A few weekends ago, I was reading an interview in a Sunday paper pull out with a famous actress in her 50’s. Hard as the actress tried to politely turn the conversation back to her more recent work, the interviewer seemed determined to keep the interrogation pointed on the subject of her on-screen kisses with Nineties heartthrobs and the mistakes she had made with her hair close to three decades ago. Three decades ago!!! It was clearly an assault to her intelligence, as it was to mine, and it made me think about our unhealthy obsession with ~forever young~ women (and with Nineties heartthrobs, for that matter). During our conversation, Paris Mitchell Temple circles on this point, drawing a fine line between Hollywood’s obsession with youth and that of the world of fashion publishing. The stylist, designer, and co-founder of Paris Georgia, a label that is fittingly timeless by design, began reflecting on her time at Vogue.
Yes, before we move on, let me clarify that in a past life Paris did indeed move to New York and landed a job at the place all fashion girls dream of landing.
“In an industry that’s dominated by youth and that loves youth, my experience at US Vogue taught me that a certain level of experience can only come with age. The office was filled with hard-working women in their 50’s and 60’s in the most respected roles; they’ve been in the industry the longest and that’s the way things should be. We should all be learning from them.”
There, she was fortunate enough to observe the greats at work: Grace Coddington, Phyllis Posnick, Camilla Neickerson, Tonne Goodman, to name a few. She learnt what it took to create a powerful image and in the process unwittingly developed a razor-sharp eye for design.
“It blew me away,” says Temple. “Coming from New Zealand, I hadn’t yet seen fashion on the scale they were working with and I came away understanding that styling and designing bounce right off each other, in a way that kind of took me by surprise.”
It was during those years that Temple absorbed the kinds of invaluable lessons crucial to building a global label with her best friend from their peaceful, sunlit studio in Auckland; one that has gone on to crack the cutthroat New York market in record time, thanks to a certain fashion luminary, Maryam Nassir Zadeh.
That’s when “things became very real, very fast.” We’re talking going from one capsule range of basics to designing a full-blown range, which we would encourage you to get familiar with here.
Paris Mitchell Temple may have learnt from the greats, but today we are all gathered here to celebrate, as well as her namesake, Paris Georgia. Her work ethic is one thing. Her graciousness another. Her laissez-faire, barefoot attitude to beauty ranks high in our books – an inherently Kiwi trait to which most Aussie sisters across the Tasman Sea can wholeheartedly relate.
Take it away, Paris.
Words, Rose Howard. Photographer, James Lowe.