For as long as I’ve lived in Mount Maunganui, many of the retail stores along its main road have looked and felt as though they hadn’t changed in 20 years. I’m told that in most cases it’s because they haven’t. When Paper Plane opened in July, it marked a raising of the bar for the standard retail space at the Mount. On Tuesday night, the bar was raised again with the opening of high fashion boutique BlakChaos.
The brainchild of Blak designer Teresa Hodges and Chaos & Harmony designer Beks Anderson, the flagship store brings together not only their multiple brands, but also swimwear by Surface Too Deep (hurrah!) and streetwear brand WeSC (so there’s something for the boys).
Out the back of the store is a shared studio space for the Blak and Chaos & Harmony teams. Both brands have previously been based in home offices, so the shift is almost the physical representation of their growth and success over the past few years. Given the number of collaborations between Hodges and Anderson over the years, a shared studio and retail space was a logical next move.
The fashion industry is full of extremely hard-working people, and Anderson and Hodges are no different. The friends are both very understated – genuinely lovely, quiet types who are not into fanfare or showboating. They prefer to just keep their heads down and let their work speak for itself. These traits manifest themselves in their new store.
Their quiet cool is reflected in its clean, white interior and polished concrete floors – the perfect blank canvas so their work can do all the talking.
That said, Anderson’s past working in interiors has certainly helped, with their cube branding carried right through the store – from the square hanging racks to the shoe shelving to the custom black and white Timothy John stools. She and Hodges designed all the furniture themselves (bar the stools, obviously), including the neon brand signs and central neon feature lighting. Much like Blak and Chaos & Harmony’s designs, it’s obvious that every single element of this interior has been a considered and well-thought through decision. It’s classic and minimal like a Blak dress, but has texture and depth like a Chaos & Harmony shoe.
BlakChaos will stock the full Blak and Blak Luxe ranges, as well as the diffusion brand Blak Love, which has previously only been available online or at Blak’s concession store in Topshop on Oxford St, London.
In terms of Chaos & Harmony, it will also be the only store in the country to stock the full Chaos & Harmony range, with regular drops of new colourways and styles throughout each season. The store will also stock Chaos & Harmony’s new sister brand, Lovesick, which is aimed at a faster, fresher youth market with a lower pricepoint. Consider it like Chaos & Harmony’s rebellious younger sister.
Outsiders probably didn’t need another reason to visit the Mount this summer, as the beach is pretty epic, but just in case you did, BlakChaos should definitely be on your must-see list. As a local, it’s an absolute delight to see another high-quality retail space open. It’s long overdue and very, very welcome.
Photographs by Phil Dawson-Hewes
And the first photograph would be our Lovely Rosie in her happy place – trying on shoes, Chaos & Harmony shoes at that!