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SOLAR POWER I Artist and Photographer, Ophelia Mikkelson Jones

Artist and photographer Ophelia Mikkelson Jones is the embodiment of summertime joy – best friend to musician Lorde and photographer of the spirited ‘Solar Power’ cover art – Ophelia is sublimely in step with Aje’s Resort 22 ‘Scent of Summer’ collection inspired by idyllic, hazy summer days.

 

Innately attuned with nature and in constant conversation with the beauty of Aotearoa, New Zealand; through this series of imagery for The Aje Report, Ophelia offers glimpses into a utopia of salty, simple, sun-kissed living effortlessly styled in effervescent Resort 22 dresses.

 

With brighter days ahead, drive into this sunny dreamscape as lensed by Ophelia’s husband Ryder Jones for The Aje Report.

The Solstice Tiered Maxi Dress coming soon

The Solstice Tiered Maxi Dress coming soon

How would you describe what you do for work?

I take photographs with my husband Ryder. We work together closely, planning the energy we want to capture within a shoot and doing everything from art direction to location scouting to taking the photographs themselves. Aside from photography I paint and Ryder is a sculptor and writer.

Resort 22 is inspired by endless, hazy summer days. Describe your perfect summer day. What are your plans for the upcoming summer?

 

My perfect summer day is a combination of the following: watching the sun turn everything golden in the morning and again at night, swimming in the ocean, sea salt on bare skin and eating fresh fruit and feta together. This summer will be the first with our little son, I am hoping that our garden will be bursting with flowers and food from our spring planting.

You collaborated with your friend Ella, otherwise known as Lorde, on the ‘Solar Power’ album cover and artwork - tell us about the process of creating this special project.

 

Ella wanted to take photographs together, something simple, a roadtrip with no plans. Neither of us have our full licences so Ryder drove us up north in our beat-up Honda Civic. We just had a boot full of film and clothes from her wardrobe. I was freshly pregnant so I was snacking constantly to tame the lurking morning sickness. Ryder would spot places for us to stop, scoping out tiny beaches where we had to scale down overgrown hillsides to access. I had no expectations of where these photos would end up. I just wanted to take photos of my friend how I see her— joyful, young, soaring.

 

In your opinion, what is unique to New Zealand that helps to foster such a vibrant community of creatives?

 

I think there is a lot of kindness in the creative community in Aotearoa. More often than not, people know each other or at least know of each other's work. There is a feeling of support, encouragement and collaboration from my experience. I feel like people truly cheer each other on.

 

Where is your favourite Summer destination?

 

A few summers ago, we drove North. The days were long and dry and we met with friends along the way. We stayed at the beach all day and surfed tiny tiny waves. Everything, golden and warm and our fingers greasy from hot chips.

"I think there is a lot of kindness in the creative community in Aotearoa."

 

What are your favourite pieces from the Aje Resort 22 Scent of Summer collection and why?

 

I absolutely love the shape and feeling of the Casabianca dress. I wore it in two different lengths and colours (pink and white) in this shoot. I love when a dress falls off the shoulder. I think that is really sexy.

 

What is a defining moment in your formative years that inspired your personal style?

 

Many years ago now, we bought around the world plane tickets with carry-on luggage only and set off for four months. We went to Japan and Morocco and other places that seem very far away now. I packed an old Ann Demeulemeester silk wrap skirt of my mothers and I wore it all the time. It doubled, tripled, as so many things. A dress, a sarong, a picnic blanket; I always felt good in it wherever we were, however I was using it. There was something elegant about it. I think since then, I have kept things simple. I love to put on one thing, or layer two pieces together

 

What medium do you prefer best to channel your creativity?

 

I really love the nature of film photography. I think for me it is the perfect balance of immediacy and surprise.

 

"I absolutely love the shape and feeling of the Casabianca dress. I wore it in two different lengths and colours (pink and white) in this shoot. I love when a dress falls off the shoulder. I think that is really sexy."

Where do you look to for both artistic and style inspiration?

 

Recently, the work of Hilma af Klint. I have been drawn to lilac and yellow and pink in both my paintings and my wardrobe.

 

You have a deep appreciation for the beauty of nature - what practices do you live by to take care of the world around us?

 

I walk a lot. In our garden and at the beach. I find walking to be like meditation. Often, I don't listen to music or wear sunglasses when I am out. I want to hear and see what is surrounding me.

 

How has your relationship with fashion and style changed over time?

 

Most recently, my relationship to clothing has evolved for my body as its role as a mother. Soft belly, full breasts, all the good things motherhood delivers to us and we deliver our children unto the world. It is a time to honour and welcome these changes.

 

You’ve just welcomed your son into the world, what has he taught you so far?

 

That love is endless— a golden thread of beauty, hope and joy.

Aje Insider: Ophelia Mikkelson Jones

Photographer: Ryder Jones

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