When I was a little girl I used to love staying at my grandmother’s house where I would dive into her wardrobe, which was something like a relic from the past.
My grandmother, Babushka, was Russian, from back in the days when that was glamorous! She was a Siberian woman who met Tsars at formal parties, and went to a school where both Stalin and Lenin came to give speeches and shake the children’s hands... It's bizarre to even imagine the life that she came from, so completely different from mine.
Because she came from such a cold climate (and for other, very long stories about her past which I might share one day) she had a wardrobe full of furs, silk dresses, and long gloves, everything with the scent of Chanel No 5 and a hint of Elnett (the retro hairspray she used to keep her hair stiff and in place from morning to night).
The textures of those furs and silks, coupled with that evocative smell, was so intoxicating to this mini fashionista. I used to clomp about in her gold strappy heels, dragging a coat along the ground, a smear of red lipstick across my lips and one of her fancy French scarves tied around my waist like some crazed Stevie Nicks fan.
She had a walk-in wardrobe, with a gold velvet and brocade lounge, mirrors from floor to ceiling and a wall papered in a deep pink paper, honey-gold accents and delicate flowers. From the ceiling hung a chandelier! It was small, admittedly, but so glamorous to me. A special dressing table dripped with jewels (all fake I discovered as an adult – that tiara she wore was just glass, I was shocked!).
DARCY DRESS HONEY DIAMOND FLOWER
That wardrobe was Narnia, a honey gold and deep pink Narnia, with a light lilac rug that felt so soft and silky under my feet. I could literally spend hours and hours in there, dressing and undressing over and over, each outfit more spectacular and more sparkly than the last.
More hair, more blue eye shadow, more lipstick!
LAUPER DRESS PINK DIAMOND FLOWER
So with this print, Diamond Flower, I’m reminded of that wallpaper and the wardrobe. The deep pinks, honey-golden yellows and that lilac carpet. The kind of glamour that we don’t feel comfortable with nowadays I think, but that she wore with no qualms. For her the heels couldn’t be high enough, the jewels sparkly enough, or her hair…. big enough.
PINK DIAMOND SWIM RASHIE + PINK DIAMOND TANK TOP
When my grandmother died, we did her hair, as big and as high as possible, dressed her in a pretty silk dress and stockings with a seam at the back, just like she used to wear. Around her neck some sparkles, not real, but bright like diamonds. And lipstick. Red as red can be. Because she was never seen without it.
CLAUDIA DRESS HONEY DIAMOND FLOWER
I remember those feelings so vividly. Those days where I could get lost in the glamour and beauty of her world. I imagined operas and plays, concerts and parties - and I just transported myself there. It was incredible to leave my normal life of Vegemite sandwiches and hopscotch, and all of a sudden be a Russian Princess too.
DARCY DRESS PINK DIAMOND FLOWER + VERONICA DRESS PINK DIAMOND FLOWER
When I design for your daughter, I design with this feeling in my mind. And I always ask the question: how can I design to ensure that a little one feels special, different, unique, loved? And does she love her dress? Can she look at the print for hours and get lost in it? Is it comfortable and spinnable and dancable and playable?
SALLY DRESS LILAC DIAMOND FLOWER
Does she imagine being a princess, a dancer, a swan, a diplomat? Does she dream of what she’s going to be like one day, as a woman, at parties, with her own children?
Imagination stays with you wherever you go. Those feelings that you have as a child, as I’m describing now, I still FEEL them now. They have stayed with me for decades and those memories are still there.
SWEETHEART TEE HONEY DIAMOND FLOWER
So with all that said, I hope that you love this collection - it's about memory and nostalgia and it comes with the faint whiff of history... and maybe a little bit of Chanel No. 5 :)