Style Melbourne

L’Oreal Paris Runway 2 at LMFF 2013

“I think when you put something out in the universe – I don’t know what it is with my life – it tends to happen.” So before Camilla Franks retires to a vineyard “in Europe somewhere” what is she wishing on a star for? It seems the designer’s lifelong dream is for no less than the entire world to be swaddled in her colour-soaked prints. Evolving from the ‘Australian kaftan queen’ title into a lifestyle brand, the Camilla empire currently includes menswear, womenswear (plus a diffusion line), children’s clothing, candles, cushions, bags, shoes and jewellery. “My production team can’t keep up!” Her MBFWA show is soon, she’s also just opened a new boutique in Cottesloe, Western Australia, with for plans for retail expansion in America, fitting her local Armadale store with a cafe/bar and perhaps a New York Fashion Week show next year.

As if that’s not enough, Camilla’s most recent project is a collaboration with Designer Rugs (who have previously worked with Alex Perry). “We discussed doing rugs a while back…they contacted me and I was like ‘damn yeah’”. Translating silk and apparel prints to rugs for the home was a learning experience. At first the team attempted Camilla’s more intricate designs; “we did small swatches and I thought ‘that just looks like Austin Powers has gone crazy’. Let’s pull it back.” The strategy has worked with the rugs already in high demand for editorial lifestyle shoots including Vogue.

The ‘Tales from a Reading Room’ collection, as shown at the recent L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, was “inspired by a lot of reading I’d done on different cultures and places and societies; Egypt, the dynasties,” explains Camilla over peppermint tea.

“I was in this (South American) monastery in the middle of nowhere and there was pretty much the most incredible library I’d ever seen. And this is coming from someone who hated libraries at school. I was just blown away by the full experience. They had beautiful big fire, candlelight, big goblet of wine. The cheese platter!” State Library of Victoria, are you taking notes? “You felt like you were stepping back in time. I was like “yeah, this is a reading room man”.”

Between bouts of altitude sickness the designer indulged in learning from antique books resulting in the collection below. Her jewellery this season is amazing in particular; with oversized, be-jewelled cocktail rings in the form of scarab beetles and dangling earrings fit for a Pharaoh.

Camilla‘s designs featured in L’Oreal Paris Runway 2 at the 2013 L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival. The show also featuring designer labels Kate Sylvester, Leona Edmiston, Lisa Ho, Bianca Spender and Morrison. Listen to the show’s music playlist here.

Photography by S De Varax

Kate Sylvester

LMFF Runway 2 2013


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