New Zealand's knight of the fashion realm, Adrian Hailwood is a true gentleman. Editor Trudi Brewer visits his inner-city apartment to discover his passion for design influences every aspect of his life.
It feels like Adrian Hailwood has mastered multiple design disciplines from graphics to fashion, costume, theatre, wardrobe and accessory design. He has dressed dancers for the acclaimed Royal New Zealand Ballet and his designs have graced the red carpet. Celebrities such as Tilda Swinton, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Celine Dion (while in town for her recent concert tour she purchased the Hailwood metallic ski jacket) Paloma Faith, and Lorde are fans. While Hailwood's flagship fashion store is situated in Auckland’s colourful Karangahape Road, his label is stocked in over 40 boutiques across New Zealand and Australia, as well as the USA, Japan, Philippines, and China. And today, the designer also has a range of luxury, leather handbags to extend his sort after seasonal fashion offering. His next exciting project later this year sees him take up the role as a television host, in a new TVNZ series on the health and wealth of the global fashion industry. You might expect a certain arrogance that comes with this kind of success, but Hailwood is self-effacing for a style maestro. Modest, humble, very softly spoken, a few days out from his runway show at NZFW he takes the time to share his career highlights and his home with editor Trudi Brewer.
How did you get into fashion?
After studying graphic design at Victoria University, I was really interested in fabric design and wanted to design cushions. However, my first job was as an illustrator in Auckland's magazine industry and the rest, as they say, is history.
What’s a typical working day for you?
I start my day at the gym, then meet my dear friend designer Tanya Carlson on Ponsonby Road for morning coffee. Then I head to the shop, which is also my design studio - I work there with my small team until about six.
What have been your career highlights to date?
There have been so many over the past 16 years. Being on the front cover of American magazine, Billboard was a career high. I was chosen to represent New Zealand by the Swedish government back in 2007 as one of 10 young, emerging designers from around the world. We got to create a fashion show called Absolute Label for Absolute Vodka, I have to say that was a truly amazing experience. Also, being taken to London by Karen Walker, (who took me under her wing when I was starting out as a designer) that was also very special. To a more personal high, making a dear friends daughter’s 21st party dress. Sadly, that friend is no longer with us, which is why it was a real highlight and privilege to do that for her.
What advice would you share with other up-and-coming designers?
Go for it, no one else is going to do it for you. If you really have the passion you will get there. Don’t listen to anyone else or criticism, follow your gut instinct and always back yourself.
Hailwood at home in his inner-city apartment.
What do you love about apartment living?
I love my simple, well-designed compact space. I love the minimal décor as well. I moved from a big house, and I got rid of lots of stuff and only took what was really important and precious to me into my new apartment. Now, I love living with less.
What are your most treasured possessions?
The framed photo of my mother, who is no longer with us, I was very close to her, you could say I was a mummy’s boy. So the photo’s of her, and the books she gave me are precious. I also wear her ring. Also, my framed Hèrmes silk scarf, which makes a fabulous piece of art in my living room.
The Hèrmes silk scarf in Hailwood's living room and a portrait photo of his beloved mum.
What makes a great interior?
A combination of clean lines, and warmth. It’s a home, so it needs to be comfortable. If it’s to austere it ends up looking like an art gallery. The couches need to be comfortable and it needs to smell good.
What is that delicious scent in your home?
It’s Ernesto by Cire Trudon from WORLD Beauty you only need to spritz it a few times and it lasts for hours.
Who are your fashion icons?
Internationally, Tilda Swindon, I was inspired to work in fashion because of her. Locally Karen Walker, Kristine Crabb of Miss Crabb and Tanya Carlson. And, Natalia Kuchia. While she no longer works in the fashion industry, we started out at the same time, and I have enormous respect for her, she is super-talented.
What’s your fashion weakness?
Shoes. It’s always shoes.
What’s your best style advice?
Don’t try too hard. Don’t wear too much, all at once, keep your look simple. I’m happiest in a good well-cut pair of jeans a tailored blazer and sneakers.
What can we expect from your new summer range?
It was inspired by the country of Morocco the colours and textures. There’s a beautiful apple green, an exquisite camellia print. A candy pink with the same bold apple green stripe, there are also some gorgeous soft colours, in the collection as well as some fun, fringe detail. I know my customer very well, so each season I design for her. For me, the design process starts with a print that I design, and then the entire collection comes together from there.
View Hailwood's online store here
Follow Hailwood here
Health and grooming
You recently gave up drinking was that difficult?
I haven’t been a drinker now for about 18 months. The first six months were hard, but now I don’t miss it at all. I would have a glass of champagne at a friends wedding, or for a special occasion, it’s not like I can’t drink I just choose not to, it works for me. It's a lifestyle choice.
What do you do to stay fit?
Part of giving up drinking was to get fit and healthy. I now have a personal trainer, and that has really helped me with my fitness, it's a great way to de-stress, I feel great.
You have flawless-looking skin what do you use?|
Coola Sunscreen, my mum died of melanoma, so I am vigilant about wearing sunscreen every day. I use the mineral range which is great for my fair skin. And, to cover any red spots, I use Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat No 2 or Tom Ford Concealer.
Tom Ford Ombrè Leather Fragrance Spray is my current favourite.
Hailwood's grooming kit
Sponsored by LEXUS, OPI, KMS and Swiss-Bel-suites.