Think beautiful, show-stopping occasion wear, and think Rachel Gilbert. Having founded her eponymous brand in 2007, she has crafted a reputation as one of Australia’s most distinguished fashion designers, offering ready-to-wear, eveningwear, and bridal collections that combine contemporary elegance with craftsmanship and fine detailing; cue one-shoulder gowns with oversized bows, crystal embellishments, velvet ruching, floral appliqués, tulle, sequins, and that’s just for starters. Rachel’s modern interpretation of sophistication has proved to be a big hit amongst the fashion set and buyers alike, with the brand being available in leading retailers worldwide, from Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus to Selfridges, Moda Operandi, and Harrods. We talked to Rachel Gilbert to learn more about her namesake label.
How did you first get into the industry?
I’d always been drawn to the fashion industry growing up. Once I finished school, I enrolled at the Whitehouse Institute of Design and solidified my passion for designing. I first worked in New York with Nikki Hilton for years, expanding my knowledge and skills before returning to Australia and starting what is now known as Rachel Gilbert.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration all around me. In my spare time, I love to immerse myself in family time. We often travel together, and it leads to amazing experiences or moments that catalyze a single thought or feeling I turn into something else. A recent trip to the Maldives inspired our upcoming Resort 24 collection; the oceanic landscape’s flora and fauna and the colors made the perfect foundation for a collection.
Who do you design for?
Ultimately, I design for ‘her.’ The core of Rachel Gilbert will always be our customer, creating pieces that she can wear for the moments in her life she wants to remember. Being an event wear brand, we are often thought of on monumental occasions, celebrations, and milestones. I love being able to create pieces that make our clients feel their best, always considering what they need and wants at particular moments in their life.
What’s your process?
We work with some incredible artisans to make the Rachel Gilbert product, most of which have been with us from the early beginnings. We are always searching for unique and unexpected ways of creating. I’m always in awe of the intricacy in the hand-embellished work that goes into our pieces, each individually hand-sewn and placed to create what feels like wearable artwork.
Currently, which is your favorite piece and why?
This Fall, we launched our new category, contemporary. I created it for the micro-moments in our lives to be effortlessly reached when going to lunch, on dinner dates, and for important meetings. I love the Ziara Top and skirt from this collection. It is so effortlessly chic and timeless.
What has been the standout moment of your career to date?
It’s always beautiful to reflect on the moments that have led the brand to where it is today—it’s hard to draw importance to one particular significant moment. Still, in the last 24 months, we have truly worked on refining what Rachel Gilbert stands for, expanding categories and offerings to create a holistic approach to the brand. It has often felt like a rebirth of the brand and has been so inspiring to look back and into the future.