My MUSE | Zeenat Wilkinson
Olivia here, to introduce you to this week’s MyMUSE: the beautiful, insightful and utterly inspiring Zeenat Wilkinson. When it comes to incredible achievements, Zeenat really and truly takes the (delicious, saucy) cake.
She’s studied at London’s Central Saint Martin, worked as a fashion stylist and editor in both London and Mumbai (for iconic titles that include Grazia India, Vogue India, Nylon US, Remix and Fashion Quarterly), relocated her life to New Zealand, founded and launched the revered digital platform SAUCE and brought two beautiful babies into the world – all while standing strong in her beliefs, enabling and celebrating diverse voices, and, like any good Sagittarius, remaining perfectly and unapologetically honest.
Whether she’s dressing for everyday comfort in New Zealand, or embracing deeper jewel tones and embroideries in India, Zeenat’s innate sense of beauty and style is always apparent. Warm, witty and chic to the core, she is an adored part of our community and a muse through and through.
Zeenat, hello! Can you talk us through the story behind SAUCE and how it all began?
SAUCE is a raw, unapologetically honest platform that was built to inspire thoughtful conversation, story-telling and genuine connection. Sauce was my response to the fact that women of colour and differently-abled people just weren’t reflected in this broader media spectrum at the time in New Zealand and this was the key driving force behind Sauce. But it has been an evolutionary process in some sense. After studying both fashion design and psychology, then spending some time working as a fashion stylist and editor in both London and Mumbai, I moved to New Zealand in 2012 and I worked with a handful of local titles for the first few years. During that time I had this realisation there was an enormous gap in the market for something more real but relaxed, digital but still, curated. This led to the inception and launch of Sauce in 2017.
Sauce has been an anchor for us on so many levels and also an amalgamation of so many wonderful ideas, thoughts and moments with our community.
How would you best describe your style?
My personal style is forever evolving and I love exploring all the different facets of my life as a mother, founder, creative with my personal style. If I had to pin it down to a word, I would classify it as a classic. I like investing into pieces that can stand the test of time.
You are a mother of two beautiful children, has your wardrobe and personal style taken a shift since you became a mum or are you turning back to your old favourites?
My MO is always to keep it simple. I like fancy but not fussy. Comfort is essential but I won't shy away from whites and creams. I am in the era of wearing all my nice things even if I’m with the kids. However, it’s still evolving in some ways (my youngest is only 11 months) I have no idea about the future of the wardrobe but it’s leaning towards a slower, editing approach that can transition between work, events and dining out.
What helps you get dressed in the morning, is there a styling tip you always stick to?
I try to decide on my outfit the night prior but I rarely ever end up wearing that outfit (which is a bit funny) but it’s always good to have that process and use it as a backup. I am extremely instinctive so I normally first check the weather, events for the day and go from there.
What are some key components when investing in new pieces for your wardrobe?
Thinking carefully about what suits me, my height and body helps me think more carefully about pieces I invest in. I love the classics such as Khaite, The Row, Celine but also love a bit of Christopher Esber, Tibi and Lee Mathews for fun pieces.
Are there artists, objects, stores you love for your home?
I am a HUGE fan of Grace Bader’s artworks, and I am closely following her work and upcoming showings. I also recently invested into a beautiful artwork by young new artist Cindy Leong. As for home objects, I like brands such as Werner Stoff, Zaha Hadid and Anderssen & Voll. Mr.Bigglesworthy is a local gem for incredible objects and Danish furniture.
What is on your MUSE Wishlist? And who are some of your favourite designers and brands?
The classic washed denim jean by Tibi works surprisingly well with my petite frame. I need to get my hands on this Lee Mathew vest before it’s gone. The perfect vest to throw on a classic pair of jeans. Christopher Esber heel in black is high on my wish-list. I also recently discovered Rebe’s sandals, which are so easy to wear. A summer staple.