Up close and personal with Camilla Franks

| 23 October , 2009 | 3 Replies

I was excited to head down to Camilla’s Beach House recently with my friend Emma to celebrate the start of our summer months ahead and check out Camilla‘s latest collection, Soleil.

When we arrived the venue was bursting at the seams with fun and friviolity; Camilla’s Beach House was decked out with blue and white Beach Hut change rooms and beach balls, the store was transformed with a indoor/outdoor garden creating the ultimate chill out zone all in front of Australia\’s most iconic beach.

The beach inspired cocktails went down a treat, chasing down the delicious canapes and had fun playing dress-ups with her totally glamboyant new range of gorgeous girlie kaftans and playsuits from her Soleil Collection … all the while feeling like we were a private  party in her house – if you haven’t been down to her Beach House you so need to go!

Camilla, Jess & Hannah & Annalise_framedFrom the minute the vivacious Camilla Franks created her first kaftan five years ago a fashion icon was born.

This former actress had been making her own theatrical costumes for years and inspired by her mother\’s love of kaftans, launched a collection that would change the course of Australian fashion history.

With fans the likes of Sharon Stone, Prince, Nicole Kidman, Mischa Barton, Bette Midler, Kim Cattrall and Elle Macpherson, it wasn\’t long before Gwen Stefani, Paula Abdul, the Pussycat Dolls, Fergie and Beyonce would all embrace her wow factor flair for colour and design.

The Camilla label brings worldly charm and exotic flavour to timeless fashion. [Source]

So I had to ask Camilla how she does it every season:

I love love love your new range, the colours, fabrics, designs are just heavenly.  What was your inspiration this season?

I created the Soleil collection as a tribute to my travels from The Maldives to India, Africa, The Caribbean and Mexico. I want to celebrate the beauty, strength and fragility of the natural world. I am inspired by island paradises, idyllic gardens and the warmth of the sun as it rises and falls. Soleil is made up of exotic bold prints and a kaleidoscope of florals.

With the fabric designs, do you design them yourself or do you have artists you works with to come up with the beautiful designs?

I create my fabric prints from scratch, an element that differentiates me from many other designers.  Creativity seems to run in my family, as my father is a brilliant artist who taught me to paint as a young girl. I now combine the skills he has taught me with various other techniques such as photographing to create the prints that come to life in my collections.


How did you become a fashion designer?  Was it something you always wanted to do?

My transition from actress to designer was accidental. As an actress I always loved designing my own costumes.  They were often extremely dramatic pieces as I was inspired by the flamboyant characters I was frequently cast to play. My designing began seven  years ago, however I grew up inspired by my mother\’s sense of style.

I notice you have branched out with some gorgeous pantsuits and maxi-dresses.  Once again all so wantable, were they a natural extension to your Kaftans or was it driven by something else?

A huge part of my design aesthetic is about creating styles and designs that empower women of every shape and size.  Expanding the collection into playsuits, blouses, cami\’s, pants and dresses in various silhouettes has allowed me to cater to even more women and is the result of a very loyal and ever increasing client base.

antigua shoulder bow mini

You have done an amazing job with the styling of your store in Bondi, it\’s so homely, are any more store locations opening up?  If so, where and will it be similar to the Bondi store styling?

Thank you, it was such a personal process creating the look and feel of the Bondi space. It really is a home away from home for me and my team.  As mentioned our flagship Camilla Beach House store is located in Bondi, we have a boutique in Woollahra and countless stockists Australia wide and internationally.

We are opening a store in Mosman this weekend which is really exciting and will continue the feel of the existing stand alone stores. Essentially I want all my stores to be truly welcoming, an extension of my home with touches that reflect my personal style.

Camilla Frank 09 Collection

What\’s a day-in-the-life of Camilla like?  I bet it\’s different everyday!

Where possible I try to stick to a routine, but no day is ever really the same.  The day starts for me with a power walk along the beach near our Bondi store, I find it a really positive way to start the day and a great way to clear my head.

From there the day can go in any number of directions – from meeting with the team to discussing the business, to attending events, creating new prints for the next collection or interacting with the customers who come into the store which joins onto our offices.

Leopard maxi dress

Do you wear your Kaftan\’s every day?  What about Winter, how do you stay warm? (am assuming the answer is yes)

The beauty of the kaftan style is that it lends itself to so many different looks and climates with styling and layering. I am always in an item of Camilla as I have designed each collection to ensure they are really wearable. My morning power walk is definitely one activity undertaken san-kaftan!

What\’s coming up next?  I so can see some Camilla body products and candles.

The sky is the limit! I take customers feedback on board when it comes to this area and it has seen us move into bags in the most beautiful Italian leathers.

Some quick girlie questions:

Who is your fashion ‘icon\’? My fashion icon will always first and foremost be my mum. The epitome of relaxed glamour she is my inspiration and joins the ranks of Sophia Loren for timeless elegance.

Have you seen Valentino, The Last Emperor yet?  If so, what did you think? No not yet, will add to my to do\’s – it sounds brilliant – just need to find some spare time!

What are your top three beauty secrets? Keeping a summer glow all year round with super hydrated skin, it has to be Fiji Water.  Second are my lunch deliveries, which my best friend makes from organic low fat goodies. Thirdly spending quality time with my beautiful and inspirational mother and of course smiling.

What is/are your favourite beauty product that you just can\’t get enough of? Elizabeth Arden Bronzer, Model Co Foundation and MAC eye shadows which come in the most amazing pigments and highlight any Kaftan.

Birds of Paradise Billowy Blouse & Shoulder Bow Floor Length Dress - HI RES

Do you shop online?  Do you have any favourites? (can be here or o/s) Not enough time but love the idea of having all brands and labels accessible at a click of a finger. It has been a really popular area with our customers and we recently launched a new online shopping element to our website so that we are accessible to everyone.

Who is your celebrity crush? I like to think every one is a celebrity in their own right but if I had to choose someone it would be Sophia Loren for her old school glamour and sophisticated sexiness.

Which is your favourite place in the world and why? Saint Tropez.

Describe yourself in 5 words& Hard-working, creative, vivacious, loving, passionate &

What\’s your life\’s motto? Like Nike says ‘just do it\’!

What five favourite things can\’t you live without? My partner John, our beautiful dog Gypsie Rose, my amazing team, my passport which gives me the freedom to explore new worlds and my family.

Which Sassi Moment best describes you? Believe it or not – Nothing to Wear!

Your favourite fun and girlie thing you like to do? Dance.

Porcelain long sleeve dress

I love Camilla’s passion and creativity and I celebrate her success.

Get down to her Bondi Beach House or go and check out new store in Mosman (opens this weekend) or ONLINE to find your favourite Camilla MUST HAVE design … I love the Birds of Paradise maxi-dress, I so want to be wafting around in that glamboyant print!

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  1. Sassi Sam says:

    You would be best to contact the Camilla Franks team via their website: http://www.camilla.com.au

  2. Lara VonBon says:

    wow where can I buy that Leopard maxi Dress? and how much is it

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