What the local fashion set are wearing, reading, and eating this summer

22 December 2021
By Hemma Vara

Everybody needs a little time away, and these local fashion faces have ideas for where and how you could spend it.

Deanna Didovich at Matarangi, Coromandel.

While we press pause on adventures abroad, we thought we’d revisit such nostalgic joys with some of our favourite local fashion designers. 

We roadtrip with Yu Mei’s Jessie Wong, Marle’s Juliet Souter, Ruby’s Deanna Didovich, Kathryn Wilson’s Julia Ford, Maggie Marilyn’s Maggie Hewitt and Twenty-Seven Names’ Rachel Easting to their best-loved beach spots — and find out what they’ll be wearing when they get there. 

Jessie Wong, founder & director, Yu Mei

Where I’m travelling: Honeymoon Bay, Abel Tasman national park.

What to eat: Honeymoon Bay is isolated, so I’d bring a picnic box with strawberries, tomatoes, charcuterie and a loaf of crusty bread. If you’re prepared enough to take a chilly bin too, a bottle of Black Estate Young Vines Chardonnay or juices from Chia Sisters are both excellent ways to end a beach day.

What to wear: Ever the camper, I’ll be prioritising comfort in a pair of nylon Prada shorts — a great second-hand score — an oversized button-down shirt and my trusty ‘Club Yu Mei’ cap.

What to read: The Presence Process [by Michael Brown] — recommended to me by Rufus Knight, who designed our Newmarket Lounge. It’s been on my list for a while, so I’m excited for the summer holidays when I’ll have some beach days to enjoy it. I’ll also be reading The Gentlewoman’s recently released Modern Manners — part etiquette manual, part musings from interesting people. 

Juliet Souter, co-founder & creative director, Marle

Where I’m travelling: Papamoa beach, Tauranga.

Where to eat: Alpino in Mount Maunganui is the best place to stop for an afternoon cocktail and a bite to eat.

What to wear: Marle’s resort collection is about to deliver and there are a number of pieces I’ll be adding to my wardrobe, including the linen ‘Marion’ shorts, sand-washed silk ‘Ida’ pants, knitted ‘Rosa’ top and silk/cotton ‘Otto’ dress.

What to read: I’ll be starting to make a dent in the pile of books I’ve been meaning to get to this year, starting with Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.

Julia Ford, head of design & sales, Kathryn Wilson

Where I’m travelling: Omaha beach, Omaha. 

Where to eat: Sawmill Brewery. This spot never disappoints — it’s the perfect little pitstop between swims.

What to wear: The MW by Kathryn Wilson ‘Zoe’ slides in khaki and the ‘Shelley’ slides in pink will go perfectly with my Sweepstake Winners graphic-printed silk and linen shirts and dresses, Gucci sunglasses from Sunglass Bar and the Kathryn Wilson ‘LouLou’ tote to complete the summery goodness.

What to read or listen to: I’m an audiobook and podcast fanatic, so I’ve got the new David Sedaris offering A Carnival of Snackery Diaries ready to go. I’m hoping it’ll make the ultimate light holiday listening.

Deanna Didovich, creative director, Ruby

Where I’m travelling: Matarangi, Coromandel.

Where to eat: Luke’s Kitchen in Kūaotunu is a must-visit. It has a cool atmosphere and is
always a fun time.

What to wear: This summer, I’ll be living in my Ruby swimwear. I’ve been a little crazy on purple lately, so I’ve made a perfect purple two-piece that will no doubt be worn daily.

What to read: Earlier this year, I read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, and it was one of those books you wish you could read for the first time again and again. I highly recommend it as a holiday read.

Rachel Easting, co-founder, twenty-seven names

Where I’m travelling: Waikanae, Kāpiti Coast.

Where to eat: The two best places to eat are right next door to each other. The Front Room Coastal Eatery does beautiful food and coffee, and Long Beach Cafe is great for big groups and famous for their pizza.

What to wear: I’m looking forward to wearing Twenty-Seven Names’ ‘Fantasy’ dress from our SS21/22 collection, ‘Say it with Flowers’. Stretch cotton in a custom print, covering my easily-sunburnt shoulders and legs — I know it’s going to be on high rotation for me. 

What to read and listen to: This year, I’m hoping to finally read the new Sally Rooney book, Beautiful World, Where Are You, and I’m still working my way through the Sentimental in the City podcast while I watch Sex and the City for the first time — late-to-the-pop-culture-party is kind of my thing!

Maggie Hewitt, founder, Maggie Marilyn

Where I’m travelling: Tom Bowling bay, Bay of Islands.

Where to eat: Mangōnui Fish Shop for the quintessential Kiwi fish ‘n’ chips. 

What to wear: Maggie Marilyn’s new ‘Forever’ shirting capsule collection. Bright, bold stripes — think the French Riviera in the ’60s. 

What to read and listen to: I’ll be reading Climate Aotearoa, edited by Helen Clark, and listening to the MM playlist — stay tuned. 


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