Margot Robbie is obsessed with this Australian label and so am I

(Image credit: Matteau)

I'm lucky enough to come across many fashion brands in my job as a Fashion Editor, but only a few of them truly excite me, and Matteau is one of them. And it has nothing to do with the fact that Margot Robbie is a fan too.

It was founded by sisters Ilona Hamer and Peta Heinsen in 2015, when they found it impossible to find a simple but flattering black bikini. They went on to create swimwear and resortwear that is inhenrintely chic and seasonless, made with a conscious approach. More importantly, the sisters try their designs on friends and family to ensure they fit all body types.

Margot Robbie and Rosie Huntington-Whitely are fans, and I've slowly but surely been building my own capsule Matteau wardrobe of summer dresses, separates and swimwear, and I cand hand-on-heart say that they are flattering pieces that I go back to year after year.

I sat down with Peta to have a closer look at the label.

Talk us through the origins of Matteau, how did it all start?

Matteau launched in 2015 with a concise edit of swimwear after realising that a simple, well-cut non branded black bikini was difficult to find at the time. It has since become much more than that, and our ready-to-wear category is now the most significant part of our business - nothing ever fussy, just those simple and classic pieces that complete your wardrobe, as we’re still firm believers in keeping things minimal.

What is the inspiration behind your collections?

We always stay true to the Matteau woman; we think about where she is going, what she’s doing in her day-to-day life and how we can make her feel unequivocally herself when she’s wearing Matteau, whether at home or abroad. Our collections nod to the past and are created to be timeless. The Matteau woman is an individual, she isn’t hooked on trends, she's drawn to style, details and collecting those pieces that make her feel confident - she’s our constant source of inspiration. 

Australian fashion is getting the international recognition it deserves now, how would you define it?

Australians definitely do Resortwear best. Beach culture and our lifestyle in general very much directs what we want to wear and how we wear it. Australians know better than most how to spend a day by the water and can go from beach to bar without fuss. They have perfected that weekend casual style; nothing too complicated, nothing too overt and in wearable, beautiful fabrics. The appeal of elevated, yet easy-to-wear silhouettes is not just something Australian women desire, but women globally are recognising what Australian fashion offers them in their approach to dressing.


Peta and Ilona

(Image credit: Matteau)

Sustainability is at the core of your label, is it possible for fashion to become fully sustainable? How do you apply this to your business?

Matteau’s commitment is to long term sustainability and responsible business practices. We strive to do everything in our power to discover and learn as much as possible to make the best decisions we can in respect of the planet, our customer and our business and always with an eye towards longevity. While we will always do our best to push our brand to do the best it can from this standpoint, we believe the industry is a long way from becoming fully sustainable.

We are really excited that we have just completed our first Carbon Neutral project, which will offset our carbon emissions in a registered program with Carbon Active each year. Carbon Active is an ongoing partnership between the Australian Government and Australian business to drive voluntary climate action in a collective effort to measure, reduce, and offset carbon emissions. 

What is the biggest business lesson you've learned?

The single most important thing we’ve learned and is to stay true to ourselves and in turn our customer, the Matteau woman - to do things in our way, at our pace and with our own lens on things. 

What excites you the most about your job now?

So many things - but working with our amazing team on our growth plans, new projects and categories in the pipeline is really invigorating. We’ve recently invested heavily in growing our team, and the prospect of being able to realise more of our potential as a result is really exciting both personally and for the brand.

What's next for Matteau?

With opening our Noosa store mid-2021, we have learned how vital physical retail stores will be for Matteau’s future and we have exciting plans to expand in this space - so stay tuned.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.