Last night Zimmermann, the brand loved for dreamy, grown-up femininity, launched its Resort 2024 Ready-To-Wear collection, entitled Matchmaker. The brand’s creative director Nicky Zimmermann is in New York when Hello! Fashion speaks with her.
Zimmermann has 57 boutiques globally; located in Australia, the United States, China, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. And this year has stores opening in Hawaii, Barcelona, Shenzhen, and a Zimmermann shop at Saks Fifth Avenue NYC. Celebrity fans include Elle Fanning, Alicia Keys, the Princess of Wales, Beyoncé, Hayley Atwell, Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lopez, among many others.
Whilst the Resort collections remain digital presentations, the brand moved from New York Fashion Week to debut in Paris for its SS23 show at the beautiful Le Petit Palais, where it returned for AW23. “It's been amazing and definitely pretty incredible for our business,” she tells us of the schedule move. “And for me, it's been a personal goal.”
Additionally, in line with Zimmermann’s vast business growth in Europe, it has developed a second design studio in Paris, meaning Nicky can divide her time between Australia and the French capital, with, of course, the rest of Europe close by. “For me to be able to have these dual offices opens up resources and experience. I'm really excited, it's already been great.”
Here Nicky tells us about Resort 2024…
What drew you to local dance halls of the 50s for the collection?
It began when I was in Madrid for a store opening. I remember walking around and seeing people, old and young, dancing in the street - it was really lovely. Then I went to Paris and saw the same thing. I thought, wow, this is really interesting, I haven't seen anything quite like this before. When I'm looking for inspiration for any collection, I'll go online. This time I was looking for candid photographs of people dancing, in and around that era. I loved the movement, vibrancy and sense of fun found in the images. There was such a great mix of people having the best time together. It was pure enjoyment and I thought what an amazing way to express yourself. From there I was able to build out and the collection is not so much 50s, but more inspired by the mood of the time, which was a bit innocent and fun.
Does the Matchmaker title relate to people that found love in the halls?
Yes, I read an amazing article about how, particularly in local areas, the young people would come together on a Friday or Saturday night and how it became about matchmaking. People would meet there and end up spending their lives together. I thought that was a really lovely story and something we would be able to create a collection from.
How are the vibes of these venues referenced in the silhouettes?
There were guys in the shirt sleeves rolled up and some really cute denim looks. I liked the idea of bringing that together with a floral print of the 50s, called barkcloth floral. It's a little bit tropical, but it is actually a classic 50s print. So we reworked that with our artists and that’s where the basic floral prints came from.
Can you tell us about some of the other prints?
We redrew the bandana print and worked it into specific ways and chose unusual colours to put on dresses. Then there are two abstract prints developed by our in-house artist. One is kind of jazz-influenced featuring a guy playing the piano. It’s what we call a conversational print. And for the other one I was looking for an animal print, because to me that's quite a 50s thing, but I wanted it to look almost abstract. For this the artist did a hand painting of a leopard print and then I worked with my design team to use unusual colour ways.
Zimmermann will always add a modern twist to inspirations, how was that achieved for this collection?
Modernising designs and prints is always very important. I love referencing eras, but it's never only about the era or the garment. It's more about how you can take elements from that and make it really fresh, new and different. When you look at the collection you can understand that it relates to the theme, but its very modern, for example we put a petticoat under a dress so it sticks out, just because that's fun. It's things like that, but if you take each piece singularly they could be from any era.
Have you introduced any new fabrications this season?
We work a lot with silk linen and silk linen organza, which is a really great fabrication for us because you can achieve beautiful structure and movement, whilst still being light. And for resort it’s about, what we would say, a day fabric - it’s not a high sheen, but has a sheer structure. Then, for this collection we used quite a lot of cashmere in the knits and a lot of crystals and diamanté, which we haven't really done before. We also have these beautiful daisies that are pleated, then hand-painted and they have little beads stitched onto them. So there are lots of new techniques. And then it is really important for me to keep infusing the denim within a collection. I love people mixing different garments we do, like wearing one of our very feminine shirts with a really cool pair of jeans and a blazer.
Do you have a personal favourite piece from the collection?
There is a lot of lightweight silk wool suiting, particularly towards the end of the show. I like the idea that it’s modern tuxedo suiting, which is a really fun way to thread the theme through. One of my favourite looks is a black tuxedo jacket, dress kind-of-thing. It's not necessarily of an era, but it's just a really cool piece.
What are the main summer holiday trends you are noticing for 2023?
It’s really important for me that we become focused on what we're doing and what we want to do. There's always a natural shift: I work with my team and we know that movement and progression in design is always so important, but it's not necessarily from something I would see from someone else and I've never used trend forecasters. We naturally want to move forward creatively to make a collection look different, whilst keeping elements that appeal to our customer. It's always feminine or has that beautiful optimistic vibe, but this shifts, determined by what we want to do. I think that there's so much out there that is the same and it's really important for us to be who we are. We've always found that that's worked for us.
Would you say there is a style of dress that works for any occasion?
Yes, particularly in this collection. There are a couple of really beautiful shirt dresses that you could definitely wear with a flat shoe for a casual picnic or barbecue kind-of-vibe. Or you could most definitely put on a heel and go to a party. This is something we talk about in the design room when we are working with stylists. I love the idea that this dress can go anywhere. It is so important today that things have that versatility. I hate the idea of something that you can only wear once.
Who do you love to see wear your designs?
I saw a photograph that came through this morning, actually. I’ve just watched The Great with Elle Fanning, who I absolutely love. I think she's super beautiful, obviously very talented, but I also think she's really funny in the show. When I saw the photo I was like, Ah, that's nice!
Does the excitement ever grow old?
No! It's amazing and particularly when it's somebody that you think is really talented, or has done something amazing. They can choose anyone's clothing, so when they're wearing something that you've made it's an amazing feeling. But, I also feel that when I'm walking down the street it happens…first I’ll think she looks great, and then I’m like, oh, that's our dress. That absolutely never gets old. It's always a huge compliment and something that I love.
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