After moving on from the world of advertising, Elizabeth Wilson retrained in fashion, and worked a stint for Karen Walker. Wilson is now carving her own path in the industry with her new shop Eugénie in Auckland.
Here, the designer describes how the interiors complement her style, and the advantages of having a bricks-and-mortar shop as well as an online presence.
HOME Tell us about Eugénie’s clothes, and how these values are reflected in the store’s interiors.
Elizabeth Wilson, Eugénie owner I work with what I find modern and compelling, then marry that with an emphasis on cut, silhouette, quality construction and exceptional fabrics. My partner Simon Oosterdijk designed the store; we wanted to counterpoint the elegance of the garments. Synthetic compounds, folded steel, high-gloss paint and coloured zinc coatings bring a new materiality that contrasts and enhances the tactility of the clothes. We worked with the manufacturing character of the building, referencing research facilities and space centres, creating modular frameworks using off-the-shelf systems.
HOME Tell us a bit about Eugénie’s history, what you were doing before, and where the name came from.
Elizabeth Wilson Eugénie was my grandmother’s name and it’s my middle name. I originally trained as a product and graphic designer but after a few years in advertising I realised my interest in fashion was much stronger. After retraining I worked for Karen Walker and have since worked as a freelance textile designer, while designing collections and planning the store.
HOME What’s the advantage in having a shop when you could sell online?
Elizabeth Wilson I care about the experience of people encountering the range and I wanted to create an environment that is an inspiring and exciting place to be. My customers care about fit and fabric – an online store can’t deliver on those fronts.
HOME What themes does your second collection explore, and why?
Elizabeth Wilson The primary inspiration was a photographic series of office interiors by artist Lars Tunbjörk. He has a way of highlighting the strangeness of those ubiquitous spaces that I connect with. His influence is also found in our collection film we made, bringing through a little of the feeling of absurdity in the everyday that you find in his work.