Gregory Parkinson’s label is one that has weathered and also thrived during this economic downturn. Gregory Parkinson always sends out a colourful mix of printed garments, patched and layered, while classic in a modern way. He always produces the most interesting combinations of prints and fabrications, easy to wear and layer in multiples. Gregory develops all his own prints and all the dying is done in house exclusively.
“The Gregory Parkinson woman loves to dress, she travels, has an elegance that is not always conventional. She dresses for herself, casually or black tie, she owns her look. Prices are considered, so she can purchase with confidence. Silhouettes are suitable for all ages and extend beyond the life of one season.”
Gregory Parkinson was born in Northern England and studied art and design education, specializing in fashion and textiles at Newcastle University. After graduation, Parkinson joined The Collection, a premier London based textile studio where he was inspired to move forward as a designer with a strong sense of colour, fabrication, and an original eye for decoration. In 1989, he relocated to Los Angeles to pursue design and worked for a large sportswear company while collaborating on projects with various stylists. He managed to put together a small collection of 15 dresses, hand dyed, spliced and layered together which became his signature style from then on. This encouraged him to open a small boutique on Beverly Blvd. His reputation grew from a small feature in W Magazine and after 2 years of custom making evening gowns, he produced his first ready-to-wear collection.
In 2010, 16 years after launching his line, he was a finalist for the Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund Award, which help “emerging” designers grow their brands. In 2011 he was handpicked by the CFDA to be part of a group of six American designers showing in Paris, to help young designers gain more international attention. But the Fashion Fund, with its implicit stamp of approval from Vogue editor Anna Wintour, offered a platform to relaunch the Gregory Parkinson brand after he and his longtime partner Therese Tran decided to lower their prices. Now an average top retails for $200-$400, instead of up to $800. His man line is made using found, vintage, and recycled fabric.
He recently launched a new line for Anthropologie named “Gregory,” with seven styles priced from $170 to $464, including a tie-dye maxi dress, shifts, blouses miniskirts, and a cardigan, all with Parkinson’s signature eclectic colour and print. He often travels to places such as Peru, China, and Tibet—to work on knitwear for his spring runway collection, fall and holiday for Anthropologie, and find lots of colourful inspiration. Parkinson has been selling to the world’s best stores such as Barneys New York and Linda Dresner for over a decade. His consistency in the fashion industry has allowed him to develop and maintain a loyal following.
His most recent Spring 2013 collection is my absolute favourite. Each garment was made of French lace and hand-sewn by the designer himself. As Parkinson said, “I spent my summer sewing and I wanted the collection to have a celebratory feel.” The inspiration: slowing down and appreciating quality. Making the finest of materials feel personal enough to wear while entertaining at home or also for a special occasion. The dresses incorporated century-old inspirations as well. The look: Future heirlooms. Utterly charming, ikat-embroidered organza dresses diffused with multiple layers of sheet and opaque French lace in powdery pastel hues like “Turkish delight,” jewel tones and florals. Added details included Lurex appliqués. Silhouettes were flattering and feminine, with hems hitting just below the knee or a little longer. His collection had a hint of lingerie.
Gregory Parkinson is my favourite designer that I’ve come across and researched. Every collection of his is extraordinary, personable, and elegant. I would add all of his creations to my own wardrobe. I look forward to seeing his future collections.
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