Dropping into one showroom after another during the whirlwind that is Paris Fashion Week can be a tedious task, but every once in a while, you come across a refreshing gem of a label that sets itself apart, sticking with you in the days after the runway shows come to a close — and when you're putting together your personal shopping list for the season ahead. For me, said palate cleanser was the romantic line of ready-to-wear by 23-year-old designer Maggie Hewitt, who struck out on her own just after graduating from university in her native New Zealand in 2015. And, with her first Maggie Marilyn collection exclusively available at Net-a-Porter, it's safe to say she's planted herself firmly on the radar of the industry's top tastemakers, too.
After being honored with the Outstanding and Sustainable Design Award at her senior show, Hewitt — who is still based in New Zealand — decided to get straight to work building her own brand of seasonless, feminine closet staples based around the idea of "liveable luxury" (think silk and cotton blouses, tailored outerwear, ruffled skirts and easy trousers). She joined forces with Jo Knight, formerly a co-owner and director at the late Richard Nicoll's eponymous label, who introduced her to top buyers at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in May, helping secure her a plum spot on Net-a-Porter's roster of emerging designers.
With whimsical details — raw hems, loose, hanging ties, floral appliqués, mixed textures — and dramatic proportions, like bell sleeves and flared pants, her separates call to mind insider-favorite labels like Ellery and Johanna Ortiz, but with a price point that tops out around $850, it's accessible to a wider audience. Her first collection sticks to a muted color palette of white, blush pink, camel and black, but for spring, she's branching out into perennial favorites including olive, poppy red, navy and sky blue, as well as a touch of metallic silver. While she prioritizes the use of top-notch materials, Hewitt is also sharply focused on transparency and sustainability: Maggie Marilyn only utilizes organically dyed and ethically sourced fabrics, production takes place in local factories and each of its merchants pay their workers a living wage.
Though her label is still in its infancy, Hewitt aspires to bring her brand to a global audience — something she's taking steps toward with the launch of her internationally shoppable e-commerce site in December, where customers can expect online exclusives and plenty of play around the "George" denim jacket, already one of the designer's signature pieces (and one of her personal favorites). Maggie Marilyn is also bringing its collection stateside for the first time before the new year, with press days planned in New York for late November and an upcoming emerging designers event with Net-a-Porter in Los Angeles in early December. We're willing to bet style stars on both coasts will be smitten — and making mental notes of which looks they'll add to their fashion month arsenals come February.