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Emilia Wickstead and Jessica McCormack Collab on Covetable Capsule Collection

Two of New Zealand’s most beloved international designers, Emilia Wickstead and Jessica McCormack, have collaborated on a highly covetable capsule collection of decadent jewels inspired by the South Pacific and we’re here for it!

So much so the duo hit the studio together in London for our exclusive cover shoot and an hilarious Kiwi-girl catch-up via Zoom with STYLE’s managing editor Phoebe Watt.

Launched to align with London Fashion Week SS21 and available in New Zealand at Simon James for a limited time, the sensational, sparkling collection gives a nod to the designers’ shared New Zealand heritage.

Beautifully incorporating McCormack’s signature hallmarks — Georgian cut-down settings, layered white and blackened gold and diamond gypset hoops — the array of earrings, rings and necklaces are designed to sit seamlessly with Wickstead’s Spring Summer collection.

“We’d been talking about doing this for so long, too,” says Wickstead, explaining that while they’d worked together since their brands were in their infancies – McCormack supplying jewels for Wickstead’s runway shows and the pair regularly sending their celebrity and bridal clients to one another – it was her spring 2021 collection, inspired by the South Seas, that was the final catalyst for the jewellery collaboration they launched in October.

“It was that collection that got us thinking about pearls,” says McCormack, who confesses she’d avoided them in all her years as a jeweller because of what she saw as their inherent stuffiness.

“Whereas for me,” says Wickstead, whose late father was Samoan, “there’s definitely something very nostalgic about them; their connection to the South Pacific, and the sense of whimsy and adventure they evoke. On top of that, I hate the word glamorous but there is something so incredibly glamorous about them.”

The challenge, both Wickstead and McCormack agree, was in modernising the pearl. “And I think Jessica’s way of taking something precious and luxurious like a diamond and turning it into this edgy, super versatile piece that you can wear every day with just a white T-shirt or a cardigan, that was absolutely key.”

Find the Summer issue of STYLE in your local magazine store, supermarket or online

Karen Walker’s 5 Favourite Short Story Authors

Proud bibliophile and arbiter of good taste, Karen Walker is never short of a reading recommendation. STYLE asks the designer what’s currently keeping her up at night.

The last half hour of each day for me is always spent with a book; usually novels – classic or contemporary; sometimes essays; very occasionally biography. Earlier on in this pandemic business I found it very hard to concentrate on reading and had many false starts. Eventually I discovered the simple answer: short stories. I revisited some old favourites, picked up ones that had been on the reading pile for years and dove into a couple of new discoveries. My top five short-storytellers are:

KATHERINE MANSFIELD

One of our greatest artists and one of my favourite writers of all time. I’m a sucker for modernism and she is a master of this. I love In A German Pension but if you’re only going to read one or two of hers, the obvious choices are The Garden Party and, especially, The Doll’s House, which is one of the saddest pieces of writing you’ll ever meet. Her birthplace in Wellington is an astonishing jewel and a must-visit.

GRACE PALEY

Set mostly in the New York of the ’50s and ’60s, Paley’s stories bump about between moving, hilarious, tragic; the personal, political and feminist.
Mostly they happen at kitchen sinks and kitchen tables and on apartment stoops. Her gift for painting characters is incredible; just one example of many I love, when describing a dead father: “He had an unhappy smell. His teeth fell out, his hair disappeared, he got smaller, shrivelled up little by little, till goodbye and good luck he was gone and only came to Mama’s mind when she went to the mailbox under the stairs to get the electric bill.” Her dialogue is equally brilliant.

 

ALEXANDER PUSHKIN

I love Pushkin’s life-story, which I dove into after visiting a former home of his in Odessa, Ukraine. He was exiled there by Tzar Alexander I in 1823 for general disruption and bad behaviour. His life was one of naughtiness and brilliance, trouble-making and partying and not caring about consequences. I love him for that, and his sheer genius. He’s not best-known for his short stories but they do carry you away. The Queen of Spades, one of his most famous, is a cautionary tale that takes you on a fast and furious journey of silliness, hope and despair.

ITALO CALVINO

I love all that I’ve read of Italo Calvino, but The Baron in the Trees is, for me, his most charming and poetic. A story about independence and stubbornness, its central character is a boy who, after arguing with his father, climbs a tree and spends the rest of his life there. A little longer than most, this particular piece is possibly more of a novel than a short story, but dig into any of Calvino’s oeuvre and I promise you, you’ll be delighted.

HELEN DEWITT

The cover of Some Trick caught my eye first, followed by its comparison to Gogol – very high praise indeed. I’ve only read half of the stories so far but have loved them all. Unpredictable and funny and brilliant.