The story that was given to Zora when designing the collaborative capsule collection:
While lending a hand on a merchant vessel, Walter docked at The Port of Olbia, the doorway to Sardinia. The captain had planned it to be a short stop, but his weakness for the bottle and the allure of beautiful woman and fast money meant the ship was put to rest indefinitely.
Left to his own devices, Walter explored the island and ended up settling in Cagliari, the capital city of Sardinia. Enamored with the rich history and ancient mythology, he set about making a home for himself, putting the quest to find his parents on hold. The island was infectious, but nothing grabbed his attention quite as much as Catalina Cantona.
Catalina, a young opera singer, had tumbling dark hair and large bambi eyes. The daughter of the city's most respected cheesemaker and a goat farmer, she had become a sensation in the bustling city. Her voice, a delicate symphony, was rich in tone and texture. Rumour had it that it could help the deaf hear and heal uncomfortable newborns of colic.
Walter was besotted. Enthralled by her beauty and infatuated with her voice.
One night on the way to watch Catalina perform, Walter chanced upon some wild flowers with pretty white petals and long green stems. He gathered a bunch and skipped into the night.
Before taking his seat in the front row of the theatre, Walter used his fountain pen to scribble a note on a scrap of parchment he had.
“You have the voice of an angel - Walter”
He gave the flowers to an attendant and took his seat, eager to watch the performance. It was perfect, a journey of sound like nothing he had experienced ever before.
Unbeknownst to him, a southerly breeze had pushed his parchment from the wild flowers and a maid had mistaken the plant for celery, ready to be made into a fresh summer salad.
Having finished her performance, Catalina arrived in her dressing room and began to wash the thick stage make-up from her dainty face. In front of the mirror, laid out was a simple spread of gnocchi, cheese, salami and salad. She tucked into the food with reckless abandon. It was the last meal she was to ever eat.
No one heard Catalina's silent screams as she gold-fished around, gripping her throat. The flowers Walter had given her, the same ones mistaken for celery, were water dropwort. a highly poisonous plant that had been used to kill criminals and old people incapable of looking after themselves in years gone by. Unable to breathe, Catalina's face contorted into a sardonic grin. Her light extinguished.
“Walter come quick, there's been a tragedy.”
By that time, it was all too late.
I first met Hayden at Mid Life Cycles in Cremorne where he works as a mechanic working on a range of bikes from classics to custom built café racers and everything in between. Being a Tassie lad, and the nephew of the shops owner Michael, I knew he would be a great contact to have for someone who knows very little about motorbikes. Getting to know Hayden it became clear that Harleys were his thing. Hayden is currently in the process of building a pretty nice chopper for himself.
Tell us a bit about your project…
It is a 1973 Harley Davidson Sportster XLCH. I have completely rebuilt it, including the motor. I wanted to build a traditionally themed chopper (think Easy Rider) while keeping it simple and clean with some modern perks.
Is this the first build you’ve done for yourself?
Yes, through MLC I have had the opportunity to learn how to modify, restore and rebuild many different motorcycles, however this is the first I have undertaken as my own.
How long has this particular project taken so far?
I bought the original bike in early 2014 and pulled it apart after only one ride around the block. Nearing completion it has taken over 12 months with around 120 hours worth of actual work done to the bike.
What was it about Harleys, and in particular this model/ year that made you want to put your own together?
It started when I was a kid, I would go to the Toy Run (a Christmas charity ride) with my dad and check out all the bikes and one memory remains embedded in my mind from one of those events. I was walking around the car park among a sea of new Harleys and modern Japanese bikes as the announcer came over the PA system that the ride would be commencing and people should make their way back to their bikes. Not 30 seconds after he had finished speaking a bike very close to me started up, shaking the ground and startling my young self. Here next to me thumping away was an old navy blue, rigid frame 70’s era Harley Davidson Sportster, its owner sitting astride it, tattoos, denim and an old German war style helmet with the SS logo displayed vividly on the back. To this day I’m not sure if I was scared or intrigued but as he rode off I knew I had to have one.
Have you always been into bikes? Where did your love of motorbikes come from?
Throughout my teens I enjoyed motorcycles but was more of a car guy, it was only when my Dad got his bike license and an old Kawasaki Z650 that I became more interested. I actually didn’t get my license until I was 21 and then the old Kawasaki was mine to ride. It was actually riding that was my first love before getting more invested into the aesthetics and personality of customizing them.
Have you had any crazy experiences on a bike?
I was 21, zero riding experience, riding Tasmanian roads by myself on a 1979 Kawasaki that was 650cc. I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination. Sorry Mum.
Tell us about Lucky Six Motorcycles.
Lucky Six motorcycles is my own personal project. It allows me to share motorcycling experiences as well as my personal work through social media while being a platform for me to build on in the coming years. I am extremely excited as it has already led me here, I cannot wait to see what the future holds.
Have you noticed a big rise in interest in the bike scene lately? Is that Deus fault?
It has definitely been on the increase over the last few years and continues to grow. I don’t think you can say it is anyone’s fault but some companies are responsible for sure. The increase in interest has led to a greater awareness of motorcyclists both on the roads and in the community. Yes, some aspects of this can be negative, but only the so-called “purists” really get their knickers in a knot. Motorcycling for me is something that brings people together, if it weren’t for this community in Melbourne I wouldn’t be speaking to you right now nor would have made the good friends that I have. I am all for the growth and as far as the “custom scene” goes, the end products of blood, sweat, money, tears, late nights, and all the rest that comes with it (did I say money?!) will always sort the men from the boys.
Are café racers the new fixies?
You cannot really generalize however it seems that the term “café racer” gets thrown about loosely these days. It is very trendy at the moment, but that just means to me that when the trendy people get over it, guys like me get to snap up their left over unfinished projects cheap.
Was it a big switch to move over from Tassie to Melbourne? Can you see yourself moving back there one day?
The move from Tasmania was daunting, but necessary. I moved over here with my girlfriend, Erin, and we are really starting to make a neat little life over here for ourselves. I love Tasmania, I even have a tattoo dedicated to my home state, but it isn’t a place to further my dreams and aspirations both in my personal life and my career. Many people say “Oh, you’ll move back to have kids won’t you?” and I usually answer them with “Why would I move back, when they could grow up in the best city in the world with the best opportunities at their doorstep.”
Anyway enough about kids, they are expensive and I have bikes to build.
A couple of months ago we teamed up with Auckland based leather brand Good Winter to release a small capsule of leather goods. After seeing Melbourne based artist, Lill Desormeaux's intricate line drawings of barren landscapes and expansive cloud formations, we approached her to create us a visual accompaniment for the range. Working within Walter's story she created a mountain ring that was visually simple yet richly detailed, mirroring an aesthetic that we strive to embody within our work.
We managed to steal a couple of minutes with Lill to talk about growing up in 'Deadend', finding inspration in nature and studing ants with her Grandpa. Read on.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, my name is Lill Desormeaux. I was born in Kyneton, Victoria, Australia and currently live in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne. I moved from my small country town, Woodend, to Melbourne when I was 18. Woodend is known by the locals as ‘Deadend’ and although its pretty beautiful I guess as teenager I wasn’t really going to stick around for very long. I've been living, studying and working in Melbourne for the past few years.
At the moment through I'm learning French so I can speak to my Dad who moved over from Montreal 30 odd years ago. He doesn’t have anyone to speak it with so Im planning to surprise him on his birthday with a couple of whole sentences and hopefully some conversation. I’m also learning it because Quebecois swear words are great (heaps of cursing random religious items and the Virgin Mary).
It's a broad sweeping statement, but how does your creative process work?
I've always been quite creative but the incentive to really work at my drawings has come from a kind of unexpected place recently. I was working at a pretty horrible call centre a while ago and while calling people, trying to get them to talk to me, I began drawing pretty consistently. That’s where my obsessions with mountains and needing to fill the time resulted in the line drawings I currently do.
I also like to look at my small collection of art historical books, which have really fantastic prints of some of my favourite art works. Just by looking at these or having a squiz at a few Instagram pages always seems to make me want to start something new.
A lot of your work touches on nature and seemingly barren landscapes – where else do you find inspiration for you work?
I have recently finished a degree in art history so I think a lot of my inspiration draws from art historical mementoes or aesthetic cues that I have picked up along the way. At the moment I have a particular obsession with engravings and lithographs and my desktop on my computer seems to be full of them.
More specifically though I grew up below a big mountain range in north western Victoria. Living in an area of Australia, which is pretty affected by bushfires, I think has majorly influenced what I draw. There is definitely something to be said about the way nature is after a big bushfire and I seem to always come back to images of burnt mountains and big cumulous clouds as a constant source of inspiration (not as bleak as it sounds)
Is there a piece of advice that you've been given that you think has made an impact on your daily life?
My Grandpa was a really cool guy who I think about a lot in regards to how I live my life. He always stressed the importance of having an inquisitive mind. Even when he was in his 80’s he would decide he wanted to learn about something in particular, go into his library and spend as much time as he could learning about a particular subject. One time it was ants and I found him with a pile of books on ants in the back garden and a magnifying glass studying them. I think that’s a pretty fantastic quality to have.
Round it out, what can we expect next from you?
I feel like I've only really just started to be a bit more consistently creative but Im trying to branch out into a few different things. My friend wants to open up a small market stall on the weekends so Im going to attempt to be crafty and make something of my paintings and drawings which will appeal to the mainly over 50’s crowd of our local market. I'm looking to travel towards the end of the year and also start my post-graduate study.
You can see a little bit more of Lill's work on Instagram!
In the past couple of years Melbourne based photographer David Leyshon has become one of our go to guys for images. We've been lucky enough to work with him on a couple of shoots and are consistently impressed by his attention to detail, skill behind the lense and understanding of the Walter aesthetic.
We managed to steal a couple of minutes from him to chew the fat about photography, what motivates him and his bad boy side project Chop Shot. Read on.
1) Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is David Leyshon, I’m 30 and currently live in Melbourne. I take pictures.
2) What got you hooked on photography?
I have to give a lot of credit to my mum. She gave me my first SLR a canon AV-1 (which I still have) when I was a young teenager. I used to skate a lot with my buddies and found myself more and more behind the lens. I think I have a creative mind, but I really can’t draw or anything, so it gives me an outlet.
3) What inspires you/motivates you?
As cheesy as it sounds I get inspired by other creative people. Anyone that can make a career out of doing what they love is someone I aspire to be. I get all the motivation I need from finishing projects. Once I finish with a project I get so amped to start another one.
4) You've been involved in a couple of Walter Shoots – what's it been like working on the jewellery shoots?
Walter Crow have been one of my favourite clients. Especially as the shoots I do involve other professionals in different creative fields than mine. It also helps that the product is top notch. I can happily wear Walter with pride.
5) What is your go to equipment?
I’m a canon guy. I love my 5D Mark III, with a 70-200 2.8 you can’t go wrong. I’m lucky enough to work for Canon, so I have a cupboard full of toys. I use Broncolor lighting for my studio work.
6) Chop Shot, what is it and how did it come about?
Chop Shot is basically my alter ego, a side of my work that is strictly motorbike photography. I recently bought my first motorbike, after talking about it for way too long, and decided to shoot it in my studio. It was fairly stock and boring so I borrowed a bike from the boys at Mid Life Cycles and they were pretty happy with my work, so I shot some more, and people started asking me to shoot their bikes for them. Now I’ve been in a magazine, have 2 other magazines coming out and have a solo exhibition coming up in July. All this in under 6 months. It’s been full on but I’m enjoying the ride (pun intended).
7) Any advice for young photographers?
Shoot as much as you can, whenever you can, of whatever you can. You never know what will come of shooting something that you may not find interesting at the time. Also always find time to shoot your own personal work otherwise you risk losing passion to create new things.
8) Finish it up, where should Walter go next?
Come back and visit me in Melbourne. Product wise, I love that you guys are doing leather collabs. I’d like a motorbike wallet chain, key tag and tool roll….. Thanks.
I met Rhys Malcom in Adelaide when he was the manager of a converted double decker bus that was enjoying a new lease of life as a bohemian bar. He wore a captain's hat and whipped up the best espresso martinis in South Australia served with lashings of banter. Instantly we hit it off.
After a roller coaster stint living together in Melbourne we split ways, he shifted to grey, dreary London to take on the advertising world and I moved back to New Zealand to focus on Walter Crow. In between tackling the big briefs he manages to squeeze in some creative work for Walter Crow, see some of the hand drawn images below.
We caught up with him about the design process and where he finds inspiration. Read on.
1) What was it that originally made you want to become a designer?
I was always drawn to the visual and trying to create or make things. I remember getting one of those big art sets almost every Christmas from my grand parents, so I guess I was drawn to it from a young age. Later on I loved logos, I had a collection of tags from clothes I had bought and I used to create my own logos and brands during school. From there I started studying marketing at University but dropped out after the first year and didn't really have any direction. After that I think it was from talking to other people that helped me to make the decision to go back and study design, I had never really thought about design as a path but once I got in it was perfect for me.
It's taken a long time but my approach has really changed recently. I've always worked alone making all the decisions and trying to sell those to a client. Now I'm working in a large company it is a much more collaborative process taking ideas and direction from others. Totally different experience, but I've learnt to enjoy the collaborative process. My approach is to try to make good work, based on great ideas. In my personal work I try to draw on inspiration which involves lots of research, but research for designers is basically trolling blogs, Instagram, and great agencies, so it's not so horrible. I like to start on paper, as illustration is a big part on my work and what I enjoy, but the work usually develops organically during the process.
3) What currently interests you and how is it feeding into your work?
I think the biggest Influence at the moment is Instagram, in the last few months it has changed the way I work. Where in the past I was constantly working and keeping piles of notebooks that no one ever saw, now I'm starting to share my work a lot more. I found a lot of artists, illustrators, tattooists, brands and agencies that are doing such amazing work that I would never have been introduced to any other way. A big interest for me at the moment is hand drawn type and hand painted sign writing, there are some super talented people out there and it's inspiring. I like that there is a trend back towards seeing the artists hand in the work. People are avoiding the urge to make everything digitally perfect, which is hard sometimes but imperfections are not always mistakes.
4) If you were handed the ideal brief on a platter, what would it look like?
Sometimes when doing work even if it is for a great company that you like they have a brand and there are certain guidelines already created and you have to work within those parameters. That's why I love branding work, creating that brand and developing the visual communication that represents the values and ideas of a company. So if someone came to me and said I have a lot of money, and this idea for something that you are passionate about, now lets work together to make a brand, that seems like the ultimate scenario for me. Because that's more than a logo it involves everything from; what will the photos we put on Instagram look like, to what language will we use when sending someone an email, its like a personality but for a brand. Most of all its about 'trust', I think in this digital time people see design and think I can do that I know a bit about Photoshop, so working with someone who trusts your opinion and skill is always really nice and makes the process enjoyable.
5) Round it out - what's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
I remember at university my head lecturer said more than 50% of you will never actually work in design, that wasn't actually advice but it was motivating. I don't remember any real Disney movie moments where Emilio Estervez yelled something at half time and suddenly my life was great. It's more like the constant and continued support of family and friends that helps you to not be a dick, or at least they try their best.
See more of Rhys's work here!
Back in November we shot the look book for our first range 'Initiation' with barber Rowan Duley from Uncle Rocco's in Melbourne. When living there (and in Auckland) he was our go to guy for top fades and clean lines. As a well-dressed male that embodies traits we aspire to show within the Walter Crow world it only seemed natural to get on the blower and discuss his take on male grooming and fashion.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hey my name is Rowan. I was born in Hawkes Bay, NZ. Dannevirke to be exact. We moved from there at age 3 to the hippie West Auckland and then to the Hibiscus Coast at 13 where I would say I did most of my growing up until university. I dropped out of uni as I couldn't imagine myself behind a computer (I studied graphic design).
After working a few odd jobs I started a hairdressing apprenticeship at 19. Seven years passed and I got into session styling (the doing of hair for a photoshoot or show - e.g. magazine editorial). I decided it wasn't for me and wondered how I could keep cutting but not in a salon context, hence barbering.
After a short spell in Berlin I've been barbering in Melbourne for the last three years apart from a little stint teaching mens hairdressing. I guess I realised I liked the atmosphere and work of a barber shop so now I'm at Uncle Rocco's in Port Melbourne.
You've been a hairdresser and a barber – what are the notable differences?
The main difference for me would be cutting to shape. Barbering is all about the shape of the finished style. For me, sharp edges, depending on cut of course. More often than not it's about making mens' hair sit how it is cut as opposed to trimming it and styling it. Woman's hair is a whole other kettle of fish so we won't get into that.
Barbering is also a trade, so is hairdressing yes but a barber shop is more like a workshop. The language gets bad, the banter gets better but all and all it's a trade space. In a salon, I always found that it was a platform for fashion first, which I enjoyed for ages but after a while I just wanted a workshop which in turn became a barbershop.
There has definitely been a resurgence in the barbering industry – why do you think this is?
Mainly because men started to care, we all did but it was not talked about. Most barbers were old men - who were rad but not necessarily guys equipped to give you that 0 fade to suit your face shape. With the resurgence of facial hair the barber shop became a place where guys could get their beards trimmed. The price point for a haircut is also better for most, generally being half that or less of a salon.
For dudes the barber shop is a place where you can feel relaxed and be one of the boys. I love that feel with the barber shop, regulars are like gold. Even the ones that just chat they are the best.
There are currently too many barber shops for barbers in Melbourne in my opinion so unfortunately it can be a bit hit and miss with your cut but a little research and it will be the best time you have ever had.
Any advice for people out there who are looking at getting a fresh cut and stumped at what to go with?
Come in. I would ask questions and go from there. Do a tiny bit of research on the shop you want and how far you want to go and you will win for sure . I'm honestly not that fussy myself but i like to produce good work so that varies from person to person.
You're a well dressed male, style picks for 2015?
I feel I am not at this point but if you think so thanks! Get baggier, get comfy but don't be a hip dad. Oh and no biting and no headbands. Man buns are not for me but they seem popular - each to their own again.
Finally, what's the importance of male grooming?
Everything! You need to look good to feel good. Even if it's just new undies, we all know how good something can make you feel.
If you think about it you will maybe get 12 haircuts a year, at my shop thats only $420 (haha bonus). Thats not much really and you will look fucking choice for most of the year. We all care how we look - men and women so just own it and spend some time. Not money - time!
Photos all by David Leyshon. Cheers Phil.