Meet the Team: Grace
If you’ve visited our Wellington Lounge, you no doubt will have had the supreme pleasure of meeting our Head of Retail, the warm and enchanting Grace.
Grace joined our team in July last year, following her recent return from a year spent abroad in New York. There she worked for two fashion brands, running the gamut from delivering samples to fulfilling wholesale orders, chauffeuring Courtney Love and navigating past the stray cats of the flower market. Her biggest takeaways from this exchange have been an increased self-confidence and a wider global outlook. “I’m more open to the world, it’s much smaller than we think it is - I moved to a new country and city all by myself and found my place there. This showed me that anyone can do it and New York is not this faraway world that’s as separate from us in New Zealand as we think.”
As an Art History minor, Grace loved exploring The Met and countless other edifices of cultural and artistic importance while living in New York. The catalyst for this academic pursuit was a visit to The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice where as a child, she was captivated by photos of Guggenheim wearing sunglasses on a gondola outside her palazzo. “She was so ahead of her time and was 100% herself - she did exactly what she wanted. She was so influential for modern art.”
When speaking with Grace, a theme of admiration for unapologetically authentic female figures emerges. Among her dream dinner party guests are Mary Cassatt and Hilma Af Klimt - artists who fearlessly pushed through the boundaries and confines of their practice, and the societal limits in which they lived. Similarly, Grace has an affinity for a fearless female of the same moniker - Vogue’s Grace Coddington. “Ever since I saw The September Issue when I was 13 I’ve loved Grace Coddington! She seems to live such a normal interior life despite having this huge and enviable career. She’s not ostentatious or excessive - she’s just doing what she loves and being herself.” This sentiment is the embodiment of the Yu Mei woman: courageous, forward-thinking and empowered.
Perhaps due in part to her regard for Coddington coupled with a background in Design, Grace’s creative proclivities manifest in a love of magazines and collaging. We discussed the uniqueness of returning to a throwback pastime - the deliberate and tactile cutting and pasting of magazine images into collages - in today’s digital world. “I enjoy it because it’s a nice break from screens. It feels just like graphic design where you’re creating shapes and playing around with the placement of them.”
On days when the screen does beckon and her stack of magazines have been snipped of their visual content, Grace returns virtually to New York via museum tours on Google Arts & Culture to seek out new inspiration and satisfy her appetite for aesthetic appreciation.
Visit Grace in our Wellington Lounge or if you're further afield, she would be delighted to help you shop from the comfort of your own lounge via a video call.