my muse

My MUSE | Michele Halliday-Szczepanski

Feb 20 2024
My MUSE | Michele Halliday-Szczepanski

Hello everyone,

Olivia here, to introduce you to this week’s MyMUSE: the gorgeous, bubbly and all-round MUSE superstar, Michele Halliday-Szczepanski. 

An integral part of team MUSE, Michele has worked with us for three glorious years as our general manager and, more recently, our highly respected buyer. Having worked in the fashion industry for more than 20 years, Michele is a boss when it comes to all things style and has an exceptional eye for what’s next. Colourful, vivacious and enviably chic, Michele radiates beauty and elegance. Always polished, always positive, she really does epitomise what it means to be a muse.  

When she’s not working her magic at MUSE, Michele loves to travel, spend time at the beach, work on her fitness and indulge in her favourite beauty routines. She is passionate about people, her community and building connections, and she adores her life with husband Dan and 16-year-old twins Belle and Will (and their beautiful dog Lucy). Her world is busy, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I sat down with Michele to talk trips to Paris, sharing style with her daughter and her undying passion for fashion. 



Michele, hello! Could you tell us how you got into the world of fashion? 

From a very young age I was obsessed with fashion magazines – I loved flicking through the pages of beautiful designer clothing. In my teenage years I worked really hard, part-time, to save enough money for beautiful pieces of my own. A New Zealand designer I loved very much at the time was Karen Walker. After visiting her stores many (many!) times, I was asked to do a show for her. This was my foot in the door, and actually led to many years working for Karen and Mikhail – an incredible job that taught me the ropes of the fashion industry.


What do you love most about working in the fashion industry?

Oh, so much! Being surrounded by like-minded people who love what I love. Getting to wear, and be surrounded by, the most elevated designers. Visiting beautiful showrooms and meeting incredible designers. Trend forecasting, stepping out of my comfort zone, being adventurous and getting ready each morning. Having long-standing relationships with people who have also been in the industry for many years. Having an updated wardrobe each season. I love seeing my daughter's eyes light up each time she flicks through my wardrobe picking out outfits to try, and I love that my husband always comments on what I am wearing.



Can you give us an inside look into what goes into a buying trip? 

Organisation! It's a huge job, securing appointments and finding my way around big cities. I view six to eight brands a day and navigate my way around Paris or New York to different showrooms. It's always a ‘pinch me’ moment as I’m walking between appointments, surrounded by the most incredible buildings, monuments and street fashion. Each season is so special in its own way. My last Paris trip it was snowing! It was so magical and you could really feel the romance of the city.

I start early in the morning and finish late at night. Each day is so exciting and I constantly run on adrenaline. Visiting showrooms, viewing ranges, drafting orders, taking photos and videos for our social, and working to budgets and deadlines. I mostly travel on my own, it really makes you put yourself out there and meet new people. I am blessed that I have many friendships within our incredible brands. I am also very lucky that I get to spend time with my mum's side of the family when I'm in Paris.

I have an incredible husband and the best parents who are super supportive of my work. Together they keep a tight watch on our 16-year-old twins while I'm away.



Tell me about your personal style. Has it changed over time?

My personal style is chic, sophisticated and timeless. I also love a high casual approach. Yes, my style has changed over time – items I loved so much turned out to be incredibly impractical when the twins were born. I think as my children have grown, my style has changed. I’ve actually never owned as many pairs of jeans as I do now. Our current selection of denim at MUSE is the best of the best! The ultimate elevated high casual look each day. I love Tibi jeans teamed back with a chic shirt, waistcoat or a blazer, with a dressy sandal or loafer. I think my style has matured along with me.


Who are some of your favourite designers we have available at MUSE and why?

Tibi! I think Amy is so great! I love her shapes and how her jeans work on all bodies and look so flattering. I am up to my sixth pair of Tibi jeans and they are all the best. Tibi also has the best blazers, the fit is perfect. Victoria Beckham is another one, I think VB is the ultimate in sophisticated chic. Her collections are always so timeless and elevated. Christopher Esber does my favourite dresses. Every time I wear an Esber dress I feel incredible. I adore the way they are cut on the biases and the luxurious fabrics used. Also Khaite for denim, boots and bags. The ultimate in quiet luxury! Bernadette and Andres Otalora for show stopping event wear! We have also secured exciting new brands that will be arriving soon … I can't wait to share them with you all. Elevated dream brands!



What do you love most about working at MUSE?

I love working with an inspirational team of incredible women. It is such a joy to come to work each day and work with like-minded people who love family, friendship and fashion. It is also so special to have our gorgeous group of long-standing team members, who I hope to work with for many more years together. I love working between each of our beautiful boutiques, which all offer their own individual vibrancy! We have a real MUSE family relationship, which is a true reflection of Olivia's kind, warm and generous nature. A family essence which I truly value.

I love our incredible community and wonderful clients – both old and new! I love the many relationships we have with our local and out of town clients, and working with our incredible brands, designers, suppliers and wholesale managers. MUSE is adored by mothers, daughters and grandmothers alike, and I love seeing three generations shopping together. I love that travel is a huge part of my job. I love buying trips, securing new brands, in store events and the fact that each day is full of positive energy and excitement! 

I live close to our Ponsonby store and it is so wonderful to see many from our MUSE community on my morning runs, evening dog walks and morning coffee stops. 


What is currently on your MUSE wishlist?

Everything! But if I have to narrow it down… the Tibi Max Blazer in Navy and the Tibi Liam Vest, the gorgeous Harris Tapper Antonia Jumpsuit, the Khaite Suede Lotus bag and a pair of Christopher Esber Minette flats! Oh, also the Nili Lotan Printed Shirt and Shorts (arriving soon!)