Heidi Carter designs the kind of clothes you want to fill your wardrobe with: effortless, feminine and wearable pieces that won’t be tossed at season’s end...
No wonder then that Paddo to Palmy is the go-to resortwear label for style bloggers such as Anna Mavridis and Carmen Hamilton. “Fashion and in particular dresses have always been a passion of mine,” explains Sydney-based Carter. “I struggled to find flattering day dresses in beautiful prints and fabrics that wouldn’t break the bank so I decided to design my own. After lots of research in pattern making and trawling vintage stores around Europe we launched our first summer collection back in 2014.” Carter only works with natural fibres such as cotton, linen and silk and strives to design timeless, flattering and versatile pieces that women can easily travel with. “Our new collection features lots of beautiful blues and soft earthy tones, mid-length skirts, box pleated dresses and cotton lace dresses with pom pom embellishments,” says Carter. The Milan dress, an elegant button up linen dress is one of her favourite pieces, along with the new swing skirt and shirt and box pleat Montenegro dress in navy.
Carter originally started Paddo to Palmy as an interiors blog, which chronicled her renovations on her terrace house in Paddington and beach house in Palm Beach. “I guess the blog was a creative outlet for my style – part traditional, part beachy and part oriental with a love of colour, textiles and stripes!” says Carter. Over time, she began selling Moroccan homewares through the blog, and eventually moved into fashion. “I only design pieces that I would wear. I am attracted to the chic and timeless way in which French women dress, but I also love the preppy style of Jackie Kennedy,” she says. We caught up with the stylish mother of two to find out about her new collection… Go to www.paddotopalmy.com
Can you tell us about your new collection?
We only use natural fibres – mainly cotton, linen, viscose and silk as it just feels better on the skin and is more sustainable for the environment. Our new collection features lots of beautiful blues and soft earthy tones, mid-length skirts, box pleated dresses and cotton lace dresses with pom pom embellishments.
What three items should every woman have in her closet?
A flattering and comfortable dress. A jacket that you can easily throw over a dress or wear with jeans. A well cut shirt that can be worn with skirts or jeans. And I guess a pair of jeans – so that’s four!
Is your wardrobe organised?
When we moved to the suburbs from Paddington we actually downsized in terms of wardrobe space, so it’s a daily fight for space with my husband and as a result our wardrobe is jam-packed. I am a hoarder, which doesn’t help either. My husband recently bought those slim velvet hangers and reorganised my entire wardrobe to gain some more space – it helped!
Paddo to Palmy Milan Linen Dress, $239, coming soon
Paddo to Palmy Dresses, coming soon
How would you describe your own personal style?
My style is quite classic, but I like to add a twist with accessories. A typical look would be a mid-length waisted polka dot dress with an embroidered jacket, statement earrings, a handbag and flats – I very rarely wear heels as I just can’t deal with them since having kids.
What inspired the new range and do you generally design pieces you’d wear personally?
Yes I only design pieces that I would wear. I am attracted to the chic and timeless way that the French women dress but I also love the preppy style of Jackie Kennedy. We are off to the Amalfi Coast, Greece and Croatia with the family in August, so my ultimate travel wardrobe for these locations were definitely an inspiration.
Are there any people or places who inspire your designs?
Charlotte Casiraghi, Talitha Getty, Leandra Medine and Olivia Palermo. The Amalfi Coast and its relaxed and chic beach clubs, getting you from the beach to dinner in one outfit was definitely an inspiration for the collection.
Can you tell us about your love of travel – where’s next on your list?
We spent seven years living in Asia and had our children there. My husband and I were keen travellers and made a pact that when we had children, we would not stop travelling and are keen to show them the world. Our girls are now aged nine and six and have visited every continent apart from Africa! Travel feeds the soul and adds so much perspective to your life. As a designer you are constantly looking at how other people dress and style things together, so each trip that I take, I am always overwhelmed with inspiration and have my notebook nearby.
Paddo to Palmy Dress, coming soon
Paddo to Palmy dresses, coming soon
Have you always been a creative person?
From a young age I would devour interior and fashion magazines. I studied art throughout high school and drawing has always been a big part of my life. I was actually a bit intimidated by the fashion industry and still am! I actually didn’t see the point in all of those crazy gowns that no one would actually ever wear. So I went the safe and boring route of studying commerce as I knew that one day I would have my own business. It wasn’t until I had my girls and they started going to school that I entered the rutt of ‘what am I going to do now?’ – thankfully I have been able to turn my passion into a business.
Do you have any career advice for budding fashion designers?
Have a clear aesthetic of the type of clothes you want to design and who will wear them. Also your patterns are everything so invest in an experienced pattern maker. It’s such a cut throat industry, so make sure you are doing something different and better than the competition.
Do you prefer heels or flats?
I love heels and have many but I just can’t wear them anymore! So I guess flats.
Paddo to Palmy Knotted Tringle Bikini, $120, and Kimono, coming soon
Paddo to Palmy Polka Dot Dress, coming soon
What’s your life motto?
What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger and treat other people the way you want to be treated.
How do you juggle running a business with raising two girls?
Both of my girls are at school now, so I try to get most of the work done in school hours so that I can spend the morning and afternoon with them. I am guilty of always being on my phone though checking emails and social media (unfortunately it’s part and parcel of running your own business these days). My mum lives with us and is literally my backbone. She helps me with everything – from packing the girls’ lunch to organising the shipping logistics to offering design advice during the sampling process – there is no way I could do it all without her.