Interview with Mini Maven magazine
Mini Maven is an online destination for the stylish child and parent that curates content musings with a multi-faceted, unique approach. Founded by noted Photographer + Creative Director, Kymberly Marciano—a fashion insider, trend watcher and creative force to several publications—the #minimaven series was created.
Kymberly interviewed our co-founder and Creative Director Dimity Bourke recently, here it is......
Welcome to the magical world of Australian fashion designer & stylist, Dimity Bourke! Hot on our radar, we caught up with the spiritually chic & creative momma, Dimity, and are uber inspired by her attention to detail, love for travel and many global adventures. Dimity may reside along the shores of Bali with her daughters and husband, Edward, and have future plans to move to the South of France, but this fashion maven runs a tight ship with her designs, deadlines and family! We all know Dimity for her playful girls collections, most recently coveted by fellow mum Nicole Kidman, and are excited to share the news that she will officially branch out into the world of women’s fashion with full force this fall! Her Dimity Bourke line, which is carefully curated, draws from Dimity’s experience in design, fashion and style, all of which exist in her DNA ! Seems 2015 is shaping up to be an exciting time for the house of Dimity Bourke, Dimity Bourke Girls and Dee Dee by Dimity, with plenty of designs on the way!!!
Before entering the world of fashion design, you were an interior stylist. Tell us how your previous profession has played a role in your profession as a fashion designer? Was it an easy transition?
It was a natural transition. For me style is about your entire existence and styling a room is just another facet of styling yourself. One of my favourite quotes "I'm going to make everything around me beautiful...That will be my life" Elsie de Wolfe
From start to finish, please walk us through your day to day. What is the design process like at Dimity Bourke? From where do you draw your inspiration? Do you have a design studio?
My morning starts at:
7am - the girls wake and it's my mummy role which is my no 1 priority. Getting them ready for school. Here in Bali they go to a beautiful Montessori school and there is no uniform. I let them choose their outfits and only recently are they only wanting to wear Dimity Bourke girls. Beforehand I used to beg them to wear it! It's bliss! Viva is nearly 6 and Isla 4. Then I grab my Indian chai tea and I run. Whether it's organising care labels, sourcing buttons or lace for the next collections or off to design our signature prints. I'm on the phone to our factory all the time and see them every week. At any one time we have sampling of girls and women's and production of both going on. If we have a shoot coming up, I'm working madly on Trello (my god send), story boarding each look and location. Right now we have just shot women's and we are about to shoot girls winter with the stunning Angelina Porcelli from New York coming to stay with us and shoot the campaign and lookbook with our daughters and a few friends. I am quite an organised person (my husband might not agree)
When all calms down I'm quietly drawing and creating collections well in advance. Then it's mummy role as Isla has only half a day at school. She is great company in going to our factories and running errands. I do a lot in the middle of the night, it's when my mind is quiet and I'm able to think without being interrupted. Lots of my ideas come out then.
I draw inspiration from anything and everything. I can see the bright colours on an old wooden fishing boat which can be the start of a colour palette and then it's a mixture of my travels, heritage and childhood. I'm a 70's child and we travelled a lot in a camper van around Australia, pretty much until I was 5. We were definitely living the hippy life. My style is influenced from this era and then a mixture of my journey. I was blessed with travelling from an early age and was inspired to do so as soon as I was old enough to set off on my own. Living and experiencing many cultures. Which adds to my style which some may call eclectic.
Our home is my design studio, when in Bali we live in a traditional Balinese joglo (a wooden house with a steeply pitched ceiling and open walls). The local village temple is in our garden which is amazing. I'm very spiritual so to have the people of the village making their offerings and blessings in our garden surrounds us with amazing energy. Wild Singapore orchards in an array of colours growing wildly on the trees creates a beautiful island oasis - this is my design studio!
How have your daughters influenced your designs and the brand itself?
Having our daughters definitely influenced me to create a girls wear collection. I have so much fun buying and dressing Viva and Isla more than myself! I wanted to create a collection that was happy, fun comfortable and stylish for girls. Easy to wear and easy to care.
Do your daughters play a part in the design process?
Yes. The girls help in a huge way they are always telling me if they love the colour palette to each signature print that we do. They know their fabrics and if the styles are fitted around the waist they are quick to point it out and we will drop the waist or use a tie instead of elastic. It's all about comfort. I don't want our little ones feeling restricted so I take note. They also visit the factories and are curious in how everything works. Having a family business gives the girls a choice if they would like to continue in our footsteps. They both love modelling the clothes and love jumping into the shoots but they also can jump out very quickly!
Tell us your favourite part about designing clothing for little girls?
It takes me back to the freedom of being a child. It's joyous and light. I love colour and so do little girls! I love seeing their smiles when they twirl in a full skirt pretending they are a princess. It all about fun, freedom and comfort while still creating their own sense of style. Which is sometimes tricky as little ones love to mix and match so in our collections each style is able to go together with a variety of different ones and they are still able to put together a stylish outfit that the Mummy's don't say oh my you can't wear that!
How do you think Australian fashion differs from American fashion?
Australia is similar to America in that it is a relatively young country with a strong sense of freedom. Being a warm country with a can do attitude which prides itself on giving everyone a chance you can see bold statements, lots of color and prints but with some classic shapes perhaps stemming from our European roots. Australian designers are generally well received in America as they are fresh and vibrant and this resonates well with the American audience, we don’t do muted colours and heavily tailored pieces.
You and your husband make a great team! What is it like juggling family life with business life?
It's great but you have to separate family time and business time. I work from home and Ed has an office. This works well. When he comes home it's family time and there is no talking about business until the children are asleep. We email each other throughout the day. We also schedule in meetings and this way it minimises talking about it all the time. I think it is very hard to run a business with your husband/wife and with the demands of small children. The most important thing is that we both have our own space and time, me to create and Ed to run the business.
Your inspiration is drawn from many global adventures and cultures. What has been your most inspiring adventure yet?
India is definitely at the top of my list. It's so intoxicating from the time you walk out of the airport you are engulfed by their culture. It's exciting, there is a buzz that has all my senses dancing. The food is amazing and my favourite hotel is The Imperial in Delhi, designed by Lutyens, and they have a restaurant called Spice Market. I think that this would have to be my favourite dining experiences in the world. I have a huge collection of vintage sarees that are from the 70's and this is one of my passions. I love collecting textiles. I have in my private collection a vintage wedding skirt which has some of the most intricate beading that I've ever seen. It is all stitched by hand and took three women six months to make. It must weigh 7-8 kilos. I could talk about India all day.
Where do you plan to travel to next, and why?
Our next journey is to the South of France and we are planning to move there soon. This is the place I want to settle, we both love France and especially Provence, it feels like home. The light is extraordinarily soft and beautiful, a rich honey color. It adds an amazing texture to everything it touches.
How has your travel to India inspired the clothing line?
The fabric prints are inspired from our collection of vintage sarees. This plays a huge part in each collection as the rest of the colour palette stems from these saree prints.
Tell us about your White Collection. Why did you choose to have it made in India?
I love white on little girls, actually on anyone! Although for little girls it's pure, fresh, light anyone can where white. It's goes with anything and yes it does get dirty but nothing a good wash cannot sort out. White is classic and Indian cotton is the best in the world. They do amazing hand embroidery and beading and it was just perfect for this collection.
What is your absolute favourite material to work with, and why?
Cotton/silk - the silk is light and soft to the touch and it flows beautifully the cotton gives structure so whether you want a flowing style or a classic structured style cotton silk is perfect. People think it's hard to care for. I just pop it into a wash bag on a gentle cycle in the machine. Give it a shake and it's dry in minutes I rarely iron any clothes!
What style tips do you have for the chic mamas out there?
Keep it simple and elegant. With little ones I don't have any spare time so white jeans and a simple beautiful top, choose a beautiful colour or pattern that makes you and happy team it up with some nude /tan ballet flats. Hair pulled back in a pony tail or bun - finish your look off with sunglasses and a scarf whether it's around the waist in the hair around your neck or tie it on your bag. You don't need to keep up with the latest hot designer bag. Just one classic tan leather bag will go with anything.
Dimity Bourke is known for it’s stylish children’s clothing. Is it true, an expansion is in the works? Can you tell us a little about this? and why now women!
Very much so. Our women’s wear line will simply be called Dimity Bourke. We have already had our photo shoot and now that we are a direct to market (e-commerce) business we will have our first styles delivered in about ten days. It is a very exciting time for me and this is my first solo women’s wear collection. Although I love designing children’s clothes and will continue to do so, designing women’s wear is entirely different, it is a natural progression of everything that I have done as a designer to date. The timing is right. Design, fashion and style are in my DNA and our little girls will grow into women.
When will you introduce Dee Dee by Dimity and open your doors to women’s fashion? Will the women’s collection be similar, an extension? What kind of woman will wear Dimity Bourke?
Dimity Bourke Girls is now what our kids wear will be called and DeeDee by Dimity is a new brand that we launched under this, it is full of playful prints and made from jersey for comfort, versatility and fun.
Women’s wear is not an extension of girls, there is no correlation between Dimity Bourke Girls and women’s wear. The closest may be our white collection of kids resort wear but in reality they are totally different. Of course I am the same designer so a few shapes may appear similar but there is a richness of colour, boldness of print and flair that is harder to present in kids given pricing, practicality and wearability. I have designed our collections to be inclusive and believe that women from 25 to 45 can wear our clothes. In fact my mother is a very stylish 59 and she could pull off a couple of pieces. Our focus is on casual couture, relaxed elegance and effortless chic. Something you can wear from day to night with a feeling of the French and Italian Riviera. Signature is in prints, colour and shapes.
What is the inspiration behind your latest collection for women? and how will this evolve into Fall and into 2016?
Life in the South of France and the Italian Riviera. I am designing Winter at the moment so its going to be a surprise, I will tell you one thing though it wont be grey! Also as we don’t sell wholesale our design cycle is slightly different. We don’t have to design and produce samples 6 months in advance of the in store dates. We deliver them to our online store at the same time as retailers but we produce for ourselves and the lead times are much shorter.
What tips can you give others who are trying to break into the children's fashion industry?
Start small and be prepared to wait, you have to be patient and learn the trade, understand the wholesale market and have control over your supply chain. However, it is kids fashion so most importantly have fun and do what you love.
Do you see Dimity Bourke expanding into brick and mortar stores?
Yes we would love to open a lifestyle shop in the South of France one day, creating a destination.
Favorite color to wear? White
Favorite Quote? You can go your own way!
Favorite Food? Any cravings? Indian
Favorite designer of all time? If you could be front row at fashion week who would it be?
Karl Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren, Chloe and Isabel Marant
What are your top five must-have beauty products?
Jo Malone rose perfume - I have worn it for 15 years.
Aveda hair products, hand cream and hydrating mask
Dr Hauschka firming mask and toned day cream
Stila cream blush
Dior lip gloss (fluidStick in tiny pink)
Bucket list destination?