A couple of months ago Karen Connell of Mijanou Swimwear launched her glamourous label at Komune Beach Club amongst oohs and aahs to the Gold Coast fashion elite.
I was lucky enough to get this stunning one piece custom made and have a chat to Karen about her label, and here is what she had to say...
being co-creator of popular swimwear label Coco Riche, you’ve now started
Mijanou – what’s it like to have sole control of your own label?
Its great to have total control
of where the label is going and how you would like to present it to the market.
Im definitely less stressed working on my own and eager to build the
image to a unique and more high end but still glamorous look.
long have you been designing?
Well I grew up in a
family that starting making fashion and selling at markets when I was 12.
They worked from home so I was very involved with helping out. I made my
first pattern and garment , a chambre jumpsuit when I was 16, my mum
copied it and literally sold hundreds of them.
After finishing high school
I then went and did a Chemistry degree and worked as an analytical
chemist for 6 years before leaving and setting up a store in Bondi called
Girlfriends which carried labels such as Zimmermann and Third Millenium. By
then my parents had a store on Oxford St called Be-Bop and they encouraged me
to start making pieces for the store. My first dress I made I sold the
same day for $150 which was a lot back then.
I went and did a pattern making
course and then taught myself to make patterns and sew. I mainly made evening
dresses and also catered for the popular dance parties which was a great money
spinner as my parents and I held the niche market in Sydney . Girls would
literally flock to the two stores for their outfits. After having a baby I left
the store and stayed out of fashion design for 12 years and then was encouraged
by a partner to start Juliet In Stilettos which I did in 2004.
prints are extremely unique and you digitally print them on all our materials, do you design them yourself?
design all the prints myself and they are printed onto suitable fabric so we
can have co-ordinated swimwear and resort wear. Its great to have the
exclusivity printwise as the choices are pretty limited otherwise and it also
helps to define the image of the label.
of French heritage, do you get a lot of insipiration from Europe for your
Definitely, but I actually tend to
prefer the more flamboyant Italian designers such as Dolce and Gabbana and
Roberto Cavalli. It is sometimes a bit OTT for the Australian market which is
pretty laid back.
collections include swimwear and resort wear with exotic bikinis, full pieces,
kaftans, harem pants and dresses – who is the Mijanou woman?
The Mijanou woman is elegant, glamorous and likes to be
Where are you currently stocked?
We currently have agents in Queensland and NSW and
we are still confirming orders and stockists so watch this space! We will also
be setting up our own e-boutique shortly and will be selling on the new online
store bikini-bar at www.bikini-bar.com
which will launch in the next couple of weeks. We also have been talking to a
Miami showroom and plan to expand to the US when the time is right hopefully
We are also very excited to be
asked to feature in international magazine Runway which is sold in 47
countries. Hopefully this will give us some international exposure.
Labels: Coco Riche, Coco Riche swimwear, Gold Coast Fashion Week, Juliett in Stilettos, Karen Connell, Mijanou Swimwear