Walking into Bird & Knoll's co-founder, Macayla Chapman's stunning Westmere home, we were greeted with overwhelming warmth (both by the sun and the hostess!)
Macayla's stylish but cosy Scarf & Resort Wear boutique at the back of her garden is the perfect 'office away from home' in which we could browse Bird & Knolls incredible summer range as well as occasionally spotting her free-roaming bunny, Broccoli, running across the grass.
The Girl Boss duo that is Bird & Knoll's founders, Natalie Knoll and Macayla Chapman have flawlessly designed and created their range of gorgeous scarfs and resort wear that embodies luxury, escapism and of course, timeless elegance.
Join us in discovering Bird & Knoll as a brand.
COOLA: We love Bird & Knoll! Can you tell us a bit more about how the brand started the inspiration behind it?
B&K: The idea for Bird & Knoll was conceived on holiday in Hawaii, the meeting of a fashion mind and a creative eye. Established in 2014 by Natalie Knoll and Macayla Chapman, our signature oversized luxury scarves use the softest cashmere, silks and cotton as the canvas to showcase their personal artistic narratives captured via their camera lens and transposed onto their signature luxe blends.
Our aim is to capture the hedonism and escapism of travel through our beautifully wearable and thoroughly versatile pieces. Each collection exhibits a kaleidoscope of colour and local flavour, which plays to a universal desire for adventure and wanderlust.
In 2016, we segued into the resort wear market with the launch of a collection of timeless kaftans, elegantly relaxed dresses and chic beach cover ups - the ultimate compliment to the brand’s existing accessory range of scarves and travel-with-style ethos.
Each resort collection is dedicated to magical travel moments and memorable days of sun, laughter and adventure. “Inspired by our travels each piece in the collection is playfully named after some ‘memoir’ from the journey. Feminine, relaxed and always effortlessly elegant – exactly what we desire to travel in and wear day to day.” - Bird & Knoll
COOLA: What is Bird & Knoll known for?
B&K: Our scarves and resort wear ethos is WANDERLUST, ESCAPISM, LUXURY & TIMELESS ELEGANCE.
COOLA: The scarf designs are stunning, do you have a favourite scarf?
B&K: My favourite is forever changing depending on my mood and what I am wearing… One is never enough is all I think I can say. I really do struggle to pick just one so it's lucky I have access to them all!
Sometimes I pick a scarf for its colours and other times for the destination. All of the images used on our scarves are our travel photographs so they all have a special place in our hearts and a story to tell – there is an emotional connection I guess, and they evoke memories of travel and wanderlust and I just love that.
They are also the softest fabric that feels so beautiful against your skin – they soak up the smell of my perfume when I wear them around my neck and that is pretty delicious also.
COOLA: What is your trend radar detecting for this coming summer?
B&K: Skinny neckties are definitely trending right now and are on point for summer – we have just launched a capsule collection of three beautiful silk skinny scarves titled “the silk skinnies”. Made in Italy they are super chic and the perfect finishing touch to any outfit and also a great gift idea!
COOLA: What are some of the most exciting parts of running your business with your business partner Nat?
B&K: It is so creative – that is the really exciting part for me. Doing things like mood boards, photo shoots, colour selections, designing resort pieces, fittings, campaigns… These are the things I just love to do.
It is so rewarding when something you have had in your head is actually transformed into something tangible. I am also so grateful every day for meeting my amazing business partner Nat and sharing this incredible journey with her. As it turns out we are so complimentary to each other and is like we have a ‘sixth sense’ that is so in tune with each other. We both think we are very lucky and have a lot of fun along the way!
Our next trip together will be in Miami where we have been accepted to show at the premier swim & resort trade show… Can't wait!
COOLA: What have been some of the biggest challenges for you?
B&K: The fact that Nat and I live in different countries is a bit of a challenge at times, but also an advantage… But like many people, I think our biggest challenge is TIME!
Both Nat and I have kids and want to play an active part in their lives as well as have our careers - getting the balance just right is tricky at the best of times.
COOLA: What would we find in your beach bag?
B&K: My State of Escape - Escape Bag is one of those bags that I literally can take everywhere, including the beach…
So in this I have my Chloe sunglasses, COOLA sunblock and Liplux lip balm SPF 30, the Beach People beach towel, a Bird & Knoll scarf of course which doubles as a sarong or headscarf or just something that is luxuriously soft that I can use to throw over my shoulder and cover up if I feel I have had enough of the sun.
I also have the Lumira Tuscan Fig perfume oil – I’m obsessed with this smell at the moment and it is a really great size to just throw in your bag and use as needed, the Sarah J Curtis straw hat – an absolute essential, a bottle of water and no doubt a second Bird & Knoll resort piece, my favourite at the moment is the Isabella Poncho in black, just in case I need a change of outfit that can take me anywhere.
COOLA: What is your number one beach essential?
B&K: Apart from Bird & Knoll RESORT WEAR – I never head to the beach without sunscreen. I think we are all aware of how damaging the sun is in our part of the world and have become very good at covering up and regularly applying a good quality sunscreen. My favourite is the COOLA face SPF 30 Cucumber sunscreen and the SPF 30 Piña Colada Sunscreen spray – transports you instantly to a tropical island with the divine smell.
COOLA: Most unforgettable travel destination?
B&K: It is possible that I may have been Mexican in a past life. I love everything about the country… The food, the people, the architecture, the beaches, the way of life… Did I mention the food and then there are the margaritas…
I am lucky enough to have visited one of the most amazing places on earth - Tulum, Mexico several times on holiday. For me, this is the absolute ideal destination to relax, unwind and become inspired.
Tulum itself is like a tiny bubble, it is an eco area within a natural park where there is limited electricity and everything is on quite a spiritual level. We indulged in yoga, walks on the beach, a lot of bike riding – cruiser style with a little basket up front, too much food and even more cocktails but what I was so intrigued by and could not wait to experience were two incredible boutique resorts that absolutely blew my mind.
These resorts are not your run of the mill accommodation but every detail, every smell, every view had been so well thought out and was so breathtakingly beautiful that I could not get enough photos and images even though beautiful really do not do them justice. If you get the chance I would recommend Azulik Hotel Tulum & Mayan Spa and Coqui Coqui Residence Coba even just for lunch.
COOLA: That sounds amazing! Where is next on your travel list?
B&K: We are off to Whistler, Canada this January skiing. We were last in Whistler when my son was 3 months old so it is the first time our kids will be skiing with us here also and I can't wait to see how much they love this very magical part of the world…
Seeing real snowflakes and skiing amongst pine trees will be very different from skiing in NZ so will be a great experience for them and something I am really looking forward to doing as a family.