“Shock and awe; at what my body had done and the little life in my arms - so incredibly small, we changed her nappy with painstaking care so as not to break her” – model Kate Fowler is recalling the early days of motherhood and those moments after she welcomed her first daughter into the world. Kate, who was born in New Zealand and lives in Sydney, is now a mother of two gorgeous little girls – Saachi, 3, and Alexa, 4.
Given her close relationship with her own sister (model Georgia Fowler), having two girls was a dream come true. “If we’re lucky, siblings are there almost the whole way through – others come later, or go earlier. They can grasp the context to your life like no other, and in the most unspoken or outspoken way – with a simple glance or searing honesty,” she says. Her own mother, who she is very close with, always taught her the importance of strong family bonds. “Mum has a very close bond with her mother and sisters and that sense of sisterhood has certainly been passed on to us and my girls in turn. She taught us that words are powerful but not as powerful as our actions,” she says.
Kate is passionate about sustainability (“in my opinion thriftiness is where real style is born”), an avid reader and it’s refreshing to hear that for her, bedtime is the most challenging part of motherhood right now (it appears to be a universal conundrum – children will do anything not to go to bed). “Bedtime for sure. Having them sleep in the same room has really helped to simplify things, but it’s still a work in progress,” she says.
For this shoot, Kate has worn our favourite pieces from Pandora’s new Timeless collection. Jewellery is something to be treasured for years to come and for Kate, jewellery is something sentimental and to be cherished. “Jewellery tends to mark those special occasions in life so I will always treasure the necklaces Justin [Hemmes] gave me a to mark the birth of each of our daughters. They love to hold them and hear the stories of how they arrived,” she says.
As we dive into the festive season, we’re reminded of the importance of family. Even more so this year, when many of us have been separated from our loved ones. Here, we speak to the model mother about her journey so far and what family means to her.
What do you remember about the early days of motherhood?
Shock and awe; at what my body had done and the little life in my arms – so incredibly small, we changed her nappy with painstaking care so as not to break her. And I vividly remember the jam and butter tip-top toast that our nurse made us once Alexa had been born. Nothing has ever tasted better!
You’re close to your own sister – what is so special about the sister relationship and how would you describe that bond?
If we’re lucky, siblings are there almost the whole way through – others come later or go earlier. They can grasp the context to your life like no other, and in the most unspoken or outspoken way – with a simple glance or searing honesty. Which can really frustrate you, but generally for the right reasons. It’s been so special to have Georgia near after such a long time apart – sisterhood is such a beautiful compass for us and I’m so glad my girls get to share in such a special bond.
What about your relationship with your mother – what values has she always instilled in you?
The importance of family. Mum has a very close bond with her mother and sisters and that sense of sisterhood has certainly been passed on to us and my girls in turn. She taught us that words are powerful but not as powerful as our actions. Mum certainly gave me my love of reading – it opens up a world inside your mind, to be with your thoughts and to open up to those of others, which has been a real refuge in an age of tech-overwhelm full of competing distractions. It’s something I hope I can pass on to my girls.
What has been the most challenging part of motherhood, and how have you overcome any challenges?
Bedtime for sure. Having them sleep in the same room has really helped to simplify things, but it’s still a work in progress. Our girls are fairly sensitive and discipline doesn’t come supernaturally for me, so it has been interesting finding an approach that suits our styles. For me, it has been less about barking orders than meeting them where they are at – accepting big feelings and helping them to problem-solve if they need it.
What is the most rewarding part of motherhood?
At this stage, I’m loving listening to their ideas about the world, learning their opinions and quirks – the insight into their world and personalities take my breath away. In turn, they’ve taught me so much about myself – you become very aware of the reference point you represent to them, the ultimate motivator to question the patterns you’ve slipped in to and more consciously choose what parts of yourself to hold on to. What a gift to shed and grow in this way. Not to mention the cuddles and kisses! I’ll soak them right up as long as I can get them.
How would you describe your fashion style?
I’m drawn to fabrics or details with a bit of quirk, strong workmanship and interesting shapes. Things that layer well. Things that make me smile. So a bit all over the place! I’m more about individual pieces than a certain label – a bit magpie-esque perhaps, but timelessness is always a consideration.
What’s a typical look for you day-to-day?
Oversized jeans, a tank (with some sort of a twist), over-shirt and chunky sandals with vintage sunnies.
Did your approach to fashion change after you became a mother?
A lot. I never wore jeans before I was a mum – inconceivable now! You spend a lot of time on the floor so skirts or anything short became impractical. As does anything that requires ironing!
How can we all approach fashion in a more sustainable way?
In my opinion, thriftiness is where real style is born – less can be more because it forces you to be more creative. It’s something that really needs to start in your existing wardrobe. Figuring out what you can make better use of and what you need to move on helps to empower better decisions. But still, rather than rushing to complete a wardrobe checklist, I remember to lean into the joy of dressing, that way you’re slowly picking up pieces that mean something to you and are more likely to stick around. Consignment shopping works really well for me because I love the thrill of the hunt – locally with Apartmento 57 and Di Nuovo and online with Vestiaire and The Real Real. And never overlook the power of borrowing from a friend, especially for evening looks where cost-per-wear is prohibitive.
Pandora Rose Elevated Heart Necklace & Earring Gift Set, $229 (earrings not worn – see set below). Pandora Moments Barrel Clasp Snake Chain Bracelet, $199. Pandora Sparkling Snowflake Pavé Charm, $99. St Agni dress
How do you approach jewellery – is it sentimental for you? Are there pieces you never take off?
It is. Jewellery tends to mark those special occasions in life so I will always treasure the necklaces Justin gave me a to mark the birth of each of our daughters. They love to hold them and hear the stories of how they arrived.
What’s your favourite way to spend time with your girls?
Outdoors. My kids really come into themselves in nature – they often just start singing and the things they notice always astound me – little creatures, everywhere! In the absence of toys, the disputes seem to dwindle which is also fine by me!
How do you approach wellbeing – do you eat well/exercise?
Moderation is the way for me. Food is one of my great joys so I don’t hold back on the things I love but in the back of my mind am also aware when I’ve overdone it and can course-correct a little. Exercise went by the wayside for a while there, in hindsight, I could have really benefited from some strength and balance as a way to rehab postpartum, it’s a lot for the body and it doesn’t stop at the birth – feeding and carrying over that first year takes it toll. But life happens and it feels good to be getting back on the horse now – pilates is my favourite for that real brain-to-body, inside out connection and tennis is a lot of fun – I’d pick sports over the gym any day!
You clearly have a love of interiors – have you always been creative?
Growing up I was always lost in books and was guided into more academic areas. But as I’ve grown up more I’ve realised I do have a real creative need – I’m always gravitating toward beauty and it gives me a lot of joy to collect and curate. Creating a home for us has been a beautiful and rewarding outlet for me. Now that the girls are growing up a little, it’s a love I intend to explore further in the coming years.
In association with Pandora