Her name is Georgine Ratelband... and not coincidentally the name of her brand is Georgine. From the very first moment I saw her collection about 18 months ago, there was no question in my mind that she was one to watch and so I watched and I waited.
Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting her in her living/working space and it solidified my gut feelings about her brand even after not being over the moon about her last collection. The brand is in its nascent stages and she is one of those designers who seem to be lucky enough to take her time and plot her trajectory as well her eventual full-fledged entry into the world of international fashion.
At any rate, there is something
about what she creates that evokes thoughts in me of Helmut Newton and Chris von Wangenheim and the heady days when
fashion really was fashion and photographers told stories with their images
while designers designed clothes for women to wear and oh yeah, fashion magazines
were bibles for readers and followers of fashion. She possesses sophistication
and a sense of style that belies her young age and it very much exposes itself
on the runway.
Without any question, there is a
big 70s influence and a bit of film noir here but without any doubt, she manages
to massage those influences into present day creations. There is nothing that
smarts of looking dated or of the literal translation school that so many
designers think is okay. Georgine is about chic and soigné and not about trendoid, in other words
there is a polish here and a developing signature. In a sense one might say
there is something Halstonesque about what she does and maybe there is
something that reminds me of how Michael Kors started but not in his present
After my visit, we decided that she should speak for herself and so she has right here. It is my pleasure to provide a chat with the eponymous designer while she speaks of her life and brand. Please meet her .. and remember … “I told you so !”
1-How did you get involved in fashion? What drove you?
As a child I was always naturally inclined to put an emphasis on style and attention to detail. I was always creating; whether that was painting, drawing, re-organizing my room, making scrapbooks or dressing my Barbie’s. I kind of made my own personal world of self-expressionism and I did it all for myself. When it came time to selecting a career, I wasn’t really good at math so I decided to invest in a creative career. Ha!
2- You have successfully mined the 70’s in your collections... any reason why you chose that decade and will you continue?
The 70’s are an amazing era as they represent so many things. I am always enamored by the women of that time. They loved to dress up and have fun! I love powerful, strong, sexy and sophisticated women. But it is very important for me to translate that seventies feeling into something that is modern and speaks to women of today.
3-where do you see yourself and your brand in 5 years? If you had a wish list what would be on it?
- Expand our wholesale business and see GEORGINE in luxury multi-brand boutiques and department stores such as Bergdorf, Barneys, Kirna Zabete, Capitol, etc.
- Build a dynamic and energetic team - Being featured in major publications monthly - CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund - Get another puppy
4-if you could invite 5 people to dinner ... anyone at all... who would be there and why?
Marlene Dietrich for a million reasons … Diana Vreeland for her attention to detail and inspirational words … Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele … Eleanor Roosevelt for being such a powerful and prestigious woman … Andre Leon Talley – need I say more?
5-what are you r feeling about fashion as a business at the present time? How do you think it could be improved?
The fashion industry is huge and filled with some of the most interesting, influential and passionate individuals. It is interesting to see how the industry is changing due to the e-commerce. Besides building a brand and an image as a designer today you also have to think about how your clothes will look online. Majority of customers are shopping more online and the world is becoming very small. that said, I think that as everything is so fast paced, a personal and old world touch is appreciated and goes a long way which is what our private clients relate to.
6- who or what are your style/fashion icons or mentors? And why?
All my friends who I think have great style. They are all different ages, different body sizes, and different backgrounds. They are people with character and it is all about individuality. All of them combine the perfect balance of individual style. It is women that have jobs, kids… I look at them as my muses.
7-if you could choose to collaboration with any designer, past or present, who would you select and why?
I would love to collaborate with Karl Lagerfeld. He is such a genius and would love to spend time with him to see how his mind works plus I take it he has a good sense of humor!