Sheila Frank refuses to pigeonhole herself. From season to season, her focus changes - one collection might be all about luxurious silk dresses, while the next collection consists entirely of swimwear. The one constant thread in Sheila's work: the coming together of old and new in a perfectly distinct aesthetic.

Paper-Doll: How did you get into fashion design?
Sheila Frank: I always had a quirky style growing up. I remember making outfits for my Barbie dolls out of toilet paper, construction paper, markers and tape.

What is the first thing you designed?
I have a collection of sketches of wedding gowns that I designed when I was 8yrs old.

What inspires you / your work?
I admire the design aesthetic of vintage garments.

Describe your Spring Summer 09 Collection.
The Spring 09 collection takes a departure from my retro/pinup playful style to a more sophisticated feminine attitude of Charles Dana Gibsonís ďGibson GirlĒ. I journeys through early Victorian; Aesthetic dress, Edwardian influence and a painting by John Singer Sargent titled Lady Agnew of Lochnaw. You will not see corsets, bustles and hoop skirts. This collection shows a subtle marriage of old and new, provocative and prudish.
What is your favourite piece from your Spring Summer 09 Collection?
The woven neck swimsuit.

What is the most difficult thing about your job?
A lot of people think that Sheila Frank is a huge company. Little do they know Iím just starting out. Juggling a full time job, while working on the label is not an easy task. I launched the label 2 months after graduating college and did everything on my own. Now after a year I have 3 wonderful interns to assist me when I need them.

If you could collaborate with any designer / artist / musician / etc. on a single project, who would it be and what would you do?
I admire Vivian Westwood, Betsey Johnson, Jennifer Nicholson, Erin Fetherston and Samantha Pleet. I would like to design a line for Urban or Target.
What fashion era do you love? Is there one that you don't like?
I especially love Victorian, art deco, and 1950ís. All eras have fashion doníts, so I canít complain!

Do you have a real or imaginary muse?
I currently love Anne Hathaway, Zoe Duschnell and Dita Von Teese. I also admire Bettie Page and all old and modern day pinups, having a beautiful body and embarrassing it, is a huge inspiration.

What fashion trend would you not be caught dead in?
Shapeless dresses do not work on my curvy figure. Iíll belt it!

What is your favourite item in your personal wardrobe?
Faux leather jacket from Wet Seal.
Where do you shop for clothes when you're not wearing your own?
Salvation Army and thrift shops are a must. I like to look for cheap trendy finds at H&M, Forever 21 and Wet Seal.

What is on your current fashion wishlist?
Harem pants. Iím loving them!

What is your favourite thing about the city you live in?
I live in Central PA. We have a beautiful waterfront. Tons of little shops, boutiques, coffee shops, nice restaurants. I love it here, plusÖ NYC is 3 hours away, Philly is 2 hours away, Lancaster is 1 hour away! Itís fantastic.

What is next for your label?
In July we're launching Sheila Frank Swimwear and in September we'll be launching the Spring 10 collection!

Visit Sheila Frank for more images and shopping links.
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A Canadian based in Berlin writing about beautiful design, from fashion to interior and beyond.
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