In just ten years Camilla Franks has built a fashion and lifestyle empire based upon an ethos of vibrant, playful and luxurious design.
From avant-garde beginnings designing costumes for the stage, to a global fashion and lifestyle brand available in stores across Europe, the US, Middle East, Asia, and of course nationally in Australia—Camilla is one of Australia's most successful style exports.
We sat down one-on-one with this dynamic designer to discover her creative inspiration, favourite Sydney hangouts, and highlight celebrity moments.
TUL: Looking back over the Camilla archives is there a sentimental design favourite?
Camilla Franks: Oh God! That's a tough question; I have been designing and creating my collections for 10 years with each new season being my new favourite!!! I think the most sentimental pieces come from memories of my childhood and the very important women who have given me the strength and courage to keep achieving and running my business…
TUL: What are the key trends in colour and print this spring/summer 2013/2014?
Camilla: COLOUR and PRINT are everything to me! From darker tones with vibrant pops of colour to mixed designs that run the whole spectrum of the rainbow. I have always, since I began as an actress and costume designer, embraced colour and the eclectic little touches that make a garment special. I am loving the craziness of my "Artesania" print this season and I have always adored animal prints—they are wild and untameable (a bit like me!) and my Jaguar print this season is divine.
TUL: Can you describe the 'look' your upcoming Pachamama collection embodies?
Camilla: This season, with my new collection, I took my cues from a trip to South America where Mother Nature (Pachamama in Ancient Inca) is revered and respected as the giver of all life. This trip reminded me to connect back with the land, and to nature. As the year grew, so did my awareness of how other cultures connect to Mother Nature and I feel that there is a real movement back to her, back to where I think we all belong . . .
TUL: What is new on the accessories horizon?
Camilla: With my new Camilla World Collection about to launch into David Jones (20th November) and my womenswear, children's wear, loungewear and menswear, I've also added homewares and a beautiful new selection of accessories including: belts; scarves; headwear and cuffs; and new bags. Oh, and a new collection of exclusively designed floor rugs with Designer Rugs—phew!!!
I am incredibly excited to have Camilla fans enjoy a total lifestyle experience, to really immerse themselves in my world and the journey I want to take them on with me.
TUL: Beyoncé Knowles, Oprah Winfrey and Miranda Kerr are just a handful of your celebrity clients. Can you tell us one of your favourite Camilla label moments?
Camilla: I have been very lucky with the support of some very high profile, strong and talented women enjoying my designs. I would have to say Beyoncé wearing my Loom Lovers Playsuit on a recent holiday in Capri was pretty exciting! And for my last show at MBFW in Sydney this year, Georgia May Jagger [pictured top] walked in my collection show and I am a huge fan!!!
Recently, Angelina Jolie dropped into David Jones and purchased a piece for herself and some Jaguar leggings, round neck kaftan and a drawstring dress for her brood—so I was elated!
Beyoncé Knowles in Camilla
TUL: What was it like applying your design aesthetic to homewares in your collaboration with Designer Rugs?
Camilla: This for me was a wonderful symmetry—I'm really thrilled to be partnering with Designer Rugs and launching this new collection. Like my main fashion line, and my cushion collection, which I launched last year, the rugs are a true celebration of colour for the home. This is something I've always wanted to do!
Designer Rugs as a business is known for embellishing people's homes and I couldn't be prouder to include myself among their collaborators. I'm very proud to be part of the Designer Rugs family. To me, a home needs to encompass everything about you—sight, smells and textures, and to have a new collection of rugs to add to my family is wonderful.
TUL: Your label is classic resort wear at its finest. Can you tell us some of your favourite holiday destinations?
Camilla: There really are too many to count! I love the Great Barrier Reef for the natural beauty, I adored South America—the cultures and history are incredible! And I'm travelling through Mexico at the moment for a different side of the America's—the sights and smells are so unique and powerful, it's a really breathtaking place! The people, the architecture the festivals!!! I just love to travel and the more I can, the more I'll do…
TUL: We would love to know your favourite Sydney haunts for drink, dine and design?
Camilla: So many to choose from! I really like to entertain at home but when I do go out I like it to be unfussy and unpretentious.
I love the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel and Watsons Beach Club. The bar is relaxed, informal and the style is a little out there and smashed together, with a distinct bright and open, cheeky feeling—perfect!
I like Catalina Bar in Rose Bay too—the view of the harbour is stunning and I like to sit out on the deck and enjoy a glass or two of Pommery Champagne and soak in the view . . .
For completely different reasons I am really a fan of The Riley Street Garage—the feeling of comfort but still coolness hits you the moment you walk in and I love the share plates and simplicity of the menu—great to have with friends.