Holiday jewellery: Nicky Zimmermann explains her James Northfield inspirations
Australian designer’s latest work draws from archival travel posters
Anticipating a renewed freedom of movement, in Sydney, Australia, Nicky Zimmermann dreamt up a wardrobe for all tomorrow’s getaways. It was while starting work on Zimmermann’s Resort 2022 collection that the creative director, who trained at Sydney’s pioneering fashion design school FDS and co-founded her eponymous fashion house with her sister Simone Zimmermann in 1991, had first come across the work of James Northfield.
From the early 1930s onwards, the Australian National Travel Association tasked Northfield, alongside other visual artists including Dame Eileen Rosemary Mayo and Gert Sellheim, to capture the sun-lit beauty of Australian holiday spots, to entice travellers coming from near and far.
Zimmermann singled out Northfield’s work; it was in the artist’s works finished up until the 1950s and depicting sights such as Melbourne, Apollo Bay or, east of Melbourne, the Dandenong Ranges of mountains, that the designer found a perfect visualisation of what she felt was right for this season.
“I was looking at different references for Australian holiday destinations from the last century and came across artworks by Northfield who painted these iconic travel posters,” she explains. “I wanted the collection to have a real sense of joy, and would conjure up feelings and memories of a wonderful holiday.”
And so Zimmermann dreamt up a holiday wardrobe brimming with graphic postcard prints, seashell prints and flower motifs. The brand unveiled its Resort 22 collection last week; on view then, Zimmermann’s jewellery designs continued a theme of beach-set, sun-soaked reverie with layered gold-tone chain necklaces (plus belts).
There’s souvenir appeal to a selection of charm bracelets and matching earrings, too: upon closer inspection, we can name lustrous white seashells dipped golden, fantasy sea life and medallion-like charms in the shape of miniature postcards framing archival Northfield illustrations. The latter were selected by Zimmermann in partnership with Northfield’s estate.
“I was instantly drawn to the colours he used and the romantic nostalgia the imagery evoked,” Zimmermann enthuses. “They perfectly embodied the feeling I wanted to portray; the anticipation, excitement, fun and laughter that we had all been missing so much.”