Just days ago, Forty Five Ten welcomed Kalita to the U.S., a London-based ready-to-wear resort brand designed by Kalita al Swaidi and Raechel Temily. This is also counts as the first resort wear line the upscale retailer has sold on its meticulously curated racks. We sat down with Raechel Temily to chat about life as a traveling designer and how the British line will embrace Dallas women.
How do you feel Kalita is going to blend in with Dallas women’s idea of fashion?
One of the things I’ve noticed is that Dallas women like to be noticed. They do not need to blend into the background and they are not wallflowers. Our clothes are not fussy, there’s not a lot going on. They’re just cleverly done so that it feels very relaxed. So I think Kalita works here in Dallas, where women are so put together and so polished and immaculate, because you do want to feel chic, but you don’t want to feel dumb, like you tried that hard. My business partner is part Texan, as well, so we kind of had a heads up on that.
So do you think your dresses will be worn differently here than in London, where your line is based?
London girls are much more casual. London girls will wear something as a styling pieces rather than a statement pieces, and that’s the difference, I think, between Dallas and London. Dallas women will wear a statement piece, so I think they are more likely to wear the dresses as they are. They’re not going to dress them down. It’s not going to be that backless dress with a little shrunken tee shirt underneath and trainers, which is how a London girl would wear it. They’re going to wear it with heels, a blowout, and diamonds.
You’ve said that you don’t like to focus on the trends as much as the way women feel in the clothes—is that where you draw your inspiration from?
I think the clothes that we love as women never really change that much. If you think about your favorite dresses, you wear them until they die. And then you wish that you could recut them in a new color or a new fabric, you don’t ever really stray from the aesthetics and silhouettes that you know you feel good in. In five seasons to come, we’re still going to be gravitating towards the same pieces that make us feel good but different versions.
And what is that piece for you?
One of our best-selling pieces is called the Uschi, it’s that big, white confection of a dress, and it’s based on a dress I bought ten years ago in India at the Anjuna Market in Goa. Even though it was a very simple dress, at the time it was a lot of money for me. But it made me feel a certain way, and I’ve carried that dress around the world with me for ten years. I still love it, and it’s still really on point. We just made an amazing version of it.
What drew you to the silhouettes we see in the Kalita line?
We really love showing unusual body parts. For example, some of our most popular pieces are backless pieces. Girls, when they’re on holidays particularly, and are tanned or glowing and feel really confident about their skin, are happy to show off their back in a way that they might not usually. We don’t make really short dresses. We don’t make miniskirts. It’s not an overt sexuality. It looks modest from the front. And it’s not until a woman turns around and walks off that everyone is like, “Oh my goodness.” That silhouette is unforgettable.