitment.

To view Poepke’s range of Sara Lanzi you can visit here.

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CristaSeya Edition #11

August 15th, 2018

CristaSeya’s notorious minimalism of style often disguises the attention its founder, Cristina Casini, gives to the luxurious fabrics each garment is cut out of. Whether it be the softest knitwear coming out of her mother’s factory in Reggio Emilia, Italy, or cotton pants blended with Japanese washi paper to get the perfect crispness.

Eschewing the successive trend based, fashion circuit, Casini instead opts for numbered editions for her clothes,  consisiting of 12-15 garments each. Items can be bought from any of these editions, and the beauty of their timelessness means you want to.

Each new edition also introduces handmade objects. These are collaborations with artists from around the world; such as decorative vases of upside down heads from Sicilian artist Giacomo Alessi, or one-of-a-kind cushions from the Swiss brand Ikou Tschuss. Currently in store, Poepke has woven ceramics made of Anaphi clay, Anaphi being the luscious Greek Island Casini holidays at and inspiration for CristaSeya’s Edition #08.

To view Popeke’s range of CristaSeya, visit here.

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