Ilona Hamer

The UNDONE in conversation with renown stylist, co-founder of Matteau Swim and style icon, Ilona Hamer. 

Ilona Hamer in conversation 

QUESTION ONE: As a stylist, what would be your top three tips for getting dressed? 

1. Be comfortable. Don't wear anything that doesn't sit right and doesn't feel 'you'. 

2. Choose quality over quantity. You need very little to look put together, but you do need the right pieces. 

3. Don't feel like you have to reinvent the wheel. What you wear should be secondary to what you have to say, so find a style that suits you and go with it. Be comfortable and be YOU. The most talented stylists in the world are uniform dressers, they wear variations of the same thing everyday. Those who spend too much time on themselves and what they are wearing don't tend to have the same skills in their work. A stylish person doesn't make a stylist, which I think is a big misconception these days. 


Ilona Hamer In Conversation with The UNDONE

QUESTIONS TWO: What is your most memorable styling gig? 

I have been very lucky to work in some beautiful locations with very talented people over the course of my career. I have very fond memories of all my Unconditional shoots. We always have such fun and chemistry, and work with a small team so it tends to be more creative and spontaneous compared to larger commercial productions. 

QUESTION THREE: Why did you decide to design swimwear? 

It came from the fact that in 2012 I just couldn't find a really clean and simple black swimsuit that worked on my body. Even from my time working at Vogue, seeing all the different versions come through the fashion cupboard, there just wasn't the style available that I wanted to wear so we worked on filling that gap. 

QUESTION FOUR: Your work life seems very multifaceted? You are a stylist, creator of Matteau Swim and also launched Unconditional Magazine, how do you juggle it all?

It's definitely not easy and my life is busier than it should be sometimes, but the reward of constantly creating and putting things out there that I am proud of and speak to the way I see women today outweighs the stressful and sometimes exhausting moments! 

QUESTION FIVE: Do you have any personal rituals that you partake in everyday?

I have to leave the house to get coffee every morning, no matter what my schedule. It's just the little bit of me time to take the walk to my little spot, think about the day and what I have to do. I also try and fit in Pilates most days which really helps to clear my head before the madness begins. 


Ilona Hamer stylist work

Ilona Hamer for The UNDONE

QUESTION SIX: What would be your advice for someone starting a new brand or business? 

Don't take it lightly. It is a lot of work and you have to really believe in what you do and understand what makes you different. 

QUESTION SEVEN: What's your favourite part of working alongside your sister to create Matteau Swim? 

It's so nice to be able to work with family - there is a level of understanding of the person you are working with that you can't quite get even from years of other kinds of relationships. My sister is so incredibly talented and experienced that she is the perfect partner. It would be hard to find someone with the attention to detail that she has in every aspect of the business. 

QUESTION EIGHT: If you could change one thing about the fashion industry what would that be? 

I would love it to slow down and for people to think about what they really need rather than wanting new, new, new all the time!

QUESTIONS NINE: What is your favourite item in your wardrobe and why? 

I have to say my black frame denim jeans - they have the perfect fit and weight and as someone who wears jeans almost everyday (weather pending) to find something so perfect takes all the hassle out of getting dressed. I have two pairs I wear them intermittently - The Skinny de Jean and the Flare de Francois Crop - both in Noir.

QUESTIONS TEN: If you could only have five items in your wardrobe, what would they be? 

1. Frame Denim Jeans

2. Uniqlo Cashmere sweaters 

3. Equipment shirts

4. Matteau Swim 

5. K Jacques Sandals or Saint Laurent Boots - Depending on the season!

Ilona Hamer for Russh Magazine

 Ilona Hamer In Conversation with The UNDONE

QUESTION ELEVEN: What was the last beauty product you purchased? 

Aesop Geranium leaf body wash for my shower.

QUESTIONS TWELVE: What is your go-to look or vibe when it comes to beauty? 

I love really moisturised, fresh clean skin - I think nothing is better than looking after yourself. 

Skin - I use a little RMS uncover up on my t-zone and RMS living luminizer on my cheekbones and eye lids. 

Eyes - I use Chanel eyeliner in Santal on my outer lash line and then an eyelash curl with a Shisedo curler. 

Lips - I add a little Glossier rose balm dot com on my lips and either keep it to just balm, or I blot a little MAC lip liner as lipstick in Spice and also mix on top Glossier's matte lipstick in Jam - the two colours together are great. 

Cheeks - Some days I add a sweep of Chanel's Lumière d’été to add a little colour to my cheeks. 

QUESTIONS THIRTEEN: What do you do to relax?

I try to disconnect and leave my phone at the door. I love listening to podcasts on the subway to learn and kill time at once! And a glass of wine at one of my favourite bars on Bleecker street with my husband or my girlfriends always does the trick! 


Ilona instagram 

Image Credits: 1&2.Image supplied by Ilona, 2.Unconditional Magazine Cover, 3. Styling by Ilona for Russh Magazine, 4. Instagram Images @ilona_hamer

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