Hanalei Reponty Designer, Model & Tahitian Mermaid

Here’s the thing, every week we have a new muse. It might be seeing Soo Joo at the Alexander Wang show one week or Lou Doillon after listening to ‘Devil or Angel’ on repeat the next, whoever it is, our latest muse usually inspires our fashion and music choices for a second in time.

And when we came across Hanalei Reponty on the pages of Vogue, quickly followed by a major stalk on pinterest,  we were fishing out our old Bora Bora inspired neon Proenza prints in no time. Basically, instant muse material.  And so our obsession with mermaid hair and metallic wetsuits began.

So when we got the opportunity to meet with the Tahitian born model and designer, we jumped right in. Maybe it’s the naturalness of her beauty or her effortless cool, or maybe it’s our slightly out of control obsession with 80’s rom coms because girl is a dead ringer for Daryl Hannah in Splash. But with straighter hair. Come to think of it, where the hell does a mermaid even get a crimper?

Practically born in the water, Hanalei could swim before she could walk. And growing up in Tahiti, named after a bay in Hawaii, surfing was always going to be in her blood.

“I grew up right in front of a perfect little left point break called Taapuna, (Tahiti). The water is always really warm and crystal clear. You always see dolphins and turtles, and it’s really dreamy”

So it’s pretty apt that she’s started her own line of chic wetsuits (and swimwear), Abysse, for the “Tomboy at heart”. Basically, the fashion girls answer to looking totally chic while surfing a sick break with her Haydenshapes board (yeah, that’s a regular occurrence for us too). Think scuba chic; metallic zip front one pieces, bikinis, fringed black wetsuits and zip up vests.

You get a sense that everything about Hanalie’s life at the moment is kind of dreamy. Loved up, sunkissed and travelling all over the world to either surf, model or design, it’s hard to scroll through her instagram and not go a little crazy with envy while you eat chips in your sweatpants on the couch.

But the beauty of Hanalei is that she is impossible not to like. To meet, she’s as open and kind as she is beautiful, and deeply passionate about the environment around her. Her wetsuits are made from Japanese Geoprene, a limestone-based material that requires less processing than neoprene, which means it’s much more environmentally friendly. But more than that, Geoprene is lighter, keeps you warmer and has more stretch to it (five star surfing), so it wears beautifully and comfortably.

But guys, really, let’s cut to the chase. Her hair. That unmissable, long Merhair that’s basically every woman’s childhood dream. We had to ask her, what she used.

“I use Kerastase products. That’s all. I just put some oil, and I just pretty much use it on any occasion. Even before I go to sleep, I’ll put it in my hair, and I’ll just braid it and go to bed. You know what’s funny? I can’t surf with a braid. If I surf with a braid, it’s literally like I can’t take it off.”

Rocking the braid and changing the world one surf break at a time, she’s truly living the dream. And we’re happy just watching.

All this beach talk has us ready for a dip, and thinking about growing our hair down to our butts….

Words by Carlie Fowler.

Photography by Rudy Zverina.

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