You'll probably never ever see so much swim and beachwear concentrated on to one Style Bubble page at the same time ever again.  That said, not to point out the obvious but I am in Sydney, city of sun, sand and surf.   Where I may have previously eschewed this intrinsic part of Australian fashion, in lieu of my pathetic beach rejecting body, I now wholly embrace and am in awe of the the sun worshipping aspect of this city and the sartorial rituals that go with that.  For instance this is a country that has a healthy and buoyant holiday set, and they love a good beach cover-up.   Camilla Franks' caftan business has been thriving for seven years serving a set of women, who like to waft around on beaches in swathes of extroverted printed chiffon.   Franks is something of a fashion personality in Australia and her shows reflect her larger than life (in spirit not in size) presence.   Therefore so it is that Camilla, an admittedly not very Style Bubble brand, graces this post, as their extravagant show visuals couldn't really be beat in the scheme of Australian fashion week.  

In the centre of Centennial Park smoke was rising from a grouping of teepee tents and as we approached, we were greeted by the lethal combination of animals and cute kids.  Lethal as in it's pretty hard not to fall for that sort of instagram/photo bait.   Those curly and floppy haired boys and girls were selling in Camilla's psychedelic prints chiming in with the cushions, rugs and lampshades, which were suspended from the trees.  An alpaca, a boobook and a barn owl and a cockatoo were supposedly part of Camilla's Mother Nature cast of characters to better illustrate how at one we can be with animalia if we're floating around in a caftan.   I did bump into the alpaca purposely to see how it would react.  It was perfectly content with munching on grass and didn't mind being petted endlessly.  I'll leave Camilla to do the talking to talk up her connection with Mother Nature…  

"This collection is born directly from my personal journey as I reconnect with Mother Nature, or as the Incas called her Pachamama.  I feel that there is a movement taking us back to Mother Nature, back to where we belong."  

What does this all mean?  Well, a lot of cultural "borrowing" for a start and a few Colours of the Wind-esque allusions that can be drawn from prints inspired by the "colourful wildlife in flight" or "skies above the Amazon rainforest" and "The Promised Land".  You could be stony faced about all of this.  Except by then you would have already been swayed by the cute alpaca, the smiley Camilla-clad group of blondes and of course those kids, who were the perfect persuasive bait for everyone to melt at the sight of them.  Georgia May Jagger was exclusively flown in for the show (it can be deduced that yes, Camilla shifts a LOT of caftans) and closed it, doing a lap of victory with the inimitable Camilla.        

I still don't quite know how to reconcile this cacophony of South American and Indian journey with what are actually well-made and well-crafted garments.  A few people commented "Oh my god this is so Coachella" and you weren't quite sure whether they meant that as a compliment or not.  In all honest it's the show set-up and creative execution courtesy of Mark Vassallo, which saw this show through.  Not selling it into you?  Oh well, just call it my excuse to put a picture of an alpaca (the animal, not the bi-product wool) on the blog.     
































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  1. Meital

    2013-04-12 at 9:04 PM

    gorgeous collection! I really like the photos!
    Très Jolie blog

  2. margief

    2013-04-12 at 9:21 PM

    These are stunning pieces and a world away from the crappy primark beachwear I end up buying every year. They look so thick and cosy like you could be riding a lama through a mountain range in one…

  3. emi

    2013-04-12 at 9:59 PM

    what i would do to waft ‘around on beaches in swathes of extroverted printed chiffon’ and look that ravishing in a swimsuit! if only throwing on a Camilla Franks tunic could do away with this bloody unibrow and excess pooch thanks to months of hibernation and chocolate. the prints are spectacularly bold & colorful – stunning, really. are the garments hand woven? ps. am i crazy or does that one model have an ink moustache?

  4. Corazón Regas

    2013-04-12 at 11:55 PM

    These pieces are gorgeous! I really like the use of the Indian and Andean prints in this collection. I would love to see Camila Franks use models of color to display the clothes though!
    Beautiful over all!

  5. Jules

    2013-04-13 at 1:03 AM

    Wow. Look at all of those gorgeous and vibrant colors. Amazing photos!
    Jules of Canines & Couture

  6. Emily Whitehall

    2013-04-13 at 1:19 AM

    Camilla is so adventurous with colour!

  7. yasmin

    2013-04-13 at 5:42 AM

    love all the tribal inspiration, so gorgeous!

  8. anicasunny

    2013-04-13 at 6:38 AM

    love the photos and your explanation, as an aussie I take this type of beach wear as an everyday occurance for the weekends

  9. Highland Fashionista

    2013-04-13 at 10:01 AM

    I really, really love this collection. To the point where I have actually surprised myself a wee bit. Very hippy music festival, yes….but they are wearable, happy pieces and I think they translate well outside of how they are shown. Not that I am opposed to how they are shown either, for that matter.

  10. Tine

    2013-04-13 at 10:21 AM

    Wow, these cover-ups are amazing. Thanks for always finding these new faces with creative ideas! So inspiring.

  11. bayu radith

    2013-04-13 at 3:14 PM

    woww… very inspiring collection 🙂

  12. s.

    2013-04-14 at 12:02 AM

    There is a model in the set above that has a face painted, an exact replica of the face tattoos of the legendary Australian artist Vali Myers. If you haven’t heard of Vali, she trained as a modern ballet dancer, and in the 50s, went to Paris and lived homeless, danced in bars for money, inspired Tennessee Williams, Albert Tucker, Ed Van Der Elsken.
    She kept sketchbooks and drew, tattooed her own face and hands, moved to the top of a mountain and lived with pet foxes and 30 dogs, a monkey, goats, everything. She lived at The Chelsea Hotel and hung out with the Ramones and tattooed Patti Smith. She came back to Melbourne in the end of her life and had a studio right above Alice Euphemia in Melbourne.
    Vali was a bohemian, a completely wild and completely timeless – and still not recognised for her art, or as an Australian icon. I’m not sure if the face make-up does any justice to someone like Vali, who tattooed it on herself, really lived with gypsies — maybe this ‘re-appropriation’ for a run-way show completely tames the original reference into something very contrived — thoughs the clothes are beautiful.

  13. Fash Ion

    2013-04-14 at 6:15 PM

    beautiful faces!!
    please have a look on our page and ‘like’ it!!

  14. omgfantastic

    2013-04-14 at 9:22 PM

    something about this makes me uncomfortable.

  15. troubler

    2013-04-15 at 5:24 AM

    Hmmmm omgfantastic, maybe its the image of wealthy white people tossing together influences from clothing and styles that many Native/indigenous people were persecuted for wearing, forced on pain of death and kidnapping to stop wearing?
    Or could it be the incoherent mishmash of various unrelated “tribal” groups’ patterns and styles joined only by some offensive fantasy about how “close to nature” all indigenous people are (as if they didn’t have science, art, medicine –for pete’s sake the Incan empire, from where the word Pachamama is drawn, was the size of the Roman empire!). An even in living memory people from those cultures are punished or mocked for representing their own culture, all so that wealthy white people can sample from these traditions as they please. I notice they drew no inspiration from Australia’s own indigenous people – was samping from the Darug, Kuringgai, or Dharawal people too close to home? Or would someone be around to object?
    The disrespect to Vali Myers is no less than the disrespect to enture cultures here, it’s not only individuals who can be harmed by appropriation.

  16. susie_bubble

    2013-04-15 at 5:51 AM

    You’re right in all those respects and it’s for those reason that I hesitated about posting about this collection. Other than surface visual appeal, there really are more than problematic issues going on here. I think Camilla herself would say this was some sort of a homage or paying respect to those “tribal” groups. I think she has actually done collections inspired by Australia’s own indigeonous people before if I’m not mistaken. Can’t find visual evidence of how this manifested itself.
    The worrying thing is… everyone at the show did lap this up wholeheartedly. We were taken for a trip, one that we appreciated in the context of MBFWA which for the most part had less than imaginative presentation and panache. That said, as I alluded to in my post, I was merely impressed by the budget, the creative conception and the sheer audacity of it all, rather than the actual clothes themselves which yes, do pose ridiculous levels of offensiveness in terms of cultural appropriation.
    Then just as I clicked on a Coachella style slideshow, with Indian feathered headdresses and sartorial garb that was a lot like the pieces we saw here, I was thinking that the problem doesn’t fall upon a show like Camilla’s. The problem is widespread and almost ingrained because those in fashion like to think political correctness is “naff” or “boring” or just like to bury their heads in the sand.

  17. susie_bubble

    2013-04-15 at 6:05 AM

    S. : Now that I did a Google search, her face does seem familiar. She sounds fascinating and really doesn’t seem like she has been given the credit for her creative output and influence. It would have been nice if Camilla had acknowledged the influence for the make-up. It worked in the show context but like you said, contrived is the keyword here – I mean, there was an alpaca at the presentation for god’s sake!

  18. L.

    2013-04-24 at 5:03 AM

    Hey Susie,
    Vali Myers was definitely credited in this show! Have a look at the below link and watch the interview with the makeup director Max May…
    I’ve also seen it on the Camilla Instagram/Facebook account (Camillawithlove). It was definitely highlighted as inspiration.
    The show was amazing! There was so much dimension to it. Camilla is an artist in her own right. I wish more Aussie designers were as creative as her. Romance was born was also a great show!

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