Australian Designer Camilla Franks Creates One-Off Gown Fit For A Princess

The couture gown was made for the most beautiful reason.

There’s nothing every young girl dreams of more than a gown fit for a princess.

It’s something we all dreamt of watching Disney classics the likes of Sleeping Beauty (the colour-changing gown Aurora wears is something else!) and of course Belle’s sweeping yellow ballgown in Beauty And The Beast.

With Disney set to turn 100 years old on October 16, 2023, the brand has launched a collaboration with Make A Wish Foundation, creating the ‘Disney Create 100’, a design and creativity competition where participants represent their countries to showcase storytelling and artistry.

This year, Australia and New Zealand’s representative is none other than superstar designer Camilla Franks, best known for her label Camilla. Camilla is also one of the powerhouse speakers on marie claire’s upcoming Power Talks event, held on October 4.

She will be up against a global and star-studded cast of participants including Beyoncé, Virgin Abloh, Swarovski, Louis Vuitton and more.

Camilla’s Disney-Inspired Princess Gown Revealed

(Credit: Image: Camilla)

When finding her inspiration for the gown, Franks settled on a spectacular, never-before-seen couture gown that would honour Mickey’s longtime sweetheart, Minnie Mouse.

The voluminous gown is whimsical and magical but embraces a sense of Vivienne Westwood-inspired punk and grit. The whimsical patterns are complemented by a brain that features original Mickey Mouse comics.

“The inspiration for my ‘Milla Mouse Dress’ came from the iconic Minnie Mouse bow,” said Camilla Franks. “Part of the Camilla DNA that we’ve built into it is that – although it looks like a full couture gown on the outside, it’s quite unstructured underneath. It has a sense of freedom and play.”

The dress features a knotted bodice, cascading bow-inspired tiers, a high-low skirt and Vivid ‘Disney dreamscape’ train to follow. It’s designed to fit all manner of shapes and sizes and ties with a bow at the back, once again inspired by Minnie’s style.

(Credit: Image: Camilla)

The dress is made of Camilla silk taffeta and lined in silk satin, with multiple layers of tule embedded in the tiers to create that billowing effect.

The dress has taken months to put together.

“The design team and I dropped everything to pour our hearts into making this gown into a reality,” said Franks. “The cutting alone took two full days, putting the piece together took 5 weeks with a whole team working on it.”

“And when we talk about detail, it doesn’t come with more extravagance than this. We used 42 metres of silk, 10 metres of tulle and more than 100,000 hand-applied crystals. On the train alone there’s 400 crystal Mickey heads. That’s about 65,000 crystals! The embellishments are all individually placed,” she says.

“It’s impossible to put a value on this gown. It’s a beautiful masterpiece capturing the essence of what Disney means to me and I couldn’t be more proud.”

This Is Not Camilla And Disney’s First Foray

(Credit: Image: Getty)

Earlier in 2023, Camilla worked with Disney to create a collection of clothing together, featuring whimsical silhouettes and fairytale colourways. For Franks, this connection between Disney and Camilla is one that has been forged over time.

“Watching Disney films as a child gave me the platform to be the artist, storyteller and designer I am today,” she says. “Those formative teachings from Disney have encouraged me to push my own boundaries and create magic. They’ve been a constant reminder to me than anything is possible.”

“I wish I could keep this gown close to my heart as it has been such a special project to work on, but I know she needs to go on to her forever loving home,” she adds.

“This creation has reminded me of why I became a designer in the first place. It was a platform where I could truly express myself and tap into my inner child. I really hope you love this piece as much as I do. Here is to another 100 years of creativity, following you dreams and making magic in everything you do.”

Plus, This Masterpiece Is For A Good Cause

To commemorate the launch of the Disney Create 100, of which Camilla’s dress is part, Disney is offering a $1 million donation to Make-A-Wish. This will support in granting life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

Camilla’s one-of-a-kind dress is being revealed a month before the Disney anniversary, and is set to have its own fairytale ending, benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

If you want to hear more from Camilla Franks, consider attending the upcoming marie claire Australia Power Talks event, being held in Sydney on October 4.

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