When tragedy could have torn her family apart, it was the strength and selflessness of Camilla Franks’ mum, Narelle, that provided her daughter with life skills which the Australian Designer now values above all else.
They teach and guide us when we’re little. As adults, Mums influence our decisions, inspire our choices and celebrate our successes. So, while they’ve always been close, in this recent interview with The Carousel in the lead-up to Mother’s Day, the dynamic Franks duo reveal just how their relationship became even stronger and allowed them, along with Camilla’s father to get through their worst of times like ‘The three musketeers’.
To get the story in their own words just press ‘play’ – or read the interview below. Oh, and you might want to get the tissues out, it’s emotional!
Interviewer: Narelle, you supported Camilla’s fashion journey from the beginning by sewing garments at home. How did it start?
Narelle Franks: Well, it came out of our house. We could not see the harbour for all of Camilla’s clothes – we had to step over boxes. Yes, and then of course she moved on and her father took her off to HK Fashion week and it was gosh, what a journey, but how proud are we of her and what she’s achieved. It’s incredible.
Interviewer: Camilla is an inspiration to so many. As her mum, that must be extraordinary to witness?
Narelle Franks: I know. That’s what’s so nice about it. A girl said to me the other day – that works at a radio station – she said ‘You know there’s a group of women here that are Camilla followers and they have this group!’ It’s extraordinary. But you know her clothes spans so many age groups and it’s happy. I think it’s wonderful.
Camilla Franks: I don’t even consider it as fashion. In fact I see it as anti-fashion in some ways. You know, as I’ve said before: I don’t design for what’s expected, I design from my heart, and I design for women of all generations. Our philosophy is that it’s for the mother the, the daughter, the grandmother,the granddaughter and it’s to be worn in your own unique way.
Interviewer: How do you want women to feel when they wear your designs?
Camilla Franks: Liberated. Playful. Alive.
Narelle Franks: Comfortable! (Laughs)
Camilla Franks: Yes! Comfortable. ‘Can eat!’
Interviewer: Life doesn’t always run smoothly. How have you supported each other through the hard times?
Camilla Franks: No, it doesn’t.
Narelle Franks: No. We tragically lost our son, and Camilla’s brother, Ben. He was 14 and such a beautiful boy and that was very, very hard.
Camilla Franks: We supported each other by connecting together as a family. We slept in bed together every night and …
Narelle Franks: … and we watched old movies. And also the community of Watson’s Bay came on board. They just surrounded us with love – and the people from North Bondi Surf Club and East Rugby Club where Ben was a member – they just all surrounded us with strength, support and kindness. As a family that meant a lot to us, but we just stuck together like the three musketeers and got through it all.
Interviewer: Is Camilla very like her brother Ben?
Narelle Franks: Erm…similar. Not to look at.
Camilla Franks: No, he was blond and blue eyes and I’m more like … with the dark features.
Narelle Franks: He looked like my father as a young boy. They were great mates. Great mates.
Interviewer: Camilla, what have you learned from your mum?
Camilla Franks: I think one of the key things is Mum is the kindest. When everything went bad in our lives, Mum threw herself into charities and looking after other people. So that sense of kindness is something I’ve learned from my Mum. I think it is the most important thing in relationships. Strength – to get through those bad times and to keep trucking. And Mum has this sense of selflessness – others always come first – even to the detriment of her own health. That is something I’ve inherited from her.
Narelle Franks: I suppose someone being adventurous. A little naughty at times. But to me she’s just a beautiful girl. She has a beautiful heart., A beautiful, beautiful heart. And as she gets older there’s just a beautiful serenity now about Camilla. And I’m just so very proud. So very, very proud.
To find out about Camilla’s plans for 2016 click here
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