“I always just looked at things in a different way. I was really attracted to things that were extraordinary.” Rosetta Getty describes her initial childhood fascination with aesthetics in the face of her hippy upbringing. It’s a fascination that has ultimately led to her most recent undertaking, her eponymously named womenswear brand currently lighting up the rails of some of your favourite boutiques and department stores around the world.
To listen to Rosetta speak is almost to enter a different plain of communication, one in which her deliberate, dream-like annunciations take gentle flight. She weaves a rich tapestry of California childhood moments that, for a listener more readily faced with the relentless grey skies of London, hits all the right notes. You can almost see the soft focus lens flares bouncing off her words as she describes the hippy commune she was raised in, under the loving eye of a hippy mother who just “didn’t understand why aesthetics were so important to anyone, let alone me.” What the commune did indulge however, was Rosetta’s desire to learn how to sew at a very young age. That in turn led to special teen classes at an arts college in Casadina, where she added figure-drawing to her fast-growing repertoire of soon-to-be-very-useful-indeed skills. Her path towards design was temporarily derailed however when she was ‘discovered’ by a fashion photographer who whisked her away to a life of modelling in New York, Paris, Milan… Rosetta was just 14 at the time.
Those whirlwind teenage years didn’t last forever of course and, after an illuminating period running her own successful childrenswear brand (“I did everything - I was the shipper, the cutter, I entered all the orders…”), we eventually arrive at ‘Rosetta Getty’ the womenswear brand. It is a culmination of all Rosetta’s experiences to date, in the way that all the best eponymous brands should possess something inherent to the person they share their name with. Rosetta pairs that instinctive dreaminess and allure of the luxe (she is a Getty, after all) with a meticulous, almost savant-like approach to practical consideration.
Her musings on the inspirations behind her designs frequently return to this: “As a woman, I know there is a certain part of my arm that will look better if I cut the blouse so that the collarbone is showing just so,” she says at one point. Another example: “when I go out for the evening I know that I’m going to need something I can wrap over me that will keep me warm but is also elevated enough to pair with black tie.”
It’s fascinating to hear the way that Rosetta squares these functional considerations with her creative instincts, floating between the expansive mood boards that kickstart each new collection (“last year we were inspired by Yvonne Rainer and Trisha Brown, that whole postmodern dance movement”) and the realisation that in this increasingly small world one must design more pan-seasonally than ever before. This latter decision was inspired by her relationship with her own beloved California, and realising that the lack of seasons she assumed was specific to her home on the West coast, was in fact part of an increasingly “universal consciousness” when it comes to buying clothes.
That very way of expressing herself though - a curious mix of intuitive business acumen overlaid with the hippy sensibilities of her sun-kissed California childhood - that’s what makes Rosetta Getty stand out as a brand and a person. “Look,” she says in her typically laid back, elysian way of speaking, “I am a very practical person. I just happen to be an artist also.”
By James Darton for Semaine.