Designer Maggie Marilyn’s Wānaka showroom

When Auckland designer Maggie Marilyn took her store on tour, she set up shop in a stunning home in the snow-capped mountains of Wānaka.

When did you decide to create the “home away from home” pop-up showroom and why did you choose Wānaka?

We wanted to create something new and exciting for South Island locals and visitors in the height of winter. It was designed by my frequent collaborator and interior designer Katie Lockhart. Customers stepped through residential doors and were immediately enveloped by the warmth of a nearby fireplace. After shaking off the snow from their coats and peeling off their hats and scarves, they discovered a cosy living room, fitted out with bespoke shelves and railings filled with clothing.

A house in Wanaka with a grey couch, mirrored walls reflect the wooden dining table and black chairs

Designer Maggie Marilyn teamed up with interiors whizz Katie Lockhart to transform a residential home in Wānaka into a cosy space to showcase Forever, her new collection. IMAGE SUPPLIED

You say you’ve collaborated with Katie before – what design aesthetics do you both share?

Katie designed our first showroom and it really has been such a beautiful and effortless creative relationship. She has impeccable taste with a unique eye for colour that I think is unmatched. We both share in the same values, for creating environmentally conscious spaces that feel like a calm, safe haven away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world.

Your pop-up was in a private residence. Who designed it?

This house was designed by Fearon Hay Architects.

You call your retail spaces “homes”. What is the thinking behind this?

Our retail homes are environments centred on connection. Creating spaces where we can facilitate offline experiences with our community has always been important. Newmarket Home, in Auckland, is an extension of the workroom, where customers can see our makers in action, while Britomart Home, in Auckland’s CBD, was designed as a sanctuary in the city and an escape from the noise.

What is your own interior style?

It’s similar to my personal clothing style – considered, timeless, with artful pops of colour that feel warm and inviting. I love spaces that feel lived-in and not too precious.

How important is the natural world in your design process?

There is a consideration for the natural world in every stage of our design process, from the original concept all the way through to manufacturing and production. We talk a lot about “farm to finished garment”, which is essentially our commitment to having a transparent supply chain that allows our customers to know the South Island farm where our merino is sourced, plus all the hands that touch that wool as it gets manufactured into the final product they see in store.

Is a unique retail space an antidote to online shopping?

I think – when done well – a retail space isn’t an antidote to online shopping as much as it is an extension of a really special digital experience. Bricks-and-mortar stores are an important part of our DNA, but the online experience our customers have will always be of paramount importance.

Maggie Hewett looking through a wardrobe of clothing

Is this the first of future showings in spectacular settings?

Without giving too much away, we have some very exciting plans for the future, including getting offline with our community all over the world.

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