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Emerging designer spotlight

Georgine Ratelband

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This time of year we often find ourselves thinking about the fashion industry and wondering, what's coming next? As the calendar year ends, and yet another Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week season approaches (YES, REALLY) no one knows for sure who will be the big emerging names from the Autumn/Winter 2013 collections but here at SW we're willing to guess that list will include designer Georgine Ratelband of the brand GEORGINE.

At just 23 years old, the internationally based Ratelband, has made a name for herself on two continents with a finely tuned collection of sleek and modern pieces that exude easy elegance. SW caught up with the designer via e-mail early this week to find out more about her inspirations and style point of view.

SW: What is your earliest fashion memory? Is there a moment, maybe from childhood when you remember noticing and/or falling in love with fashion. (Maybe seeing film, or watching someone you know get ready to go out?) How did that moment impact your decision to become a designer yourself?

GR: My earliest fashion memory would be when I was 8 years old and changed schools. My mother stressed the importance of a first impression.  She dressed me in this white tennis skirt with a white top, white socks with a lace detail and probably a pair of white shoes and to top it off she styled my hair into a French braid.   

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. I never shared these things or asked for approval. It was to satisfy something more internal.      

SW: Growing up, who were your favorite designers? How did you learn about their work?  

GR: Ralph Lauren! He created a world that I was enamored by.  Whether it was the sports, family style images, or various locations he depicted such as New England or the Rockies it was always beautiful, adventurous and made me want to be a part of it.   

SW: As a teen did you create a personal style for yourself that was inspired by the industry or were you more of a fashion maverick, making your own street style and disregarding trends?

GR: I would like to think of myself as someone who was more of a fashion maverick. When I was in my teens I tried to develop my own style. Some things worked and some seriously didn’t. Eventually I came to understand how certain silhouettes would accentuate my strong points vs others that would do quite the opposite. Lengths / proportions they all play a huge role in a garment!  At the time it was less thought out yet in retrospect it definitely has had a huge influence on the aesthetic I have developed for my company today.      

SW: Who are your favorite fashion muses from pop culture? 

GR: Marlene Dietrich for a million reasons, Diana Vreeland for her attention to detail, Anna Dello Russo for her courage and love for fashion, and Eleanor Roosevelt for being such a powerful and prestigious woman.

SW: I understand you were born in the Netherlands, raised partially in Belgium, educated in Milan and have traveled extensively through the US and Asia. How have these multi-faceted, multi-cultural experiences impacted your design? Do you find one culture that you are drawn to for inspiration more frequently than the others?

GR: When I travel I always make a point of visiting a lot of galleries to see the local art, I look at the architecture, listen to their music, try to understand the language, etc.  Through my adventures I find aspects of different cultures that speak to me and somehow they seem to work their way into my designs or other creative outlets eventually.  In terms of being drawn to one particular culture more than others, at this time I would have to say that there are so many fascinating cultures that provide so much inspiration to me. I have yet to feel that I am drawn to one particular culture for inspiration more than others. Give me a couple decades and I may have a different response!

SW: What were the major inspirations behind the Spring 2013 collection?

GR: Firstly my objective at all times is to create beautiful, chic and luxurious clothing that every woman can feel great about wearing.  Our collections are trend-driven but not trendy.  I would like to think of my aesthetic as a union between classic and new styles with silhouettes that are intricate yet have a very clean appearance. 

The inspiration for Spring/Summer 2013 came to me when I traveled for a friends’ wedding to Venice, Italy, which in itself was a magical escape! This inspired me to tell a story about a woman who comes to Italy and travels all over the country. I designed outfits with her potential adventures in mind.  I imagined her in different scenarios such as attending a masquerade balls in Venice, travelling by a classic riva boat, watching the most gorgeous sunsets on the Mediterranean, and riding sidesaddle on the back of vintage Vespas with the train of her dress blowing in the wind. 

The color pallet was vibrant colors mixed with your basic white, navy and blacks to keep an elegant yet fresh approach. The two vibrant colors I used; turquoise and coral bring out the best in any skin tone by making it look healthy and radiant.

SW: How do you see the American woman differing, style and trend-wise, from women in Europe and Asia? Are there particular pieces within the GEORGINE collection that you see as capturing the American fashion spirit?

Having quite a large clientele all over the world gives me a great insight on what women wear from all different cultures, shapes, sizes and ages. When I look at the end of the season and evaluate everything that has been purchased I see a distinct trend in what women buy regardless of what country they come from.  The way women style and pair the clothing is when the culture aspect may come into play.     

Most people identify my collections as “very American” in terms of the luxurious yet wearable appeal.  There are two things I notice about American woman’s style throughout the country that I love and encourage; generally they never shy away from wearing a high heel and they love dressing up when going out at night. 

SW: Finally, as the New Year is quickly approaching, what do you want to see happen in fashion in 2013? 

GR: Besides never having to see a pair of crocs again, I would like to see more women continue to be bold and daring on all fronts.   Also I, like many young designers, would appreciate an increase in Big Box retailers showcasing and or supporting up and coming talent.

For more information on GEORGINE visit the label's official web home, and stick with Style Wylde for more from the runways around the globe. 

All images courtesy of GEORGINE