Camilla: trading kaftans for campfires

For Camilla Franks, it all started during her actor training days
when she designed costumes for her glaringly lengthy stage performances.
“Firstly I did terrible plays and then I hated the costumes they made
for me. It was so boring. No colour, no fun.”

It was seven years ago when she was stereotyped for being a “hippie
and a flamingo dancer”. Today, with her brand Camilla, she has created
an exceptional niche that still falls under the “gypsy” outlook. Albeit a
luxurious gypsy.

This internationally acclaimed designer has done it all, from working
in Los Angeles at the Grammy Awards to launching a charity-driven
coffee table book that raised over AU$80,000 for UNIFEM. “We used the
money raised from Women of the World [the book], and built a school in
Lao. We’re teaching women how to work with silk there. I have been on
the most fascinating roller coaster ride. I’ve seen the good, the bad
and the ugly,” says Franks.

Ironically, Franks wasn’t always enamoured by her infamous title of
the Kaftan Queen. But her disapproval didn’t last long. “When I first
got that title, I was still trying to evolve as a designer and it really
frustrated me. But now I’m really comfortable with it. At the end of
the day, it brings me back to what I do best,” she says.

To coincide with the debut of Camilla’s autumn / winter
‘Woodstock Collection’ and to find out exactly what it is that the
designer has done best for this new season, sat down
with Camilla Franks to discuss what she has for the Camilla girl this
season, and what the future holds for the brand.

camilla autumn 2011

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