NYFW Designer Q+A: Zimmermann, the Australian Brand Heating Up NYC

simone nicky zimmermann

First Pie Face, now fashion – New York is finding lots to love about Australia. Last year Sydney brand Zimmermann opened their first NYC flagship, which has proven such a hit that they’re sprawling further down Mercer Street next month, and during the Resort 2014 showings in June they staged their presentation stateside.

Now Zimmermann are one of three exciting Aussie labels bringing their latest collection to the New York Fashion Week runways. Dion Lee and Sass & Bide have also made the schedule after showing in London.

Sisters Nicky and Simone got their start selling Nicky’s swim designs in Sydney’s Paddington Markets back in 1991 (Simone takes care of the business side). Since then they’ve managed to fuse high-end swim with resort and ready-to-wear, resulting in nonchalantly seductive pieces that utilize careful silhouettes, delicate prints and how-the-hell-did-they-think-of-doing-that-to-the-fabric details.

We stole a few a few minutes of Nicky’s precious pre-fashion week time to talk about their upcoming show and why a city with pretty awful beaches is so love-struck by Zimmermann.

Styleite: You opened your first New York flagship in Soho (two blocks from our office!) last year. What’s your favorite thing about the area?
Nicky: It’s such a contrast to being in Sydney – I love the cobblestone streets and the cast iron heritage buildings and at the same time it’s obviously such a shopping mecca. I like the energy.

And you’re opening another store in September? What can we expect from that?
We’re moving our current Mercer Street store to a new site down the road in late October. The new store is a much more expansive space and will allow us to bring our complete ready-to-wear collection in-store and have a dedicated space for our swim, all year round. The store will still have that fresh, casual vibe – maybe a little bit sexy in an understated way.

In the past the tendency has been for Australian designers to show in London, but last season Ellery and Christopher Esber had a joint presentation at the Lincoln Center. What is it about New York that’s so attractive right now?
We have always presented our collections in New York each season in different formats – now we’ve just decided to make it a bit more of a home away from home for us and to commit to showing each season. In the past we’ve liked to move around a bit and also present in Sydney, which is our home and so much of what we are. And obviously there’s a really good buzz generally in New York at the moment and we want to be part of that.


zimmermann runway

Zimmermann's Spring 2013 collection

Are there any other labels on the NYFW schedule that you have your eye on?
I’m really excited that my friend Dion Lee is showing in New York this season. He’s a really great young Australian designer and I think New York is a great fit for him.

What can we look forward to seeing in the new collection?
This season is very feminine but it also has a harder edge through it. The collection is called The Ringmaster and we were inspired by the circus – the romance and theatre and also the slightly darker underbelly of the life of the traveling performer.

Your collections always have a sort of unconsciously sexy Australian thread running through them. Is this something you think about when designing?
I guess I don’t set out to create that aesthetic but I’m very aware that it does come through in what we do. I’ve always been really influenced by growing up and living in Australia – you can’t help but be influenced by the color and the light. We have a really relaxed approach to dressing, particular in Sydney where we have this whole “beach to bar” lifestyle. There’s a casual sexiness to it and it’s very much part of what Zimmermann is.

How would you describe the Zimmermann girl? Is she different here to how she is back home?
She’s confident, feminine and smiles. She has fun with fashion. The Zimmermann girl in Sydney is really no different to the girl in New York or Los Angeles or London – she’s just as likely to be hanging around Bondi as she is shopping in Soho, or relaxing in the Hamptons.

Thanks Nicky! Stay posted for our review of Zimmermann’s Spring 2014 collection.

Related links:
Dion Lee Isn’t Going to Sell Those Sick Kanye Kicks
Which Supermodel is Taking Over Sass & Bide’s Social Media?

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