Caroline Charles is one of the UK’s most respected and loved fashion designers. She once described herself as “A child of the 1960s”. She has designed for a number of celebrities, famous musicians and for British Royalty. With a career spanning more than four decades, Caroline Charles is considered a pioneer of British fashion at home and abroad and remains one of the leading design companies in the UK today.
Stilorama Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief and Fashion Director Hala Di-Maio caught up with her backstage after her S/S2011 catwalk show at London Fashion Week, where she chatted freely about her designs and the inspiration behind her brand. She began by asking her about her fantastic new collection and the apparent “La Dolce Vita” theme.
Caroline Charles: The Spring/Summer 2011 is without any doubt inspired by the era from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s, the mood is happy, chic, luxurious and feminine with great flowing 50s print floral fabrics, cotton piques, spots and animal prints, sequins and beads. I chose to work with various colours this season including chrome, coral, pink, oyster, black and white; shapes are also very important with emphasis on Capri pants, elegant tailored jackets, volume skirts and plenty of classical simple little black dresses.
HD: You’ve been designing clothes since the early 1960s, what still inspires you in terms of design?
CC: I draw my inspiration from fabrics and women. I think about the woman I am designing for, what she can wear, what she can afford, are the clothes comfortable and well designed. As a working mother and now grandmother, I understand the importance of elegance as well as the need to create a practical, comfortable and affordable wardrobe.
HD: Are you ever afraid of repetition when designing a new collection?
CC: Fashion is all about repetition; as a designer you have to learn how to keep innovating your designs and choice of fabric.
HD: How anxious are you before a fashion show?
CC: I always feel nervous before a show: As a team we only have very little time to make sure that everything is working right in terms of lighting, music etc…and I still get stage-fright every time!
HD: You have managed to stay on top of your industry; do you think that your success lies in the fact that you were able to build a bridge between youth and maturity?
CC: That’s a very interesting point you’re making, funnily enough, I never thought of my design in this way. When I set up on creating and designing, youth is constantly on my mind and not maturity.
HD: As a fashion designer you have kept your brand’s independence. Have you ever been tempted to become a part of a bigger fashion brand?
CC: No, never. I love the fact that I was able to stay independent, and I consider myself lucky to work with such a dedicated team also.
HD: The internet has changed our shopping habits, do you feel that the internet had a positive or negative impact on your business?
CC: Oh, definitely a very positive impact. The internet has helped the business to carry on growing and has also facilitated the way women shop.
HD: Caroline Charles, I would like to thank you for your time and for the great interview.
CC: My pleasure.
Caroline Charles clothes are available to buy from www.carolinecharles.co.uk
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