One of Australia’s most adored fashion labels, CAMILLA, is known for its vibrant colors, intricate details and beautiful craftsmanship. The brand is admired by women for designs that are feminine, sexy and luxurious. CAMILLA has many stores across Australia, but the designs are coveted worldwide, including on an ever-growing list of celebrities such as Beyonce, Olivia Palermo, Alessandra Ambrosia, Georgia May Jagger, Miranda Kerr and Lily Allen. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with designer Camilla Franks about her line, plus Camilla invited us to be the first to reveal her latest SWIM collection exclusively for A Bikini A Day. We traveled to the beautiful island of Staniel Cay in the Bahamas to shoot; the beaches were equally as beautiful as the designs themselves, a match made in heaven. Scroll down for video and photo.
What is new? I recently returned from an inspiration trip through Europe, followed by a New York sales trip where I met with key international CAMILLA stockists Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom & Bloomingdales. USA is a key market for us and our international business is flying. Whilst there, we launched a CAMILLA pop-up store in Bergdorf Goodman and caught up with long time muse Georgia May Jagger. I have just opened my 10th store in Australia, with 2-3 more stores planned in the next 12 month, plus a refreshed website (camilla.com.au) and more CAMILLA Worlds at David Jones. The dream and evolution never stops.
What made you decide to launch a swimwear line? We have been dancing with SWIM for a few seasons. The response was overwhelming and to be honest we were caught short (not enough of it!), plus we had production issues to resolve. This year we launch CAMILLA Swim loudly and proudly! CAMILLA is a lifestyle brand and to offer an extended range of swim, resort pieces and board short for our fella’s is a natural extension of the brand.
Are you nervous about stepping into the swimwear world? It is always nerve-wracking launching something new. You hope that people will love it as you do. You never truly know until they hit the stores. I think my CAMILLA prints make for a unique swim offering in the market. We find that customers come to CAMILLA because they want a signature, something different, so hopefully this will resonate.
What can we expect from this collection? IN THE NAME OF THE TRIBE is the name of our Spring/Summer collection. The prints were born largely from my journey through Vietnam – which was one of my most incredible inspiration trips ever! I wandered through many hill tribes & communities including The Flower H’Mong, Nung, Giay People, Red Dao and the Lahu. They left an indelible impression on what it means to be connected. What it means to be in a community a tribe with their own unique handwriting and DNA. I stayed with them, ate with them and bonded with their creativity . The whole experience organically guided my design direction for the entire collection… This is now one of my favourite babies.
What inspires the unique prints featured in your collections, and will we be seeing these in your swimsuits as well? CAMILLA Swim is an extension of the prints used for our main line collection. Each print is original and for this collection represent a part of the wild kingdom and the beauty and abundance of nature found in my travels in the Vietnamese Hill Tribes and beyond. Some of the print inspirations include: ‘Eyasi Stillness: “Wild. Still. Hunting. Gathering. Life. Nature. Connected. Raw. This is the call of the Serengeti”. Layers of neutral toned animal prints evoke core tribal values of the Serengeti. ‘In the dance of the Dao’ Each tribe had its own unique textile methods & aesthetics. “Clothing which they wear with pride, their identity, their connection. Interwoven. Fierce. Connected. Tattooed. Textiles. Adorned. Bound. Indigo. Community. We salute you Tribe of the Red Dao”. The collection takes a vibrant & playful turn with the ‘The Unseen World’ & ‘Awakened Utopia’. Celebrating the crazy & unseen worlds of the rainforest. “Wild. Hidden. Awakened. Jungle. Connect. Rainbow. Utopia. We are in rapture with Amazonia”.
How would you describe your designs and what do you think makes them so appealing to women around the world? CAMILLA styles are unique & they tell stories of global wanderings, yearnings & inspirations. CAMILLA designs are hand crafted and unlike anything that you can buy anywhere else and I like to think they make people feel special and beautiful. By wearing a Camilla piece you become a part of my tribe, the CAMILLA tribe. It also helps that we are evolving into a true lifestyle brand offering swimwear, womenswear, menswear (boardshorts are new this season), kids, cushions, candles and home. I dream of one day opening a six star HOTEL CAMILLA!!!
Do you believe in following trends? CAMILLA is not about trends. We are about colourful prints, luxurious fabrics & beautiful embellishments and I like to think we float alongside and are in harmony with most trends but overall are more timeless and enduring in our design ethos.
Why wear a kaftan? The beauty & brilliance of a kaftan is that it is so simple in structure– loose, flowing & form free in a romantic sort of way. A kaftan comes to life in motion, manifesting surrounding light and spirit. You can’t help but feel amazing. A kaftan is also very versatile. It can be worn more than a dozen ways. It suits everyone – tall, short, skinny, round, younger or more mature. You will feel beautiful I promise!
What do you believe is the must-have item in your SWIM collection, if a woman can only choose one? Don’t make me choose one!!!!!! There are so many good ones. ‘Pathway to Eternity’ bikini, ‘World Between the Warp’ one piece or the Split front cover up in ‘The Unseen World’.
SHOP THE A BIKINI A DAY SWIM EDIT HERE: