July 26 2014

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The 411: Karen Walker


Effortless. It’s a word that’s thrown around a lot in style circles, but in New Zealand designer Karen Walker’s case, it has always fit. Walker launched her eponymous womenswear line in 2002 and over the course of the past decade or so has expanded into jewelry, eyewear, makeup (via collaborations with Clinique and Boots), a less spendy diffusion line called Hi There (available in the U.S. at your local Anthropologie), and even, rather amazingly, house paint (we’re particularly fond of Smoky Green and Fuscous Grey shades). But what Walker remains most recognized for are her signature, offbeat sartorial creations that toe the masculine feminine divide without ever veering into too-fussy territory. Here, the woman known for her singularly cool style sensibility, shares some beauty wisdom.

The All-in-One Skin Saver: Sans Activator 7 Body + Hair + Face Oil
“My essential for legs and arms, this little baby does magic things to the skin and smells sensational to boot.”
Available at

The Longterm Complexion Relationship: Osmosis
“I’ve been using Osmosis as my primary skincare for years and nothing beats it. I especially love the gently exfoliating Purify Cleanser. And even on the grayest of days I always take care to block out the sun using Osmosis Shelter.”
Available at

The Scrub Love: Aesop Purifying Facial Exfoliant
“When you need that extra bit of luminosity, [their] Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste with fine river-bed quartz is unbeatable.”
Available at

The Lip Colors of Choice: Topshop
“Topshop manages to create all the best colors as well as the best consistencies—the lipsticks and the lip crayons are unbeatable. The ones I always have in my purse are the Lipstick in Desert for the perfect flesh color, and the Lip Crayon in Hedonist for an amazing acid orange.”
Available at

The Eye Palette: MAC
“Who does color better than MAC? I love them, especially for their eye colors, but they also do a great mascara.”
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The Hair Essential: Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray
“I adore everything these guys put out and we’re delighted to have had Bumble and bumble as part of our show team for 14 seasons, but it’s their Surf Spray that I go to again and again. I used it almost daily when I had long hair and find that now that I have short hair, it’s just as good.”
Available at

The Hair Artist: Mobeen at Stephen Marr Hair and Beauty
“Over the last two years Mobeen’s taken me on a journey from waist length hair to a boyish crop and I’ve seen many different versions of me along the way. It’s been a great exploration and, although I love my current cut, I look forward to seeing what’s next.”
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The 24/7 Tonic: Ginger Tea
“My drink throughout the day is homemade ginger tea—just fresh ginger sliced thin and left to steep for five minutes. It’s cleansing and energizing.”

The Signature Scent: Escentric Molecules
“The Escentric Molecules family of scents has been the most exciting thing happening in fragrance for about a decade. I can’t get enough of their story but it’s Molecule 01 that I go back to day after day for an elegant but cool approach to scent.”
Available at

The Workout That Works: Yoga and Swimming
“I’ve been a yoga fan for around 15 years and what started as a way to prepare my body for the inevitable onset of gravity quickly revealed itself, as all yogis will know, to be much more about caring for what’s inside head and body than what’s on the outside. But any yogi will also vouch for the anti-aging effects of inversions not to mention what five down dogs a day can do for one’s arms and butt! Throughout summer I like to finish my day with 50 lengths in the pool—it’s meditative, calming, and great for the breathing.”

The Weekender: Lucy and the Powder Room at Stephen Marr
“My Saturday morning, post-yoga ritual is to have my nails taken care of at Lucy and the Powder Room. The best manicure in town, but also the go-to spot for brows, facials, waxing, and any other maintenance required.”
for more information, visit

The Spa Ritual: Agua Spa
“I’m in London two or three times a year and often stay at the Sanderson Hotel. When there I always makes sure I have an hour or so in the sensational Agua Spa. There are few better ways to recover from a day of meetings, jet lag, and the hubbub of the metropolis than to disappear into this little piece of heaven. All their treatments are great, but just chilling in their meditative waiting area is the best of all.”
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The Major Escape: Fiji
“My annual October escape to Fiji is in its 13th year this year and I’m already counting the days! Nothing beats Fiji for barefoot luxury, quiet beach front villas, and perfect blue vistas, the likes of which you always thought were Photoshopped. It’s amazing what a week in the Pacific Ocean can do for my mind, body, and skin luminosity.”
For more information, visit

Photo: Courtesy of Karen Walker



  1. heylisskiwi says:

    Karen, you look amazing with short hair – great decision!

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