Camilla Ridley is the founder and designer behind gorgeous children’s fashion label Milli Manu. Camilla trained in textile design and went on to work in fashion – selling scarves and clothes to well known stores around the world. After having her daughter Emmanuelle (Manu) Camilla fell in love with making her handmade clothes, just as her mother had done for her. And so Millie Manu was born.
We caught up with Camilla to chat about her love of fashion, her home life and the ideas and inspirations behind her gorgeous label Millie Manu.
Where did the idea come from for Milli Manu?
Trying to find clothes for my daughter Manu and being frustrated by the lack of good quality, British, affordable, stylish clothing for children. The name comes from my knickname Millie and my daughter’s Manu
Did you find your style changed when you entered motherhood?
I always used to wear dresses and high heels and have to admit I started wearing jeans and flats!
Who are your top 3 designers and top 3 high street stores?
For designer brands it would have to be Paul Smith, Temperley and Alberta Ferretti, but I love Topshop, Question Air and M&S on the high street too
Are there any mums out there who really inspire you?
My friend Ros de la Hey who runs the award winning Main Street Book Shop in Newton St Boswells, Scotland and my friend Zoe Phayre Mudge who runs the very successul washbag business called ZPM
What’s your fail safe look when you have moments to get ready?
What’s your home and interiors style?
Modern eclectic with a touch of chintz (as much as my husband will allow anyway!)
Has your taste in interiors changed at all since having kids? How do you manage with kids toys everywhere?
The sofa is in a terrible state but with a 2 year old there is absolutely no point in updating it. I have learnt to make do with more practical furniture and have to just relax about the mess otherwise you spend your entire life clearing up.
What book are you reading at the moment and what’s your all time favourite read?
At the moment I’m reading The Voices by Susan Elderkin, but my all time favourite read is her first award winning book “Sunset over Chocolate Mountains”
We are always looking for new recipes on StyleNest, do you have a failsafe family dish you swear by?
My husband and daughter love mussels and making moules mariniere is a very quick dish, taking 10 minutes from start to finish. Just fry a chopped onion in butter, add lardons, celery, garlic and herbs, pour a bottle of white wine in, bring to the boil and add your cleaned mussels. When their shells open serve in bowls with ladles of the sauce and serve with french bread: delicious.
When you’re not at work what do you enjoy doing with the kids?
My daughter loves feeding the ducks at Barnes Pond and loves going blackberry picking down the river path. We also have a family membership at Kew Gardens which is a great place to go for picnics, playing at their adventure playground and visiting the aquarium
You must be very organised to juggle a business with motherhood – do you have any top tips on how you stay on top of it all?
Writing lists and having a very understanding husband
Who is your style icon?
It would have to be Kate Winslet
Where do you get your creative inspiration from?
My mother made all our clothes as children mainly from Liberty prints. Giving her designs a modern twist has been my inspiration.