I designed and sewed my first pieces in my parent’s home in Watsons Bay. From there, I opened the Bondi Beach house, the first CAMILLA store and it’s been one big party ever since!
Camilla has been an iconic Australian designer for as long as I’ve been earning an income. Which actually means, for as long as I’ve had money to burn, Camilla designs have been my splurge of choice, and for good reason. The vibrant, energetic fabrics encrusted with tiny jewels which sparkle and capture the sunlight, feature across a bold, amazing range of garments, from the well-known Camilla kaftans, to tops, pants, jackets, swimwear, and even accessories. The savvy designer has ensured that if you’re a cultish fan (and there are plenty), you can wear Camilla all day every day. And we love her for it.
This Friday she’s also one of the featured designers at the David Jones Showcase for the Mercedes-Benz Adelaide Fashion Festival – so you can come along and see all the latest CAMILLA designs on the catwalk.
Ahead of the parade, Glam Adelaide had a chat with the iconic designer to talk about her journey and her incredible designs.
Tell us a bit about how you got started in the fashion industry?
My acting days were the platform for the CAMILLA you see today. It was born from my love of the stage. I would make kaftans to lounge around in-between scenes, and from there it took off.
How long has your label been stocked in Adelaide for and how do you find the Adelaide market?
Opening our first boutique in South Australia was something Adelaide customers had long called for and I think they were delighted when we threw open the doors on December 5th, 2015 at Burnside Village. Prior to this our beautiful sisters at Loca Bella Boutique spread the CAMILLA love for 6 years.
You use a lot of bright, intricate prints and patterns, what is the inspiration behind these designs?
It comes as no new news that travel is the cornerstone of our prints and collections each season. My head designer Jenna and I have a unique job to do!
We travel off the beaten track; and immerse ourselves into the world of the unknown and the unexpected. We often don’t speak the same language but share we a common language through textile, sound, food, colour & beading. It connects us.
We have duelling cameras and usually come back with over 30,000 images.
This poetic collision of imagery and personal experiences translate into the prints for each collection which is designed to capture the essence of destinations, people and cultures. They are a travelling journey… they tell my story… my experiences. Each season it evolves further and naturally, our RIO collection is brighter and bigger than ever.
What are your collection’s hottest colours/trends/textures this season?
The current collection ‘From Rio, With Love’ was inspired by my recent journey through South America. We travelled to Brazil, Columbia and Ecuador and I found myself surrounded by so much colour! You’ll find hand-painted toucans, Amazonian jungle and postcards from paradise in the prints this season and while silk is still at the core of the CAMILLA DNA, we have also used printed leather, a touch of linen and embellished jacquards.
If you had to sum up your latest collection in one sentence, what would you say?
Loud, unapologetic, flirty, romantic, mysterious and wild!
Who’s going to love your collection and what is your must-have piece?
I hope everyone loves this collection! When I began, I wanted to create designs that allowed every woman to feel beautiful, no matter her age, shape, size or colour, and I hope my designs allow them to feel just that. The concept of inclusiveness and acceptance is always at the forefront of my mind.
My must-have piece from the collection is the Salvador Summer cross front wrap dress. This gem was one of my favourites when I recently travelled through the South of France.
What other Australian designers you find inspiring?
How long have you got?!? Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales from Romance Was Born are friends of mine and I’m constantly in awe of their creative prowess. They take an idea and then dial it up to 11 and then turn it into a garment. We also share the same creative god in Mark Vassallo so we’re on the same wave-length in how we ‘show up’.
What are some of your favourite national fashion events and why?
We go where the Tribe calls – VAMFF, Adelaide Fashion Festival, Perth Fashion Festival and we also returned to Brisbane this year too! The two DJ’s shows also really kick-off our season and I look forward to these every year.
How do you feel about being involved in David Jones’ Adelaide Fashion Festival show? What does this mean to you and your brand?
David Jones is family to me and definitely one of my biggest wins as a business woman.
With the love and support of my DJs family, my dream to be Australia’s leading lifestyle brand is turning into a reality. DJs took a leap of faith with me. Their support of my vision and all my crazy little ideas illustrates that as retailers, they are at the forefront of what they do. I love to hit the runway with DJ’s and anything we do together is always a blast.
When you come to Adelaide, what are the bars and restaurants you never fail to hit up?
2KW is one of my favourites to dine at, Hains and Co is the place for a cocktail and Africola is just plain fun! If you have time for a chilled day in the country, Hentley Farm in the Barossa and for beers on Sunday, the West Oak hotel.
What are some bars and restaurants we need to try in Sydney, where you’re from?
There are so many! Two classics I can never go past are Raw Bar across the road from my Bondi Beach House, a favourite haunt that will never get old and Bistro Moncur is the place to go for a great red and steak frite like they serve in Paris.
What’s one fashion hack you’ve found invaluable when running shows that might be of use to the every-day fashionista?
My team are my fashion hack because, straight up, you can’t do epic shit with basic people! They are savvy, smart and resourceful – good skills to have when you’re trying to coordinate hundreds of fashion glitterati on to a boat in Sydney harbour at 7am in the middle of Winter for a runway show straight out of Africa!
What can people expect to see on Friday when they come along?
When it comes to CAMILLA, always expect the unexpected! We’ll be showcasing our current collection, ‘From Rio, With Love’ so you’ll see looks you can shop immediately and some sneak previews of the fruity goodness that is still to come. We will also walk our David Jones exclusive print ‘Skyfall’ which is inspired by my time spent in the rainforest of the Amazon.