#94 A few words with Karen Walker

I’m a big fan of Karen Walker’s. She’s the first New Zealand fashion designer to make it overseas, and she has a no-nonsense, independent spirit that I really admire – she always does her own thing, her own way, on her own terms. When the New Zealand Four ( Nom D, World, Zambesi and Karen Walker) show took place at London Fashion Week in 1999, she was the only designer to appoint a London based PR agent to look after her collection, and subsequently became the only designer from the group to continue to show in that competitive market. Walker’s now moved onto New York Fashion Week where she receives constant rave reviews, and she’s swiftly becoming the designer of choice for international girls with a craving for clever clothes with a little bite. Read on to see what she has to say about the changing nature of her business in the face of motherhood, and the importance of proof reading my work.

What do you like right now? We’ve been looking at a lot of Siouxsie and the Banshees videos and I’m also really interested in cults right now. Also really been enjoying watching Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Whose work are you continually inspired and intrigued by? Ralph Lauren.

Has motherhood changed your design sensibility? It’s changed the approach that I have to my work, but not the work itself. These days, with way less time, we don’t get to overlove design, it’s a lot more to the point. So it’s probably improved the method of design because we’re more definitive. We’ve gotten rid of all the fluffing around.

What is your guilty pleasure? Expensive hotel rooms.

Who is your favourite character of all time? Richard Parker from Life of Pi.

What do you do to calm the nerves before a big show? I make sure I have things to do so there’s no time to worry.

Any last words? I’ve read your blog on Kate Sylvester and Paul Blomfield was wrong: it wasn’t Al Pacino in Raging Bull, it was Robert de Niro.

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