Friday, 22 June 2012

Interview: Kaitie Manani, designer, Vamastyle

Speaking to Kaitie Manani, the founding designer behind Vamastyle, you can almost smell the sun cream. Her summery disposition isn't just a personal attribute though, it's wonderfully translated into the bright and beautiful fashion she creates for Vamastyle - the Australian label hitting British shores this summer.

Vamastyle is "a little piece of Australian heaven", says Kaitie. Each collection is designed for a year-round summer lifestyle, featuring vibrant prints in soft silks and cottons. Perfect for any upcoming beach holiday, or even if you just fancy cheering your wardrobe in all this drab weather we're having.

I spoke to Kaitie last week about colours, collections and inspiration.

Kaitie Manani
Chic and Cheerful: Hi Kaitie, it's great to meet you! Ok, so first things first - could you please describe your style for the C&C readers?
Kaitie Manani: I love to wear colour and lots of it - yellow, pink, green, aqua neon and loads of gold accessories… if I need to add a neutral then it’s usually navy, cream or army green.

C&C: Lovely! So, tell us, what's your background in? How did you get into fashion design?
KM: I used to work as a graphic designer for fashion companies; I have worked for many brands in Australia and the UK. I always dreamt of having my own fashion label one day. When I moved from London to Hong Kong four years ago, everything just fell into place.

I have always loved fashion illustration, as young as I can remember I have been drawing and tearing sheets from magazines and books, collecting ideas. Having graphic design and drawing skills allows me to translate my fashion concepts for each collection.
C&C: So besides the career progression, what really inspired you to go into fashion design?
KM: My love for bright colours and prints.

C&C: And that's definitely translated into your work. If you weren't a designer though, what would you be doing?
KM: I'd be an illustrator, it’s an incredible skill to have.

C&C: On to the label - where did the name 'Vamastyle' come from?
KM: ‘Vama’ means ‘woman’ in Sanskrit and I added ‘style’ to define it as a fashion label. My husband is Indian and we used to eat at a fabulous Indian restaurant in Chelsea when we were living in London five years ago, and I fell in love with the name [Vama].

C&C: And who would you say is the Vamastyle girl?
KM: She’s a summer loving girl, who loves wearing colour, bold prints and feminine details in her outfits.

C&C: What is your favourite S/S12 trend? I'm really enjoying the tropical prints which are all over the British high street at the moment, and the Vamastyle collections have a similar but more luxurious Bali feel to them - what's the main look you're rocking this season?
KM: I like combining brights (bold colours) and lights (pastel colours).
C&C: Who's your favourite designer? Or who do you most admire in the fashion world?
KM: Can I say two? Amy Smilovic from Tibi (New York) - I am obsessed with the clean cut designs, they always use beautiful colours and prints. And Marc Jacobs (in particular his diffusion line Marc by Marc Jacobs) - the colour combinations, cute prints and vintage references in his styles are incredible.

C&C: Looking to your SS12 work, what inspired your latest collection?
KM: Tropical Daydream was inspired by the flamingo pink and citrus ice cream shades of Miami and palm-tree green and aqua-blues from the exotic island of Bali. Also, all of my collections take inspiration from my own circumstances - being an Australian designer living in the tropics of Singapore, creating a year-round summer boutique fashion label.

C&C: Is the use of bright colours a theme in all your work? Why is colour such an integral part of your designs?
KM: I grew up on a beautiful farm in rural Australia, and was surrounded by incredible spectrum of colours everywhere, from rainbow parrots, pink sunsets to emerald green hills. Bright saturated colour is enriched in my soul! So yes I would say that bright colours will always be a theme in every Vamastyle collection.

C&C: What have you got in store for next season?
KM: I have always been a ‘dress’ girl but lately I have been moving into more jumpsuits and shorts, so expect fabulous day-to-night dresses and more tailored shorts and tops to match.

C&C: It's been a pleasure chatting to you Kaitie, I can't wait to get shopping for my summer wardrobe now!

You can find Vamastyle on Facebook or visit the website,

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