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The Zimmermann Way

The Zimmermann Way

Nicky Zimmermann at the company's New York showroom. Portrait by Charlie Rubin.

By Nick Remsen

Few places do easy, lovely, sun-and-surf style like Australia. And few brands capture the continent’s prettified, beach-y effortlessness as convincingly as Zimmermann, the Sydney-based ready-to-wear and swim label founded in 1991 by sisters Nicky and Simone Zimmermann. (Nicky handles design—she began her career by selling handmade frocks in Sydney’s markets—and Simone runs operations.)

A look from the Resort 2018 collection.

As Zimmermann has grown into a globally distributed house over the past 26 years—its latest addition being a brand new store in Bal Harbour—its signatures have also become firmly established: floral, flouncy and delicate dresses along with sporty-meets-frilly (yet never precious) swimwear rule its roster, and Resort 2018 is no less a testament to its unique, much sought after aesthetic.

“For Resort, I wanted to create a really feminine collection that played to a lot of Zimmermann’s core signatures,” says Nicky. “Think: soft, delicate prints contrasted with harder-edge detailing. I had a fiery, Latin muse in mind—a strong, artistic and passionate woman. And I wanted the collection to have romantic undertones.”

Zimmermann is known for its romantic and bohemian silhouettes.

The result is equal parts retro-chic and current-cool, with heart motifs, tiered layers of printed chiffon or intricate lace, flamenco-ruffled tops, polka-dots, puff-sleeves, paint strokes and sun-faded stripes. (This is another trademark of Zimmermann: the attention to detail and emphasis on variety is extraordinary.) There’s even something of a regional grandeur in Resort’s overall takeaway—its impression is as sophisticated and storied as the longstanding charm of, say, places like Oaxaca or Cartagena.

Nicky’s favorite piece is a floral, pleated frock called the Painted Heart Folds dress—save for two spaghetti straps, it’s an off-the-shoulder piece with dramatically voluminous sleeves and frilled layers around its hem. “It’s very quintessentially Zimmermann,” notes the designer.

Swimwear is a key category for Zimmermann.

It should come as no surprise that the Zimmermann sisters make frequent visits to Miami. “I always look forward to it,” says Nicky. “I’m usually here for work, so when I do get a window to relax, I love to sit quietly by the pool. I also take the time to do some vintage shopping, and over the years I’ve found a few secret spots just outside of the city where I often pick up pieces that give me great references for summer ideas.” She then notes that Miami and Sydney are not exactly alike—save for one telling, binding element, and one that perfectly captures the vibe of her designs: “I’d say the only similarity between the two places is that unique relationship between the city… and the beach.”

 

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