Brisbane based designer Kelli Wharton is the mother of label ‘Talulah.’ As the brand is increasing it’s prominence in Australia and overseas, I thought it best to catch up with her and see how it’s all travelling, and of course get her trend predictions for 2011! Keep an eye on the Talulah site for the launch of the Triumph International’s ‘Shape Sensations’ range.
Brisbane Threads: First of all, congratulations on all of your success! Talulah is forging quite a significant mark in Australian fashion. I have to begin with asking, how did it all begin?
Kelli Wharton: Talulah has been the evolution of my creative and life goals which arrived as a fashion brand in 2005, after starting as a lingerie line in 2002. It was at that stage that I dedicate myself to realising those goals.
BT: You are currently stocking stores all over Australia, are there any plans to expand overseas?
KW: We have received many requests from overseas stores and sold throughout the US previously, but it has always been a priority for us to first look after our Australian customers. We have been in talks with overseas buyers and plan to be selling in the UK, USA, Asia, and New Zealand within the next year. We look forward to meeting more overseas contacts with our show at this year’s Australian Fashion Week.
BT: And it’s exciting news ahead with the launch of your Triumph International partnership. Could you tell us how this came about?
KW: Triumph International is launching a new Shape Sensations range this year and we are on board to assist Triumph raise awareness with a more fashionable audience. Triumph is supporting Talulah’s show at Australian Fashion Week and at the fashion festivals in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. It is great to be working with an established and global brand like Triumph. Triumph International has their Australian operation based in Brisbane also and I believe that local connection was also important.
BT: All of your garments are absolutely stunning and amazingly detailed, where do you get your inspiration from when designing each collection?
KW: I source inspiration from people around me, when I’m travelling I always find things I love. The other day I was reading this beautiful cookbook and just loved the photography and photos of tiles, so we have now created our Spring collection based around these ideas. When I was at the beach other day I was watching the clouds and the sunset and was thinking what a beautiful print it would be then I was peeling some lycees and couldn’t believe how amazing the texture of the skin was and thought it would be a beautiful print. So inspiration comes to me everywhere I am. I see beauty in all things.
BT: Being a Brisbane designer yourself, what do you think Brisbane has to offer in terms of originality and design?
KW: This is an interesting question as I am always asked this! I think Brisbane offers some beautiful designers who are so different to anything I have seen. It’s like when you hang out with your best friend all the time and you start loving the same things. I think when designers live and breathe in the same cities they seem to draw inspirations from similar things, from how they socialize to weather.
BT: Where would we find you (in Brisbane) on a Friday or Saturday night?
KW: I love Enoteca and Ortiga restaurants, then maybe a few cocktails.
BT: What would you be wearing?
KW: I am obsessed with Maxi skirts, so probably one of my new season prints with a nice bodysuit and wedges and statement necklace.
BT: Could you describe your typical client?
KW: I think Talulah girls are feminine, flirtatious and sophisticated.
I couldn’t put an age on a Talulah girl as I see 18 to 40 year old women wearing it. I love that!
BT: I first came across your brand when I was in QLD myself, and absolutely fell in love with the grey caped dress. I had never seen anything quite like it so of course I had to buy it. What would you say your point of difference is compared to other labels on the market?
KW: I always love to create new ideas, new prints which create that something special and feel unique. I think I try to design things that offer customers versatility, which can be worn to suit different occasions.
BT: What do you predict to be major trends for women in 2011?
KW: I have just completed our Spring Summer 2011 range and I am so excited it’s ridiculous. I have done something new this season and focused on prints instead of trims. I think moving into next summer we will see a lot of block colours and beautiful florals and lot of 70’s looks which I am loving so much!
BT: One trend you are glad to see the back of?
KW: I always love an animal print, as I used a lot of it in our Spring Summer 2010, but I think coming this Summer I won’t be wearing as much on my clothing and put it more into accessories.
BT: And finally, one trend you never thought you’d follow?
KW: I never used to be big into floral, but now I am just loving them so much! Really special florals!
By Kirby Hughes (www.streetcredthread.wordpress.com)