Belle of THE BAY
For Vonnie Pallesen of Gus & Fannie, fashion and family are inextricably linked.
Vonnie Pallesen and sister Carlie Kennedy knew from a young age that fashion would be in their future. They did not know, however, that they would one day launch a label together. In 2013, after carving separate careers in floristry and fashion design, the sisters’ clothing brand Gus & Fannie was launched. The womenswear range is named after the pair’s great-grandparents Augustus (Gus) and Myfanwie (Fannie), who was a talented seamstress.
“We come from a very close family so it was important to name the business something meaningful,” Pallesen, who is now the sole owner of the business, explains. She fondly recalls playing dress-ups in her mother’s wardrobe and making fashion scrapbooks when she was young. “Our mother was always sewing; she taught me about pattern-making and fabrics. She was a huge influence on me.”
Gus & Fannie’s locally-made designs immediately struck a chord with women. “We felt that affordable, quality and easy-to-wear garments that weren’t mass produced were missing in the market; most of our garments are under $200,” explains Pallesen.
While Gus & Fannie was initially launched as an online boutique, in April 2015 the brand opened its first physical store in Mairangi Bay on Auckland’s North Shore – Pallesen grew up around the corner in Rothesay Bay. “Opening a boutique is something I have always wanted to do,” she says, “however, my children have always come first. I waited until they became independent before fulfilling my dreams.”
The store stocks Gus & Fannie alongside local and international brands such as Ketz-ke, Coop, One Teaspoon and Senso, and homeware lines Ashley & Co, Jason Home and Kana Candles.
Pallesen hopes to open more stores around the country, but for now she’s busy looking after British bulldog Gus, and dreaming up her next collection.
Vonnie Pallesen in Gus & Fannie’s Mairangi Bay boutique.
Dress, $149, by Gus & Fannie. Stella + Gemma bracelet, $30, from Gus & Fannie.
Top, $119, by Gus & Fannie. Papilion clutch, $249, from Gus & Fannie. Dress, $169, by Gus & Fannie.
Top, $139, by Gus & Fannie.
General Eclectic dish, $17, from Gus & Fannie.