Calla Haynes is a Toronto born designer who has been living in Paris for the past nine years. Calla has worked with Olivier Theyskens at Rochas and Nina Ricci, after attending Parson’s School of Design in New York and Paris. During her time with Nina Ricci, Calla was honored for her textile and print design work. Calla Haynes’ brand, “Calla,” is based on her idea of “relaxed luxury.” She has worked endlessly to create uniquely crafted collections that are modern and easy to wear. Her talents for print designs are certainly a strong foundation for her brand. Calla Haynes was a finalist for France’s largest prize for young fashion designers, the prestigious ANDAM award in 2010.
Fashion Salade: Would you say your education at Parson’s School of Design was instrumental in your overall success as a designer?
Calla Haynes: Parson’s was a great foundation for working in the fashion industry. As a student, you are put through the ringer and come out all the stronger. It was a great experience.
FS: What made you decide to move to Paris to launch your brand rather than stay in New York?
CH: I came to Paris on an exchange program to Parson’s Paris and then started an internship with Olivier Theyskens at Rochas. Now, I have been living here for 9 years! I love it here and am very proud to be building my brand in the capital of fashion.
FS: Tell us about your experiences working with Olivier Theyskens and Nina Ricci. What were some of the most valuable lessons you learned through those experiences?
CH: I learned a lot about French savoir faire and the importance of textiles. The biggest lesson I take away is the value of original and refined fabrics.
FS: You have designed incredibly successful collections; from where do you draw most of your inspirations?
CH: Oh Thank you! For the prints, I’m inspired by textures found in nature and painting. For the clothes, I’m inspired by real life – what a creative kind of girl really needs in her wardrobe.
FS: Where do you think your love and appreciation for textiles came from?
CH: It was certainly developed from working with the team at Rochas and Nina Ricci. I found that I really enjoyed designing patterns and went on to collaborate with other designers. It’s a great tool for focusing the collection, and it’s a lot of fun.
FS: You recently presented at New York Fashion Week for the first time. Congratulations! How different was presenting in New York versus Paris?
CH: It was very different! It was a great experience and the fashion press in New York was so receptive to the collection. Showing at Milk Made was fabulous and the team there was so professional and accommodating – they made it a big success. Sponsors like MAC Cosmetics, Nail Taxi, Falke, and Kurt Geiger all came together to support me. That kind of support doesn’t exist for young designers in Paris.
FS: I love your idea of “relaxed luxury” and “modern, easy to wear” styles. Was it a challenge to successfully create something that is both luxurious and easy to wear?