FQ spoke to three local fashion tribes to hear what they had to say about friendship, careers and clothes. This time, we spoke to the glam squad:
As editor-in-chief of three Bauer Media magazines (Your Home and Garden, Nadia and Taste), 37-year-old Shelley Ferguson was on home turf at our photo shoot, but everyone brought their connections to the table. From MAC communications manager Tatum Savage, 36, who rallied a team of MAC makeup artists to get everyone looking their best, to Kathryn Wilson, 37, who arrived with bags of new-season heels by her eponymous footwear label. Rounding out the squad were PR mavens Mihi Blake, 37, from boutique agency Grace; and Gemma Ross, 35, co-founder and director of Hustle & Bustle, whose client Partridge Jewellers supplied a selection of sensational fine jewellery. This group is all about utilising the resources you have.
Shelley: Kath and I have been best friends since we met as 11-year-olds at Rosehill Intermediate [in Auckland’s Papakura]. I met Tatum at the MAC ‘Barbie’ collection launch back when I was a beauty editor.
Tatum: She probably won’t remember, but my first memory of Shelley was actually at a Workshop fashion show when I was working at Sony. I was in awe of her beauty — and her boots! Then we met again at the MAC party, which was the wildest party of 2007. Shells introduced me to Kath that night and we clicked over lipstick, bubbles and the dance floor.
Gemma: I met Kathryn, Shelley and Mihi when I was 13 years old at the Rosehill College pre-ball. They were a couple of years older than me and I thought they were so cool. We’ve been knocking around ever since. Tattie I met in my early 20s and she instantly became part of the gang. We have a sisterhood I cherish.
Shelley: We all love fashion but have very individual styles. What we share is an appreciation for Kiwi designers. My outfits always include one local piece — Ruby, Juliette Hogan and Kate Sylvester are my go-tos — with a mix of high, low and vintage to layer my look. My work uniform is high-waisted blue jeans, a vintage silk blouse, a belt, heels, gold earrings and a red lip.
Gemma: We all appreciate a good blow-wave and bold red lips. My style is quite simple: a tailored Harman Grubiša pantsuit with a cami or a T-shirt. Or, for something more casual, Grlfrnd denim, an Equipment shirt and a blazer. I’ll elevate either look with a decent-sized heel — I love Jimmy Choo pumps — and accessories.
Mihi: My partner is obsessed with buying vintage band T-shirts, so I steal those, customise them with a pair of scissors, and pair them with a leather jacket. I wear a lot of leather, both for work and casual. You really can’t go wrong with leather — that’s probably my fashion mantra. But you’re just as likely to find me in a corporate look with a rock ’n’ roll edge, as in jeans, a good blazer and boots. I like to mix quality with high-street pieces, and I wear a lot of New Zealand designers. I think it’s so important to support the local industry and it’s easy when we
have such amazing labels.
Tatum: Head-to-toe black is my work uniform, but because MAC blends both beauty and fashion, I get to dress up. I’ve been known to wear gowns to work! I adore New Zealand designers and am very privileged that many of them are my good friends, which makes choosing what to wear in the mornings very special. My signature pieces would be my fur jacket from Harman Grubiša, my leather Stolen Girlfriends Club pants, a sheer top and corset by Georgia Alice or one of my countless tops from Zambesi, some of which are 10 to 15 years old, because Zambesi will be forever timeless. And shoes are an addiction of mine.
Gemma: When one of your besties is a shoe designer, it’s fair to say we’re all pretty obsessed with shoes.
Tatum: I love a good black Givenchy boot or a sky-high Valentino or Louboutin heel. My favourite local shoe designers are La Tribe and, of course, Kathryn Wilson.
Kath: I’m all about girl-boss suits from Juliette Hogan, worn with sneakers.
Clockwise from top left: Shelley Ferguson, Mihi Blake, Tatum Savage, Kathryn Wilson and Gemma Ross.
Gemma: I’d say our shared life philosophy is: Go harder, faster, sooner. We’re all making the most out of life and making it count. We also appreciate that life gets busy and we’re not needy of each other’s time. There’s an unspoken support system and when we do come together we cut the bullshit and go straight to the stuff that matters.
Kath: Work hard, play hard. And always have champagne in the fridge. We all celebrate each other and our careers and families.
Shelley: Friends are family.
Tatum: Our friendship is based on a huge amount of love, support and respect for each other’s business ventures, individual careers and family lives.
Work x play
Shelley: We embrace and encourage [mixing work and play]. Working in complementary industries means we get to see each other more because of meetings and events, and it also means we’re a professional support system to each other. It’s great to be able to bounce work ideas around and get advice and feedback from clever and creative women who also know you on a personal level. Everyone’s very passionate about their careers, which I think has given our friendship another dimension.
Gemma: We love it. How lucky are we to have the opportunity to support each other in friendship and in business?
Kath: It’s great because work events often overlap as social time.
Tatum: I really appreciate everyone’s smarts and professional prowess. These are girls with beauty and brains, and this is evident in each one’s ambition and success.
Words: Phoebe Watt.
Watch Kathryn Wilson’s NZFW 2017 show: