The secret's out
By Mark Kebble on January 30th 2011
There’s no such thing as an overnight success, but fashion newcomer Georgia Hardinge is moving on up at quite a pace. Graduating from the Paris Parsons School of Design in 2008 (alumni include Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs), by September 2010 the Brick Lane-based budding designer was preparing for her first full catwalk collection at London Fashion Week, her architecturally sculpted designs were being worn by a slew of celebrities including Alesha Dixon, Little Boots and The Saturdays, and she was approached to design outfits for what is billed as one of the most talked about catwalk shows in the world, Victoria’s Secret.
“Sadie Frost’s just worn one of my dresses out to events three times in a row!” the part English, French, Canadian and German (phew) 26-year-old is excitedly telling my over the phone from her studio. “I can’t believe it!” Bubbly and a little bit scatty, she simultaneously chats to her assistant Fiona while answering my questions.
At the moment Georgia and her eight-strong team are hard at work preparing her autumn/winter 2011 collection. “The inspiration is a photographer called Joel Peter Witkins,” she says, “who’s very much inspired by disfigured bodies that he puts in installations. So all about anatomy, veins and bones…” she tails off as I try to imagine how this will translate to dresses. “And I’m going to continue focussing on the sculptural, architectural look.” Georgia’s eye-catching sculpted designs, inspired by landscape and gothic architecture put her firmly on the fashion world’s radar after she showed her spring/summer 2011 collection at London Fashion Week’s prestigious Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s Ones to Watch show last autumn.
“I think the tipping point came after my catwalk show,” she says, slowing down for a moment. “There’s the beginning when you are pitching for people to write about you, and then people start asking to write about you.” She also has a very firm idea of the type of woman her clothes are for. “My clothing is for a voluptuous woman with a bum,” she says. “I like to build my clothes around a woman’s body and accentuate her features.”
Having been involved with Erin O’Connor’s All Walks charity, which promotes using models of different sizes and shapes, Georgia is of the opinion that overly skinny models on the catwalk are “ugly” and backs up her words by making her sample clothes in sizes 8-10. “Although I prototype my designs on a miniature dummy so it looks like fashion week for dwarves!” she shrieks in laughter. I ask about her moulding technique that I’ve been reading about, “Oh, fabric sculpting,” she says. “It’s different every season. I like to experiment with heat and the deterioration of fabric.”
With an online store in the pipeline and plans to sell in New York, Georgia is bursting with enthusiasm and plans. “I love collaborating and would love to do something with ballet and set design,” Georgia says. She would also love to dress style icons such as Vogue Nippon editor-at-large Anna dello Russo and Daphne Guinness, and has plans to also target her sophisticated designs at “edgy and out there” younger women citing Julia Roitfeld, daughter of French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld, as an ideal client.
Despite all the razzmatazz of the fashion world, Georgia considers herself a recluse and likes to keep it that way. “A typical day for me is answering millions of emails, trying to get funding from the British Fashion Council and making prototypes,” she says before adding with a squeal, “oh wait, I think Rihanna is interested in wearing one of my dresses!” Make no mistake, this lady is one to watch.
See more of her at www.georgiahardinge.co.uk
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