Culture

7 stylish women and their talented children share their incredible journeys

Article by Fashion Quarterly

Love you, Mum.
Love you more.

Get the tissues ready, seven stylish mother-child duos confess their tales of the unwavering and unique bond shared between them.


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MAGGIE HEWITT

Designer/director of Maggie Marilyn   |   @maggiemarilyn

When was this picture taken and why is it special to you? It’s a recent picture taken at the Maggie Marilyn lunch at New Zealand Fashion Week in August. I’m quite an anxious person so doing media lunches is a little bit outside of my comfort zone and having my mum there with me was really special. What is the most important thing you have learned from your mother? Kindness. What’s the best advice she’s ever given you? After the rain, the sun always comes out. Was there a special item in her closet or jewellery box you always coveted growing up? My mum’s emerald engagement ring that my dad gave to her when he proposed, after being together for only three weeks. So cute! The love my mum and dad have is such an inspiration to me. What traits do you most admire in your mother? Her incredible strength, unwavering warmth, kindness and hunger for knowledge. She is one of the smartest people I know and has the ability to light up any room she walks into. If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently? I never look back, only forward. No regrets? Life is a beautiful journey. Without our failures, we would not be able to pave the way for our successes. Confessions? Anything your mother doesn’t know? I’m a goody-two-shoes! How has your mother’s influence shaped you as an adult? I think she has built a strong resilience in me. She taught me to never give up, and that no dream is too big. Do you have a message for her? I love you, Mum, thank you for teaching me that we live in a world full of infinite possibilities. Thank you for teaching me to be strong, resilient, and to follow my heart. Thank you for being my hero.

GEORGE HEWITT

(Maggie’s Mum)

What is the most important thing you have learned from Maggie? That everything will always be okay in the end, and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end. We each have more strength than we know, and as long as we are true to ourselves and kind to others, anything is possible. What’s the best advice your adult child has given you? Be very careful what follows “I am”, for it will come looking for you. Maggie is a strong believer in the law of attraction and the notion that what you put out into the universe will come back to you. She reminds me to be positive when things aren’t going my way but most importantly to believe in myself and my own ability, intelligence, strength, and beauty. When she was growing up, was there a fashion item or beauty look you hated, but let her wear anyway? When Maggie was younger she wore a tiara wherever she went — she would wear it to school, the beach, the supermarket, absolutely everywhere! If you could go back in time, would you have done anything differently? Nothing. No regrets? There is no point dwelling on the past, everything happens for a reason. What traits do you most admire in Maggie? She is fiercely loyal and never fails to bat for the underdog. It is her absolute determination, stubbornness and irrevocably creative soul that has made her the formidable businesswoman she is today. How has her influence shaped you as a person? Maggie’s unwavering determination has instilled in me the belief that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. What is your message to your daughter? My darling Maggie, at only 23 you have achieved more than most people achieve in a lifetime. Your ability to lead and inspire your staff is a real credit to you. You are intelligent, beautiful, witty and strong-willed. But most importantly you are humble in your success and kind to whoever crosses your path. You are one hell of a powerhouse — never stop dreaming, for I know you’ll achieve everything your heart desires.


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PARIS MITCHELL

Co-founder of  The Mercantile Store and Paris Georgia   |    @paris_georgia    |   @themercantilestore

When was this picture taken and why is it special to you? It was taken last summer. It makes me think of all the beautiful times we’ve had together at Whau Whau (our beach house), lying in the sun, hanging out in the kitchen or giggling while skipping down the beach when I was younger. What is the most important thing you’ve learned from your mother? To love, have fun, work hard and enjoy life every day — she’s an expert at all of that. What’s the best advice she’s ever given you? Live in the present. Was there a special item in her closet or jewellery box you always coveted growing up? Of course! Mum has the best clothing and jewellery, and she was always so relaxed about me wearing her things, regardless of my age. If something was too big, I’d ask if she could keep it for me — no wonder we both have hoarding tendencies. We share everything still. I feel lucky to have her engagement ring on my finger right now (for decoration only!). What traits do you most admire in your mother? Her calm, fun and gentle nature. Also her ability to forgive and accept. If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently? I wouldn’t have snuck out so many times! My parents were very reasonable, I’m sorry I was so naughty! Any regrets? No regrets. How has your mother’s influence shaped you as an adult? Mum has been so encouraging and is an incredible role model when it comes business and staying independent. She has taught me that I can do anything. Most importantly though, she taught me how to love. Do you have a message for her? Thank you for being my guiding little light, Mum! Dane, Jesse and I adore you more than anyone in the world.

JUDE MITCHELL

Editor and Publisher of Verve Magazine (and Paris’ Mum)

What is the most important thing you have learned from Paris? To always be inclusive. Paris — in fact all of my children — always make me feel welcome. I haven’t learned just one particular thing, they teach me things every day. I am not afraid as an OAP to ask questions, to learn from Paris, Dane and Jesse. ‘Never close off’ is my motto. When Paris was growing up, was there a fashion item or beauty look you hated, but let her wear anyway? When Paris was five we had builders at our house. She got all of her shoes out and asked them if they could build platforms on them! They did and she went to school each day in these mad, wood-platformed shoes! She also had an obsession with wearing a granny printed bathing suit under her clothes every day and there was a time when she wore a very glamorous dressing gown to primary school with slippers. If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently? I don’t think so. My kids had amazing teenage years, sometimes hard times but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It shaped us. Any regrets? When my marriage broke up, Paris was about six. We had to move many times to different homes and I am guessing she would have loved to have stayed in one home in a family situation. It seemed we were always on the move but we were always together and had a wonderful time being with each other. Paris says it taught her resilience and determination. What traits do you most admire in Paris? Her resilience and determination! Also, I always hear from friends that she is always nice to older people, greeting them with a big warm hug. And I love her friends and her energy. I sometimes cannot believe that Paris, Dane, and Jesse are my children. How has her influence shaped you as a person? Paris’ influence on me is very powerful. I listen to her, I laugh with her and I ask her for advice. We chat every day and are very close. Do you have a message for her? I am so proud of what you have achieved, your drive and intelligence and that amazing determination that will get you through life. You will go through difficult times, we all do, but plow through and stay your gorgeous self. And always make sure you laugh!


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ELLE PUGH

Co-founder of  Elle + Riley (Yolande’s daughter)

When was this picture taken and why is it special to you? We took this selfie on our first business trip together to China to see our cashmere suppliers. It makes us both laugh because we’re wearing the same top — we often turn up to work or meetings wearing the same thing without knowing. I love that we’re both smiling too. We hate getting our picture taken — I’m usually just pouting in a selfie so it’s nice that we are genuinely laughing. What is the most important thing you have inherited from your mother? A solid work ethic. She made me work from an incredibly young age and it’s definitely helped with every job I’ve ever had, setting me apart from others. What’s the best advice she has given you? Move to New York, and move to London. Even though I was incredibly hesitant about leaving my comfort zone at the time, moving overseas and travelling in my 20s is the best thing I ever did. Was there a special item in her closet or jewellery box you always coveted growing up? I’ve received a lot of amazing secondhand shoes over the years but my favourite piece is mum’s Pasquale Bruni diamond ring. I’m crossing my fingers I inherit it one day! What traits do you most admire in your mother? She is always thinking of others. If someone she cares about is down, sick or just needs a friend, she’s there with a listening ear, bottle of wine, or home-cooked meal. She always makes time for other people, and me! If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently? I think all experiences shape you as a person so I’m not sure that I would. Maybe I’d have taken more photos as we’re definitely not the best at keeping the family album up-to-date and capturing special memories. Any regrets? I probably regret some of the fibs I told when I was younger — Mum knows me better than anyone so I would always get caught out! Confessions? I don’t think she knows how much I actually used to sneak out of the house to go party! Whoops. How has your mother’s influence shaped you as an adult? It’s definitely made me pretty tough and resilient. She’s taught me a lot about business especially recently, so that’s been a big eye-opener, and she’s pushed me to go out and get the things I want, not just sit around waiting for them to land in front of me. I think she’s also to blame for my coffee addiction! Do you have a message for her? You’re awesome!

YOLANDE ELLIS

Co-founder of  Elle + Riley   |   @elleandriley

What is the most important thing you have learned from Elle? How to take better photos! What’s the best advice Elle has given you? Live fast, die young. And don’t take life too seriously. When she was growing up was there a fashion item or beauty look you hated, but let her wear anyway? Elle and her friends went through a horrific phase of wearing basketball singlets with miniskirts and Nike sneakers when they were around 13. If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently? I would’ve loved to have been around more and to have worked less when my girls were younger. Any regrets? There are plenty of things I would choose to do differently now that I have some life experiences under my belt, but I don’t believe in hanging onto things, so no. What traits do you most admire in your daughter? She is calm and loving and an amazing pouter. How has Elle’s influence shaped you as a person? Being younger and a Sagittarius she is very spontaneous, so she has definitely encouraged me to be more laid back and easy going. Do you have a message for your daughter? I said this to Elle on her 21st birthday — as Coco Chanel said, “A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous”. Remember that.

 


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KATIE JACOBS

GM Moët Hennessy Asia Pacific

When was this picture taken and why is it special to you? We travelled together to the Jaipur Literature Festival in India last year. As well as a love of food and wine, Mum has passed on her love of books to me, and we had the most fantastic trip together exploring the festival, hearing our favourite writers speak and tasting all the delicious foods of Rajasthan. What is the most important thing you have learned from your mother? Tenacity. It’s not necessarily the smartest or most talented people who make things happen, it’s those who stick with things and see them through. What’s the best advice she has given you? Don’t worry about what others think, just get on and do your thing. Was there a special item in her closet or jewellery box you coveted growing up? A silk, puff-sleeved dress, bright green with candy-stripes. It was the epitome of ’80s glam dressing and I used to think it was the most beautiful thing ever. I borrowed it once for a school play even though it fell off me. I loved it so much. What traits do you most admire in your mother? She is so passionate about her work and the food causes she believes in — whether it’s helping small New Zealand food producers, or cooking family lunch on the weekend. She truly loves it all and gives 100% all the time. If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently? No — I’m pretty happy with where I am, and the choices I’ve made, both with my own life and in terms of my relationship with Mum. No regrets? I think I embarrassed her terribly once while out to dinner at Nobu in New York, when I ended up in floods of tears over some drama in my life I’ve now completely forgotten! Confessions? There’s nothing I’ve done that she doesn’t know about. How has your mother’s influence shaped you as an adult? In between all she’s accomplished, she gives everything to her family and I think the closeness of our family is a testament to that. Living all over the world I had some amazing adventures, but as I got older I started to really miss having that support around me, which is a key reason I moved back to NZ a few years ago. Do you have a message for your mum? Mum, I am so lucky I have you as a mother. You have always given so much love, energy and time to our family, and have also built such an amazing career and legacy. You’re an inspiration to me and I value your advice, support, and love.

LAURAINE JACOBS

NZ Foodie Guru (and Katie’s Mum)

What is the most important thing you’ve learned from Katie? Unconditional love. Katie spoke about that at my father’s funeral and I thought to myself, yes, that’s what’s best about our family life. What’s the best advice she has ever given you? When Katie was in her last year at school I was offered a position on the board of an international association which involved four or five trips to the USA each year. I was worried about leaving my family so much. Katie said, “Take the opportunity, Mum, or you will spend the rest of your life regretting that.” So I accepted and that led to eight marvellous years of experience. Thank you Katie! When she was growing up, was there a fashion item you hated, but let her wear anyway? What is it with those ripped jeans and faded denim jackets? Grrrrr. I was thrilled when Katie had her denim jacket stolen years ago (she has never bought another) but she still wears the awful jeans. If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently? I probably would not have dragged Katie out of the Club Med nightclub when she was 14 years old. She’s always known how to look after herself. Any regrets? I wish I had spent more time teaching her to cook. She does a mean roast chicken with Israeli couscous and some lovely salads, but not much more. What traits do you most admire in Katie? I envy her musical ability, I admire her innate ability for business including managing and caring for her staff, and I love her concern for our family — especially the attention she gives to my mother, who is now 94. She’s also far more stylish than I could ever be. How has Katie’s influence shaped you as a person? The way Katie approaches adversity and challenges has taught me to be calmer and to think carefully about anything difficult or annoying that’s looming. She’s also very respectful and has made me more so. Do you have a message for Katie? Take time for yourself. You have a demanding job that must be done thoroughly, but you also need to ensure you set and meet your own personal goals.


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LOUISE ANSELMI

Director and head of design Overland Footwear   |   @merchant1948   |   @mi_piaci

When was this picture taken and why is it special to you? This picture reminds me of the amazing week we spent with Bella when she graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York City. Bella went down a few different study avenues before she found where her passion lay; there were times I wondered if we would ever see her in a graduation gown! We were so proud of her completing this journey, even just being accepted for Parsons was a major coup. The only disappointment was the cheap packaged gown and pop-up cap they all have to wear! What is the most important thing you have learned from Bella? To be braver when it comes to doing new things and taking risks. Bella has been fearless since she was a two-year-old insisting she wanted to parasail in Fiji (and she did). She was a tomboy — motorbike riding, bungee jumping and black run skiing all featured in her childhood. Being the only girl in between two boys, she had to keep up! What’s the best advice she’s ever given you? She has coerced me into many fashion purchases, such as a Balenciaga jacket (which now resides at her apartment). When Bella was growing up, was there a fashion item or beauty look you hated, but let her wear anyway? Bella was a tomboy until she turned 14, then almost overnight she developed this individual style that she wore with incredible confidence. She has always stood out from the crowd and for that I’m really proud of her. That said, she recently bleached her eyebrows for a photoshoot and it’s probably not my favourite look! If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently? I’d possibly have been stricter about brushing her knotted hair as a child as she now complains about how she looked! I could also have done a better job telling her how beautiful she is, both inside and out. What traits do you most admire in Bella? Her confidence, independence and savvy. She is charming and a leader, never a follower, in all aspects of life. She fearlessly decided she wanted to study in the US, first at FIDM in LA and then Parsons in New York where she felt more in sync with the people and lifestyle. She landed in NYC knowing no one and set about making a strong group of creative kind friends, who make her really happy. How has Bella’s influence shaped you as a person? Bella’s traits have influenced me to be more courageous. I was a young mother and missed those formative years of being independent and exploring who I was. I am so happy to see her take the time to develop friendships and find a really strong sense of who she is before she settles down. Do you have a message for Bella? I wish her happiness as all mothers do. I hope we have also provided her with the skills to cope with the tough stuff along the way. I have always known that Bella would make her mark in life and would be an engaging, unique individual. I am so proud of the young woman she has become and love watching her grow. She is a fearless extrovert, while I am more of an introvert. I love her to bits and can’t wait to see what’s next!

BELLA ANSELMI

Freelance Fashion Stylist ( and Louise’s daughter)

Why is this picture special to you? Parsons was always kind of a pipe dream when I was a teen; I dreamt of living in New York and going to design school. It was so special having my mama watch me graduate. What is the most important thing you have learned from your mother? Resilience. We were so fortunate as kids to watch our mum and dad build this incredible life, but they went through unbelievable highs and lows to get there. When my mum was my age she was pregnant with her first child, and she and my dad had just lost everything — but she always tells me that story with the knowledge that she knew they would get through that, and that they could always rebuild the life they wanted regardless of the curve balls thrown their way. She always instilled in me that circumstances change, and you don’t necessarily get to choose what happens to you, but you do get to choose how you respond and interact with the world. What’s the best advice she has given you? To be curious, kind and brave. And that you really can have any kind of life that you want, it’s totally up to you. Was there a special item in her closet or jewellery box you always coveted growing up? I was pretty good at gradually moving things out of her wardrobe into mine, hoping she wouldn’t notice. A few years ago in London I ‘influenced’ her into buying this amazing Balenciaga shearling jacket that then mysteriously ended up in my closet in New York. What traits do you most admire in your mother? Her patience, her kindness, her strength and grace. I don’t think anyone who knows her could deny she’s an absolute wonder woman. If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently? Maybe I wouldn’t have been such a brat in my teen years, but I think that’s a rite of passage that we both had to go through! No regrets? The only thing I regret is how much I took for granted how lovely it is to have your mum living in the same city as you. The plus side of that is we are probably closer now that I live in New York than when we lived in the same country. The small amount of time we do get to spend together is precious, so we just focus on the good stuff. Confessions? Nothing I’m going to admit to here! How has your mother’s influence shaped you as an adult? I feel very lucky that she’s been so supportive of everything that I do. She’s there if I need advice but she has always given me the freedom to grow, make mistakes and develop into my own person which I will always be grateful for. Do you have a message for your mother? Love you Mama!


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EDWARD VON DADELSZEN

Director of E Von Dadelszen    |   @evondadelszen

When was this picture taken and why is it special to you? It was taken in Venice during the Biennale in May 2017. Mum and I were walking with my fiancée Constance to the incredible Damien Hirst show after having a beautiful lunch by the water. The picture is special to me because for more than a decade my mum had wanted to come away with me on a business trip and for the first time, this was finally possible. What is the most important thing you have learned from your mother? Courageousness. What’s the best advice she has given you? Don’t go to med school or law school if you don’t want to, and have the faith to follow your dreams (a very high-risk strategy, in my case). What traits do you most admire in your mother? Her incredible work ethic, her honesty, integrity and loyalty. If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently? I would have spent more time with her more regularly, At university I used to go for long walks with her once or twice a week talking about my hopes and dreams — I often miss those walks. These days most conversations held between her visits are had on the phone and primarily focus on the wellbeing of our dog, Serge, and ‘the wedding’ until I’m quickly instructed to pass the phone to Constance. Any regrets? Not really, I’ve always been a huge fan of my mum and always had profound acknowledgment, respect and adoration for the way she brought me up and what she sacrificed for me and my little sister Tessa along the way. Confessions? Heaps, happy to keep it that way! How has your mother’s influence shaped you as an adult? Well with the help of my grandparents she pretty much brought me up on her own, so I’d like to think that, on a good day, I am an adequate reflection of her exceptional parenting skills and the loving and supportive upbringing I was fortunate enough to enjoy. Do you have a message for your mother? I love you to bits, you made everything possible.

KIM HUGHES

Dentist (and Eddie’s Mum)

Why is this picture special to you? It really was a perfect day, in the wonderful company of my lovely Eddie and his beautiful fiancée Constance. It was special because we were just in each other’s company and nothing else mattered. What is the most important thing you’ve learned from Eddie? To follow your passion and to start living a little more for today. What’s the best advice he has ever given you? “Stop picking at that bread basket, Mother, and finish your prosecco!” When he was growing up, was there a fashion item you hated, but let him wear anyway? Eddie has always had great fashion sense. Even as a toddler he would carefully chose his clothes and shoes and any fabric for clothes that I made him. If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently? Yes definitely. I would spend more precious time with him. Any regrets? Due to work commitments, not being able to spend more time with him when he was a baby. What traits do you most admire in him? His kindness and generosity, his courage in the face of adversity, and his determination and focus to follow his true passion. Best of all though, is his wicked, non-PC sense of humour! When I’m with him I laugh so much it aches! How has Eddie’s influence shaped you as a person? Eddie has influenced me to be the best I can be each day. He really is an inspirational person. He has also influenced my style which was desperately in need of a shake-up. I just love wearing special items from his gorgeous clothing range. Not only are they incredibly stylish and beautifully made, the fabrics are so comfortable you never want to take them off! Do you have a message for Eddie? I’m so proud of you Eddie. Know just how much I love, admire and miss you. I love my career as a dentist — it combines my love of science and sculpture in helping to fix people’s smiles every day — however when I was 13 I wrote in my diary that I wanted to be a fashion designer…and now look at you!


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SALLY-ANN MULLIN

Editor of Fashion Quarterly   |   @fashionquarterly

When was this picture taken and why is it so special to you? I think I was in the 4th form, so mid-90s. We are at our family home on the farm in Rahotu — I was most likely visiting for the weekend from boarding school. From how we are dressed I gather we were off on an adventure together. Probably into town (New Plymouth) to shop and have coffee and cake, something we have always loved to do. This was right before I became a naughty teen. What’s the most important thing you have learned from your mother? Kindness and compassion go a long way. Try to include outsiders in group conversations and make new people feel welcome. We always had at least one stray at the Christmas table or our birthday parties. What’s the best advice she has ever given you? No matter your hardship in life, remember there is always someone much worse off than you, so be grateful. And always make sure your bowl is bone dry and completely residue-free before mixing a pavlova. Was there a special item in your mother’s closet or jewellery box you always coveted growing up? So many things! My mother has great taste and an eye for NZ designed clothing. Over the years I have pinched many an item that has ‘accidentally’ been taken home and hung in my own closet (sorry Mama). Funny thing is, she now occasionally does this to me. I’ve also always had my eye on her diamonds and pearls. What traits do you most admire in your mother? Her Trojan-like work ethic. Her unwavering loyalty to her close friends, family and my dad. The way she can calm down and move on so swiftly after hitting the roof (she’s quite fiery). Life’s too short to hold grudges, she says. And lastly her moves on the dancefloor. She is a skilled yet uninhibited dancer and it has taught my brother and I and our kids to never miss an opportunity to tear up the dancefloor. My son and I dance for two songs every morning before school and it’s one of my favourite moments each day. If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently? I would have listened to her advice more often as she is almost always right. No regrets? I regret not coming home to the farm more as a teen and in my early 20s. How has your mother’s influence shaped you as an adult? I think my mother’s influence has made me brave enough to take a leap of faith even when out of my depth. She has also taught me how to love and be a good mother. Do you have a message for her? Thank you for being the perfect role model for both work and motherhood, and thank you for teaching me how to be tough.

PHILOMENA MULLIN

Dairy Farmer (and Sally-Ann’s Mum)

Tell us about the above photo… It was taken 23 years ago. It was a special time in our lives as Sally-Ann was growing up and becoming a young adult. She was becoming more independent — not needing me as much — and growing into a beautiful young woman. What is the most important thing you have learned from Sally-Ann? The importance of love and support in our family. The power of a beautiful candle! And how to present an epic platter of food at a gathering. What’s the best advice she has given you? Don’t be a martyr; life is too short to take no time for yourself. She also taught me not to wear ripped denim. When Sally-Ann was growing up, was there a fashion item or beauty look you hated, but let her wear anyway? She did have a tomboy skater phase I was not overly fond of in the late ’90s. If you could go back in time, would you have done anything differently? I wouldn’t go back. Anything you regret? Buying her a car and allowing her to drive so much when she was only 16. We lived rurally and she was very independent so begged for a car. But she was too young; she could have killed someone or herself. What traits do you most admire in her? Her absolute strength of character, her beautiful way with her son Paddy. Her work ethic and of course her sense of style which she has managed to make into a career. How has her influence shaped you as a person? Everything we have been through together in the last few years, not all of it easy, has made our bond stronger than ever and has taught me to understand more about life and love. Do you have a message for Sally-Ann? My message to my daughter is simple: you have made my life complete. I love your smile, I love your company and I love your son. I hope you’ll have as great a time together in your life as you and I have so far. I love you!

This article originally appeared in FQ Issue 4, 2017 


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