World-renowned designer August Getty shares his biggest inspirations.
The self-taught fashion icon has seen his custom August Getty Atelier creations drape the likes of Mariah Carey, Cher, Jennifer Lopez and Miley Cyrus as part of his mission to empower women through clothing and their sexuality.
Here, he shares the five things that have inspired him most on his journey to become the designer he is today, from a fictional muse that exists in his mind to the fashion icons who came before him.
The Getty Girl.
As an artistic child, I spent a lot of time – much like others – alone. This is where the idea of The Getty Girl was born. I’ve curated in my mind the story and mannerisms of a mysterious yet bold woman who has glamour sewn into her DNA. Her face is never truly seen, and once she leaves the room, you question if the moment ever existed. While watching The Getty Girl from across the party, she makes you feel like she is yours. Only you two exist. Once she leaves, you wonder if it was only a dream… Was the jewel-drenched masterpiece just a vision? Did you fall in love with a spectre of beauty? I envision her story specific to each collection while designing, like a phantasmagoria or a film reel in my mind. Now, every time I see a woman wearing one of my pieces, I see a glimpse of the woman who was birthed in my head, out of my childhood imagination, as she blows a kiss.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami.
Many people think that a soulmate is a person who is truly your other half. Miami – Vizcaya specifically – is mine. I am so inspired by this place that I even shot our look book for my “305” collection there. Originally built in 1914, the Villa-turned-museum makes me feel like I’m home. From the eerie mangroves surrounding the canals to the gardens and pathways that could take days to fully understand, it is truly magical. I have a feeling that my fascination for the property stems from my childhood. I used to love visiting my grandfather in England and exploring through the mazes of flowers. It made me feel like I was in my own world, where my creativity could roam just as I did. The beautiful architecture, that of a fairytale, is not the only thing that draws me to Miami. It is a city of heat and passion, confidence and pride. I’d like to think that these characteristics breathe through me and my work.
Old Hollywood Glamour.
The silver screen goddesses all had one thing in common: GLAMOUR. When I say glamour, I don’t just mean a stunning outfit, perfectly coiffed hair, or beautifully applied makeup. Glamour is a way of life, it’s a lifestyle. Did we see Sophia Loren take out the trash? NO. The actresses of the time understood the infatuation that people had over them. The acting didn’t stop once the movie wrapped. Their entire life was a performance piece. Lady Gaga is a present day example of this. Each of her albums has its own era. She knows how she wants to appear to the world and fully commits to the role. Keeping this in mind, when my friends and I get ready for the night (or “glam” as we call it), we feel like those glamour queens of Hollywood. We spend hours sitting in our closets, finding the perfect outfits, sipping our wine, ready to rule. These moments (although they happen often) inspire me every time.
Those who have paved the way.
The fashion legends who inspire me to push through every roadblock in my path. Gianni Versace and Donatella Versace, aside from their obvious talent and our shared ideas of female empowerment and sensual fashion as a weapon, have both taught me valuable lessons when it comes to family. Raised by our mother who was born in Rome, my sister Nats Getty is and was my very first muse. We have been through thick and thin, but we know how much love we have for each other at the end of the day, and nothing will ever change that. Nats now has her very own fashion label Strike Oil, and it is 100% on brand for her: strong and from the heart. Alexander McQueen and his ability to take something dark and find the beauty in it. We all have shadows, we all have a past, and we all have insecurities. It’s normal to try and hide these aspects of our lives and try to shut them out, but that doesn’t help us, the people in our lives, or our craft. I’ve learned to admit these things in my life and use them for my inspirations. I bring them to life through The Getty Girl, and thus a collection is born. I free it from my life.
Last but definitely not least, you inspire me. The fact that you are reading this and giving me the opportunity to share my story and my art. In the past, it would turn me off when people would ask, “What is the inspiration?” or “What inspires you?” I’ve realised that it isn’t prying or blindness. It is interest and the desire to understand. The sweet words I’ve received on social media or in-person drive me to keep going and to continue fuelling my fire. As a designer who never graduated high school and never went to any kind of school for design, all I could rely on was my innate inspiration. I could not be more grateful for those who believed, and continue to believe, in me and what I create.