Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has managed to push Marilyn Monroe to the side.
Kilt, a New Zealand fashion label, has named its new season jacket ‘Jacinda’ after Ardern. Originally, however, the vintage-inspired garment was meant to be called ‘Marilyn’, after the 1950s superstar.
That all changed when New Zealand went into Level 4 lockdown on March 25, says Kilt business manager Lauren Hart.
“[We were] looking at how Jacinda has handled this situation so well. I think she has really united the country and made everyone feel that we need to work together to get ahead of this. And we really have,” says Lauren. "It made sense for us that we should be calling this coat ‘Jacinda’.
There are two versions of the ‘Jacinda’: a lined wool blend and an unlined checked rayon-polyester blend. A merlot-coloured one will be headed Ardern’s way.
“Jacinda does wear a lot of that colour and we are going to see if we can gift it to her,” says Lauren.
There are rules over what the Prime Minister can take as a gift, but the Kilt team hopes to get the coat across the line.
Accompanying the coat on its journey will be the story of the workers behind the garments. Based in Napier, 15 staff at the Made It factory create the Kilt garments.
“We are just going to show the people who are making the coat, in order to say, ‘Thank you so much for all the decisions you made during this time because it’s meant that we’ve been able to hang onto these staff. And hope you don’t mind we’ve used your name!"
Meanwhile, it has been a bit of an unusual start for Kilt’s new central-city shop. Based in the Ruby Black building, 205 High St, the boutique was open for four days before it had to shut for lockdown.
Not quite what was expected, says Lauren, but the shop has now reopened and is ready to get the hangers out for the ‘Jacinda’.
The checked rayon-polyester coat is available online now, and the wool version will be available soon.