Nicky Zimmermann On Why Her Nostalgia For This One Sydney Beach Has Made Its Way To Paris

Zimmermann goes abroad.

If you’re a Sydney local—or have dabbled down the Eastern coastline of the seaside city—then you’re likely familiar with Tamarama beach, otherwise known as ‘Glamarama’ to beachgoers. And for Nicky Zimmermann, it was high time that she pay homage to the Eastern suburbs favourite through her eponymous brand’s debut at Paris Fashion Week.

Wrapping up France’s turn at the week of runways, Zimmermann’s spring/summer ’23 collection brought a bit of quintessential Australia to Paris’ Petit Palais. Throughout the 49-look collection, Zimmermann showcased splashes of years spent in the Eastern suburbs through bright and bold prints with hints of Edwardian influences.

Sure, Tamarama might not be one of the country’s most globally renowned beaches, but for the Aussie brand’s co-founders and sisters, Nicky and Simone, the stretch of sand is incredibly special to them, particularly Nicky.

“It all started with Tamarama Beach, where I lived for many years,” Nicky Zimmermann tells marie claire Australia. “I have always loved it, but was so intrigued to find out about Wonderland City—a 1900s beachside amusement park that had this gorgeous wooden roller coaster that ran from one end of the beach to the other.”

Boasting hues similar to the piles of sand and crashing waves that the scenic Sydney cove is known for, Nicky shares that the landscape that Tamarama is known for can be seen sprinkled throughout each piece on show. One look at the collection, and it’s easy to see Nicky’s memories pour out through her use of bold, beach umbrella-style print work and paisley prints that could pass for the swirling sea.

“It’s wild to imagine it now—but that was the inspiration trigger for Spring 23,” she explains, adding, “We began thinking about the change to the beach, the landscape and lifestyle over that time and that became a rich source of inspiration”.

Zimmermann SS '23
Zimmermann SS ’23
Zimmermann SS '23
Zimmermann SS ’23

“[We] started playing and mixing Edwardian details with the current Tama scene using the vibrancy of the fairground and the beach in the palette and prints, and silhouettes that reflect voluminous roller coasters. It’s a little bit of the old and a lot of new,” Nicky recalls.

The nod to the Eastern beaches—and the Wonderland that took place there—is in plain sight, but look harder and you’ll find the hints of the 1990s Edwardian influence that she has been referring to. 

“Well, it was my nanny’s stories that were the starting point. She was the one who told me about Wonderland City years ago, and I started looking into it after that. We wanted to pay homage to the Australia of that time but through a modern lens,” she says.

Several pieces in the collection are paired with a bountiful amount of draped fabric, folding over itself effortlessly to almost emulate a bustle. The layers of ivory embroidered fabric and crochet elements also felt straight from the time period, but there’s more to the inspiration than meets the eye. 

“We got very specific with colour and print—that meant that we touched on the colours and motifs of the amusement park as well as some detailed Edwardian shapes but reworked them to reflect today’s Tama vibe.”

Zimmermann SS '23
Zimmermann SS ’23
Zimmermann SS '23
Zimmermann SS ’23

Starting their eponymous fashion brand in 1991, the label has only grown in relevance and popularity amongst the Australian market. And naturally, it only made sense to start extending their showcases outside the island they call home. Debuting Zimmermann at Paris Fashion Week, Nicky feels that the French capital is the perfect opportunity for the brand to extends its reach in Europe.

It’s exciting. It is so great to be doing live shows again after the last couple of years—the whole team is really on a high,” she says. “It’s fun to bring a talented team together to celebrate this collection and showing in Paris feels right as we continue to grow in Europe.”

She continues, “Doing digital shows was so interesting—finding a new way to show—but it’s fantastic to get the vibe of a real audience again.”

But Zimmermann isn’t the only homegrown fashion brand that’s earned itself global acclaim. As Australian brands continue to grow and thrive, it’s only a matter of time before they head overseas to follow in Zimmermann’s footsteps.

“I’m proud of our industry—it’s very exciting and it’s fantastic to see Australian design heading across the globe,” she says, adding, “Who wouldn’t want to see Aussies killing it everywhere?”

Simone and Nicky Zimmermann
Simone and Nicole Zimmermann

Thankfully, Paris isn’t the last top for Zimmermann, with Nicky reassuring us that there’s much more in store for the Australian brand.

“I think we just want to keep working on collections and projects that bring something new, fresh, and exciting to our clients,” she shares. “As a design team, we are always striving to create pieces that a woman will connect with. We want her to fall in love and feel uplifted, and we feel that’s at the heart of why we design the things we do.”

“We are always trying to evolve collections season after season and find new ways to provide our clients with something fresh and new,” she says.

For Zimmermann’s future, Nicky promises that their focus will always be about uplifting women and keeping the brand as fresh as possible by exploring fabrics and techniques. It’s almost impossible to feel complacent with Zimmermann’s collections, but Nicky promises that their evolution won’t stop any time soon.

“Sometimes the focus can be on shifts in the fabrics we use, or it might be the direction of our artwork. Details are always important, so we are always working to find new ways to bring these to life in an unexpected way. Just working hard to get better and what we do, really.”

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