Written by Leah
I have been a huge fan of the Alex & Ant – www.alexandant.com.au label ever since it debuted on KidStyleFile in early 2010 (see our first post here) so when Angela offered me the opportunity to interview Caterina Samaha, the designer behind the label, I almost jumped out of my skin as I boomed “Yes, yes, yes” down the phone in response.
You see, I also follow the Alex & Ant blog and I am in constant awe of Caterina’s innate fashion flair. As a fan of Coco Chanel herself, I can see how Caterina has been influenced by this style icon throughout her life and right through to her design work. Of course, with such inspiration, the label couldn’t be anything other than breathtaking, could it?
I enjoyed delving into the creative process behind Alex & Ant and I’m sure you will too. Read the interview below and feel inspired… what a woman. What a label!
Tell us a little about your background:
I grew up in Bologna, in northern Italy with the most wonderful family in the world. Australia has been my home for the past 20. I married the love of my life, Michael almost 10 years ago and we have 2 children, Anthony who is 8 and is my IT consultant, and Alexandra who is 7 and has an amazing eye for colour and detail and always adds one design to our collection. We are united, happy and in love … and it feels great!
I have 4 beautiful sisters – Maria Pia, Francesca, Alessandra and my baby sister Laura and 2 handsome and very special brothers, Alberto & Davide. I am surrounded by divine friends and blessed with a very understanding and cool mother-in-law. If I start to tell you about my beautiful mum, we will be here all day!
Fashion has always been part of my life. I love dressing up; new shoes always make me feel better. I love being a mum, a wife & a friend. They are the most important things to me and they are all expressed in the ALEX&ANT’s collections. I wanted to create beautiful clothing for all of the picnics, play-dates, parties, special days and just every day!
What is your favourite childhood moment?
My childhood is filled with moments of love, laughter and fun. Ohhhh… I can’t pick one, there are so many: watching my mum receiving 11 roses from my dad and giggling ( he used to say she was the 12th rose), our Famous 7 Club we started, playing ladies with my sisters from my mother’s amazing warbrode, our summer holidays in Rimini … should I go on? I love this question, its brought back so many happy memories.
How did Alex&Ant come about? Why Alex&Ant?
Our story begins in a beach side suburb in WA, where 2 divine children Anthony & Alexandra ( hence ALEX&ANT) fill our home with happiness, laughter & love. I wanted to celebrate everything wonderful I felt after the birth of our children and from all the love & passion the new and exciting label ALEX&ANT was born.
With its own identity & spirit ALEX&ANT is a celebration of style, love, quality & passion. It’s so easy to create beautiful things when you are surrounded by happiness & love and that is where all my inspiration comes from.
What inspires you?
An amazing sunset, drinking tea from a fine china tea cup, hearing my children call out “mamma”, walking past a beautiful garden, laughing so much I can’t finish the sentence, a kiss good night from the love of my life, an unexpected hug, talking to my mum, Anthony’s dark brown eyes that look like black olives, dancing to Adele with Alexandra … I am inspired by love & happiness and these are things that make me smile.
What is your proudest Alex&Ant moment?
It’s a pretty special feeling when you walk down the street and see babies, children or a gorgeous tweeny wearing ALEX&ANT. No matter how many times you see it, it always feels amazing, and I can’t help but feel proud!
Being featured in Vogue was also pretty exciting, I have been reading and buying Vogue for more than 20 years!!! Do I sound old???
Tell us about the SS2011 range
Designing the latest Summer Collection was done with a smile. Dressed in warm clothes, with the fire burning, I got lost in the thoughts of the beautiful scents of summer – the sun, flowers, the ocean, the sound of laughter, love and joy.
I wanted to introduce playful colours to our collection while still keeping to our gentle palette of colours. Beautiful flowers are another inspiring force, gentle shades of lavender, soaring sky blue, soft khaki and a spectrum of pinks weave playfully and naturally into our signature palette of gentle hues.
Living by beach, inspired us to design a practical, beautiful and natural beach story complete with soft voile kaftans, luxurious beach hoodies and jackets to covet.
For our boys, wonderful wonderful boys – the gentlest fabrics to lie on their skin, practical designs to never stop them from playing freely & to rock this summer!
An ALEX&ANT Summer is as fresh as the breeze and as playful as flying a kite.
We’ve sourced the most gentle of fabrics and we have woven them into playful designs that look beautiful and feel great!
What twists have you included in the 2012 winter range? Any hot trend tips?
Tulle, sparkles and frills. Our hot tip is layering, mixing and not matching!
What are your Top 3 favourite things for babies/kids right now?
The Trinity Smock dress, named after the daughter of our wonderful Marketing/PR guru Belinda Woolford. The hand embroided towel hoodie, each one was created by our team of very skilled hand sewers by hand. The colours and detail are amazing, and best of all they are practical & fashionable! The crochet flower singlets – I can’t get enough of beautiful things!