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Michiko Hylands | BY YOUR SIDE | Mother's Day 2024

saben mothers day campaign featuring Michiko hylands
Michiko wears the Fox Crossbody in Cactus Bubble, her mother Masako carries the Bianca and Fifi in Lilac Haze. 

 

Stylist, makeup artist and writer Michiko and her Mother Masako share a profound connection rooted in their love for fashion and unwavering support for each other's endeavors. Masako's early recognition of Michiko's passion for styling and her encouragement to embrace individuality paved the way for Michiko's successful career in the industry. As Michiko navigates the demands of her profession alongside motherhood, Masako remains a steadfast pillar of support, embodying maternal love and empowerment. Their shared joy in dressing up reflects not just their impeccable style but also the enduring strength of their bond.

It is our privilege to sit down with Michiko and Masako to capture their special bond for this year's Mother's Day Portrait series: By Your Side.

Michiko, Tell us about yourself, your journey and what led you to become the woman you are today?

I have always been interested in art, design, fashion and make up from an early age. As a little girl, I used to spend hours playing at my mother’s dressing table. There was an array of beautiful, sparkly jewellery to play with, giant powder puffs and pretty lipsticks to experiment with.

After gaining a double major BA degree in Art History and English Literature, I studied Pattern Design and also the Costume Design. For a period of time, I sold clothes under my own label.

After studying Make up artistry in Sydney, eventually I moved there, working as a Make-up artist and a Stylist at Network Ten TV Station. Working as Make up & Wardrobe Supervisor on various shows including the Arias: Australian Music Awards and Australian Idol. I also wrote a weekly Style column for New Idea Magazine.

After returning to NZ, I worked at TVNZ as the Styling Director, dressing all the presenters from all the shows and also managing a team of Hair and Make Up artists.

After having twins, I returned to freelance work; styling and doing make up for magazine shoots, TV and print ad campaigns, TV promos, personal styling and make ups for weddings.

My love of writing also led me to writing the weekly Beauty and Fashion pages for the Herald on Sunday which I did for several years.

What does motherhood mean to you?

As a mother of twins, being a Mum sure has been one wild ride but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I have always wanted to have children and especially twins and I am so incredibly blessed to have them. I have learnt so much about myself and I am still learning every single day.

There are good days and then there are those super challenging days but at the end of the day, unconditional love is always there. Nothing beats hearing your children say “Mummy, I love you” and my response, “And I love you too.”

I’m also a fur- baby Mum of two dogs. My beautiful puppy Lady is a rescue from an animal shelter and my sweet boy Rudy is now sadly in Doggie Heaven. Both of my dogs have taught me so much about unconditional love.

Something you love and admire about your own Mother?

My Mum has the most incredible style. I love the way she puts an outfit together. Her sense of colour coordination and mix of patterns is amazing! She truly defines the word fabulousness! One extra thing is that my Mum is also the most amazing cook! She can whip at a delicious feast in no time at all!

saben mothers day campaign michiko hylands



Michiko, your career in television and fashion styling is truly impressive. How do you balance the demands of your high-profile career with being a mother to twins?

Especially during the early years, it was really hard balancing work whilst being a mother of twins. There is absolutely no way I could have done it without the help of my wonderful parents who conveniently live five minutes’ drive from my place! They are both are so kind and drop everything at the last minute to help me. Also of course my husband has been there as well, I can’t forget him ( ha x ha!)

You've styled numerous celebrities for red-carpet events and TV appearances. Can you share some memorable moments from your experiences in the industry?

There are SO many memorable moments, I really need to write a tell-all book!
One of the most stressful (but ultimately funny moments) was during a live show for Australian Idol. One of the hosts, legendary singer Marcia Hines had the zipper break in her leather pants just before going on live TV. In her dressing room, I had to immediately get down on my hands and knees to sew up her pants whilst she was still wearing them! Someone burst in to see Marcia and wondered what was going on seeing me crouched in that compromising position down by her crotch! On top of that, I was also trying not her pierce her “nether regions” by mistake!


As a mother and a fashion expert, how do you instill confidence and individual style in your children while allowing them to express themselves?

When my twins were small, I loved dressed them up in cute outfits. It was so much fun doing mini photoshoots with them! As they grew, naturally they become a lot more independent. My son has always had beautiful, long blonde hair. He has often been called a “girl” at school making him want to cut his hair. I always tell him that he has such a unique look and always should just embrace it. My boy likes choosing his own clothes and he has such a cool, street style.

My daughter also loves fashion and loves playing with my make up!

She once told me about some “perfect” girls in her class and wished she was like them. I told her she was perfect in every way exactly as she was because there is nobody on this entire planet like her. She’s now happy in her own skin.

I’m always blown away by the interesting combos she puts together. She already has a great sense of style.

michiko hylands saben mothers day campaign

 

It's wonderful to hear that you both share a love for dressing up together. Can you share a memorable experience or favorite outfit that you've coordinated or worn together, and what it means to share these moments of style and expression?

I love bringing my Mum to events and she always looks so glam! Everyone always loves seeing my Mum and compliment her. Often when I pick my Mum up and without having any prior knowledge about what she will be wearing, we either match in a coordinated way or our outfits compliment with each other. It’s uncanny!

We enjoy going to the Polo together and on one occasion my Mum was a total
vision in pink. Wearing an eye-catching pink outfit adorned with antique jewellery, pink hat and matching cherry blossom pink coloured hair as well! My lilac ensemble with green, floral pants, pink shoes and fuschia pink lipstick perfectly matched my Mum’s l look.

I’m so proud of my Mum and her exquisite style which inspires me so much and made me become the stylist that I am today. We both share the same love of clothing, jewellery and accessories. She loves to find treasures and we often bump into each other in recycled clothing stores, both on the hunt for some pre-loved gems!


Saben Style - what Saben bag is always by your side? And what is next on your wish list?

The Saben bag always by my side is Tilly’s Big Sis Crossbody bag. It’s so chic and versatile. You can change it up with the different straps and also the fab chain accessory too. I also love how functional and practical it is, perfect for work when I’m out sourcing for shoots. It fits everything in it. It’s great to find a bag that’s super useful but also looks fab too. It’s a great choice for a busy gal on the go! My next Saben bag on my wish list is their Alexis shoulder bag in Biscotti Pleat. Perfect for nights out, it looks so divine!


Michiko has achieved so much in her career, from styling celebrities to leading wardrobe departments. Can you share some early memories or moments that hinted at her future success?

Michiko has always loved going through my wardrobe trying all my clothes on and also shoes, bags and my precious jewellery too! She particularly loved my 1970’s wardrobe and she used to love going out dressed in my gold flares, maxi skirts and platform heels. Her favourite outfit of mine that she loved wearing was my blue & silver tiger print lame, one-shouldered jumpsuit that had a matching turban. I realised then that her love of fashion and clothing might lead her to a career in fashion.

Michiko has become a role model for many, both in her professional achievements and her approach to life. What values or lessons did you impart to her that you see reflected in her success?

One of the lessons I taught Michiko from an early age was to always be yourself and believe in yourself. Embrace being different. Michiko and her sister Mariko both stood out at school and had a hard time being half-Japanese/ Eurasian mix. They were seen as different (back then, schools at the time hardly had any diversity) Rather than try to assimilate, Michiko stood up to the bullies at school. She decided at five years old to go by her Japanese middle name Michiko instead of her “Western” first name Katrina and from that day one proudly embraced her Japanese heritage more than ever!

Another lesson I instilled in Michiko was don’t be shy about asking. You need to stand up for yourself because you are worth it. I once happened to have Fashion Designer Kansai Yamamoto’s phone number and rang him to ask him to give my daughter a job at his Fashion Design atelier! I would have insisted that Michiko herself ask him but since I could talk to Sensei Yamamoto in Japanese, it was best that I had a chat with him instead!


As a mother, what are you most proud of in Michiko's journey, both personally and professionally?

Michiko is a such a hard-worker, she is always working! She has always been so creative being a young designer finalist in the prestigious Benson & Hedges Fashion Design Awards and several times her entries have made the finals in the World of Wearable Arts show. It has been wonderful seeing Michiko be the top of her game in TV styling working at Channel Ten in Sydney and at TVNZ here in NZ.

Michiko attends many glamorous events but at the end of the day she remains a down-to-earth, kind and generous person. She is always so thoughtful, often thinking of others and their own needs before her own.

When Michiko had her twins, it was quite a challenge for her looking after two babies and then returning to work. It was great to be there to help Michiko and also, I love being a grandmother so much. My Grandchildren are the world to me! I am so proud of everything that my daughter has achieved!

Dressing up together sounds like a special bond you share with Michiko. Can you tell us about a particularly memorable occasion or favorite ensemble that you and Michiko have coordinated or worn together, and what significance these moments of shared style and expression hold for you both?

Yes, we both have a love of dressing up and it is so fun going to events with Michiko. I always love coming to Fashion Week with her, we always have such a great time together. We both LOVE wearing bold colour. At one particular Fashion week I wore a pink and yellow ensemble, vintage costume jewellery, with a pink Dior bag and pink hair while Michiko colour-blocked with a red and pink outfit and an amazing multi-coloured beaded jacket by Trelise Cooper. We really made a statement that day! I love how we both share a similar style and love of clothes. It’s like dressing up with your best friend.

Saben Style - what Saben bag is always by your side? And what is next on your wish list?

My favourite Saben bag right now is the Claudette Crossbody bag in leopard. It is suits my style so well. Next up, I have my eyes on Saben’s suitcases; perfect for my trips back Japan.

Michiko wears the Fox Crossbody in Cactus Bubble, her mother Masako carries the Bianca and Fifi in Lilac Haze. 

Spoil them with Saben, shop the Mother's Day Gift Edit.