Lockdown Life: Designer Pippa Holt and The Situation in Sydney


The kaftan designer, whose global head office is in Dublin, on the ups and downs of extreme lockdown spent with her family of five in Australia …

Lockdown began for us on March 20. It was my daughter Bay’s ninth birthday. We cancelled her birthday party, planned for the next with her friends, and instead celebrated as a family on our balcony with a unicorn cake, her favourite music and streamers blowing in the hot wind above the harbour. It turned out to be a celebration with mixed emotions. Two days later, Bay fell ill with a sore throat, bad cough and a fever. The next five days were incredibly frightening. We isolated Bay in her bedroom and I’ll never forget the dreaded 4am fever checks, as I wore a face mask and covered my hands in hand sanitiser, to monitor her temperature. The doctor didn’t know if it was coronavirus or flu. Fortunately, it turned out to be the flu, but this prompted us into extreme lockdown and to this day I have still not visited a supermarket. 

Australia as a whole has been in strict lockdown for over a month now. The government acted quickly in response to the virus which has paid off and as of today, May 1, we have nearly flattened the curve. As a family we are still in lockdown. We go on one walk a day, have our groceries delivered and are homeschooling our three children under nine.

As we live in Sydney, we are fortunate to be surrounded by exceptional natural beauty. Our daily walks in the sun are by the water on the harbour, near a beach, or exploring inland streams and bushland pathways. It’s actually been idyllic and a rewarding time to spend together. We’re fortunate to have our own lovely swimming pool to read beside, and as temperatures have hit 27 degrees, we’ve also been swimming. 

Personally, I have found homeschooling a challenge. I adore school life here in Sydney, and its community, and miss watching my children flourish in those environments. Another challenge is I’ve been forced to cook, which I never enjoyed pre-corona. 

There have been upsides too. We’ve been locked in together which is wonderful. My husband travels frequently between Dublin and Sydney so to have him here for the entire time has been amazing.  

Personally I’ve found a slight sense of relief not travelling to New York for the Resort season in June to show my new collection – although I am sad to miss my annual pop up at Bergdorf Goodman. At this stage, I am not sure if there will be showings during Paris Fashion Week in October either. In one way, it frees me up to be more creative and form new ideas. Being a mother of three and running my own business with three global offices – the head office being in Dublin – was exhausting so to slow the pace right down is, in many ways, blissful.

To unwind in the evening, Conor and I have watched a bit of Netflix (Messiah, Unorthodox) and I am excited for the new season of Billions to start as I love that show. Mostly, however, there is no spare time with cooking, cleaning, homeschooling and working from home.

When this is all over, I’m most looking forward to my children returning to school, revisiting Sydney’s exceptional restaurants and the easing of fear, which lingers in the air.

www.pippaholt.com @pippa_holt_kaftans


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