Upon a recent stocktake of my wardrobe it started to dawn on me that over time I have had a very addictive and repetitive shopping style, and it is something I am a little annoyed at myself for. I will explain. I can honestly look at my wardrobe and section it in to periods of time based on designers, I seem to fall in love and become somewhat Scorpio level obsessive with certain labels. Around the 2008-2011 period it was Alannah Hill and Wheels and Dollbaby, I then seemed to rebel away from that whole aesthetic with an urge to simplify, enter Kookai 2012-2014 with all that spandex and body-con out of my system, the discovery of Camilla seemed to be quite timely entering my wardrobe as a special Birthday treat from my dear and generous friend Michael. Camilla has since been an addictive and fabulously colorful and sparkly addition to my wardrobe, however, in a mood of needing to create space in my life I am re-evaluating the value of Camilla in my wardrobe.
Do not get me wrong here, I love the Camilla product, I love that it is designed and owned by an Australian woman, Camilla Franks, I love the quality of the fabrics and embellishments used, the crystals are all Swarovski so they give such an eye-catching sparkle and the Kaftans are 100% silk, hand dyed in India and the attention to the extra details like beading and tassels on the ties really make each piece a work of art. But also I love that every piece tells part of a travel story. Travel is really the only thing I love more than Fashion and Shopping (obviously when one can combine the three, she is virtually in Heaven). Aside from the overall aesthetic of her designs, one of the biggest reasons I love her designs is that for someone like me whose weight is forever fluctuating between size 8-12 and all the combinations top and bottom in between (think Ginger Spice in the 90s) I love having pieces in my wardrobe I can confidently throw on and still feel beautiful regardless of what my weight is currently doing. I fully intend to be a very silky sparkly pregnant lady one day – FYI not this side of thirty for anyone reading this and getting excited at that comment.
I am by no means the only one to be lured in by Camilla’s wearable artworks. In fact I have a list of friends which are sitting right along with me on the addiction train and a handful which have just started collecting their first pieces. There are even Facebook groups (Camilla Swap Sell Buy and Camilla Lovers Buy Sell Swap Worldwide) and Instagram pages for people that share the addiction. They are like a beautiful family of women from all walks of life who share this expensive habit, exchanging stories, images and purchase advice as well as helping other to track down their ‘unicorn’ pieces, I will not lie to you at times it has some ‘culty’ vibes, but predominantly it is a really friendly forum for like minded women who all share a deep love and appreciation of Camilla. If you are new to Camilla it can be a great place to pick up some pieces second hand at a good price or get tips to finding sales etc. That is where I found out about her Melbourne warehouse sale back in April where I found a couple of my absolute favourite pieces at amazing prices!
Remembering my first piece, in November 2014, Michael took my girlfriend Claire and me shopping for my birthday, we always joke that Michael is like King Triton and we are his ‘Harem of hot honeys’, so when the three of us saw the Camilla window display dripping with colourful Silk and Jewels it couldn’t be ignored, we had to have a play. It wasn’t long before we found a Dance Of The Flower H’Mong, Round Neck Kaftan (RNK) easily Camilla’s most versatile and recognisable shape. The colors on it are so vibrant, I love it, with its pompom-esque embellishments that one really was love at first play. The playing in-fact is actually where I think the addiction began, you see $600 for one dress is obviously a large sum, however, $600 for a dress that is eight different dresses, two skirts and a cape.. Starts to become a very justifiable purchase. Or Does it?
Something to think about with really unique and special pieces is that each time you buy another similar piece the others you have lose a little bit of their ‘sparkle’ so when you acquire dozens of them, they start to become just normal. I am sorry but I don’t want my beautiful hand dyed Swarovski embellished kaftans, skirts and jackets to become ‘normal’. I also don’t want to be that girl that only has one style of clothing and always shows up at events wearing essentially the same thing.
“I had definitely become a ‘Camilla Crazy’ for a hot minute there”
The first step in overcoming my addiction, was recognising I had a problem. I would have to put the turning point on that one down to two pieces. First being my Child Of The Tribe short lace-up kaftan or SLUK (pictured below far right) that shape is so unflattering on me and it is just way to orange for me, but I got caught up in the moment because I was dying to have a SLUK and Beyonce had worn this print and it was so heavily bejewelled so I totally ignored that it looked horrendous on me – idiot move! The second was my purchase of the Roar Of The Wild jumpsuit, this was the cherry on top, I got so caught up in the hype of the new prints on this one I completely ignored that actually again, the overall effect was throwing a little too much orange to suit my coloring, and more importantly the shape of it, I am yet to wear it anywhere because I just look frumpy in it, the worst part is I paid $599 for it what an absolute fool I feel now. I had definitely become a ‘Camilla Crazy’ for a hot minute there. For now I have banned myself from going in to the store, just until I feel I am in a more level head space regarding her designs and my spending habits.
The next step for me, a serious cull. Looking at my collection and thinking about which pieces I actually wear regularly and which pieces actually flatter my hourglass shape, there are several which need to go because essentially though they are beautiful and in perfect condition, I don’t wear them and some I actually (eek) don’t like anymore at all. In Winter I get great wear out of my Sacred Amulet Longline Cardigan, Ruler Of The Underworld Fitted Blazer, Lift The Veil Oversized Midriff Button Up Shirt, in the warmer months and when I am travelling I get a lot of mileage out of my Warrior Wanderlust Racer Back Maxi Dress, Dance Of The Flower H’Mong RNK, and Fabric Of My Forbears Tiered Ruffle Skirt. There are a couple of other pieces in there that I just love and won’t be parting with for a long time to come if ever like the heavily embellished Imagination Runs Wild Kimono Blazer because it is actually art and it makes me smile, or the World Between The Warp Circle Skirt which I feel so pretty in, its so floaty and when I twirl it spins with me it is essentially Boho Luxe at its best. Then there are pieces like the Roar Of The Wild Jumpsuit which for the life of me I cannot get to flatter my upper body #BigBoobProblems so that one along with a few others really just need to exit my wardrobe.
I wish it didn’t take me so long to learn these lessons as I now find myself with $1000s of dollars of excess Camilla (among others) hanging in my wardrobe, some of which I have never even worn, which I am now wanting to sell and am feeling very guilty and silly about it. The silver lining of course is that because she has such a cult following, generally you don’t lose much money when re-selling these pieces and in some cases certain prints become highly sought after and people will even pay well above retail for second hand pieces in good condition.
I think I am coming to a phase in my life where if I don’t use it, I’d rather some sort of resale dollar figure in my bank than an item I’m not wearing cluttering my apartment, dollars mind you, which can be put towards so many things – more fabulous shopping, travel, a puppy.. or even a house, eek when did I become such an adult?!