Surrounded by the azure blues of the Adriatic Sea and dotted with terracotta rooftops and yellow sand, the walled city of Dubrovnik is a sparkling jewel on the edge of the Mediterranean. This beautiful location was home to
Sydney-based designer Karla Spetic until age 11, and it was her childhood spent here that inspired her to create her Resort ’17 Collection, Memories.
“I was feeling very nostalgic at the time,” says Karla. “I haven’t been back home for more than a decade – it’s such a long time and I miss my family and the food, the sea... everything, really.”
Moving to Australia with her mum as refugees, Karla didn’t have a uniform in year seven as they weren’t able to afford it.
“I wore my own regular clothes that we brought over from Croatia and I felt like I didn’t quite fit in,” Karla says. “I was constantly dreaming of being able to make my own clothes so I could camouflage a bit more – funnily enough, considering I love to do quite the opposite now.”
Having launched her business back in 2008, Karla’s collections are often inspired by the senses, and her recent collection is no different.
“I don’t seek inspiration; I feel it should come naturally. It could be anything – a certain colour that I like at the time, a song, a memory, or seeing someone on the street. Anything can trigger an idea.”
This year was the first year MBFWA incorporated resort collections to align with the global fashion calendar. Memories is a collection fit for a summer holiday, with shades of crisp whites and deep, inky blues on silk faille and silk georgette prevailing. Reinventing key silhouettes from her past (the Daisy dress was taken from her Spring/Summer 2010 collection), Memories unites scalloped edges, sheer panels and structured frills, all slithering across the body to reveal slices of skin. The postcard dress (pictured below) is digitally printed with a photograph of her hometown, the surrounding box pleats mimicking a postcard’s edge.
Featuring heavily in Karla’s collection were flats and sandals. When asked about the global shift towards flats and the choice to discard heels, Karla says that our lifestyles are evolving and our fashion is evolving with them.
“I think the sneaker trend definitely influenced this move for most and so many women are wearing sneakers and sandals with ‘dressier’ dresses,” Karla says.
“There is also a sporty element in the air... It’s such a modern take on dressing nowadays. Our lifestyles have become so fast paced I think women like to feel comfortable during the day running around.”
The last few years have seen the closing of many esteemed Australian fashion brands such as Lisa Ho, Easton Pearson and Collette Dinnigan. Karla she thinks this could be a result of a combination of factors relating to the changing fashion industry – and the changing behaviours of consumers.
“I feel that some of the big chain stores that have arrived to Australia in recent years are definitely part of the reason.
“It’s difficult when a designer puts all the effort into making an honest collection with their ideas and signature pieces and then in a very short amount of time you see modified versions and sometimes exact versions of these pieces in these chain stores.
“Everything is so fast-paced now it’s almost as if nothing has longevity of more than a season,” Karla says. “In some ways this can be a good thing but in other ways it puts too much strain on designers. We aren’t machines. Same goes with other industries. I remember when I was a teenager I would listen to an album for weeks, months. It was like my soundtrack during that time. Now there is so much out there, maybe too much.”
Taking five with Karla
What do you always carry in your bag?
This may be strange but I love the Chanel eyebrow pencil. It’s so simple and nothing fancy, I mainly use the brush on the other end to brush my eyebrows. I have a thing for neat brows! And the Pure Papaya lip gloss. I can’t live without it!
What is your signature style?
It really depends on the day and my mood! Sometimes I’m just really basic in my jeans and t-shirt with one of my new knits or coat over the top. Other days I wear lots of colour and my dresses with sneakers.
What is your favourite thing to do on a... Saturday night?
Saturday night would really depend on how my week went. If it was very hectic then I’d definitely have a quiet night in with a nice glass of wine and maybe a foreign film.
… Sunday morning?
Probably Bikram Yoga.