Designing for The Met Gala

Some days are better than others. One Saturday, I had a text from a friend of the company asking me to have coffee the next day with a client of hers, Muni Fry. Ms Fry was heading to The Met Gala only two weeks away but didn't have an appropriate dress. She wanted her dress to reflect the theme given by the host, Anna Wintour.  Coffee lead to a same-day studio visit and then a few sketches. 

Muni Fry sketch for The Met Gala 2015

Monday I was buying fabric, a sueded 4-ply silk in cobalt blue. My first toile was in a sueded charmeuse. It took an all-nighter to complete the sewing for the first toile for a fitting to get the design worked out. 

My former classmate and colleague, Jungah Lee, stepped in to sew the final garment, which took three fittings and two sewn garments. The day before Ms Fry left for NY, the dress was completed and packed for the trip. She gathered beautiful bangles, a vintage purse, and perfect earrings. 

We were so pleased and honored to work on this dress. Thank you Kim, Muni, Jungah, and Giovanna for your help on this one. 

Muni Fry at The Met Gala 2015

About Our Staff and Interns

Ever curious about the staff and interns at Camilla Olson? Some are just here for the summer, others work year-round. Meet our passionate and hard-working team! 


Mutsuko, Designer

Mutsuko has a degree from ESMOD in Paris, France, and works with Camilla in many disciplines such as pattern making, sewing, and designing new styles. When she's not too busy playing the piano, watching movies, and eating sushi, she loves designing beautiful and cool things.


Kelli, Manager

Kelli loves using creativity both in her work and her life. She has BS in Fashion Merchandising and an AA in Graphic Design, and her work at Camilla Olson supports every discipline, such as accounting, production, and development of new collections. When she's not working or enjoying delicious food, she can be found hiking, cooking, or bothering her kids.


Langsi, Marketing Assistant

Langsi is a incoming freshman at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor who enjoys reading, traveling, swimming, and eating pasta. She's eager to keep on learning as much as she can about the business world and the fashion industry, and loves her time working with Camilla and the team.


Randy, Marketing Intern

Randy studies business marketing at San Francisco State University, and enjoys running, hanging out with friends, and trying food from around the world, especially burritos. He hopes to learn about the different areas of fashion, and to work in the fashion industry one day.


Sam, Studio Intern

As a student at Castilleja High School, Sam loves to play soccer, draw, read, and write. As an intern at Camilla Olson, she mostly works in the studio with development, production, and photography, as well as co-writing a published Business of Fashion Op-Ed here. One day, she would love to get a degree in fashion and start her own line.


Janette, Illustration Intern

Janette attends Saint Francis High School, and loves all mediums of art, especially watercolor, acrylic, and collage. She utilizes these talents as an intern at Camilla Olson, shown here. In addition to experimenting with fashion illustrations, she also works in the business and manufacturing side of the company. She's not quite too sure what she wants to do in the future, but she knows it'll involve art and fashion. 


Katherine, Intern

Katherine Sam is a student at Castilleja High School, is excited to learn about Camilla Olson's products and design process, as well as business in the fashion industry as a whole. She loves fashion, musical theatre, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family. One day, she hopes to combine her two loves, design and math, in a career.


Sachi, Finance Intern

Sachi attends Gunn High School, and her favorite part about working at Camilla Olson is being able to share her ideas. In her free time, she likes to read and play the piano. She hopes to continue her internship through high school and learn more about the world of business and finance! 


Preeya, Film Intern

Preeya is a student at Castilleja High School, and her goal is to start a regular vlog about the company, mission, and current happenings at Camilla Olson. She aims to gain real world experience in working with film, and developing skills in directing, filming, and editing. As a ballet dancer, she also spends free time reading, hanging out with friends, running, and creating. She hopes to go into film or possibly architecture, and to continue dancing. 

Infinite Tee in Greece

Were you wondering, How is the Infinite Tee on vacation? Here are several images from our Intern's trip to Greece to answer that question. 


This is What Clarifying Looks Like

Today we've added several new pages to our site. 

In our shop, we added TWO new pages.
- One page, Back to Work, shows our recommendation for a first purchase for a Back to Work wardrobe, be it after finishing school or returning after a hiatus. the 7 pieces will give 18 looks. 

- Another page shows each of the pieces used in our original 9 pieces | 30 looks recommendation in a group. Here you can review and consider all 9 pieces easily. 

In Look Books/Foundation we have shown our current offerings and discuss our product design plans. 

We've added FOUR new videos to our Look Books/Film page. 

- Here you will see Tanna wearing the same white First Impression shirt. But she wears is quite differently as 5 different women. The point here is that our designs work for many different kinds of women doing very different things. They can be styled in different ways to be uptown, downtown, or at home. 

- Another film, Muse, shows how a designer sees her muse. I am constantly capturing images of how a piece looks on a woman, observing if it works from every angle. It is all consuming, dissecting each detail. 

- Two films show two NEW sets of 9 pieces giving 30 looks; one is with our spring offering and the other with new summer and fall pieces coming soon to our Shop. Each of these films show Tanna Frederick changing in front of the camera into each of the 30 looks. I love watching these films as the changing speeds of action becomes somewhat hypnotic. 

We hope you can see that our goal is to help you get dressed easily and confidently. 

This is What Clarifying Looks Like

Intelligence is Beautiful. 

xo Camilla

This IS What It Looks Like.

Over the past couple months, we've been talking a lot about beauty internally. We've brainstormed about ways to talk about it. We've posted a two graphic collages on beauty, prepared by our interns Langsi and Preeya.  We've talked about hosting regular Google Hangouts where we talk about different aspects of beauty, confidence, and reality. We've even been making a short film on out thinking process. At first we were preoccupied with bullying. Were there other factors that made women particularly susceptible to bullying?

This is when we started looking at image editing.

One morning Sam and I took an hour to write an essay and submitted it; it was turned down flat with no explanation. We worked on it again and submitted it to another site. The editor almost immediately got back to us with some suggestions. After a weekend of contemplation, we resubmitted it a third time. After some editorial magic, the piece was published. We are thrilled that our thoughts are being shared, but saddened that this topic even needs airing. 

The impacts of role models are significant, be they positive or negative. We want you to know that excessive image editing sends the message that being unique is not beautiful. We think the media would be better served using it's "stage" as a role model to encourage our youth to believe they are beautiful and to love themselves, exactly as they are. 

This is what acceptance looks like. And here is the link to our published work. Thank you Vikram.

Sam and Camilla


Our New Versatile Tee Supports the Community

Not only is it versatile and beautiful, the story behind the Infinite Bandeau is what makes this top truly unique. It all began with the idea of repurposing the extra silk chiffon Camilla had in her studio. This idea sparked inspiration for a project that could be done among Camilla’s interns.

Using one of Camilla’s previous patterns, as well as adding the double layer around the bra line, the Infinite Bandeau top, and project, was brought to life. Together the interns brainstormed different marketing, positioning, and sales techniques. How could we use the extra chiffon and previous pattern in the most sustainable way possible? How could we, as interns, learn more about responsible business practices through this project? In addition to this, we decided to donate half of the profits received from the Infinite Bandeau top to a local non-profit organization.

Our marketing includes anti-bullying programs touching on the idea of society conveying an unattainable expectation of beauty. Camilla has been working to support this idea in other ways as well; for example, her This is What it Looks Like campaign, limiting and disclosing all uses of Photoshop. All clothing and models are portrayed exactly how they are; we only use Photoshop to resize, adjust lighting, and remove backgrounds.

We are working to redefine beauty to match any identity. With the new versatile Infinite Bandeau top, this is made effortless. Be 100% you! Come see it in person at Camilla’s redesigned studio Friday or Saturday 12-5pm, and meet some of the interns 12-1pm on Friday. RSVP for lunch!


Samantha Jensen 


I recently wrote the following for an interview and wanted to share it with you. I welcome your comments. 


Not your typical fashion designer, I was a successful entrepreneur in the biomedical sciences and was never satisfied with the clothing available for purchase. Too sexy, too young, too short for work. 

At the age of 53, 2007, i went back to school and earned my MFA in fashion & Textile design. Here I still found the same problems, the stores didn't want to buy anything related to the working woman. at one point i thought it was a conspiracy to keep women from advancing professionally.

Now, i am designing for "my" woman and selling directly through my own shop, online, and a partnership with the local Four Seasons Hotel. Reading Deborah Rhode's book The Beauty Bias enlightened me on the statistics. My research leads met to do the following. 

- Sell directly to women

- Talk with them.  I am recording Google Hangout conversations with several women as we discuss beauty, the biases, the fashion industry. We'll edit them into 2 minute clips and publish them eliciting discussion. soon, we can have live online conversations. 

- List policies on my website on my values, including  how we use photoshop. 

- we believe that beauty is expressed by a woman's intelligence. It's inherent in all women, we want to be trusted that we will never objectify women. 

How do you dress a movie director? part 1

photo 2

Anne Hamilton is a special kind of woman. Enthusiastic, talented, and kind. We met at a party* last August where we dressed two wonderful managers from the Four Seasons in our Cages. Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley & Bentley Motors know how to host a party.










We learned that Anne was a lawyer finishing her Clerkship in the 9th Circuit Federal Court in San Francisco. Her first film, a short, was accepted into Cannes. She was also accepted into the prestigious women's director program of the American Film Institute. During the AFI, she made another short film, The Inheritance. It is being Showcased next week at the Directors Guild of America theatre in LA, along with the other 7 women directors. The Inheritance was also screened at the Beverly Hills Film Festival yesterday.

We offered to dress Anne for both events, but what does a director wear to show her own films? Knowing she loves our cages, it narrowed the selection a lot.  Then came the interesting part. Anne is the most deliberate person I know. Each part of her films is deliberate and she carefully peels an onion of ethics and judgement, separating the values like a fine sushi chef. She couldn't wear a simple party dress to show her film.

For the AFI Showcase she chose our cream draped cage but we made some changes too it and she will wear it over a different under dress, thus a new combination. The end result is a futuristic samurai dress. You'll be amazed, and I'll post it after the April 29 event.

The other dilemma was what to wear yesterday for the screening of The Inheritance at the BHFF.  The initial thought was a party dress, but I resisted. How could Anne, this deliberate woman, wear a party dress at a screening? I suggested that she go with a look that was almost work, but several steps up. Below you'll see the result. She wore her leggings and booties, our walnut cami and black horizontal cage that took me 120 solid hours just to hand sew.

Anne Hamilton wears Camilla Olson Cage jacket over her work wear to her screening at Beverly Hills Film Festival.

Finally, there was the opening party of the Beverly Hills Film Festival. There she could wear a party dress. And she did wear our black cage dress, that we nick named the "Skater Dress." I heard she did  a fair bit of dancing in this.

Anne Hamilton wears Camilla Olson at Beverly Hills Film Festival Opening

Anne, thank you for working with us. You are a gift to the world. Thank you for your work.



* Thanks to the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley and Bentley Motors Ltd for hosting an amazing champagne & caviar party. Carissa Ashman was the matchmaker.

Tanna Frederick wears Camilla at the LA Opening of Jaglom's The M Word

"The M Word" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals

Betsy wears Camilla at James' Broadway Opening Of Mice & Men

Betsy of M&M

Sharing Some Client Love

We have fun with lots of people. I thought we'd share some of the messages that we have gotten from some of the folks we work with.

"Got the tops you sent. Thank you. They are perfect. I'm wearing all your clothes. Perfect for my lifestyle."          Janice T from Newport Beach

"It's SO gorgeous and unusual, and I will wear it to my readings (and on many other occasions for sure)!!"   Harriet Chessman, author

“I can’t tell you how good that dress made me feel. I got so many compliments! … and I told people your name of course. It was a magical day and a magical dress. Thank you so much.” .. Betsy Franco March 2013. (On the occasion of her son receiving the STAR on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.)

"Authors under the stars. Boy did I feel good in my outfit. ..."   Betsy Franco, author. Guest Column written for The Wrap in Hollywood Tanna Frederick, October 2013.

These have been go-to pieces in my wardrobe. Easy to wear and travel with yet impact full. Gets many compliments.” MJE, Frequent Customer, October 2013.

I appreciate the taste and design level that Camilla brings to life in the pieces she creates She patiently spends time to understand the themes of future seasons as well as colors for both mass and direct to consumer. Her attention to detail is exactly what you expect from a custom designer. The new shirt collection from “desk2dinner” is a perfect delivery interpreting design to define “business casual”. In particular, the fabric choices, comfortable designs, and attention to detail make them stand out from other shirts in the marketplace. A great shirt is so hard to find. If you want something that feels like it has been especially designed for you, visit Camilla’s collections.”     LB, Client & Advisor, October 2013.

Hi Camilla, I absolutely love all of my new clothes from you. I have been wearing your designs out and about all around Napa and the city. I have gotten many compliments. I thought I’d send you a picture of me in one of your lovely tops. I’m so in love with it.… Best wishes to you! XO."      Emily M. October 2013.

You are a great designer and have a beautiful product. … love the ponti fabrics and the new blouses look great too.   Thank you."    Barb, Store Owner, October 2013.

Thank you Janice, Betsy, Emily, Harriet, Barb, Tanna, MJ, Lisa, Maria, and Albert.

To all our other clients and our new ones~  Thank you for your patience with us and your support. It means the world to us. We'd love to hear from you. Mostly, we'd love to see you in our work. Please send photos.




Holiday Intern

Today I had my first day working with Camilla Olson. We began the day by talking about the design process and how she comes up with her pieces and lines. She is a very visual person, so images were a key element of this process, and a few piles of small pictures populated the back of the Laramie Project binder she showed me as an example of her process. We looked at how these images, particularly of fences, influenced her thoughts on potential designs, and then looked at colors she had explored for the line, using paint swatches. The first thing she did after reading the play was she wrote down all of the key words and images that stuck with her. This is how she identified key themes that would come up later in the design process. She chose to use a light teal-blue and a grey, pointing out that some people did not feel the use of such a bright blue was appropriate given the sad nature of the play. But she felt the blue was important, because the beauty of the blue in the sky was so important to him in the story and the good coming from the evil was what she wanted to prevail in the story of her line. Next we looked at various fabrics and manipulations she had made to them to display a fence-like structure since the fence was so important to the story. I liked learning about her design process, particularly coming from my perspective on the design process, which is more fine-arts and furniture-oriented. I am looking forward to learning more about her process and working toward understanding her line so I can help to brand it and provide helpful input on her work moving forward.

We met with Mary Hughes to begin planning a fashion show luncheon sometime in the spring to help bring together women in Silicon Valley for an event that raises interest, support, membership, etc. for Close the Gap and Camilla Olson. Today, I reflected on my notes from the meeting and began focusing in on the venue options as I compiled a list with the contact information for all the potential locations. We created the goals of having a fun, content-based event that offers the opportunity for networking. But we also want to make the event meaningful for the guests. The event needs to showcase Camilla’s clothes and talk about women’s representation in our state. We have to question how this event should look, and how we can make it elegant, but also outlandishly fun. As part of this goal, we are going for the unexpected and would like the event location to be a key piece of the puzzle that draws guests to the event. We thought places normally associated with men would be good for it The event will consist of a few key elements: runway, lunch, and a panel on politics and women in it. The event should have no less than 250 people, but it would be great if we could expand it past this number. Towards this goal of outreach, and making the content interesting and informative, creating a steering committee of women will be an important element leading to our success. So how can we make it a hot ticket event? We need to have current and compelling speakers, a venue of interest, and an engaging show. In the process of creating this event, we will also make sure we focus on creating the social media backup and other promotion, a payment platform, and a menu of options for the event including a short list of potential venues, sponsors, and sponsoring organizations to present to the host committee. This is the first step of getting ready for the upcoming event. Evan Cranston photo ~ Evan Cranston