If living and working in New York, head designing Nicky Hilton’s clothing label and building aself-made fashion label isn’t enough to impress, then Rachel Gilbert’s portfolio certainly will. Working alongside the best of Australian fashion designers, Gilbert’s career from her days attending Sydney’s prestigious The Whitehouse Institute of Design, has moved through many phases, from working with Lisa Ho to womenswear designer for Morissey.
All past collections, friends and fashion mentors as well as the many hours working with the finest fabrics, and the nations best creatives have contributed to the Rachel Gilbert Sydney collection showing at Fashion Week.
B&L: How did you get started?
Rachel: I completed my diploma of fashion design at the Whitehouse Institute of Design in 2001.
I got my first job in the industry as a fit model / Assistant Designer at LISA HO.
B&L: Did you always want to be a designer?
Rachel: No, I actually always wanted to be a photographer. After school I was looking into photography courses and came across the design course at Whitehouse.
Throughout school I always had a passion for design and received good marks for my work so I thought I would apply and see how I went. Luckily I was accepted and during my college degree, I fell in love with designing. I couldn’t ever image being anything else now!
B&L: What was it like working with Nicky Hilton?
Rachel: Working with Nicky in New York was amazing, she’s very down to earth and easy to get along with, we have very similar individual style so we worked well creatively and had a lot of fun together!
B&L: Where do you get your inspiration?
Rachel: Every season I am inspired from different things, it has a lot to do with what I’m passionate about at that point in my life.
Designing really comes to how I am feeling at the time, people in my life inspire me, cultures and travel destinations, vintage books, icons, even the smallest things can inspire me, it’s the way I see it and image it to be something else!
B&L: What has been the most exciting moment for you so far?
Rachel: Wow, I have been so lucky to have so many incredible moments in my career so far but I would have to say the most exciting moment would have to be having Dinner with Roberto Cavalli in New York. The man is a genius!
B&L: Who was your biggest role model growing up and why?
Rachel: Would have to be Dolce & Gabbana, I have always loved the way they have so much personality in their designs, very sexy, sensual and feminine. I used to look at their work and think, how do they do that, they inspired me to become a designer!
B&L: How would you describe your collections?
Rachel: When designing a collection I always like to have two moods within the collection, a lot of women dress to suit how they feel at the time.
So I always like to have the soft, feminie, romantic pieces for women to feel beautiful in and I also like to have stronger more confident and sexier pieces in there as well. The collections overall – I would say is glamorous, chic and elegant.
B&L: Do you have any advice for women who want to get into the industry?
Rachel: Be passionate with everything you do, you can always see the difference in your work when you are. Always know that anything is possible and there are no limits of where you can go or what you can do in this industry. And most importantly, take on board criticism, listen to those who have succeeded and never give up!
B&L: How would you describe fashion in New York?
Rachel: It was a big shock moving to NYC, the fashion there is classic, very black, very simple and very sophisticated. I noticed my accessories slowing moving towards the back of my wardrobe. New York is jeans, black boots and a black top or coat! Very Chic!
B&L: What will you be wearing this season?
Rachel: Metallic and embellishment is coming into to be a huge trend this season, from dresses, to accessories and shoes, bling, bling, bling!
I love it teamed with classic and simple pieces!
B&L: How do you like to relax?
Rachel: I always try to make time within the week to have a few vinos over dinner with the girls to relax, and I try to have a short little getaway every couple of months to get away from my busy schedule to recharge!
B&L: What 3 makeup items would we find in your handbag?
– Dior Lip gloss
– Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream
– Yves Saint Laurent Bronzer
B&L: What is next for Rachel Gilbert?
Rachel: I am currently working on my new winter season right now which I am about to shoot next week which is exciting, we have just been picking up a lot of international interest and will be concentrating on the American and UK market in the next coming seasons. It’s a really exciting time right now for the label!
B&L: What does being a woman mean to you?
Rachel: Being a woman to me means being confident and have a healthy respect for yourself, knowing who you are and being passionate about everything you do. Confident carries a woman with a sense of pride, elegance and sophistication.
Visit www.rachelgilbertsydney.com for stockists and information.