Looking in from outside

    With over 350 outlets worldwide, the Karen Walker empire produces clothes, jewellery and eyewear with a sureness of touch and purring invention. One of its many design spirits is the mixing of luxury and non-luxury materials in a manner that can be curious and invites the fingers to test what the eye is seeing.
    This dress, spotlit and impressive in the window like an old sailing-ship figurehead, is called Ruffle Bib. The material is linen hessian – a non-luxury material which might make many think of wallpaper scrim, but here it is fine weave and supple to the touch. It also carries the faint, honest smell of linen prior to treatment which normally obliterates any odour. The linen’s modelling into large ruffles suits the spirit of the fabric perfectly. And, bordering these ruffles like exacting lines of ink, are ribbons of rich black cotton.
    Karen Walker is at 126 Wakefield Street, Wellington.