Georgina Chapman on Oscar dressing, her dream job and Malia Obama
On Wednesday afternoon, Georgina Chapman hosted an event at luxury ready-to-wear rental service Armarium’s Los Angeles pop-up shop off Melrose Avenue. As a kick-off to Oscar weekend, the Marchesa designer was joined by cohosts Angelique Soave, Kiss Taylor Semple and Montana Coady in addition to Armarium founders Trisha Gregory and Alexandra Lind Rose. Chapman took five to chat in advance of this Sunday’s Academy Awards, where she’s likely to dress an attendee or two in addition to supporting her producer husband Harvey Weinstein’s Best Picture nomination for “Lion.”
WWD: Pieces from your spring, resort and fall 2016 collections are currently available at Armarium’s Los Angeles pop-up shop. Why did you decide to team up with them?
Georgina Chapman: It’s an amazing concept. Women really respond to it. It’s a great way to get a taste of a brand and to see how you feel. I think it’s a way to access pieces that maybe aren’t so readily available in normal distribution.
WWD: How’s Oscar week treating you so far?
G.C.: It’s been fittings and last-minute tweaks on dresses. And I’m obviously here for my husband as well. I’ve been getting prepared for the big night. First of all, if I have clients who are wearing Marchesa, they’re my first priority — really making sure they’re comfortable, their dress is perfect and they’re a thousand percent set. Then, I start to think about what I’m going to wear.
WWD: Can you tell us who you’re dressing?
G.C.: I wish I knew. I really don’t know until they get on the red carpet. Honestly, you can have dresses in, literally, hundreds of fittings and not have a clue. But we did team up with Olivia [Culpo]. We were approached by Stella Artois, who are working closely with Water.org on the “Buy a Lady a Drink” campaign. They asked us to create a piece for Olivia Culpo to wear on the red carpet. Each chalice [of Stella Artois] helps provide five years of clean water for someone in the world. So we’ve actually incorporated some of the chalices into the dress. It’s using the red carpet as a tool to get the word out because [the red carpet] reaches globally and the water crisis is a global problem.
WWD: You just showed in New York, but what are you thinking design-wise for next season?
G.C.: Spring 2018 is, like, tomorrow, isn’t it? It does feel that way. For spring, we’re traveling to Dubai. We just opened up a store there, so I’m excited about meeting all the clientele and then moving into bridal and then onto resort. It’s very much looking at bridal mood boards and romantic images.
WWD: You initially started your career with costume design aspirations. Is that something that might want to revisit?G.C.: I would love to one day. I got my bachelor of arts in costume design and I trained for four years to do that. One thing I do know, is really what a commitment it is. I would like to do it when I really know I can give it my full attention. It’s a dream of mine.
WWD: It seems fitting given the fact that your husband produces films for a living.
G.C.: I know! You would think it would be obvious I would! Where is my offer?
WWD: Do you, as a couple, have any Oscar traditions each year?
G.C.: You know, I normally take the kids to Disney. I’m trying to plan it into this week. They’re like, “Please, Mom!”
WWD: We heard Malia Obama is interning in your husband’s office. How did that come about?
G.C.: Oh, you’d have to ask him that. I don’t know. Well, you know, my husband has been a longtime supporter of the democrats and Obama and so, he’s very familiar with them.
WWD: Have you had the opportunity to meet Malia?
G.C.: Yes. She’s an incredibly bright girl. She really has it together. I think she has a very bright future. Look at her parents. She’s got great genetics.