The course has been somewhat of a mixed bag for Camille. She admits choosing the school for its infamous critical teaching style, but has struggled with the comments from tutors over the two-year process. “I was not used to the kind of people who will tell you something is shit straight away,” she says. “But, that’s the way it works.” This is told half amused – the 23 year-old is clearly aware of what she signed up for in taking up her place. “I took it [the criticism] way too personally, but I do feel like I’ve come out of the course a lot more confident. I learned that the process was about listening, but still focusing on what I want to do.”
The result is a collection of burgundy chiffon gowns, clean and clinging in silhouette, with long lines and, most interestingly, sleeves that trail down the arm into gloves. “I found the gloves quite sensual,” Camille explains. “The fact that you couldn’t take them off. It’s a bit dramatic – you’re stuck in your dress.” Conversely, Camille’s dresses are also remarkably easy to remove; the gowns will fall from the wearer at the unhooking of a clasp. The key points? Sensuality, sophistication and empowerment. “I was inspired by the film, L’Apollonide: Souvenirs de la maison close, which is set in a 20th Century Parisian brothel,” she says. “I became very interested in these strange, kind of sexual places, but I realised there was nowhere similar for women to go. My collection became all about that place – and undoing that button is always the woman’s decision. She can take her dress off like that,” she snaps her fingers, “but it’s her choice. It’s liberating.”
Transparency also plays a key role in the collection, with sheer panels exposing the body in varying degrees on each dress. “The dress is evolving throughout the collection,” explains Camille. “The girl is more covered in the beginning than she is at the end. But the fabric is the link that runs through it.” Fabric is of huge importance to Camille, who relies heavily on fittings and draping over sketching her designs. “When you don’t touch anything you can’t visualise where to put in details. It’s nice to be surprised by the fabric and how you can drape it – it’s the most interesting part.” Though toiling in cheaper fabrics, an expensive chiffon was chosen for the final line-up; quality and finish are pivotal.