It’s no secret that Camilla Franks loves colour and kaftans. But what you might not know is that if she wasn’t a fashion designer she’d be a chef, she doesn’t believe you can ever over-accessorise and her home is full on Frida Kahlo paintings and trinkets.
I was invited into her sunny Sydney terrace where she shared her style secrets and I met her two gorgeous (and ginormous) dogs, Beau and Gypsy.
Camilla Surrealist Xanado Round Neck Kaftan, $565. CLICK TO BUY
Describe your personality in three words.
Colourful, passionate and playful.
Where did your passion for fashion begin?
As a young girl I was always on stage. I loved getting dressed up in my costumes. That hasn’t changed. I don’t see the difference between a costume and fashion!
Is there anyone that inspired you to join the fashion industry?
It was never really a decision that I made. It just happened organically.
How would you describe your own style?
Just like my personality, it’s colourful and playful. I love to reflect my travels through jewellery and antique pieces. Even through my hair.
When you’re not wearing your signature kaftan, what are you wearing?
I’m a creature of comfort. I like to wear lounge trousers and a comfy tee. For winter I’ll add a denim jacket. I’m a big fan of an Ugg boot.
Camilla Courtesan Harem Pants, $399.
Who’s your celebrity style crush?
Lady Gaga. Her style is fun and playful.
What’s your favourite trend right now?
I hate trends – I don’t believe in them.
What would we never see you wearing?
A corporate suit.
Do you think it’s possible to wear a kaftan in the workplace? What’s your advice for pulling it off?
Definitely. Our style guide showcases lots of different ways you can wear our kaftans. The best way to work it into the workplace is through layering and elegant accessories.
What are the three pieces you find yourself wearing constantly?
When it’s cold I love to wear my digitally printed jackets partnered with shifts or a jumpsuit. For evening I think my zip-front dress is so flattering.
What are your tips for winterizing a kaftan?
Layering – long sleeves underneath, scarves, leggings, etc.
What is the most treasured piece of clothing in your closet?
A beautiful hand knit from my mother when she was pregnant with me. She bought it in London. It’s a brightly coloured poncho with fringing.
So you and your mum have a similar sense of style?
Yes, we are very similar in the way we dress. We both love kaftans, headscarves and anything gypsy-esque.
What’s in your closet that you’ve never worn before?
So many things. On a trip to London I was in Cambridge to watch Dan McPherson in a play and beforehand I went shopping with his mother. I bought this D&G dress. Turns out it was not my style at all.
Where do you love to shop?
I’m a big market shopper, but I buy most of my fashion overseas. I love South America for their textiles and beading markets.
If you weren’t a fashion designer, what would you be?
A frustrated actress or a cook (not a chef). I love cooking.
What’s your signature dish?
Seafood. I love making mussels in a white wine and garlic sauce.
The Fashion Tips.
Camilla A Land of Wonder Cowl Neck Tank Top, $249; Camilla A Land of Wonder Pocket Skirt Dress, $499.
What are your top five style tips?
1. Be comfortable.
2. Reflect your personality.
3. Don’t follow trends.
5. Don’t be boring.
What are your top tips for winterising your summer wardrobe?
Adding layers and cashmeres.
What’s the best outfit for those ‘feeling frumpy’ days?
Honestly a kaftan is perfect. You’ll feel elegant and thin.
What key piece should everyone own this winter?
My printed jackets – it’s fun and can even be working into a corporate environment.
What is one piece of clothing every woman should splurge on?
Invest in a kaftan – you’ll wear it for the rest of your life, and might even share it with generations of your family since they’re so versatile and flattering on all shapes.
Life As A Designer.
Camilla Violet Eyes Shoestring Strap Jumpsuit, $599.
How has your kaftan kingdom evolved since you first began?
I’ve expanded into ready-to-wear collections, added more categories like bags and shoes, and I’ve developed a retail presence, which gives my brand a face. I’ve evolved from what’s safe to new and challenging avenues.
Describe a typical week for you.
Chaotic – this morning started at 6am with personal training. Then I worked on some new designs, had an interview with LifeStyled, and coming up I have a meeting with my team about our 2013 winter collection followed by a meeting with my PR team at Sally Burleigh PR, hair & make-up and a photo shoot with David Jones, a swimwear meeting, starting on my winter apparel. After all that I’ll go home and cook. It’s never boring.
What inspires you?
My amazing team, my partner and my dogs. I really do enjoy coming to work everyday because of them. My travels also inspire my creativity.
What’s your favourite piece in your current collection?
My favourite print is the Violet Eyes belted kaftan. It’s a tribute to Liz Taylor.
Camilla Violet Eyes Shoestring Strap Jumpsuit, $599; Camilla Violet Eyes Jacket, $549.
You can buy Camilla’s collection online at camilla.com.au. **Most of the pieces Camilla is wearing won’t be available until late October.
The LifeStyled List.
Tea or Coffee? Coffee!
Favourite Flower? Sunflower.
Heels or Flats? No shoes.
Favourite Cocktail? Pisco Sour.
Style Icon? Varuska (a Russion model in the sixties).
Signature Scent? Jasmine oil.
Favourite City? Sydney.
Reading… Textile books.
Listening… Meditation CDs.
Biggest fashion weakness… Native American antique jewellery.
Guilty pleasure… Wine & cheese platters (followed by chocolate).
Every woman should own… a kaftan.
I will never wear… corporate clothing.
I need… a holiday.
I want… balance in life.
Inside Her Home.
The perfect extension of her style and personality, Camilla’s home is full of bold shades, worldly trinkets and lots and lots of fluffy cushions. It’s where colour and comfort go to hang out.
Photographer: Erin O’Sullivan