Since her A/W 2011 'Merit Award' winning collection, when she had her first stand-alone runway show at the off schedule (or as we like to refer to it as, the 'ones-to-watch' schedule) Vauxhall Fashion Scout, we've been keeping tabs on the name Georgia Hardinge. Not only has she dressed pop heavyweights from Gaga to Beyonce but has acclaimed boutique stockists from 14 countries. And you don't see THAT on every fashion designer's CV. But the down-to-earth Georgia Hardinge is not your average red-carpet-dress designer. In fact she's far from average at all, Georgia's much travelled European upbringing is evident in the spectrum of eclectic cultural references of her work. Her enthusiasm for all things architectural and sculptural is the running thread throughout her collections, but it's never too 'out-there' or 'couture'. Georgia has a real knack for creating well designed womenswear as art pieces, that are long lasting and actually wearable. She believes "the highest approach to art awareness is through fashion." and we couldn't agree more!
Expressing an art-form through fashion is something Georgia has continued with for her A/W 12 'Inverted' collection, this time channelling the work of revered artist Rachel Whiteread. The prints are a nod to Rachel's use of negative space and signature resin cast techniques as seen in the Turner Prize winning, House Project, 1993.
When I was at university, I based a lot of my coursework on her and I love her play on structure, and i guess that admiration continued through when I started this collection. I really feel like my work is very similar to her ethos.
She did a couple of projects, one in particular was called the House Project, where she didn't use the objects but the negative space around the objects, so I tried to represent this in my clothing by reversing and inverting certain elements such as the prints or the garment's patterns. For example this piece has a resin cast technique that I started off with a spirograph. I bought one of those children's Spirograph sets from the Early Learning Centre, which I laid on see-through plastic paper, made the spirograph pattern, the put in a lightbox, which made the pattern come to life! I then transferred this to fabrics like silk and chiffon. I wanted to print on more types of fabrics like wool but it was difficult to find a nice luxurious wool to print on, as it doesn't always seep through the wool.
Were you trying to channel Rachel Whiteread's ethos by placing the layer of chiffon on top of the prints?
Haha, I never thought of it like that, I just wanted to soften the print a little bit because I wanted the box shape on top of the printed dress to be more prominent.
How did you find working with knitwear for the first time?
I used the same Melton wool production company as Burberry, so obviously I wasn't priority, and I didn't end up getting the knitwear samples until a day before the show, which was a bit unfortunate.
What made you go for the jewel tones in the colour palette?
I wanted the collection to look quite jewel embellished, which was inspired by the they kind of clothing worn in Renaissance paintings. Really rich and regal, but they flow very well together, I like how the mustard pieces go with the blues and then the burgundy and nudes go really well together.
What else are you up to aside from your label and where do you see your brand in five years time?
I hope to be selling in every major city, am now selling in 14 countries which is great, but am also hoping for more London stockists as I see myself as a UK designer. I'm doing collaborations with film at the moment, I can't really talk about it, but it's going to be with Megan Fox, as well as other films lined up. I'm also starting to consult high street fashion and clothing brands. It's going to be an interesting year I hope.
Any high street collaborations on the horizon?
Yeah of course, I've had a few meetings with big high street labels but I want to get into the high end luxury stores first as a luxury womenswear designer before I dilute my collections.