By Juleana Enright
Voltage designer George Moskal may have scored a coveted intern position with Brit fashion guru, Zandra Rhodes, but as far as we’re concerned he got his true start designing clothes for none other than Barbie. At an early age, the St. Paul designer began to filled his time – and sketchbooks – with fashion looks for his sister’s Barbies, eventually progressing to gorgeous wearables for the modern-day woman. After studying apparel at UW Stout, George took his talent abroad, studying in London and archiving the career work for Zandra Rhodes. Despite being American, Moskal won the UK-based Dazed & Confused mag’s Big Break contest, judged by fashion designer and Beatle-spawn, Stella McCartney. His prize? George had the opportunity to design a print-focused capsule collection for Topshop Boutique. His design aesthetic screams “timeless elegance,” through the use of luxurious fabrics and a love affair with shapely, natural fibers; a design style we can’t wait to see on the Voltage runway!
George dishes on his internship with the eccentric, Zandra Rhodes, why the film All About Eve is always at his finger tips and how he caught the eye of fashion plate, Stella McCartney…
l'étoile: Tell us a little about your internship with British fashion designer, Zandra Rhodes. What did you take away from the experience? Would you say her passion for theatrical costumes and exotic apparel has carried over into your personal design style?
George: I think the first thing I learned from my experience was that you could actually design and make your own fabric, which started my love for textile design. At the time, I don’t think I fully understood how you created the textiles or actually put artwork into repeat to be printed on a garment. As an intern, I pretty much did whatever was needed. However, most of the time I worked cataloging her past collections, which spanned over 3 decades of work at the time. It was really amazing to see a whole lifetime of work and what elements of her style had progressed or remained consistent over time. I was lucky because I had a friend who lived with Zandra, so I was around a lot and was able to attend some amazing events. The highlight was attending the British Fashion Awards and seeing Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood not only show their collections but seeing them sitting several feet from me in the audience. I also had the opportunity to meet milliner Stephen Jones, who I am a huge fan of.
l'étoile: What was your design theme for the capsule collection you did for Topshop Boutique?
George: I had no idea when I entered the contest that I was supposed to be creating the next look in the London underground club scene. I used my own inspiration from an art nouveau gate composed of antelope and pears. Being a fellow animal lover, that must have appealed to Stella McCartney who chose my work for Topshop, so I just continued with that theme. I had also just started and was learning my way as a textile designer at Dayton’s, so I was in love with anything printed. The print that was picked up was an orchid print that we did in tops, screens and lining. The silhouettes had a lot of ruffles – I think I used bamboo fabric before it was popular – and distressed/aged leather that was real and probably horrified Stella.
l'étoile: Many of your garments include sophisticated draping and pleating. What is it about these techniques you find so compelling?
George: I think it is what comes naturally for me. I believe you are either drawn to tailoring or draping. I prefer the organic nature of draping, especially on the bias. The fabric comes alive and although you are guiding it, the fabric has the final say on where it falls or looks the best. I love tailored garments, but it seems more forced to me. You have to force the fabric to do what you want, rather than let it work with you.
l'étoile: What Twin Cities spots do you draw inspiration from and how do they inspire you?
George: The Walker, Minnesota Arboretum, Saint Paul Public Library, the Goldstein, and now the Minnesota History Museum’s archives. Modern art, flowers, vintage Vogues and clothing.
l'étoile: Describe the kind of film you could see your Voltage collection featured in. What kind of motif do you think it would embody?
George: Film has been incredibly inspirational to many of my collections. It is more of the emotion of the film that inspires me as opposed to an era or particular actress. The films that I continually go back to that resonate with me are Interiors, Three Women, Opening Night, All About Eve, and The Hours. Films that feature a strong female lead that is trying to overcome some personal tragedy or demon.
For more information on George Moskal click HERE
For more info on Voltage: Fashion Amplified and to purchase tickets to the April 16th event at First Avenue click HERE