The Tale Of Hallie Burton & Pompie Yannopoulos



A photographer and childrenswear designer, Hallie Burton is one of those wildly creative women...

The Australian founder of Smokks – a divine line of smock dresses for women and girls – moved to New York over a decade ago and now lives there with her Canadian husband George and their sweet six-year-old daughter Pompie. According to Burton, the inspiration for Smokks came from the idea to launch “a creative dressing system for families”. She wanted to create gorgeous, easy clothes for families who just like Burton, needed “clothes they can handle” all year round. “For some reason dads don’t seem to be able to handle ‘the dressing process’, so we created smocks that girls can grow into that don’t require a whole lotta work. No buttons, no zips, no hooks… no reason dressing can’t be easy and playful, yet most of all stylish. Consider Smokks the new uniform,” says Burton. We were thrilled to catch up with Burton and get a peek inside her minimalist Uptown loft…

Photography: Hallie Burton


Motherhood has been a huge journey of self discovery and a wonderful adventure with my husband George and our daughter Pompie…

I always try to be as realistic as possible! I now know why my mother locked the door in the bathroom – it was her only moment of peace. I realised a lot about my parents and their sacrifices and have a whole new love and respect for them. The happiness I see in them when they are with Pompie is overwhelming in the most incredible way. Seeing my husband open up so much has been a divine treat, and feeling that in myself leaves me feeling alive.


The advice I would give my younger self is to…

Live your life first and chase your dreams. I think women have a good amount of time to have babies now so travel and see the world first. Also have a career, so you have something that’s yours and when you meet your Prince, spend time with him, know each other, adore each other, love each other. When you add a child to the equation, things do change, in an amazing way, however a different cycle begins.


"I just need clothes I can handle" were my husband’s famous last words…

This dramatic statement was born from me being away and receiving a video of our daughter at her ballet graduation wearing her pyjamas! OMG! I almost died! Mother’s would do up a hundred buttons daily without question if it meant their daughters looked beautiful! Frantically I call home from Australia, not even caring about the time difference, to find out what went wrong! “She looked so cute,” he said. “How would I even know they were pyjamas?” he mysteriously joked. Um, because have you ever seen her in a chocolate brown outfit with a pink cat on the front? That’s really how Smokks began – it’s a cute story! Soon after that can of worms was opened, we set sail on our journey to launch a creative dressing system for families who like us need “clothes they can handle” all year round. I do say this loosely as it’s really for fathers, grandparents and caretakers to dress these little ladies so “suddenly” they don’t look like nobody owns them when mummy is not present!


Smokks was created by our family for your family…

Our four-year-old had A LOT to say and we actually listened!. “We play outside and fill our pockets with ‘stuff’”. She was very adamant about pocket height and size and length so she could sit down and her “undies” didn’t show! She didn’t like her hair catching in buttons and things being tight around her neck. Basically she just wanted to be a fairy of sorts full time and “beautiful”!


Love and a dream took me to New York…

I met my husband in LA and we took a leap of faith with each other to be together and chase a dream. Nearly 11 years later we are still here – he’s my partner in crime! We are in love with our neighborhood. We are on The Upper West Side in NYC and are surrounded by water and parks and inspiration and as I love to say an “all care no responsibility” lifestyle. I love the neighborhood because it’s a community. It really became super lovely when we began school. Pompie’s friends are so close and even live in our street which means things become very impromptu (dinners, scoots, bike rides). It’s very easy and casual and a really great environment for a city kid to grow up in.


My time management tips are to write lists...

I’m a huge list maker and I can’t survive without them. I am old school and I still carry a diary. I like to see it written in front of me!


An amazing husband is how I juggle motherhood…

An amazing book was released a few years ago, a New York Times best seller called Equally Shared Parenting. We loved it and adopted it and our careers are almost like shift work at a divine level. Being a photographer, I am literally never home, which is super exciting in theory! The reality is not so exciting, and I LOVE working and being inspired by the millennials! My husband George is amazing. He talks me off the ledge, holds my hand, keeps everything moving and lets me be me and in the most amazing way, he does this without guilt. He is a remarkable human being and I count my blessings daily.


“ I try and focus on what matters and what will be remembered. Stuff doesn’t matter for kids. I am a big believer in that – we don’t need stuff we need experience. So when we can, this is our motto. We travel, we love, we talk, we experience ”

I travel so much for work so for me the most challenging part of motherhood is remaining present…

It’s really important for me. I read a long time ago Buddhism For Mothers and I really try to be present in all our time together. It is challenging to be present with a six-year-old, and it doesn’t always happen. The thing I find the most important at this point in our relationship is to always be available for feelings. A lot happens daily at school that they process and being available to work through that as a family and especially as a mother, no matter how fleeting is really important for a girl. I try and focus on what matters and what will be remembered. Stuff doesn’t matter for kids. I am a big believer in that – we don’t need stuff we need experience. So when we can, this is our motto. We travel, we love, we talk, we experience.


My father was heavily into design and my mother loved it as well…

We lived in divine houses and as a young adult I was the nanny for the previous owners of Space Furniture and the divine Kim Jarrett educated me in more ways that one! So my love grew and grew and as an adult I feel like I’m getting there! I have some things on the to-do list and I feel like interiors are at the forefront of everything for me. Everything happens and extends from the home. The way we live, the way we dress, the way we eat… it’s all connected.


In New York I shop for homewares at…

ABC Home, Global Table, Canvas Home, Ochre, Matter, Aero and BDDW. I do try and always pick things up on my travels as well. In Sydney I bought candles and home wares from Love Duck and Becker Minty. I always buy Australian products when I can.


My favourite summer destination in the US is Miami…

It reminds me of home and it’s my happy place. Outside I would say Maldives and who doesn’t love Bali? St Thomas is divine in British Virgin Islands and Shelter Island as a quick New York Long Island getaway.


In New York, Pompie and I love going to…

Alice’s Tea Cup. We go and have high tea and she gets to wear wings sprinkled with fairy dust – all her wishes come true! The Standard Hotel in winter for ice skating. It’s small and super chic and she gets to push a penguin around the ice for support and drink hot chocolate and french fries under heated lighting. It’s gorgeous. She loves MOMA and The Whitney as well – who doesn’t?!


My summer fashion essentials are...

A Smokk! Aspect Skin Care and sunblock. I bought these products at a spa when we were in Sydney last November and can’t stop ordering them. A huge hat, Isabel Marant Camila flat twisted rope sandals, the divine wrap around suede belts from Love Duck, which look perfect with a Smokk. I also love ballet flats. I am a creature of habit and when I find my thing, I stick to it. I have five pairs of Balenciaga ballet flats in assorted colours. Also an Eres bathing suit and Perricone MD No Makeup Makeup!


Hallie's Little List Of Loves...

Tea – my grandmother always said “a nice hot cup of tea fixes everything” and it’s true!
Burrata
Aged balsamic.
White Russians (as in the cocktail!).
Watching Pompie lip sync to Justin Bieber’s new song Love Yourself.
Kara Rosenlund’s amazing photos of Australia.
The Andy Cohen Diaries.
Perricone MD’s No Makeup Makeup.


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