Image courtesy of Natalie Martin.
We're excited to share a Q+A with THE Natalie Martin, a longtime favorite of ours whose easy, breezy printed dresses and blouses define effortless — and have helped grow the Australian designer's line into having a true cult following. Season after season she creates a collection that's entirely sourced and handmade in Bali with pieces that are incredibly wearable, feminine, and simultaneously eye-catching while understated. Read on to learn more about Natalie!
The Briana Dress; image courtesy of Natalie Martin.
What first inspired you to design your own clothing?
From a young age I’ve been interested in design and fashion. I loved fashion magazines and if I could get my hands on French Vogue (usually 6 months old), I would treat it like a first edition novel. Growing up in a small beach town in Australia, one’s clothing options were limited so I would shop at thrift stores and alter my finds to try and achieve the look in those magazines or at least something that was a bit more interesting than what was available at the time.
What about the ritual of getting dressed feels most potent to you?
I love body oils, so I always make sure moisturize before I start my day. There is one oil in particular that I am loving at the moment from Osea.
How do your Australian roots influence the way you approach clothing design?
The Australian lifestyle is very relaxed, in which enjoying life is a high priority. I try to design pieces that women feel effortlessly beautiful wearing. A woman is at her most beautiful when she feels relaxed, comfortable and happy, and I really try to create pieces that help women feel that way.
Image courtesy of Natalie Martin; the Lizzy Shirt.
You work in collaboration with local artisans to produce your clothing. How did you come to form a relationship with the local community in Bali and how does that relationship inform your work?
When I went to Bali to first start the line 10 years ago, I was introduced to this lovely guy name Narok, who worked at the hotel I was staying at in Ubud. He helped me source fabric, printers, embroidery, places, etc. It was an incredible time full of many ups and downs - sometimes the samples were perfect and there were also many disasters. Thankfully we have managed to fine tune things overtime; while, still working with local printers and craftsman. Narok and I still work together to this day and I wouldn’t be able to do it without his partnership.
Can you share a story behind a recent favorite pattern or print?
Due to covid, I have not been able to travel to Bali, and so we have been revisiting a lot of our past prints and giving them a new life with fresh color. I’m really loving the Ivy Prints and from a distance, it can look a little bit like leopard print.
+ Quick Fire!
What are some small things you're doing right now to take care of yourself (mentally, physically, and/or emotionally)?
I’ve been hiking a couple days a week with my girlfriends, good for my heath but even better for my heart and head.
My creative/design ethos in three words:
Easy, Feminine, Quietly Luxurious
I always start my day with:
A kiss from my husband and a Kings Rd coffee.
I really love cooking and I’m pretty good at it, at least that’s what I’m told haha.
Song or musician I’m loving right now (link a playlist or album if you’d like!)
I've been on a bit of a Roxy music binge. I’m also loving Michael Kiwanuka.
The thing I find myself recommending over and over again?
Everything but the bagel dip from Trader Joes. Vintners Daughter face oil.
My ultimate escape – real or imagined:
I’m desperate for a beach vacation. I visited Porto Ercole in Italy a few Summers ago, the water, the food, the people, everything was pretty magical, I would love to go back.