by Erin McSherry for the Cannon Media Group with additional reporting by Izzy Ruiz and Katie Smith
It will be two years this month since designer Georgine Ratelband first launched her own label, GEORGINE. The elegant clothing line incorporates her worldly passions, high regard for creativity and the essence of femininity as she knows it. Encompassing all that she has learned through her studies and travels, the designer works to ultimately create a line of clothing that women want to wear and provoke a feeling of power while wearing it.
theFashionSpot: When did you first discover you wanted to be a designer?
Georgine Ratelband: As far back as I can remember I’ve loved the arts. I get a natural high from creations that are well thought out, whether that be architecture, art, advertising, design, etc. Growing up I had many creative outlets (painting, fashion, interior/furniture design, scrapbooks…).
tFS: How long have you been designing?
GR: I have been designing since I was quite young. In terms of my brand, we have officially been in business for two years as of this month!
tFS: Do you have a favorite silhouette? Or one that you recreate each season?
GR: Each season I have several styles of dresses I refer to as the “power bitch dress.” They are less about the silhouette and more about the feeling they evoke.
tFS: Your Summer and Fall collections have a very feminine and chic feel. What was your inspiration behind both?
GR: The inspiration for Summer 2013 came to me when I traveled to Venice for a friends’ wedding. The sights, smells, music, cinema, books and people, inspired countless ideas. I began to imagine a chic and adventurous woman who travels to Italy. I designed outfits with her potential adventures in mind. I imagined her in different scenarios such as attending a masquerade ball in Venice or cruising along the coast on the Vespa of her new beau while the train of her dress blew in the wind.
For fall, we were inspired by German Expressionism, specifically its influence on cinema such as film noir classic Sunset Boulevard and the iconic Metropolis. Additionally, Helmut Newton's infamous 1979 photo of Gia Carangi & Robin Osler inspired the GEORGINE muse who likes to play up both her masculine and feminine sides. A modern Veronica Lake whose style, attitude and clothing transcends gender and embraces a new view of the modern woman.
tFS: And what would you say makes each collection stand apart?
GR: The Spring collection was more of a romantic and flirtatious feeling as it was inspired by my trip to Italy. My Fall collection has a bit more edge and darkness to it because it was inspired by German Expressionism but our main objective is to create chic and beautiful clothing that every woman can feel great about wearing no matter the season.
tFS: What is your design process?
GR: It varies each season depending on the inspiration. Firstly, I define what my vision is for the collection in its entirety so the end result appears as cohesive as possible. Afterwards, I begin to develop fabric options and look further into what initially inspired my ideas behind collection. Many times this requires lots of reading, watching films, research, travel, etc. There are certain silhouettes and styles we revisit season after season and every collection is made from the finest Italian and French fabrics. Having said that, regardless of the inspiration, my main objective is to always create chic and beautiful clothing that every woman can feel great about wearing. I want my woman to feel confident, beautiful and inspiring when she wears my pieces.
tFS: What is the most difficult part of being a designer? The most rewarding?
GR: The most difficult part of being a designer is to have a healthy balance between work and pleasure. I find myself always thinking of a next collection and how I could incorporate my daily elements that I see around me in my designs. The most rewarding is when I receive a phone call or a letter from one of my customers that rave about how beautiful and confident they felt when they wear my clothing and the amount of compliments they received.
tFS: Give us an idea of what a typical day for you is like.
GR: Each and every day is different. That is the best part of running your own company. There is never a dull moment. Typically, when I wake I will browse through my emails in bed. Afterwards, I take a lengthy breakfast made up of a mix of work talk, sketching, lots of tea, coffee and great food. After breakfast, I may continue with design oriented work, though many times there are more business related issues I have to tend to. Work will continue till about 8-10 p.m. Days can be made up of fittings, sales, designing, travel for work, production scheduling, etc.
tFS: Where do you see yourself as a designer in five years?
GR: I hope to be comfortably creating four collections per year and have grown my company significantly and have a stronger global presence!
tFS: It seems like you’ve had the opportunity to travel quite a bit. Tell us about one of your favorite excursions.
GR: Burma, Burma and Burma! I went to Burma briefly during this past Christmas and have already booked another trip back for late November. I cannot wait to return as I find the people, culture, architecture, craftwork and countless other aspects of this beautiful country to be breathtaking. There is a mysterious and spiritual ambiance that exists in Burma, which can’t be described in words.
tFS: Outside of fashion, what are your other passions/interests?
GR: Travel, throwing dinners at home with old and new friends, collecting art and furniture, reading a good book while enjoying a bath, discovering a new band, rewatching great films.
Those passions truly transcend into her designs. Her collection can foremost be what I like to call simply city chic. Each piece is based on classic silhouettes but infused with dynamic textures that make her clothes so magnetic. You want to be in them just for that sensual experience. There's also an impressive show of her talents in tailoring. She imbues an almost masculine approach to design that gives her collection strength and structure. And by blending classic tailoring, a modernist take on clean lines and a palette that delicately adds a touch of femininity to the collection, GEORGINE is a versatile brand that allows any girl to bring her own personality to any look. You wear the look, the look doesn't wear you — and that is real power.
Photographed by Danilo Hess
Hair & Makeup by Erika Franco