x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

'I always knew that this is what I would do'

The designer Victoria Casal talks about her inspiration and her new line of Hello Kitty couture.

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.