Fashion Plate: Briar Neville

By Zoe Walker

Zambesi stalwart Briar Neville lets us in on her style secrets.

Briar Neville. Photo / Babiche Martens
Briar Neville. Photo / Babiche Martens

The fashion house of Zambesi is known for its staying power and the sense of loyalty it instills in customers and staff. Briar Neville is one such loyal follower, having worked with the company since 2004 - although she's known the Findlay family behind Zambesi since 1997, when she shot her first campaign with them. Since then she has worked in their boutiques, walked in various fashion week shows, and now works in sales and press at Zambesi head office. She tells us all about her style, from her wardrobe to her respect for her boss, Elisabeth Findlay.

Who are your favourite designers?

Liz from Zambesi and Margi from Nom*D. Their designs can sit next to any international label and hold their own.

What do you really want this coming season?

Zambesi has done an amazing printed silk called "Still Life". The fabric is like someone has created a 1950s decoupage of the Roses chocolate wrappers.

Your favourite accessory?

I've been taking jewellery nightclasses at Workshop 6 for about two years now, so my favourite accessories are of my own creation. I have a Perspex and silver cross ring I wear "religiously".

Who does the best shoes?

I have a weakness for Nikes.

Your favourite shop?

The Zambesi space in Melbourne is incredible. It's so huge that the clothes hang in the space like art in a gallery.

How do you define the word "fashionable"?

For me, it's about feeling comfortable in what I'm wearing.

What magazines do you always read?

Cooking magazines. I get great satisfaction from using fresh ingredients to whip up different taste sensations in the kitchen.

What do you wear to work? And what do you wear at home?

To work, I wear a mixture of labels stocked in our Zambesi stores. When I get home I change into anything cottony, slouchy and comfortable.

Best fashion advice you ever had?

Having worked in retail for so many years it seems I've given more advice than I've received. According to Mum when I was little I would lay my own outfit on the bed in the morning and then lay out what my brother would be wearing for the day.

Most cherished fashion item?

Zambesi had a tutu in 2004 called the "Tinkerbelle", made from the most incredible silk tulle. I can't say I wear it all that often but I am so glad I own it.

Dress to impress whom?

Myself, first and foremost. When I'm out with a work function or socially I do try to represent the Zambesi brand. It's more about dressing to inspire though.

Who is your ultimate fashion plate?

Well, I'm a lover of theatrical costumes and anything "dress-up". So my answer may be tacky, but it's Lady Gaga. She's very clever.

Who is the best dressed man in New Zealand?

[Zambesi Man designer] Dayne Johnston - he has the most amazing ability to balance formal structured suiting styles alongside an athletic sportswear feel. His collections are inspiring.

- NZ Herald

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