Kohl for Isabella Anselmi

Our new collection is here! We’re proud to be a local brand, and we’re celebrating New Zealand design with our latest collaboration – Kohl for Isabella Anselmi.

The starting point

Our design team had been searching for the perfect pattern for spring, and as fate would have it, director Louise Anselmi discovered the paintings of up and coming local artist Kohl Tyler-Dunshea at her graduate show. So we began the process of translating her beautiful watercolours into a range of unique botanical prints.

Capturing the beauty of nature

For the signature prints she’s created for Merchant 1948, Kohl found and collected real plant specimens from the outdoors. She chose Taurepō flowers (native to Aotearoa) from the Waitakere Ranges and Lobelia (introduced by from Italy) and then pressed the plants in a custom-made press to dry and preserve them. Finally, she used them as a reference to paint from. The floral designs Kohl created for us took three weeks of meticulous painting with watercolours.

Translating paintings into fabric

Our Range Builder and designer Tania Holloway worked closely with Kohl to turn her one-of-a-kind watercolour illustrations into a printed textile. She explored scale and fabric tirelessly before settling on the perfect satin material – this gave us a sharp image as well as conveying a feminine aesthetic that matched the print. We selected precise Pantone shades for every colour featured so that the fabric printer could capture the subtlety of Kohl’s colour palette.

The final product

After countless samples and test prints, we finally had our two exclusive patterns, Taurepō and Lobelia. We then used these florals to craft satin heels, sneakers and even a handbag. We’re so excited to share them with you, just in time for spring (and perfect for weddings too). We hope you love them as much as we do.

Exclusive to Merchant 1948 and Overland stores.