The designer Victoria Casal talks about her style, her inspiration and growing up with Hello Kitty. I think it's important for women to keep a small part of themselves that feels like a kid. No matter how successful you are or how many responsibilities you have at home or work, a childlike, fun aspect is something important. I am always reminded of that whenever I see someone wearing something I have designed.
I was always really creative with clothes and jewellery. I knew from the beginning this was what I was going to do. I've never really left that universe of fashion, style and design. When I was a very young girl, my dad travelled a lot on business and used to bring me Hello Kitty stationery from America or Asia. In Europe at that time, Hello Kitty was virtually unknown, but I grew up with her. I started making clothes for my dolls when I was about six. I would draw and paint designs. I have so many drawings. You cannot imagine. I used to buy fabrics and create little dresses and accessories for my toys.
My parents were a big influence on me. My mother had a very strong sense of style, which I don't think I understood then. She loved pink, so of course I wanted to wear blue to be different, even though today pink is my favourite colour. My mother was incredibly chic and stylish; she loved to wear bold patterns, big accessories and designer labels like Yves Saint Laurent. Whenever I design clothes now, I always think of her and her style.
My father worked in fashion, too. He wasn't a designer but he owned several clothes stores. He would return from trips to places like London with beautiful, elegant clothes for me. He was a very handsome man who loved parties, going out and travelling, so as a child I was exposed to different styles early on. I did not dress in trainers or jeans much as a child, but always in very girlie clothes. One of the first outfits I remember wearing was my school uniform. It was a pretty dress. I was very thin, with thin little legs, so I had these big, thick socks to cover them.
I didn't rebel when I was a teenager. I never wanted to be a punk and the clothes I bought were chic and smart. The difference between generations is more pronounced now, but I was a little princess. I always wanted to wear pretty clothes. When it comes to my look today, I like to mix different things together. I don't like a top-to-toe designer look. And, of course, I wear things from my own collection. I could live and die in jeans; they are one of my favourite items of clothing. I like to mix them with something designer and chic. I'm always buying shirts. Whatever you wear, though, one of the most important things a woman must always have is clean hair and nails. Those are the details of a woman. You can go and buy a white T-shirt and wear trainers, but the rest of you must be perfect.
I get inspiration from galleries, reading books and the things I see around me. These elements go into the mix like a nice cake. I get to a few fashion shows, too. Although I do not follow the latest trends exactly, I liked the one a few years ago for vintage. I have some beautiful vintage Pucci dresses and I love Balmain. I'm also a big fan of Chanel - I'm addicted to their handbags. My problem is that I don't have so much time to shop any more. When I am in Paris, I need to work, and if I am not working I want to spend time with my family. The best time for me to go shopping is when I am travelling. I love New York. It's one of my favourite places to shop. I also love Italy. And when I am in Tokyo I find myself inspired by everything around me, whether I am shopping or not.
Hello Kitty by Victoria Casal Couture is available at her new store in Wafi Mall, Dubai.