Toronto native Calla Haynes graduated from Parsons and has been based in Paris, where she worked with Olivier Theyskens at Nina Ricci and Rochas. She launched her label Calla in 2010 in France.
You’ve already been nominated for France’s ANDAM Award and have a new collaboration under way. What’s to come?
Right now, we’re preparing the Spring/Summer 2012 collection to present during Paris Fashion Week at the beginning of October. It’s exciting because we’re exploring new production methods that should allow us to have more competitive pricing. More collaborations are coming up and will be revealed soon. One is a telephone accessory that I designed for Samsung. The collaboration with the jeans brand April 77 has gone so well that we are discussing another for the new year.
How did the collaboration with April 77 come about?
I contacted them! I really wanted to make printed jeans but I knew that it was such a special project that I couldn’t go it alone. I wear April 77 jeans all the time and love them, so I just asked them. Brice Partouche, the brand’s creator, liked my aesthetic and was open to the collaboration.
‘Relaxed luxury’ is felt throughout the collection. Is that the intention? Who is your customer?
Relaxed luxury is our catch phrase. It’s really important to me that the clothes are accessible, comfortable, easy to wear, but that they are unique and well thought-out. The original print designs add a lot of value to the pieces as well as the special details we only see up close.
My customer is a creative, active woman, working in the arts or at least she appreciates them! She is looking for a unique product, loves color and prints, but values comfort and ease. She needs garments that are modern, easy to wear, easy to move in. She is fashion savvy and recognizes high-quality fabrics and production.
Is there a designer you would compare yourself to?
There are a lot of people that I greatly respect and whom inspire me but I wouldn’t dare compare myself.
Where do you see the line in five years?
Still based in Paris but perhaps showing in New York would be great! I hope to grow the size of the collection to offer more choice to my customer. I’d love to do more accessories: a full blown scarf collection, swimwear, sunglasses, etc. A bigger studio would be nice too!
Do you have plans to open a store?
It’s not a strong desire at this point. I wouldn’t go it alone. If I had a partner that offered to give me a shop in the Palais Royale, I wouldn’t say no! But we have other priorities at this time in terms of the brand’s growth. I am really enthusiastic about opening a online shop with special dedicated products just for our site.
Having studied fashion design in New York, do you miss any aspects of the city? What do you love about living in Paris most?
I miss so many things about New York — a lot of them food related! I miss the energy, of course that’s a big cliché. I’m happy in Paris though: it is beautiful and inspiring and it’s a great place to put your head down and get to work, with fewer distractions than social New York.