Karen Walker: her life and influences

From Sunday Morning, 10:39 am on 29 April 2018

This year marks three decades since the Karen Walker brand was born.

The fashion designer, who was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2013, sells her products in 42 countries, 200 cities and more than 1,000 stores including Barneys New York, Liberty London and Harvey Nichols.

She has four eponymous stores in Auckland, one in Wellington, one in Christchurch and one in Tokyo and her global influence has seen her consistently ranked on The Business of Fashion's powerhouse 500 list over the past five years.

Her eyewear is worn by Lady Gaga, Le Bron James, Lorde, Debbie Harry and Rihanna; and her empire includes handbags and perfume.

Her creative partner, in life and business, is husband Mikhael Gherman.

Wallace Chapman visited Karen and Mikhael at their Ponsonby Road showroom in Auckland recently as part of the 'Life and Influences' series.

She spoke at length about the importance of her upbringing, her love of music and staying relevant in a tough business.

Karen Walker's song choices:
Perfume Genius: Queen 
Glenn Gould: Bach – the Goldberg variations from 1955 recording
Jarvis Cocker and Chilly Gonzales: Tearjerker
Nina Simone: Wild is the Wind