Fashion News

Sail Away with Zimmermann

By Tali Jaffe Minor

Model sitting on a wood chair at the beach dressed in a navy sleeveless top and sailboat print trousers

A look featuring Zimmermann’s sailboat print from the Resort 23 Collection.

Nicky Zimmermann sitting in her studio with a sketchbook

Nicky Zimmermann in her Sydney atelier.

Nicky Zimmermann gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Resort 23 Collection, with a heavy nod toward sailing and seaside adventures. This latest collection is a perfect expression of what Zimmermann is best known for—romantic, playful and looks that are layered with details. Shop Resort 23 now at Bal Harbour Shops.

You create collection after collection of the most gorgeous looks that seemingly everyone loves! How do you do it?
Thank you. Well, I love what I do and the essence of the brand is that we have a very particular sense of fun. It’s very Australian if you want to call it that. However, constantly developing new collections means you really must remain true to your original vision and be very clear on that—for me that has always been trying to achieve an emotional response from the women who wears our designs. I want her to fall in love when she wears one of our pieces!

I’ve always tried to design pieces which have a sophisticated femininity and I’ve always followed my passion for detail and love of color and print. I try not to get too distracted by what everyone else is doing and to follow my own path and an essential part of that is constantly staying curious, which comes naturally. I love seeking new inspiration to keep the ideas fun and fresh, and I also I pull inspiration from my own memories and where I grew up in Sydney—which is a source of enough rich inspiration to keep me going forever.

Nautical can go so camp, yet here you’ve totally distilled the romance of the seaside into RTW and accessories that land perfectly. Where did you begin with Resort 23? Was there a certain pattern or motif that was the jumping off point?
This collection really has its roots in weekend fishing trips with my Dad in Botany Bay in Sydney in his small boat—which was not particularly glamourous, but it was a great starting point to kick off my hunt for images of idyllic sailing holidays of the 50s and 60s. So, while this collection’s origins are nostalgic, we flipped it with a fresh take and injected jaunty sailboats, world maps and some sweet ikat in there too. I like the glamour-sporty mix of sailing, and that’s what we were thinking about for Resort.

Model dressed in long yellow and tan sailboat print dress

Zimmermann sailboat print dress.

I read that you have a good bit of experience sailing.
Well, I wouldn’t call myself a sailor, but I do love a boat! When I was young, I spent lots of time with my Dad on the water so it all started there. Now, we look out onto the Sydney Harbour which is brimming with gorgeous yachts—some huge, some tiny—all tacking and jibing up and down the harbour. It’s an incredible sight and inspired both prints and silhouettes in the collection.

The set was fabulous, too. Can you tell us a bit about the process of designing the presentation?
I loved it, too! One of the best parts of the process is working with a really great team, and we call on a fantastic group of creatives to assist us with the process. They’re an amazing and fun gang of creative directors and stylists and photographers and producers who we work with regularly and really get us, and help us keep it fresh, vibrant, and modern. For this particular set, the original idea of the sails came by our Creative Set Designer Michelle Jank, and it was slowly developed and evolved once we knew what was possible.

I love the waist bags! Is that a take on the traditional fisherman’s basket?
They are super sweet; everyone needs a fun bag! And yes, there was a little bit of fisherman’s basket inspiration in there, but also a little bit more of those 1950s-inspired Italian woven clutch bags, like a little souvenir bag from a fabulous sailing holiday.

Model dressed in an embroidered blouse with map detailing, denim pants, and a woven basket belt bag

A look featuring Zimmermann’s map print and woven waist bag.

How do you develop your prints? Those sailboats and maps, for instance, are wonderfully whimsical.
This is an important part of our creative process, so we take our time in sourcing inspiration first. In a creative sense, I mostly pull inspiration from my own memories and personal stories from growing up in Sydney. It can also come from a more general mood that I am feeling. I wanted to create a collection that had a real sense of joy and would conjure up feelings and memories of a wonderful holiday—the anticipation, excitement, fun and laughter that we have all been missing so much! The sailboats are a perfect motif to reflect that as they are immediately optimistic and jaunty, and the Zimmermann World Maps really appeal to our sense of adventure and the way we see the world. And once we have the basis of the motifs, we can start playing with our art team to develop something original that’s both simple and elegant and always fun. Our artists did a fantastic job in developing these.

The cascading embroidered discs are divine! I loved the inclusion of these adornments in the FW collection, on some of the Celestial and Cosmic looks. What are you drawn to in these details?
Thank you. They are a bit of a recurring theme for me as their roots originate in my love of 1960s mod dressing but here, they are used in a modern way. When you use adornment like this, not only are you adding layers and texture, but you can create completely individual forms and silhouettes that can become meaningful. In that particular collection, Stargazer, we wanted to include the iconography of the stars and astronomy and birth signs to create something eclectic that makes a glamorous clash with some of the delicate fabrics and details. Ther are so many details at play, which I love—and it’s probably why I am drawn to them.

Are there any pieces that you think would resonate particularly well with our Bal Harbour Shops clientele?
The Zimmermann woman is optimistic, carefree, with a love of color and print—probably a lot like so many of the women who visit Bal Harbour. She likes to have fun with fashion, has an eye for the unexpected and doesn’t take herself too seriously! And there’s plenty of that in this Resort collection. I think I’d go for a bit of a capsule wardrobe built for fun with one showstopper party dress as the high point.

Four models dressed in Zimmermann look from the Resort 23 collection

Looks from the Resort 23 Collection.

Model posing on the beach dressed in a blue sailboat print mini dress with belt detailing

Zimmermann sailboat print mini dress.


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