If it were up to us, we'd seriously live in kaftans and muumuus all day every day. It's easy to say that no one knows a chic kaftan better than hers truly from down under, Camilla Franks of CAMILLA. And we're not the only ones who love her – Beyonce is her number one: from her European getaway (here and here), to sightseeing in Cambodia (here), and to her most recent retreat in Hawaii (here), it's easy to say her #VacationStyle staple is almost always CAMILLA.
For the first time ever, the CAMILLA tribe caravanned its way to Miami for Swim Week where we were lucky enough to catch up with the queen of kaftans at the CAMILLA Beach House – a.k.a. the chicest suite at the Faena. Here, Camilla gives us the low-down on her growing style tribe, the inspiration behind her new collection, and what the ultimate #VacationStyle essential is...
VacationStyle: Can you tell us a little bit about your story and how you got to where you are today?
Camilla Franks: 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. I designed and sewed my first pieces in my parent’s home in Watson’s Bay. From there, I opened the Bondi Beach house, the first CAMILLA store. It’s been one big party ever since!
VS: What did you think was different about what you were doing?
CF: At CAMILLA, our vision is to awaken the adventurous heart that resides within all of us (no matter who we are), because we believe that everyone has a right to experience freedom and feel joy. My constant traveling is the primary source of my inspiration and every print I design tells a story, like a piece of art. My designs celebrate all women – no matter what age, shape and size they are. I truly believe that we’ve achieved success challenging the global idea of what fashion is, in adventurous ways, creating beauty from the unexpected. We are forever exploring new lands and with that comes new offerings to keep our clientele constantly engaged.
VS: What’s the inspiration behind your new collection?
CF: Last year I travelled to some of the most remote tribes in Africa. I had the upmost honor of spending time with some of the most remote tribes in the world Kenya – the Maasai, Pokot, Turkana and Samburu. It was an experience that both changed and awakened me and solidified the meaning of tribe to me. We are all connected, we’re all one. This collection is in honor to the the vibrancy of color, the beauty of the land, and the spirit of the people. It is an expression of the love and light she felt during my time in this stunning part of the world. A true celebration of life!
VS: What are some hidden gems in Sydney?
CF: I travel so often that when in Sydney, my favorite spots are near home – either walking my two big fur babies, Beau and Gypsy in Centennial Park in the Eastern Suburbs or dining with friends across the road at a classic restaurant called Bistro Moncur. For retail, I love spending time in my own boutiques. They are an interpretation of my global wanderings where I can introduce people to the beautiful storytelling behind my collections.
VS: How would you describe your style? Does it differ when you’re on vacation?
CF: The CAMILLA kaftan was one of my original designs. To me it still represents my ultimate VacationStyle - effortless, playful and adventurous. The kaftan is like a canvas for me to sing the songs of my travels in vibrant color, embellishment and print placement detail. Nowadays my collection has grown into many more silhouettes, swim, kids’ and home designs that more and more celebrities, stylists and devoted women have discovered as a part of our growing tribe.
VS: You're go-to brands on vacation (aside for your own, of course)?
CF: Isabel Marant and NIKE.
VS: Beauty essentials you cannot travel without?
CF: Waking up to my own time of self-love which starts with yoga and meditation. Other essentials are my Akoubra hat, essential oils, Evian face mist and a good lip balm.
VS: If you could waive your magic wand and travel anywhere where would that be?
CF: To fall into the arms of my partner in Wales.
VS: What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
CF: Even though I never met him, the words of Winston Churchill resonate with me, “success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” It’s what’s kept me persevering over the years believing in this great big baby of mine.
One-piece or two? Two.
Kaftan or sarong? Kaftan – worn in about 12 ways, from beach to bar.
Hair-up or down? Up in a head scarf or under a hat.
Makeup or no makeup? Most days, none.
Flats or heels? Barefoot.
Jewelry or no jewelry? Antique pieces and tribal beads I’ve collected on my travels.
Underpack or overpack? Over - you can never have too many CAMILLAs.
Detox or retox? Both - on alternate days.
Stick with what you know or try something new? New - I am eternally excited by the unexpected!
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