“We don’t know what the future holds, but I do know I’ll need to work from home and pick up the kids from school. So I needed the collection to resonate [with this lifestyle] and feel right for these times,” said Emila Wickstead.
After spending a few weeks in her pj’s during lockdown, the designer started dressing up again and experiencing the transformative power of clothing she had always been preaching about. And so she rolled up her sleeves, and designed her spring 2021 collection, despite the little resources and help at hand.
“I want to educate my customers about keeping the fantasy alive in fashion and not losing the dream. But at the same time, we’ve all gone through a huge trauma, and should dress for our time,” added the designer, who drew inspiration from the nonfiction book “The Faery Lands of South Seas” and the way travel writers James Norman Hall and Charles Bernard Nordhoff highlighted both the simplicity and the magic of the places they visited.
Wickstead’s way of marrying the fantasy with practicality came by way of crisp cotton separates, nostalgic sailboat illustrations printed all over skirts and shift dresses, and ankle-grazing dress lengths — which are more suitable for entertaining at home.
There was also plenty of chic shirtdresses, pleated midiskirts — one of the first pieces Wickstead ever designed — and fuss-free jumpsuits, mostly done in breathable, textured cottons and offering great, one-stop wardrobe solutions. Yet they channeled the same elegance and polish Wickstead is known for and one could easily imagine women wearing them to host dinner parties at home.
Each look was finished off with the brand’s signature pumps or casual slides, a pouch in the same fabric as the clothes and dainty pearls — a nod to the South Seas, created in collaboration with jeweler and fellow New Zealand native Jessica McCormack.