If you’ve ever wanted to know what it takes to build one of Australia’s fastest emerging fashion brands, just look to mother-daughter duo Cathie Burke and Lucia Hanna. The pair behind Melbourne-based fashion brand With Harper Lu have offered up modern, elevated ready-to-wear collections that are putting a new spin on enduring fashion staples, all ethically and sustainably manufactured locally.
“The original idea of creating a clothing brand started three years ago, with Lucia reworking designs in vintage clothing at her local dressmaker,” says Burke. “It became a mini hobby and customers of our dressmaker started noticing the reworked garments. At that time, the dressmaker suggested we start our own label. A simple conversation became a reality during COVID lockdown in Melbourne.”
With hours to spend designing and creating, Burke and Hanna’s vision would quickly come to life, and With Harper Lu was begun. In what the pair call “an ironic twist of fate” thanks to Melbourne’s lockdowns, their online business boomed (and continues to).
At the brand you’ll find statement maxi dresses with unique prints, as well as staple minis and baby tees which are regularly worn by Australian tastemakers, including Jacquie Alexander, Ava Francis and more.
Beyond the already sell-out collections, Burke and Hanna are excited to continue the With Harper Lu journey. Expect to see the collections expanded in 2023, which will include “more upmarket tailored pieces and premium fabrics.”
Below, we take a peek inside both Burke and Hanna’s current fashion, beauty and homeware favourites.
“Lucia has always been very stylish. Her signature look is comfortable, oversized and minimalist chic. She wears styles that are flattering for her body type instead of following trends. And of course, pairing every look with a blazer (hint for 2023).
"My style has evolved over the years and now it’s about wearing quality over quantity. My wardrobe is filled with classic wardrobe essentials that are timeless and modern.
“We both love accessories that are the hero of an outfit, namely a beautiful quality bag or shoes and also classic jewellery.”
“We are both very similar in this regard. Baggy comfortable pants, an oversized blazer, silk or ribbed camisole and platform slides.”
This season I’m lusting after…
Lucia: "I love Dinosaur Design chunky bangles at the moment, they can lift an outfit so quickly and easily.
Cathie: "I'm loving jackets. This can be an oversized trench or blazers with a cinched silhouette.”
“From the current With Harper Lu range, we’re both loving our new Silk and Satin range. Our Black Silk shirt and pants set are so comfortable and versatile. It’s a change from our usual print items and they are classics in your forever wardrobe, they are also made with a beautiful premium silk.”
Cathie: "I use the entire Ultraceuticals range. The products target skin concerns like skin hydration."
Lucia: "I love the Kosas Clear Eyebrow Gel, it's permanently in my handbag and I usually purchases two at once.”
Cathie: “Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter, IT Cosmetics CC foundation, and any type of M.A.C matte lipsticks work perfectly. The aim is to look natural and effortless. Even if it took 30 mins or more to get ready.”
Lucia: “Kosas Clear eyebrow gel, lip liner (Charlotte Tilbury!) and Dior lip oil. I wear minimal makeup and adore a very natural look.”
Cathie: “Chanel No 5 - it’s been a favourite for years.”
Lucia: “Sol de Janeiro (perfume mist).”
When entertaining at home, I love to dress my table with…
Cathie: “I love flowers and candles. Glasshouse candles are amazing - the house is always filled with delicious scents from so many of their ranges.
Lucia: “I love a chic and minimalist simplicity. Think white plates, white serviettes and white placemats. Not always practical, but stunning.”