THE POWER DRESSERS

Fashion Quarterly - - Report -

Busy doesn’t be­gin to de­scribe the sched­ules of Auck­land busi­ness­women Mimi Gil­mour, 33, cre­ative CEO at Burger Burger; Jes­sica Barter, 34, and Mag­gie Car­roll, 37, ar­chi­tects and di­rec­tors at Bureaux; and Lizzie Cheshire, 37, mum and for­mer film pro­duc­tion co­or­di­na­tor.

But whether they’re run­ning burger empires, de­sign­ing build­ings or wran­gling ba­bies, these ladies are do­ing it in style. At our shoot, that meant with two bot­tles of Per­rier-Jouët cham­pagne, an epic plat­ter and their per­sonal as­sis­tants in tow.

BACK­GROUND

JESS: I met Mag­gie at ar­chi­tec­ture school 17 years ago, on ori­en­ta­tion day. She was the big kid who showed us around. In the same year was [ar­chi­tect] Nat Cheshire [now Lizzie’s hus­band], who we be­came close friends with. It didn’t take long for us to also be in­sep­a­ra­ble from his other half, Lizzie.

MIMI: I met Mag­gie through a friend a mil­lion years ago, but we all re­ally came to­gether through the charm­ing Nat Cheshire in the hey­day of Brit­o­mart when we were child­less and drank tequila and danced till dawn.

LIZZIE: Turns out I met all three through my hus­band — he has great taste in women.

FASH­ION PHI­LOS­O­PHY

MIMI: Qual­ity is key. My style is clas­sic but fun, and I’ve learned to dress to my body shape. My favourite lo­cal de­sign­ers are Miss Crabb, Zambesi, Wixii and my fam­ily friend Di­ana Scutts, whose clothes are well-made and ef­fort­lessly chic. If money was no ob­ject, I’d live in Ellery, Lan­vin, Dries Van Noten, Marni jew­ellery and Prada heels.

MAG­GIE: A typ­i­cal work­day for me can switch be­tween client pre­sen­ta­tions, show­room vis­its, climb­ing a lad­der and travers­ing a hill­side chas­ing the sun un­til it’s time for a soirée. My wardrobe needs to func­tion across it all, so I go for sim­ple,

tai­lored forms that are al­most al­ways black. In sum­mer, that’s a silk shirt dress by Jac + Jack or So­nia Rykiel, with Lan­vin or See by Chloé es­padrilles. In win­ter, it’s slim black pants by Acne, Joseph or The­ory, Robert Clerg­erie flats and my trusty black Lan­vin cash­mere scarf with an over­sized Issey Miyake, So­nia Rykiel or Cé­line coat.

JESS: My wardrobe is full of dresses and coats. I wear lots of black and navy — Beth Ellery is a reg­u­lar and Scan­lan Theodore has been my best friend for the past few years. I wear boots in win­ter and san­dals in sum­mer — never sneak­ers or jan­dals on work­days — and the only pants I own are Ly­cra.

LIZZIE: I live in Levi’s jeans, Lan­vin or Con­verse sneak­ers and a comfy jersey by Wixii or Bas­sike. This was my uni­form be­fore moth­er­hood too.

FRIEND­SHIP PHI­LOS­O­PHY

LIZZIE: It comes down to con­stant chats, oc­ca­sional dance-offs, and we just had our first girls’ week­end away. It will not be our last.

MAG­GIE: We have re­ally in­di­vid­ual per­son­al­i­ties but we share a pen­chant for qual­ity and sub­stance, and that ap­plies to ev­ery­thing in our lives, from fash­ion, to food, to peo­ple.

MIMI: It’s about in­vest­ing in qual­ity re­la­tion­ships and cel­e­brat­ing life with de­li­cious food and laugh­ter around the ta­ble. There’s no prob­lem that can’t be solved over a good meal and French cham­pagne. And re­mem­ber­ing to phone a friend when you need to. Be­ing a mother has taught me that life is not achiev­able with­out your vil­lage.

JESS: We all value the im­por­tance of hospi­tal­ity. That’s how we love and feel loved. And there’s not a day that I don’t hear from one of the girls or vice versa; it’s amaz­ing how up­lift­ing a bar­rage of texts can be when you send out an SOS.

WORK x PLAY

JESS: Own­ing a busi­ness to­gether, Mag­gie and I have the most in­tense per­sonal/pro­fes­sional cross­over. But we’ve worked hard to know each other’s needs and al­ways place more value on our friend­ship than the busi­ness.

MAG­GIE: Jess and I have an amaz­ing friend­ship where we can be boss ladies and friends at the same time. We talk wa­ter­proof­ing de­tails while get­ting our nails done — who else can say that?

JESS: We’re all am­bi­tious with our ca­reers but are al­ways on hand to help each other ne­go­ti­ate how we can con­quer the world and be okay wives and mums at the same time.

LIZZIE: Our lives are com­pletely in­ter­wo­ven. We’re fam­ily and sup­port each other in ev­ery­thing we do.

MIMI: I love my hus­band to bits, but I wouldn’t sur­vive if I didn’t have my wives on standby.

WHO CAN SIT WITH US?

LIZZIE: Any­one with a bit of sass who loves food and wine. JESS: A stroppy cook who loves life and takes no pris­on­ers. Per­haps [food writer] Mar­cella Hazan or Ju­lia Child.

MAG­GIE: I’d love Sofia Ver­gara to be our friend. Does any­one else feel this way?

MIMI: Or Yo­tam Ot­tolenghi, be­cause I se­ri­ously don’t know what we ate be­fore he came into our lives, and he sounds like he’d be a real hoot.

BACK­GROUND

SHEL­LEY: Kath and I have been best friends since we met as 11-yearolds at Rose­hill In­ter­me­di­ate [in Auck­land’s Pa­pakura]. I met Ta­tum at the MAC ‘Bar­bie’ col­lec­tion launch back when I was a beauty ed­i­tor.

TA­TUM: She prob­a­bly won’t re­mem­ber, but my first mem­ory of Shel­ley was ac­tu­ally at a Work­shop fash­ion show when I was work­ing at Sony. I was in awe of her beauty — and her boots! Then we met again at the MAC party, which was the wildest party of 2007. Shells in­tro­duced me to Kath that night and we clicked over lip­stick, bub­bles and the dance floor.

GEMMA: I met Kathryn, Shel­ley and Mihi when I was 13 years old at the Rose­hill Col­lege pre-ball. They were a cou­ple of years older than me and I thought they were so cool. We’ve been knock­ing around ever since. Tat­tie I met in my early 20s and she in­stantly be­came part of the gang. We have a sis­ter­hood I cher­ish.

FASH­ION PHI­LOS­O­PHY

SHEL­LEY: We all love fash­ion but have very in­di­vid­ual styles. What we share is an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Kiwi de­sign­ers. My out­fits al­ways in­clude one lo­cal piece — Ruby, Juli­ette Ho­gan and Kate Sylvester are my go-tos — with a mix of high, low and vin­tage to layer my look. My work uni­form is high-waisted blue jeans, a vin­tage silk blouse, a belt, heels, gold ear­rings and a red lip.

GEMMA: We all ap­pre­ci­ate a good blow-wave and bold red lips. My style is quite sim­ple: a tai­lored Har­man Gru­biša pantsuit with a cami or a T-shirt. Or, for some­thing more ca­sual, Grl­frnd denim, an Equip­ment shirt and a blazer. I’ll el­e­vate ei­ther look with a de­cent-sized heel — I love Jimmy Choo pumps — and ac­ces­sories.

MIHI: My part­ner is ob­sessed with buy­ing vin­tage band T-shirts, so I steal those, cus­tomise them with a pair of scis­sors, and pair them with a leather jacket. I wear a lot of leather, both for work and ca­sual. You re­ally can’t go wrong with leather — that’s prob­a­bly my fash­ion mantra. But you’re just as likely to find me in a cor­po­rate look with a rock ’n’ roll edge, as in jeans, a good blazer and boots. I like to mix qual­ity with high-street pieces, and I wear a lot of New Zealand de­sign­ers. I think it’s so im­por­tant to sup­port the lo­cal in­dus­try and it’s easy when we have such amaz­ing la­bels.

TA­TUM: Head-to-toe black is my work uni­form, but be­cause MAC blends both beauty and fash­ion, I get to dress up. I’ve been known to wear gowns to work! I adore New Zealand de­sign­ers, and am very priv­i­leged

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