In contrast to the cookie cutter landscape of most Strip casino shops with a Louis Vuitton or Chanel on every corner, the Venetian lobby is home to a truly one of a kind jewel: Camille Flawless’ couture boutique.
Flawless, a couture fashion designer from Israel, is moving her dress factory from Miami to Las Vegas to better stock her local shop with the hand-painted, Swarovski crystal-adorned masterpieces that have allowed her to dress A-listers in fabulous frocks.
Her gowns aren’t just easy on the eyes; they’re also an easy way to look divine. Many of her pieces are created from a special French lace, which stretches to hug the curves of a range of sizes. “My employees are always amazed that a dress can fit size 2 and it can fit size 8,” Flawless explains.
This means her celebrity clients come in a range of sizes, from the petite frames of Paris Hilton, Carmen Electra and Brooke Burke to curvier clients like Rumor Willis, Beyonce and Jenna Jameson. Most recently, Flawless designed dresses for Vanna White, which she wore while turning letters on the Wheel of Fortune board when the show filmed in town this July at the Venetian.
Aretha Franklin also stopped by lately to admire the hats on the store’s mannequins. Camille and her right hand man, Sergio Luna, whipped up a hat overnight for the legendary soul singer and the designer hopes to create an entire line of hats with Franklin in the future.
More than a store, Flawless says her boutique is an experience: “[It’s] a fairy tale. You come here and you don’t feel the same when you walk out.”
How did you first get into the world of fashion?
I’ve been doing it since I was 15 years old. … I started out with it in Israel and I moved to the United States 12 years ago. That’s where I got my name, Flawless. My family in Israel was in the diamond cutting business, so I have been around diamonds all my life.
How would you describe your pieces?
All of my pieces are one of a kind; I don’t repeat myself. The beauty of the concept is if you come and you want me to make something for you, I can do it. You tell me what you want and I will put a little Camille Flawless into it and create you whatever you want.
What brought about the desire to create a line of chain mail tops?
I was in the Israeli military for three years, so every time I thought about that time I would say to myself that I am going to make a line of chain mail. … It looks just gorgeous on the body. I want it to be sexy, but in a sophisticated way. The chain mail comes from overseas, but it only comes in a solid color, so if you want to put any colors or patterns on it, it is a process. The prices I have on these are for a good reason; it takes a lot of time.
Tell me about your new billboard campaign?
When I see the beautiful people at my shop, I wanted to come up with a concept for a billboard. I offer them the chance to put their wife on a billboard on the Strip of Las Vegas. They pay for the billboard and I pay for the photo shoot. We take a picture for the billboard and then we take pictures of different looks for her – the sexy look, the glamorous look and the fairy tale look.
Where do these shoots take place?
For the billboard photo shoot, I take one of the Presidential Suites at Caesars Palace, or Venetian or Red Rock. We go early in the morning and I put flowers all over it so when she comes, she really feels like it’s a supermodel photo shoot. If you read what they write to me after the day, they say it changes their lives and changes their attitudes.
Will you be designing anything for Beyoncé while she is in town for her shows at Encore?
She is coming with her own line of clothing done by her mother, but we have a meeting with her wardrobe manager and then we’ll see what she wants. She has done business with me before and I made her a hand painted dress. I’m excited; I like Beyoncé.
Your presentation is unique. How do you package your dresses for customers?
When you buy one of my one-of-a-kind pieces, you can pick whichever box you like and we put the dress in it and the feather on top of it. I am very inspired by the ‘50s, but I don’t want to own a vintage store, I want to own a Camille Flawless store. I try to bring the combination together. We have a lot of vintage hatboxes for people to choose from. I tell them that when they have 10 feathers, you can come and I will design a dress for you for free.
What is the price range on your dresses?
We have dresses from $200 and $400, but not many. Most of them start from $1,500 up to $35,000-$40,000. I made a wedding dress for a woman from Saudi Arabia [and] we used gems and pearls on that. It had a couple of more zeros on it than you would usually see.
Do you have a favorite dress that you’ve ever created?
I have more than one. This is like if you ask a mother if she likes one child better than another one. They are like my children. The 2009 collection blew all the rest out of the water. Most of the new collection is already sold, even in a recession. It’s been very good; it’s been an excellent year.