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Fisher & Paykel & Mahsa's Common Values In Caring For Our Clothes

Fashion designer Mahsa Willis' latest collaboration is a lesson in washing clothes consciously

Supporting local is more important than ever, with Fisher & Paykel’s latest collaboration celebrating Kiwi designers and their craft — and how fashion and laundry must work in harmony. Next in Viva’s Perfect Pair series is the talented woman behind the label Mahsa.

Beautiful Imperfection was the name of Mahsa’s debut collection, an apt and enduring description of the brand’s effortless approach to fashion. Since 2015, it has come to define a special type of timelessness and romance — known for its languid use of natural textiles, and classic designs that reflect a more conscious approach. “I instinctively wanted pieces that would last beyond one season, that would carry into the next with an additional layer if need be,” explains founder Mahsa Willis.

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“I feel like we need less but what we do acquire or consume needs to be of a certain quality so it will last. Some of my favourite things are vintage or from 20 years ago; they carry a story, a memory, an emotion.” A use of natural fibres is another focus for her brand, combining function, form and drape. She often works with linen blends, muslin, gauze linen, silk, viscose, bamboo, wool blends and soft patterns of tweed and herringbone — choosing natural fibres for their breathability and the flexibility it offers the wearer.

Two classic designs have become favourites of those in the know, and immediately identifiable as the ‘Mahsa’ look - a cotton voile blouse with an oversized Edwardian-inspired pussy bow, and the similarly romantic yet modernist O’Keeffe dress with its swathes of fabric and billowing details. The former was a fresh take on the traditionally prim pussy-bow blouse — “I wanted to take the stereotype of a bow blouse woman and make her cool, romantic, and practical for any setting.” — while the dress drew on the feminine, adventuring and free attitude and life of artist Georgia O’Keeffe.

“I wanted to design a dress that was poetic yet practical, that lives in any context,” explains Mahsa. “A certain woman really loves this piece. It’s modest in a way but it has an open back and in certain light it is slightly transparent — which adds mystery.” These and other Mahsa garments are designed to be worn and stay in your wardrobe forever, but fabric care is key to ensuring they continue to look their best and endure.

Photo / Supplied

“The challenge is still to take care of things, read care labels and wash carefully — fabrics need to be cared for and this is a challenge if you don’t have time or inclination to,” says the Auckland-based designer. She herself has a Fisher & Paykel washing machine, and uses the delicate cycle for cottons and silk/cottons.
“It really looks after my garments and Ifavour this over dry cleaning. It’s better for the environment too. I put all of my pieces in a laundry bag which is another great way to protect fabric. It is also very quiet which I appreciate every time I use it.”

The new Fisher & Paykel 12kg ActiveIntelligence™ Front Load Washer has technology which enables it to sense load size and soil levels to customise the ideal wash conditions. Detergent auto-dosing and its cushioned drum also further helps to protect garments. Plus there are 14 specialist fabric care cycles, including a delicate cycle which mimics hand washing and is extra gentle — perfect for garments like Mahsa’s.

“Fisher & Paykel has always been a brand on my radar as they have a great product and strive for innovation; they have kept a focus here but also internationally they have a good reputation which I admire,” says Mahsa, who feels there are brand synergies around sustainability too. “I am also a woman, a mother and a fashion designer so washing and dryer machine advancements interest me — and good design enhances life.

Fisher & Paykel’s new 12kg ActiveIntelligence™ Front Load Washer (RRP$3449) has outstanding aesthetics and technology, and 14 specialist cycles including delicate, wool and easy iron for complete fabric care. For more about Fisher & Paykel’s innovative laundry products, visit fisherpaykel.com

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New Zealand Herald

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