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Natalie Martin Spring 2013

The designer presents one-of-a-kind embroidery and dresses made from hand-printed sarongs


Characterized by vibrant prints and delicate embroidery, LA-based designer Natalie Martin‘s Spring/Summer 2013 collection derives inspiration from the designer’s travels to Bali. The line of dresses, tunics and caftans exudes a bohemian allure captured in a new lookbook shot by photographer Ashley Turner in the dusty hills of California’s Topanga Canyon. We caught up with the designer to learn how she came up with her breezy spring concept, and where she sources her fabrics.

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What is the inspiration behind the Spring/Summer 2013 collection?

My inspiration is the bohemian girl. She may work as an artist, designer, musician or simply be a ‘bon vivant’ who lives and works around the globe. She is part gypsy, part rock ‘n’ roll. I was really loving the ’70s silhouette: high waists, billowing sleeves and silky, floaty fabrics. I love mixed prints—the more they don’t match, the better.

Where does your love for embroidery come from?

As a child I was given a simple white cotton eyelet dress and I was hooked—I loved it. I love the the femininity of embroidery. The Balinese are master embroiderers. When you go to the factories and see what they are capable of your mind is kind of blown, they can do anything you can imagine. I love the webbing and cut-out areas of the embroidery. I love being able to see a flash of skin. I have always loved to draw—even if I’m watching TV I will have a pencil in my hand, doodling something.


Were there particular travels that influenced this collection?

My trips to Bali have been by far my biggest influence. Every time I visit I’m re-inspired by the lifestyle. You go to an amazing beach for the day and then throw on a beautiful silk dress over your swimsuit, put on some nice sandals and go out for the night. I always want to create pieces that will take you from day to night with a switch of accessories.

What are your signature pieces, and how do go about creating them?

I think my long dresses are more my signature. When I started the collection my initial idea was just to make pretty dresses that are feminine and easy to wear. Of course, now the line has expanded, but still the core of the collection are the dresses.

One of my favorite things to do when I go to Bali is to visit the Denpasar Fabric Market. I use hand-printed sarongs to make all of my designs, so no dress will ever be exactly the same, each has slight differences that make it unique. Each season, there are new prints and color combinations to choose from. It’s like being a kid in a candy store.

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For more information and to see the complete collection, visit the Natalie Martin website.


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