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Franks parade an exotic journey
Models with designer Camilla Franks backstage ahead of the show. Picture: Getty Images

Camilla Franks gathered the biggest crowd so far on day one of Australian Fashion Week in Sydney, with fans of her luxe resort fashion filing into the cavernous Tent venue on Circular Quay to see what new things she was capable of with a kaftan.

A lot, as it turns out. Called Gypset, her spring-summer collection took us on a journey through some of the world's more exotic locales, from a North African/Moroccan beat to the jingle-jangling of Indian Bollywood style via Japanese geishas.

A Camilla Franks fashion parade is over-the-top, heavily styled, glamorous and bohemian in feel. Strip away all the accessorising - models were laden down with heavy, exotic jewellery courtesy of WA accessories designer Sophie Kyron - and you have wonderfully wearable leisurewear to hang around your hotel pool in, or take to the beaches of Bondi.

Franks' garments positively explode with colour. The women who wear her designs are not afraid to be seen, to be looked at, and to make a statement. She's not interested in being avant-garde; she just wants the wearer to be comfortable, colourful and relaxed.

In her press notes, Franks says she was inspired by a group of "pioneering nomads": Jimi Hendrix, the model Verushka, the artist Frida Kahlo, and George Harrison at his sitar-playing peak.

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These inspirations translated into fabulous capes, kaftans, dresses, shorts and jumpsuits, all with two things in common: ease of wear and bold, vivid print.

I spoke to Franks about a year ago and she said one of her major ambitions was to create a wearable kaftan for me. I thought she might be joking, but it turns out she wasn't.

One brave bloke sauntered down the runway in a vivid printed "man-kaftan"; imagined him raving on a beach in Goa, joss-sticks waving in the breeze.

But Franks managed to save the best for last. The finale saw the designer take to the runway with a posse of gorgeous little kids bedecked in mini-me kaftans and playsuits like a tribe of young 60s flower children.

Normally stoic, stony-faced fashion editors let out a collective 'aaaah', and the cameras popped even more frantically than usual.

The finale saw the designer take to the runway with a posse of gorgeous little kids bedecked in mini-me kaftans and playsuits Picture: Getty Images