Camilla Freeman-Topper: ”On an aeroplane, I love wearing a new tracksuit”

As one half of fashion label Camilla and Marc, the designer shares how technology has empowered her, why a trench coat is a travel essential, and where she loves to dine.

I would say one of the most valuable lessons I have learned while travelling is to be organised. Prior to COVID I was travelling for work a lot and I would organise my trips down to the hour – my meetings, museums, restaurants, everything. By being organised and having everything planned has allowed me to be more spontaneous in those in-between moments. You can really be where you are and soak in the moment more instead of worrying or planning.

For design inspiration I draw on so many incredible places. In my formative years as a designer, Italy was where I perfected my craft. I won a scholarship to do my master’s in Florence. Design and tailoring was a cornerstone of the master’s, I immersed myself deeply in that culture. More recently I went to Berlin for the first time in 2019 – I was completely enamoured by the design, architecture and art scene.

Growing up as a family we used to ski a lot. My father was a ski instructor while he was studying law and it’s a passion of his that I have passed on to my kids. It’s an amazing family holiday – you’re exercising and you feel as free as a bird. After every trip we come back closer as a family.

The most inspiring place I’ve ever been to is Uluṟu. I connected with the place deeply and I remember a huge sense of spirituality. And from a visual perspective it’s incredible. Internationally, Paris is very near to my heart. I have all my local places I visit, plus lots of close friends there. Previously I had so much repetitive travel, so I promised myself that unless it’s for work, I’d try to visit a new destination, so I’d love to go to Moscow.

I always pack in order of events. So, first outfit on the top and I pack flat. It’s a bit weird and means I need to take an excessive amount of luggage, but it works. Once I’ve worn something, it’s done and I don’t need to worry about it. I also have a rail and steamer in my room and I unpack as I go.

When I’m getting on an aeroplane, I love wearing a new tracksuit. When you’re about to sit in a chair for hours, that thousands of people have sat in, it’s something for me that makes me feel fresh and clean. Then I always wear a trench coat over it for some polish.

In the past year, I’ve learned we really don’t need to travel as much as we did – especially for work. Technology is ridiculously empowering. I’ve been able to tap into talent internationally beyond my wildest dreams. I recently employed a designer working out of Stockholm and she is incredible.

When it comes to restaurants, you can have a beautiful interior, but it’s the menu that is so important to me. I tend to gravitate towards farm-to-table and seasonably led restaurants. Then some of the best restaurants are just a small hole-in-the-wall, and it’s about the energy of the space. I really prefer to go to restaurants where the owners are front-facing or it’s family-owned and run. The service is better. There’s so much pride in the operator standing there, and truly owning the restaurant, welcoming you. You’re always going to get a much better meal.

In Sydney, Sean’s Panaroma is a go-to for me. I also love the new Bistrot 916 that’s just opened up [in Potts Point]. One of my favourite restaurants in the whole world is Lucien in NYC. It’s the first place I go to when I land. In Paris it’s a little more bougie. I love Caviar Kaspia. We have hosted many a private dinner there with friends or for work that I’ll never forget.

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